van der Helm
wetlands Tasik Chini and Tasik Bera are often
mentioned in one breath and, according to Orang Asli oral tradition,
these two lakes indeed form one ecosystem. Both the Jakun at Tasik
Chini and the Semelai at Tasik Bera have stories about a subterranean
river that connects the two lakes. This subterranean
river is said to begin in Tasik Chini's south-west Laut Kenawar (see Satellite
Photo) and to end in Tasik Bera's deepest
part Lubuk Keruing.
This subterranean river also reflects the relationship between Jakun and Semelai. They feel, and through marriages are, connected. This connection returns in various stories shared by Jakun and Semelai. For instance, the Semelai story of the origin of Tasik Bera has much in common with the Jakun story of the origin of Tasik Chini (see below). Tasik Chini began as a mountain and Tasik Bera began as a stream, but for the rest, the basic motifs of the two stories are the same.
In fact, the Semelai story of the origin of Tasik Bera has a preamble that begins at Tasik Chini and that tells how this subterranean river came about. This preamble, as told by Sahat to Rosemary Gianno in 1981, goes as follows:
The story of AsanSeven Tasik Chini men went berotan (gathering rotan). One of them, a man called Asan, ran into big eggs. His companions urged him not to eat them, but he ate them anyway. He became a big snake that wanted to drink lots of water. His companions informed his wife and child, but he preferred to stay there, that is, at the other side of Sungai Pahang. After some time, however, he could not stand it any longer. He split the island Pulau Kinchir in half, and went to the sea where he became the island now known as Pulau Asan.
|Pulau Kinchir, nowadays split in half.|
running back and forth there. They were planting rice. The
was barking while running back and forth. "What is it lah, that the dog
is barking at?" "Go check," the grandmother said to the
grandchild. They checked. "Bah," said they, "he's barking at
log." What kind of log? Keruing. So, they didn't pay attention, didn't
worry about it. They kept planting rice. And the dog kept barking at
the log there. "Try, you children," she said, "to pry into the log
there. What is the meaning of his barking there? While they were
planting, they feasted, lots of them together. They opened up
log again there. They saw the fat. They took it. Then they got a rice
basket, they gathered the fat with their hands, and then were carrying
and carrying it in rice baskets back to the house to eat it.
Then the people who had been planting rice were ready to eat. They all ate together. The day was getting toward late afternoon. All of a sudden the old man arrived and stuck his walking stick in the ground. They invited him into the house. "Why don't you come into the house old man?" So he went up into the house. He stuck his walking stick down at the bottom of the ladder and then went into the house. They invited him to eat there. But no, he didn't want to. They don't know of his mischievous intention there. It was his doing the fat there. No, that was not any old kind of fat. That was fat from his body there in reality. Yes, the fat of the husband that ate the eggs before. Then he said he was going home. He ordered the children to pull out his staff. At first one, then two, three also couldn't do it. After a while a lot of them together they pulled, but even so, were not strong enough. Then even the adults joined in but still they were not able to. So then, he came down from the house to the ground. He pulled it out lah with his left hand. After he pulled it out, he disappeared. He was not just any old man. No, this was the husband who ate the eggs at Tasik Chini but it seems that they didn't recognize him.
Then they looked back and saw water trickling from a spring. Hey, they said, the old man's staff caused a spring to appear here. Really it was the Keruing stream there. It wasn't really a lubuk (small lake) at the beginning. It was a stream. So, after that, the children tried to plug up the spring. At first they used leaves. Then they used wood, the size of a pinkie finger. The spring was the size of a pinkie finger. Then they plugged the size of a thumb. But the spring became the size of a thumb and kept bursting out. Then they plugged with the size of a big toe, with the same effect. Then the size of an arm, but the water burst forth and became the size of an arm. Then they plugged it with the size of a calf but again it burst out and became as wide as a calf. Then the size of a thigh, and again the same thing happened. Then, they were out of ideas of what to do. Then they plugged it with a gong. Eventually the spring became the size of a gong and burst through again.
