Iban Customary Law for Tebalu (Widow and Widower)

ADAT TEBALU – WIDOW/WIDOWER FEES AND SOCIAL RANKING STATUS

In accordance with custom, after a person’s death, his or her widow or widower is known as balu. As required by customary adat all widows and widowers must show respect to the relatives of their deceased’s spouse by paying a fee (tebalu) not earlier than six months after the spouse’s death. Only after this fee is paid are they permitted to remarry. The amount paid to the deceased’s relatives depends on the deceased’s status as follows:

1. If the deceased was a Great War leader (tau serang), the fee in his honour will be sigi menaga, $16.00.

2. If the deceased was a minor war leader (tau kayau), the fee in his honour will be lima belas igi jabir, $ 15.00.

3. If the deceased was a leading warrior (kepala manok sabong), the fee in his honour will be empat belas igi jabir, $ 14.00.

4. If the deceased was an ordinary warrior (manor sabong), the fee in his honour will be dua belas igi jabir, $12.00,

5. If the deceased was a great noble chieftain (kepala tuai menoa), the fee in his honour will be lima belas igi jabir, $ 15.00.

6. If the deceased was a famous Penghulu of aristocratic family, the fee in his honour will be empat belas igi jabir, $ 14.00.

7. If the deceased was a wealthy aristocrat, i.e. a man who never failed to get more than enough padi each year as well as being successful in his other undertakings, the fee in his honour will be empat belas igi jabir, $14.00.

8. If the deceased was an ordinary Penghulu, the fee in his honour will be tiga belas igi jabir, $ 13.00.

9. If the deceased was a very famous Tuai Rumah, i.e. one who has done good works for his followers and the people in his district in general, the fee in his honour will be tiga belas igi jabir, $ 13.00.

10. If the deceased was only an ordinary Tuai Rumah, the fee in his honour will be either sabelas or dua belas igi jabir, $ 11.00 or $ 12.00.

11. All male aristocrats are honored with a fee of sapuloh igi jabir, $10.00,

12. The tebalu fee of ordinary people should not exceed sambilan igi jabir, $9.00 (depending upon the important work he has done during his life­time). If he did nothing important, he will be honored with a lesser amount of tebalu fee.

13. The tebalu fee of people of low status should not exceed enam igi jabir, $6.00.

14. If the deceased was the wife of a great war leader (bini orang tau serang) and, at the same time she was an outstanding weaver (indu takar, indu gear) of the finest quality of blankets (pua kumbu), the fee in her honour is sapuloh igi jabir, $10.00. If she is not a weaver, her tebalu fee is sambi­lan igi jabir, $9.00.

15. If the deceased was extraordinarily clever at weaving blankets (pua kumbu) and is known as indu sikat, indu kebat, the tebalu fee in her honour is sambilan igi jabir, $9.00.

16. If the deceased was a good hostess to visitors (indu temuai, indu lawai), the tebalu fee in her honour is sambilan igi jabir, $9.00.

17. If the deceased was diligent in preparing food for visitors who came to her family bilek, (indu asi, indu ai), her tebalu fee is from lapan to sambilan igi jabir, $8.00 to $9.00, respectively.

18. If the deceased was always alert in looking for vegetables for those who visit her family (indu tubu, indu paku), her tebalu fee is from tujoh to lapan igi jabir, $7.00 to $8.00.

19. All deceased women of aristocratic families are honored with a tebalu fee of not less than tujoh igi jabir, $7.00.

20. The tebalu fee for a woman of low status shall not exceed enam igi jabir, $6.00.

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