Kampung Benuk has a rich history in terms of the Bidayuh people’s heritage. The village, even though has undergone some sort of evolution in its structures. Modern standalone houses popping up, replacing the old longhouse structure, and yet still preserve its cultural features. Here we bring to you the interesting facts in its history.
Where It All Started
The Benuk Bidayuh group originally migrated from Sungkung Kalimantan Barat of Indonesia to Rabak Mikabuh around the 1380s. They stayed there for a considerable amount of time, stretching to a few generations. An interview with Tua Gawai Paka ak Otor of Kampung Benuk in 2001 revealed that after moving out from Rabak Mikabuh, the group stayed at a cave called Kibuo which is situated at the upper source of Pang creek. They were led by Bai Karang in order to avoid being raided by Skrang Ibans and other pirates.
The stay at Kibuo cave didn’t last long before they moved out to a place called Ebawang where they constructed a longhouse. 20 years had passed in Ebawang before a big fire razed the whole settlement. Thus, the whole population moved to the opposite riverbank called Rabak Pata and stated there for about two generations peacefully. Things were not that rosy there as well due to the constant flooding, which led to them breaking into two groups; one moving to Sungai Reguak (Segu) while the other one moved to Parung Kedong.
They have managed to live in both places for three generations before flooding during rainy days and water shortage problem forced both groups to migrate to Sungai Sawa where they finally settled there.
Myths and Legends
According to a Bibenuk legend, a famous Bibenuk warrior by the name of Mangbarik . He fought the Skrang and Sebuyau Ibans in the olden days. By that, he defended the village and has killed many enemies whose skulls were kept in the Pangah, head-house.
What can you find in Kampung Benuk?
Due to the demand for more space for individual houses, most of the Bidayuh villages have dismantled their respective longhouses. This one in Kampung Benuk offers an insight to the traditional way of building houses by the village community.
This privately-run museum gives visitors a peek into the way of life of the Bidayuh people through its vast collection of artifacts of bygone days.
With the influx of Christianity in Bidayuh villages, long gone were the days of pagan worshiping and most of the villages have dismantled their ceremonial houses. However, Benuk still has a surviving Baruk that will make your hair stand by looking at its collection of human skulls, all while marveling at its octagonal construction.
Source: History of Bidayuh in Kuching Division, Sarawak by Dr. Chang Pat Fo