Birth, Initiation and Death Elements in the Folk Narrative of the Tambunan Dusun of Sabah, Malaysia

  • Low Kok On Universiti Malaysia Sabah
  • Sim Chee Cheang Universiti Sains Malaysia

Abstract

Rich in culture as reflected in their material culture, the Dusun ethnic group of Sabah (previously known as North Borneo) possess a wealth of folktales in the form of oral narratives that are rapidly fading along with the storytellers themselves. This research project has been initiated to reverse this threat towards the non-material folk culture by collecting and analyzing the folk narratives, popularly referred to as tangon among the Dusun ethnic group in the district of Tambunan, Sabah. This paper also hopes to demonstrate a method of interpretation that takes into consideration the social and cultural background of the respondents (storytellers) and the influences that affect the narrated tales. The method involved the collection of 20 tangon from 13 storytellers who are Dusun ethnic informants residing in Kampung Sunsuron, Tambunan. The analysis demonstrates an attempt to understand the Dusun ethnic group’s perspective on the cycle of life, especially the elements of birth, initiation and death that are contained in their folk narratives. It is the objective of this paper to encourage a method of interpretation and collection that emphasizes on the storytellers’ social and cultural background and the integral part played by them in the creation of their folk narratives.


 


Keywords: Tambunan Dusun, tangon, life cycle, birth, initiation, death


 


Abstrak


Orang Dusun di Sabah, Malaysia bukan sahaja kaya dengan budaya kebendaan malah kaya dengan bahan folklor dalam bentuk naratif yang semakin hari semakin berkurangan bersama-sama dengan penceritanya. Kajian ini dimulakan dengan tujuan mengatasi ancaman kehilangan budaya rakyat bukan kebendaan dengan mengumpul dan menganalisis naratif rakyat, yang dikenali sebagai tangon dalam kalangan etnik Dusun di Daerah Tambunan, Sabah. Tulisan ini turut bertujuan menunjukkan satu kaedah interpretasi, yang mementingkan latar belakang sosial budaya responden dan pengaruh yang mendatangkan kesan terhadap cerita yang disampaikan. Kaedah interpretasi ini akan diaplikasikan terhadap dua puluh buah tangon, yang dikumpulkan daripada tiga belas orang pencerita etnik Dusun yang tinggal di Kampung Sunsuron, Tambunan. Analisis yang dilakukan menunjukkan satu percubaan untuk memahami Dusun Tambunan perspektif terhadap putaran hidup, khususnya unsur kelahiran, inisiasi dan kematian, yang terkandung dalam naratif rakyat mereka. 


 


Kata kunci: Dusun Tambunan, tangon, kitaran hidup, kelahiran, inisiasi, kematian

Published
2020-12-01
How to Cite
KOK ON, Low; CHEE CHEANG, Sim. Birth, Initiation and Death Elements in the Folk Narrative of the Tambunan Dusun of Sabah, Malaysia. Malay Literature, [S.l.], v. 33, n. 2, p. 169-192, dec. 2020. ISSN 2682-8030. Available at: <http://jurnal.dbp.my/index.php/MalayLiterature/article/view/8054>. Date accessed: 28 jan. 2021.