KUCHING: May 1 will be a day of merriment and music atop the 1,000-foot Bung Bratak as it is a day for the Bidayuhs of the Jagoi-Bratak group to celebrate their ancestry, heritage and history.
They will be joined by visitors, taking advantage of the Labour Day holiday to walk up the hill and just to experience the occasion. Bung Bratak is located near Tembawang Sauh at Mile 6 Bau-Lundu road near here.
Bung Bratak Heritage Association chairman Dato Peter Minos said this year’s Bung Bratak Day would attract a big crowd of visitors who would want to witness the cultural performances and enjoy the natural scenery.
“Visitors and tourists alike will enjoy Bidayuh cultural music and dances on Bung Bratak Day, as well as the beautiful hill-top scenery, fresh air, plants and jungle setting. The hill-top spring water is said to have curative powers, and there is also waterfall adding to the nature attractions there.
“They will be happy in joining the Bidayuhs of the Jagoi-Bratak group, in remembering and honouring their historical and cultural roots and heritage,” said Minos when met after a dinner on Friday.
The Jagoi-Bratak group comprises about 33,000 people from 33 villages in Bau and Lundu districts, as well as one village in Penrissen and seven villages in West Kalimantan, who all traced their ancestry to the ancient settlement on the hill.
Based on accounts by elders and history, he said the group first settled at Bung Bratak over 750 years ago and during its height, the settlement had seven longhouses and seven baruks (traditional round houses for social and special gatherings).
“For hundreds of years, Bung Bratak was well-noted in Borneo, as mentioned by early Dutch and British writers and historians. Sadly, for no apparent reason, Bung Bratak was raided and razed to the ground on May 1, 1838
and about 1,000 young girls and boys were captured and taken away.
“With the help of Rajah James Brooke in 1841 and under the leadership of a survivor, Panglima Kulow, over 700 of the children were rescued. Bung Bratak Day is thus celebrated each year as a big historical and cultural day,” he said.
On a related matter, he said the Bung Bratak Day might be shelved for two to three years once works start on the Bung Bratak Heritage Centre atop the hill. The endorsement of the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture has been approved by the Economic Planning Unit and Ministry of Finance.
The heritage centre comprising two longhouse-like structures and a building shaped like a Baruk would be completed within two years – possibly by end of 2014.