Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sarawak... My Hometown...

I'm out of blog-idea since yesterday basically due to the current searing hot weather from mid-day until late evening, and sometimes until night. The cooling breeze from a top speed table fan also fail to cool down the surrounding, and worse thing is sweating before bed time. The feeling of waking up with full of "ickyness" is so discomforting and disgusting. So, I come up with a simple blog about Sarawak, my hometown and some of the things that you should know about Sarawak (which is unique and different from other states).

Sarawak is located on the island of Borneo (world 3rd largest island) with a total population of 2,420,009 (2010 census). The administrative capital of Sarawak is Kuching. Unlike the other states in Malaysia, Sarawak is divided into Divisions rather than Districts and each Division is headed by a Resident. Divisions are further divided into Districts which are headed by a District Officer (DO); and each Disctrict is divided into Sub-districts, each headed by an Administrative Officer. There's a total of 11 Divisions which are Betong, Bintulu, Kapit, Kuching, Limbang, Miri, Mukah, Samarahan, Sarikei, Sibu and Sri Aman. My hometown is being the 9th, with 4 Sub-districts which are Sarikei, Meradong, Julau and Pakan. There's a total of 33 Sub-districts altogether.

The demographics of ethnic Sarawak are as follows;

Dayak Iban
Comprises about 34% of Sarawak population and being the largest, and conventionally referred to as "Dayak Laut" or "Sea Dayak". The Iban dwells in longhouses, stilted structures with a large number of rooms housing a whole community of families.

Today, they make up of 26% of Sarawak population. The Sarawak Chinese belong to a wide range of dialect groups namely Hakka, Hokkien, Teochew, Hailam, Foochow and Puxian Min. Today, the Chinese are amongst Sarawak most properous ethnic group.

The Malays make up of 21% of the population in Sarawak. Traditionally fishermen, these seafaring people choose to form settlements on the banks of the many rivers of Sarawak. Malays are Muslim by religion, having been converted to the faith some 600 years ago.

The Melanaus have been thought to be amongst the original settlers of Sarawak. Originally from Mukah, they traditionally lived in tall houses. Today, most of the Melanaus community is Muslim whilst some remain Christians.

Dayak Bidayuh
Concentrated mainly at the West end of Borneo, and make up of 10% of the population of Sarawak. The Bidayuh formed inland settlement hence earning them the name "Dayak Darat" of "Land Dayak". They traditionally built a roundhouse that rises about 1.5 metres off the ground.

Dayak Orang Ulu
The phrase "Orang Ulu" means upriver people and live in Sarawak vast interior. Some of the major tribes are Kayan, Lun Bawang, Kelabit, Kenyah, Penan and Sebob. The Orang Ulu are artistic people such as in woodcarvings, intricate beadwork, detailed tattoo and unique musical instrument "sape".

Historically, Sarawak was known as "Cerava" by Portuguese in the early 16th century. By early 19th century, Sarawak has become a loosely governed territory under the control of Brunei Sultanate. in 1839, James Brook was the first European to arrive in Sarawak. During that time, chaos erupted causing Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II ordering Pangeran Muda Hashim to restore order. He initially requested Brooke assistance, but he refused. However, in 1841 Brooke paid another visit to Sarawak and this time agreed to provide assistance. On 24 September 1841, Pangeran Muda Hashim bestowed the title Governor to James Brooke, and effectively became the first Rajah of Sarawak and founded the White Rajah dynasty. The Brooke dynasty ruled Sarawak for a 100 years until in 1941, Japan invaded. After the World War II ended in 1945, Charles Vyner Brooke ceded sovereignty to the British Crown from 1946 until 1963, when finally Sarawak was granted independence through the formation of The Federation Of Malaysia on 16 September 1963.

Coming up next, is learning the Melanau language. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Accidentally saw ur blog, just wondering are you going back to Pakan for Sarawak state election?