February 6, 2010

Ulu Selangau : sago worms and sayur mandai

How would you feel if you could never lie flat on your back when you wanted to sleep? How would you feel if you would never be able to cradle your new born baby the way a normal mother would be able to do?

And again how would you feel if you are the Si Bongkok (Mr. Bendy) of the kampong for the whole of your life?

Not too long ago I met this Iban lady from Ulu Selangau and became friends with her. She was very charming and hospitable. I told her I had never eaten sago worms before. And also some of the vegetables that she was selling. As she was cooking lunch she invited me to her simple tamu lunch. Lunch was one dish of sago worms and mandai leaves. She was nice and pleasant  about her cooking done over a simple fire next to her stall. She had stories to tell me. She has been living by the river side for a long time. Now she is glad that she has tap water that flows out clean from the tap supplied from the government.

One of her challenges in life in the past had been to carry water from the river and climbing more than 100 feet to the long on a small hill.

Life has been very difficult for her because of her spinal deformity. She is bent from the waist and cannot straighten up. She said that no one had ever suggested getting help. It was her birth fate. Let it be. Who can help really?

















these two are medical photos I obtained from Google to illustrate further her spinal problems. I understand that her problems can be corrected over a long stretch of time. It could also be very costly. May be the younger ones who suffer from similar problems can be helped by generous charitable organisations.

She said I could take her photos but not directly her face.

Thank you Indai  XXX for letting me take your photos.

10 comments:

Ann said...

My MIL
s neighbour is like that. My husband is cruel, he warns my kids to sit straight, otherwise they would become bent like the Ah Mu at the back.

Was there a humped young man in Sibu when we were little? I remember he was humped to one side.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann

Don't we all do what your H does? My mum used to threaten to sell me to the Ibans on Pulau Babi...and I used to frighten my kids (laughingly) about the Singh next door...How Un P-C we are!!

It seems that there are an average of three per long house according to one of my sources. I remember the young girl who was humped on one side and she rode a bicycle. I remember an older man though but I cannot remember what he did. Could he be the young man you remember?

Will ask...

this is quite a severe spinal deformity.

there is also a Biblical reference to a woman who was bent by evil spirits for 18 years in Luke.

Ah Ngao said...

haha! when you said Pulau babi,there's one in Bintulu.Pulau babi where most(almost) of the notorious dwells.got "chickens",got gambling dens and also i heard a stop-drop jetty for smuggling .i think the Pulau Babi in Bintulu is history already,got replaced or developed.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ah Ngao

Didn't know that there is a Pulau Babi in Bintulu!!

Well Well it is notorious by the sound of it....there must have been lots of stories there...

Sibu's P.B. is very famous for notorious things and events too....

Bengbeng said...

Happy CNY to u and yr family .. is it too early? :)

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Bengbeng
With the advent of the Internet and e-cards I have missed the receiving of CNY cards. Post Offices used to complain about the large number of cards and they were bombarded with complaints from senders and possible receivers!!
Now the post offices are quiet...and even stamps are slow in sale.

No it is not too early to say KHFC....

Congratulations...may you FATT Chai...

I wish you health and joy to you and your family.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

That's osteoporosis suffered by many Ibans in the longhouses....they just bend double when they are about forty or fifty...not enough calcium and so on and so forth....may be their diet?

Bennett

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Bennett

thanks for dropping by. It is indeed a sad affliction. Not much can be done escept prevent at early stages it seems.

May be some doctors with advanced knowledge could help give some light to these poor sad people.....

Have to make sure that children take good food and follow a good diet...

cheers.

Bengbeng said...

Thank you.I receive one CNY card a year from Auntie Bengsim and that is it :)

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Beng Beng

Hope all of you in Sibu and especially you and your little family would have a wonderful CNY....without flood!! I have been praying for good flood mitigation.

God bless.