After that there was plenty of water there. They were chased by the water which drowned everything at Keruing there. Then, the water there was calling. To over there a person, to over there it chased, a person fled over there, over there it followed. The water was calling, it was talking. It said, basket, basket, basket, ... They left behind the basket. Until it asked also for the knife: knife, knife, knife, knife... said the water there. Eventually, they left behind the knife. When they left something behind, the water would stop rising and stay at that level for a moment but then would start chasing them again. So, it kept chasing, until finally it asked for the grandchild: grandchild, grandchild, grandchild. But no, the grandmother would not leave behind the grandchild. Only the grandmother earlier had not eaten the fat.
Then, the grandmother there also fled not knowing where. She fled up to the headwaters of the tasik. She went all the way up into Temangau, carrying her grandchild. Then, no, the grandchild fell out without her having realized it. After the grandchild was dropped, the water stopped. The grandmother sat down with her back against a cot [Artocarpus scortechinii tree]. She was really tired. That's why when its leaves are falling, they make a moaning sound. The snore of the cot is because of the grandmother from back then.
were several Orang Asli families
living at the
foot of Gunung
Chini. One day a dog went up the mountain and began to bark
loudly. A man went to investigate and found the dog barking at a
tree. He threw a stick at the trunk and oil-like liquid flowed
from the trunk. He informed the villagers who rushed to the
scene. But there was an old woman who ignored all this. She
warned the people not to allow her grandson to taste the liquid. The
people forgot her warning and her grandson tasted the liquid.
Soon an old man appeared and stuck his walking stick in the tree trunk. He ordered the people to pull out the stick, but they could not. He ordered them to bring a white chicken or seven white feathers, but they could not. He became angry and pulled out the stick himself. At that moment liquid flowed like a stream from the trunk and the people ran away.
The liquid flooded the area and Gunung Chini submerged. Those who tasted the liquid were drowned. The liquid followed the old woman and her grandson. The old woman heard a voice telling her to abandon her grandson. She left him; he was drowned and the liquid stopped following her. The liquid formed a lake called Tasik Chini.
The usable oil producing keruing tree.
story about the Temoq
story about the Temoq
there had taken a tiger as pet. It was easy to catch
mousedeer, wild pigs, barking deer. He carried them back and ate the
meat. Came the time, they went. Tembeling was bitten by a leech. He
dabbed the blood with his finger and smeared it on the lips of the
tiger. It was licked by the tiger. It tasted good. The tiger grabbed
his owner and ate him. (Before this, the tiger ate only cooked food.)
The tiger returned to the house where Tembeling's wife asked, "Where
did your owner go?" She looked down the path. The tiger didn't say
anything. After a while, he grabbed the wife and ate her. He grabbed
the children and ate all of them. Eventually, he began eating people in
the village, also. They then fled to the Serting River.
Left behind were two women who hid inside a drum. They waited for months. Two Semaq Beri men arrived, carrying blowpipes, quivers, and spears. "Help us kill the tiger," the women pleaded. "Everyone's gone already. They were eaten by Tembeling's tiger." The men replied that they didn't have the courage to try before nightfall. In the evening, the tiger arrived looking around on the ground. Then, he went up into the house where he was immediately stabbed to death by the men. Then the women wanted to marry. They married, had children. The children grew up and married each other, over and over. Therefore, until now, the male line here is Temoq, the females are Semelai.
|Tembeling, a Semelai
man at Tasik Bera, kept a tiger as pet. One day, the man was bitten by a
leech and he let the tiger lick off the blood on his leg. But the tiger
got the taste of it and ate the man. After that, the tiger ate all
Semelai people at Tasik Bera — except for two sisters who
hid away silently in drums in a house.
Some time later, two Jakun brothers came along. They wanted to play the drums, but then the two Semelai sisters jumped out of the drums and said: Keep quiet, we are afraid of the tiger! Then, the four of them decided to try to kill the tiger. The two Semelai sisters played the drums to lure the tiger into the house, and the two Jakun brothers waited at either side of the door with their serampang (3-toothed harpoons) ready. The tiger entered. When it wanted to attack the older brother, it was stabbed by the younger brother, after which it wanted to attack the younger brother, but then it was stabbed by the older brother. This went on until the tiger was dead.
Then, the two Jakun brothers married the two Semelai sisters. The older brother married the older sister, and the younger brother married the younger sister. Their offspring is Jakun but became known as Temoq, which means so much as "not-circumcised".
|Back to Sri Gumum's homepage||Back to Stories of the Lake|