Sarawak actually has a good sized population of wild pigs which have been hunted by most of the indigenous peoples. The meat of the wild pigs have graced many a longhouse table ( or mat)for occasions like the Rajah Brooke's visit or any government functions and just ordinary every day events as and when a pig is caught.
The meat can be prepared fresh and used up for immediate consumption if there is no refrigeration.
It is necessary for me to explain how a wild pig is shared in an Iban longhouse using their communal tribal ways or Iban longhouse ADAT. The wild pig hunted by a group of hunters would be equally shared. And by the Iban custom the gun/trap would also get a share and if any dogs happen to come along the dog owner also gets a share. So a hunter who owns a gun and has a dog with him gets three shares. All those who come along for the hunt get a share each. It has been such a practice that the Chinese also get to know about it. Equal sharing of a good thing is " pa ya tu buong hung". Go for a hunt and get a share. It is sometimes construed negatively because many hangers on who tag along hope for an equal share!! Well in the real sense it is a real communal attitude that matters. Tribal wisdom has to be upheld and equal sharing is a positive attitude which shapes social wellness and a generous community.
If a hunter tells his friend that he is going on a hunt and he wants to sell the meat for a special fund for his family it has to be announced first. And the trophy will be sent to the market for sale. This commercialisation is a new social norm slowly taking shape and the older members of the community will have to make adjustments. We will see how this social behaviour will transform in the future.
|Photo courtesy of Mattias|
|Taiwanese Wildboar meat cooked on hot stones - a delicacy for the new year.|
|This is a stud - an offspring of a wildboar and a kampong pig.|
In the days to come when the wild pig is no longer free to roam in the jungles of Sarawak a new breed of mix breeds will grace the tables of the indigenous Sarawakians. What will the future be like? In 1988 I asked my students in Miri...what will happen to our longhouse dwellers if all the jungles are gone? One smart city boy said.."Don't worry ...they can eat salted wild meat or tinned luncheon pork from China...."
In the olden days (and back to my Foochow roots)....30th Dec would always be the day when my Third Uncle Pang Sing would go and slaughter the selected pig...while he would sell most of the pork...we would also reserve some good parts for grandmother and ourselves...and other close relatives...If we were lucky a neigbhouring farmer or even my own uncle before 1968 would even kill a wild boar in a lucky hunt before the new year!! What wonderful cheers of joy would ring out when a magnificient animal was caught in the rubber gardens...Free meat from the forest was a blessing from God!!
We Chinese in Sarawak had surrendered our guns to the Malaysian government in 1968 and no Chinese farmer could go hunting freely for wild boars after that year.
One year there was a family of wildboars swimming across the Rajang and we could only use our wooden paddles to hit the animals....it was no hunt..but it was a very regrettable event...We were helpless...and the harvest was so plentiful. If only we had a gun or a good parang..but then it was too dangerous to struggle with a swimming pig in the Rajang!!
..Only those with connections had gun licences today.
Each time I am served with a plate of good wildboar meat there would be so many stories to tell!
Happy New Year...May fair winds be behind your sails...and may the roads you travel be safe ...and of course may your table be laden with feasts for dear ones to share at all times!!