June 9, 2009

There's a lot of Maths in Iban Hat Making

This is hardworking Jelia from Ulu Limbang. She not only farms for a living but looks after three children who are school going. Every sunday she will prepare food and water for her children to take back to their hostels in Medamit.

Her young son is in Primary Two so she and other women would walk or sometimes get a lift from a relative to the school to check the boy out. If it is a rainy day she will bring biru leaves to finish making a hat in the shed provided by the school for parents.

On days when she goes to her farm she and her mother in law will not visit the primary school. They will together do whatever tasks they have to do. The hat making will be left to the evening. In this way she can make a hat in three or four days.






Each hat she makes has eight segnments. She divides the dried leaves properly and without any ruler she can make the most accurate segments!

She also measures out the body of the hat and sews on the binder properly with equal distance of thread. Her hat is a perfect circle and every hat she makes are exactly the same size!!

I think some Maths teachers should make a study of her hats and use them as examples to calcuate circular areas etc....Take maths into homes or take Indigenous hat making into the Maths Class!


9 comments:

Greenspot said...

Biru is one of the species of Licuala palm. There is a Licuala species from the peat swamp known as Licuala paludosa.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks! The longhouse folks actually depend a lot on biru for their hat making and other receptacles. Is the swamp species just as good and long lasting?

Can you feature photos of the biru leaves and plants in your blog? I only know the dried leaves...(sigh)

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

I know someone who did his Masters in ethnomathematics at one of the local univeristies.


Greenspot

Sarawakiana@2 said...

What a wonderful subject. I would really like to read his papers.

Thanks.

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

Images of Licula paludosa.

http://d30000260.purehost.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/Licuala%20paludosa5g.JPG

I do not know how durable the swamp species are for weaving.

Greenspot

greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

It would be good if you can collect photos of all the plants and palms used by the locals.

If you are taking such photo of palms, remember to:
1.take photos of the whole plant, closeup of the leaves, inflorescence, fruits (if any). No of leaflets and whetehr the leaftlef is joint in the middle is important in identification of palm species.

2. record down details like locality, habitat (eg swamp, river bank, sandy soil, clayey soil, etc), vernacular names, size of plant, other details like presence of stilt roots, spikes, spines, etc.

All the above info will be useful for identification. there are quite a sizeable species of palms. Perhaps we can jointly write a book on ethnobotany of palms in Sarawak later. that would be very interesting.

Greenspot

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Greenspot
Thanks for the suggestions. I will now take more photos as you have suggested. As for future JV it is indeed very motivational and of course kindness from you!!

Thanks.

siran ahock said...

It is good for people to write more about this topic. Perhaps it is one way to get the girls from the ulu school to learn good maths. In retrospects not many teachers bother to teach different races well. Sad to commen on this.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Siran

We have to make concerted efforts to help teachers realise how important it is to give every one equal opportunities in the class. Girls need to learn maths in order to be at par not only with the boys but with all in the global stage.

We cannot have a beauty queen who cannot calculate time and even simple purchases....