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General Borneo Facts

* 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.

 

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