According to most ancient
Dayaks' beliefs, everything in heaven is the reverse of everything on earth; light is
darkness there, black is white there, yes is no, and so on. The greatest misfortune
which a Dayak can experience, is that he or she is not reunited with the souls of the
ancestors in heaven.
In the kampung, and near the
paths which lead from the river to the village, the Dayaks normally erect crude wooden
statues, equipped with a wooden sword. In these figures, a bali, or spirit, is
believed to reside. It must roar out and scare away sickness-bearing spirits.
Most historians generally
agreed that the Kenyah, an indigenous group in Borneo, were originally nomads who,
probably in contact with another indigenous Borneo counterpart, the Kayan, adopted
agriculture and longhouse domicile. Settled Kenyah are also linguistically related
to various nomadic groups of the past.
The Punans, which can be
found in Sarawak and Kalimantan cover a variety of culturally unrelated indigenous groups
in Borneo, united by the ecological niche which they occupy, but having cultural and
linguistic relations variously with different groups of settled agriculturalists.
In the Apo Kayan area in
Central Borneo, one can comes across jars of Chinese origin. They are locally called
tajau. The people of the Kahayan and other rivers think them of value but the Dayaks
do not think them so valuable.
In the olden days and in
perhaps, extremely rural Borneo, Punan women like to wear adornments and beadware which
they normally obtained by exchanging beautiful mats, baskets, and rhinoceros horn with the
Dayaks. The Punans also obtain through barter such items as foodstuffs and textiles.
* The forests
of Borneo, the oldest rainforests in the world, are home to an astonishing array of unique
species, such as the proboscis monkey; the orang utan; giant beetles; the smallest deer in
the world; 11,000 species of the most exotic flowering plants, from the biggest flower on
earth, the Rafflesia, to black orchids. In a single plot of 10 hectares of virgin forest,
over 750 different species of trees and shrubs can be identified (compared to a meagre
total of 160 species throughout the whole of Europe), being home to flying foxes, flying
squirrels, flying lizards, and even gliding snakes and frogs.