The origin of Balau and Sebuyau Iban


The origin of Balau and Sebuyau Iban.

In addition to the descendants of Gelungan and Sendi and other Iban who settled in the Lingga and Sebuyau rivers of the lower Batang Lupar, another chief named Blassan moved from Tapang Peraja in the Katungau River, migrating to the Sebuyau not far from the mouth of the Batang Lupar river. Here he had his people clear land for their farms up the Sebuyau River as far as the Lintah stream. When Blassan died he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Entri who continued to fell more forest for padi fields as far as Tembawai Panjai. Here he died of old age. After the death of Entri, Dangu succeeded him as chief, and felled still more virgin forest around Tembawai Panjai. He was killed when he joined “Ijau Lang” and his warriors when they fought against the Saribas Iban under Unal “Bulan” at Plassan, near the mouth of the Saribas river. This occurred after Jame Brooke had been proclaimed Rajah of Sarawak.

After Dangu’s death, Bugih succeeded him as chief. He led his people to fell the virgin jungle on the left bank of the Sebuyau River as far as the Simunjan and the Semabang watersheds. After this, he and his people lived at Langgong Brikok where Bugih died of old age. Bugih was succeeded as chief by Demong. The latter was succeeded by Saga who was still living with his people at Sabangan some fifteen years ago.

At about the same time as when Blassan migrated to the Sebuyau in the lower Batang Lupar, two Iban leaders named Nyanggau and Bara journeyed from Tapang Peraja, on the Ketungau river of Kalimantan Barat, to Temudok of the Dau Engkerebang. After they had lived for many years at Temudok they moved westward to Melugu where they lived in two separate longhouses. Bara lived at Tembawai Tinting and Nyanggau at the Riang stream. From Tembawai Tinting, Bara moved to Tembawai Empang on the Engkeramut stream while Nyanggau died at Sungai Riang.

Together with other Iban groups, the Balau migrated from Indonesian Borneo to Sarawak and settled at Bukit Balau at the head of the Undup River. From Balau hill, this community moved down to Kelasin under their chief Sambas. While living at this settlement, they were continually attacked by the Kantu Dayaks from the Indonesian side of the border. After Sambas died, his son Juntang became chief and led his followers to settle at Dau in Indonesian Borneo, a region already settled by the Dau Iban mentioned in Part 1. Due to the fact that the region was already settled by the Dau Iban, Juntang and his followers soon returned to the Sarawak side of the border and finally settled at Batu Besai at the foot of the Kalingkang range. After they had been settled for many decades they moved down to live at Selepong. From there, they moved to Tunggal and then to Langgong, where they lived for only a few years. From Langgong they migrated to the upper reaches of the Lingga River. From these settlements some moved to a place called Bangunan, while another group lived at Repak Tepus. From the latter settlement, Juntang and his followers moved westward and settled at Abok. Here Juntang died of old age.

After Juntang’s death, his son Ali became chief. The people under him divided up. Ali led his followers to the upper Sadong region, others moved to Muding and Merai, while some remained at Abok. It was while Ali and his followers were living in the Ulu Sadong, that James Brooke was proclaimed Rajah of Sarawak. Ali was very loyal to the Brooke Raj. At Ulu Sadong Ali’s followers again separated. Some of them dispersed to Sebat, Sungai Pinang, Keruin and Nyelitak where their descendants are still living to this day. After Ali died, he was succeeded by his son Ringkai as chief. When Jawa died he was succeeded by his son Penghulu Mulok who resigned only a few years ago at the expiration of a five years’ term as Penghulu.

While Ali was living in the Sadong another Balau Iban leader, Ijau anak Busut, lived at Empili. The latter, through his grandmother, Nagi, who married Jambai, was descended from Gelungan and his wife Sendi. Before they moved to the lower Batang Lupar, Jambai and his wife Nagi lived at Kumpang on the middle Batang Ai. But after Jambai had died at Kumpang, his son Busut moved to Empili in the Sadong where he died of old age. He was succeeded as chief by his son Ijau “Lang” who led the Iban of the Sadong in the early days of Brooke rule.

It happened that in Ijau’s time, one of his men murdered another Iban named Kilat. This murder was reported by the victim’s relatives to the Rajah at Kuching. On receiving the report, the Rajah personally led a small expedition to punish Ijau, the chief of the region. But when his force reached Empili, the Rajah noticed a white flag flown by Ijau as a sign of peace. Therefore a compromise was reached and no skirmish took place, as Ijau assured the Rajah of his loyalty. Before he left Empili for his way home, the Rajah presented iron cannon to Ijau to cement his loyalty. Today the cannon is at Beti’s house at Nyelitak on the Ulu Sadong river.

After he had officially submitted to the Brooke Raj, Ijau and his family and followers left Sadong to settle at Banting in the Lingga tributary of the Batang Lupar. While he was here, he was continually at war with the Saribas and Skrang Iban. At last, in one of these wars, he was killed by Unal “Bulan” and his Saribas fighters at Plassan near the mouth of the Saribas River. Because of his death, his son-in-law Janting attacked Rimbas in the Saribas that same year.

Another version of this history is that when the Iban came out of the Kapuas basin and migrated to Sarawak, they first settled at Bukit Balau Ulu in the head¬waters of the Undup River. While they were still living in the Undup near Bukit Balau Ulu they and the Dau Iban were continually attacked by the Malays and the Skrang Iban, so that at last they fled away to the Lingga, Banting and Bukit Balau Hill below Simanggang.

While living at Bukit Balau Hill, some of them lived under a chief named Peranti whose house contained only ten families. When this house was demolished, Peranti led his followers to live at Selanjan, where he died of old age. After his death, his nephew Jali succeeded him as chief, and led his people to live at Sabemban, while others lived with the Dau Iban in the Empelanjan, Engkeramut and Selepong longhouses. When Jali died his son Aban became chief and was succeeded by Mambang, who when he died was succeeded by his son Jeritan, the present headman of Sabemban longhouse.


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