By Erik Jensen
As soon as headhunters less than the guideline of White Rajahs and in brief colonized earlier than independence inside Malaysia, the Iban Dayaks of Borneo are one of many world's such a lot amazing indigenous tribes, owning old traditions and a distinct lifestyle. As a tender guy Erik Jensen settled in Sarawak the place he lived with the Iban for seven years, studying their language and the various rites and practices in their lives. during this compelling and beautifully-wrought memoir, Erik Jensen unearths the demanding situations dealing with the Iban as they adapt to a different century, when scuffling with to maintain their id and singular position on the planet. Haunting, but hopeful, the place Hornbills Fly opens a window onto a vanishing global and paints a striking portrait of this fragile tribe, which maintains to outlive deep within the middle of Borneo.
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Additional info for Where Hornbills Fly: A Journey with the Headhunters of Borneo
They invited me to join them. ’ The others emptied theirs and expected me to do the same. 37 IBT032 - Where Hornbills Fly txt:Layout 1 3/11/10 11:10 Page 38 WH E R E H O R N B I L L S F LY ‘Yam seng mean one go,’ said the clerk. The headmaster, indoctrinated in English idiom while training, explained that it meant ‘bottom up’. ’ I asked. ‘They say “bottom up”,’ said the teacher. ’ He laughed. ’ I thought that should come first. ‘Kini? ’ The schoolmaster explained that tabi meant ‘hello’ or ‘hi’ and people used it with foreigners.
The whole place smelled of urine. I was eyeing the earthenware dragon jars and enamel basins with water in them and the water in the depression next the tank itself – water which looked as though it had served to wash dishes, yellowish water, and even clean water – when the shopkeeper’s wife appeared. ‘Mandeh, tuan,’ she said and pointed to a closet in the corner. I evaded dangling vegetables, steered round two flower-garlanded orchids and entered the bathing enclosure. Three foot by three, it comprised rough walls panelled with corrugated iron sheets and a pull-to door of corrugated iron.
Crushed together under the tin-roof shelter, we could have been inside a drum. Those who wanted to talk shouted. Mark and I stopped talking. In the enclosed hollow space, the scraping, hacking, chopping, sizzling and hissing rose in intensity. Someone turned up a radio to make its whine audible. Beside the radio sat an old Chinese seemingly oblivious to both noise and commotion. That power of concentration – unless he was deaf – the ability to remain unaffected by his surroundings must have been with him since childhood.