January 7, 2010

Tattoos from olden days...

I have not seen "aunty" for a long time. Now so much older looking but no less beautiful she strikes me as a grand lady of the Baram.

She still dresses smartly and is a great sport.

When I asked her about her tatoos she gladly showed me her arms and legs. And as before she was full of stories in her quite soft toned ways.

"Of course it was painful to make the designs...one whole day just to make a small tattoo!! And the pain was truly unbearable. "No pain no beauty," she said...

She added that the work of her tattooist was excellent because the patterns remain to this day more than 40 years later.

"That's my naughty grandson...."

According to aunty most fairer friends of hers would like to have tattoos because the designs came out better. But those ladies like her are now a dying breed. She also knows about the new designs which are discreet and are shop made.

Miami Ink? No...it was Bario Ink. 

She smiled and told the young people to study hard and look for good jobs. Bring back money to the family and enjoy a good life.

And she slowly nodded her head and went back to her memories of the old days in the highlands.


Ann said...

Is aunty a Kelabit to use Bario ink? My Bro in law told me that in olden days, the Kelalbit women had tattoos.

wenn said...


Ah Ngao said...

those old men with tatoos on the neck/throat or under the chin are considered hero or very brave is it?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann
Your brother in law may know this aunty..she used soot and the normal traditional method. So it was really painful. She is indeed Kelabit.Cheers

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Sarawak social history is fantastic!!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

In the past Iban warriors were entitled to certain tattoos.

So not every one in the past could have tattoos.

Ann said...

Elizabeth is back to Civilisation, but she still is not back to internet.

What's the name of this grand old lady?

My little bro Joseph is very pleased to be connected from your blog to see himself in a photo of some blog, where he was once a teacher in St Antony.

When I get back to Auckland, I will try to smuggl e some of the Mid night glory and become rich and famous. LOL Alas, that is not the life style for me.

I only want a dish washer and a vacuum cleaner that will clean by itself, and oh , the list grows longer, an iron too , self ironing one. ( I missed my cleaner in Singapore when I iron once in a blue moon.)

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann
Last night the Pasangs came to visit us and had a simple homecooked dinner (Pumpkin and Reunion Island Style Chicken)

We talked about Bario. The lady from Bario is Sina Sarah (I call her nenek for so long that I never asked for her name..or Mak Sigang).

Jeffery knows your brother Henry and his daughter is Agie. By now I think you have the family history and identity right. (smile)

I also asked Jeffery to bring your brother Henry for a visit next time. Our house is along the way to JPS farm from Miri.

Sibu Tales : Liver in the Noodles and other stories

I grew up in Sibu where the butchers' corner was the most significant "part" of the old market. It was where many people wo...