On the eve of the Gawai he is still tinkling with his tools and making some repairs. He has a lot of joy taking out his own creations and looking at them. Even though it is Gawai Eve...he is not going to stop for a minute and join the rest in waiting for the meat to roast...his job is to repair the scabbard of a friend's parang."Let the young enjoy themselves at the bbq pit!!"
In China famous folk craftsmen and women are pensioned by the Governement. Many communities used to say "artists do not earn much. Cannot starve to death and yet cannot eat well...." But Aki Sandom coming from a longhouse agrarian background would always have enough rice if there is little else on the table.
Aki Sandom has this to say..... "Vegetables can always be gathered from the jungle if it is still there. Rattan can always be found if one is hardworking enough. Wood is plentiful if the buttress roots of the trees are left to be shared amongst the people. for you see one only needs small piece of the big tree for a parang handle. You don't cut down a lovely tree of hundreds of years to make a parang handle....."
Aki Sandom is more than 80 years old and he never went to school. His parents brought him from Skrang when the Second White Rajah initiated the Iban migration to the Limbang Division to increase the number of settlements and to encourage economic development of the newly acquired division.
This is a special equipment made by him to split bamboo and rattan into exact halves.
This is the dragon head of the parang handle.
|In this photo he is showing me his white cane walking stick which is intricately carved by him any years ago. He would not be selling this item as it is for his own personal use.|
It is a pity that this group of artists and talented natural craftsmen is growing smaller in number with the passing of time.