May 4, 2009
Ergonomical Chair for Fish Net (Jala) making
(click to see a bigger photo. The net is rainbow coloured)
At Rumah Ugap Kapit I was truly impressed by this chair made by a young man who fished while he was home from his timber camp work. He would make jala after jala and sell some of his new ones to make more new ones! Perhaps he is hobbyist. Perhaps it is his sideline. But definitely he is a master craftsman. The sweat mark on the chairback only shows how hard he has been working at his craft barechested (a normal attire in the long house was a pair of shorts. Shirtlessness is a way of life. Very practical and sensible.) I asked him how many he has made so far in his life. He said he cannot remember - too many. But not hard to make. He could not say "no sweat"to me as the slang was not in his vocabulary. How would you say "no sweat" in Iban? Nadai peluh? He would say simply "nadai tusah" (not difficult).
I like his spirit. Nothing is difficult.
Every normal Iban man in the longhouse would never idle his hours away. He would be fully working either at the farm together with his family or in the communal space (ruai) where he would be making a parang or a fishing net even at a very old age. You see an Iban man must be at work for his food. A lazy man is not very welcomed in the longhouse community. He would be shun socially and the body language is loud and clear.
Life is full of expectations. Life is full filling. Every Iban man would try to find his spiritual fulfillment and be at peace with the Heavens and at the same be one with Mother Earth. For his spiritual fulfullment he believes in a Christian baptism. The certificate which comes to him later is an important piece of paper in his life - just like an Identification card - "So that God can recognise me".
So down to earth - this is indeed a new thought to me. Do you have a religious identification card?
The ergonomical chair stays empty only when he has finished a large part of his net or when he goes off for a cigarette or have a look at his farm animals. Or at night when he wants to save on diesel and a kerosene lamp would be too dim for him to see the perfect stitches.
Net making is not backbreaking when you have a chair like this.