December 30, 2011

New Year and Sarawak Wild Boars

Recently a friend reminded me of a special meal we had in the mountains of Taiwan when we were introduced to the Mountain Pig (Shan Ju) an exotic food for celebration like New Year or an auspicious birthday.

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
Shiban Shanzhu Rou(石板山豬肉 Stone-grilled Wild Boar Meat)
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!!

17 comments:

wenn said...

wild boar should taste good..

Anonymous said...

We never know. They may become a protected animal in the future

LivesArt said...

Hello and Happy New Year!

sarawakianaii said...

Hi Wenn...sure..it is really nice when you know how to cook it..and in so many different ways..whether tradtional or five star hotel chef style..Happy New Year!!

sarawakianaii said...

Dear Anonymous...the Government of Malaysia and State govn of Sarawak must enact some regulations to help control rapid damage to the wild pig population. Control of guns is not the best of ideas...and I hope we can get some very sensible rules and regulations...

sarawakianaii said...

LivesArt....thanks for visiting!!

hope you too have a Great New Year!! All the best.

Ann said...

Hi CY,

Happy New year.

I don't eat wild boar, and I told you why. My Uncle who comes here in NZ won't eat the pork here because they smell. Me and my uncle, we are a fuzzy lot.

sarawakianaii said...

Hi Ann...
May 2012 be a great year for us...and one of my resolutions...I must visit my dear friend in NZ.....can't wait for it to happen...I eat anything except rabbit...I know of many who won't eat pork or wild boar...no you are not being fussy...

Happy New Year!!

Anonymous said...

May Borneo wild boars attain the statue of protection and importance like Pandas

sarawakianaii said...

Dear Anonymous...thanks for the well wishes...hope the YBs and other lawmaker can be convinced to protect our wildlife more...I am most worried about the Hornbills though because without the habitat they will soon disappear and we will only see concrete models of hornbills in rock museums in the future...

Anonymous said...

Steady chak...no worry, Sarawak has so many sawit for the wild boars....

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks anonymous....I am not sure if that is really good..all the sawit has lots of pesticides and weedicides....and the seeds may be too fat for the baboi.

Anonymous said...

call me to taste the local breed boars. not wild boars but babi menoa@traditionally rear and roam freely at my farm.It taste about the same as wild boars as they roam around around and exercise a lot. Unlike the one you got from market, my boars are alot tasty... any time call me or e-mail _ maling@jmg.gov.my or 0135734274/0111605345 kuching

Sarawakiana@2 said...

thanks.....will keep your no. or email you in the future!! Kuching is quite a long long way from Miri!!

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