The Incest Laws are modified as informed to Beti “Berauh Ngumbang”

The Incest Laws are modified as informed to Beti “Berauh Ngumbang”:


Geraman, son of Gupi married Tebari and begot a son Chundau, who married Beragai. The latter begot a son named Beti, who was also called Berauh Ngumbang.


In the days of Beti “Berauh Ngumbang”, a man named Abang committed incest with Tali Bunga, who was his first cousin’s daughter. In due course, Beti ordered the couple to pay a fine, as fixed by Sengalang Burong, but as the couples were very poor, they could not afford to do so. Beti and the other leaders therefore ordered that they should be put to death by impalement on bamboo spikes.


On the next day, after a special place had been prepared for the execution, Beti assembled all the people to witness the killing. Immediately before the execution, Beti called loudly in prayer the names of the gods and the spirits to witness how he would deal justly with the malefactors in accordance with the teachings of Sengalang Burong.

Suddenly, when the executioners were about to lay hands on the transgressors, a voice was heard calling, “Beti! Beti! Why would you kill these human beings in such a cruel manner?”


Beti explained the reason why he was about to do this. “If they cannot pay such heavy fines, you must not kill them in this way,” the voice continued.


“What must I do then?” asked Beti.


1) “In future, if such a case should occur, you must ask the guilty parties to wash in the blood of a medium-sized pig, which you have killed in the river. Another pig should be killed on land in order to wipe away the wrath of the spirits who will otherwise destroy your farms and plantations.”


This is known as besapat ka ai’, a modification of Sengalang Burong’s original code of law. Besides killing two pigs, the voice asked that the following things be produced by the parties to be used during the ceremony of besapat ka ai’:


1. Pedang panjang kena ngerandang remang rarat.
2. Beliong lajong kena mungga urat lensat.
3. Sumpit tapang kena ngerejang lubang kilat.
4. Kumbu rayong kena nyerayong tekuyong dalam ungkap.
5. Kain beragi kena miau moa-hari sarat bebuat.
6. Pinggai besai kena nyekat tanah rarat.
7. Besi panti landi ke alai kaki betakat.
8. Rangki siti kena nasih ai ngambi enda beriap.
9. Tepayan endor nyimpan samengat.


This means:
1. A long sword to separate the moving clouds.
2. An adze used for cutting the root of the lensat tree.
3. A blow-pipe of tapang wood for blocking the holes of lightning.
4. A kumbu rayong blanket for covering the overhanging banks of the river to prevent snails from emerging.
5. A coloured cloth for wiping away thick clouds.
6. A large bowl for obstructing erosion.
7. An iron step for the legs to stand fast.
8. A shell armlet as a fee to prevent the water of the river from rippling.
9. A jar in which to keep the souls safely.


So Beti “Berauh Ngumbang” and his companions did not kill Abang and Tali Bunga. Instead the couples were ordered to undergo the besapat ka ai ceremony.

2) The voice said that incest of a brother and sister was still punishable according to the law given by Sengalang Burong to Sera Gunting.

3) The new law starts with first cousins.

4) The sons and daughters of first cousins committing incest with members of the adjacent generation should incur fines of ten jabir (now equivalent to ten dollars). The fine is to be divided amongst all persons attending the ceremony.


5) In the next category, the fine was eight jabir. The parties involved in this category must undergo the ceremony of being washed in the blood of a pig, besapat ka ai’.

6) In the last category the fine is two Jabir, but only one pig is to be killed on land and the ceremony of bekalih di darat performed. Those who have taken part in the bekalih di darat ceremony must continue to follow the laws of Sengalang Burong.

It happened that in the days of Kaya, a descendant five generations after Beti, a man named Bukol committed incest with his classificatory aunt, Brenyan, in a manner similar to that of Abang and Tali Bunga.


Kaya ordered them put to death according to the old laws of Sengalang Burong. The night after they were killed, heavy rain fell and a great wind blew, destroying Kaya’s house at Sungai Letong in the Paku. The remaining bamboos (buloh aur) used for this impaling are still growing at the present-day, at Nanga Selamoi, opposite Kaya’s longhouse site not far from the modern longhouse at Sungai Pelandok. Kaya’s longhouse was destroyed because he disobeyed the law given by the spirits to Beti.





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