July 27, 2009
Sibu News : Long House with Chinese Headman
華人屋長洪心聲(左)與遠道由吉隆坡而來的「椰樓映畫」國際影視製作公司4名人員合影.左3為洪心聲的伊班籍母親尤悠(Uyu).右為砂拉越攝影師許保德. Chinese headman of an Iban long house, Hong Sing Sing(left), together with his mother Uyu(3rd left), and a local photographer Philip Hii(right), took a group photo with four members of Kuala Lumpur based Yellow Pictures production company, who were documenting a story on the headman or Tuai Rumah, which is expected to be aired on ASTRO AEC channel later on.
This is indeed an exceptional piece of news from Sg. Bilat Kanowit written by Steve Ling (Going Places). Could TR Hong Sing Sing be the first foochow/Kutien Iban long house chief in the world?
He is officially known as Tuai Rumah Hong Sing Sing and indeed this is an honour not only to him but to his mother Uyu. His mother speaks Foochow with a Kutien accent even. And this is a credit to his late father (Mr. Hong) for instilling Chinese learning amongst his children with Uyu who is now almost 100 years old. All the children were brought up in the longhouse and they too have intermarried with the Ibans of the longhouse. TR Hong is now 66 years old.
According to one of my Iban blogger friend the Iban longhouse way of selecting a chief has always been very democratic and usually the best leader is selected by the process of slow deliberation and open discussion and voting. Thus for hundreds of years the Tuai Rumah has always be revered and well respected. He and his family would always be "listened" to and they are what we would consider "royalty" to a certain extent because so much respect is accorded to them by the longhouse community.
He said "However as time goes by more and more selection has been government prompted and the best person reckoned by the longhouse community might not be the one appointed by the government!"
This is a great example of lMalaysia concept if you are looking for one! the longhouse (Rumah Panjang TR Hong Sing Sing) should get an award for Malaysian Unity!