“Midweek Reflections” is a space for team members and cultural practitioners of The Tuyang Initiative to share their thoughts, fears and dreams. For feedback, please email email@example.com.
A conversation between Adrian Jo Milang with Ke’ and Kudoh.
Ke’ (Kayan) : abbreviation Huku Lake’ – Grandfather
Kudoh (Kayan) : abbreviation Huku Doh – Grandmother
Ke’ Anye and Kudoh Hulo are Adrian’s adopted grandparents. They adopted Adrian’s father when he was younger. Adrian went to visit them when Bintulu was declared a green zone recently.
We’re doing fine.
It has been quite a strange time.
We have been cooped up at your uncle’s place since then, we were advised to stay in Bintulu rather than to go back to our farm hut in Tubau. As phone connection is scarce and it’s quite a distance from the longhouse.
We are very happy to see you (Adrian) after quite some time.
We really miss our times together, singing amongst our friends new and old. How are they doing? The Baram folks from Long San, Long Moh and others. I was really looking forward to seeing them again.
Our urang putih (white people) friends too, the lady that played the sape on her thighs and the gold hair lady, the fellow and his family.
I got so excited when she said we were gonna meet them at their land the next time we see each other, Seterilia (Australia) she mentions. That would have been a history in the making! Some Kayan folks singing in a foreign land, how about that!
But I do hope and god willing, this bengen (plague/pandemic) will pass soon. We are worried about our animals and plants back at the farm. We have but ourselves to take care of them.
Our ancestors lived through this before but we couldn’t believe that we would too, so this is what it would have been like.
I have not much to say, but I just look forward to a time like before and hope that your kudoh and I will still be well until we get to sing and dance with our friends again at all those places!
It’s been quite some time now so (grandchild).
I looked forward to your visit, but I realised this bengen is dangerous and risky but we have missed you alot!
Like your ke’ I do miss us being together, you are like the grandson that we never had.
You know when your ame (dad) was younger we adopted him.
A little funny story, when he was with us, one day he was chasing after the chicken on the sa (deck) until the fellow fell down below the longhouse! He ran back crying to your grandparents, haha! But he still is fond of us regardless.
Well we haven’t been doing much, since most of our work was left in our farm hut in Tubau. So we’ve been helping to take care of your younger cousins, your upi’ (uncle or aunty) Denny’s children at his place when he goes to work.
Going back to the times when we traveled and went places to parap or ngejun, I gathered all the strength that I still have left in my frail body to go with you and your ke’ as I see your passion to keep your late maternal ke’s legacy living. He was irreplaceable. After his passing, no one in Tubau could take his place as a tukang parap or takna’ (Tukang – master, takna’ – poetic tales told in songs). By doing that I hope that your cousins here would be inspired to follow suit with what you are doing too. There is no one else your age that does this for a living. Other than that, I want to do it for you because you are like my own. So do come and visit us often and bring jako’ halo’ and ayep! It’s so hard to get our hands on that these days.
Well I hope this bengen will pass soon so we can get back to our farm work and be with others too! Hoping everyone is well wherever they are!