The Rimbas

During the same period, roughly fifteen generations ago, the Rimbas, which is another tributary of Saribas, was also settled by Ibans.  In ancient times two related tribes of people, the Bukitans and the Serus thinly populated this river.

The former lived in the Bayor and Teru streams.  Under their chief Gambang and Guling who are relatives of Entinggi of Paku.  The later lived in the Lower Rimbas under a chief named Jenua.

Despite the presence of Seru in this area, the early Iban migrations into the Rimbas, which are, describe below apparently did not meet with much resistance from them.  Conflict1 between the Ibans and the Serus did not become serious until the migration of Ibans2 to Krian, east of Rimbas.

In the days of Gambang and Guling and at about the same time when Tindin arrived in the Paku, a certain chief named Padang came from Sebaru in Indonesian Borneo to the Rimbas.  While in Sebaru, Padang and his followers had killed a star, which was in the form of a man who had attended on of their feast.  Angered by the incident, the planetoid had told Padang that he and his followers would not be able to grow any rice for seven generations.  In an effort to escape this curse, Padang and his followers fled away.

He had left Sebaru followed by his chief warriors Ningkan, Pajih, Jarup and Medan.  From Sebaru they had journeyed toward Ulu Strap.  Then they had gone by boat down the Strap River until they came to Sungai Pinang Mirah, which is located between the Linga and Sebuyau river in the Batang Lupar.  They had settled there but the planetoid curse was still effective and they had nothing to eat at all.  At the height of this hardship, Padang had a dream one night.  In his dream he met a woman who informed him that she had given him cuttings of yam and tapioca to plant for food.
When he woke in the morning he saw that these things were scattered on the verandah outside his room.  On seeing them Padang had recognised them as gifts from the Swine Goddess, who had given him these things once before when he was still in Sebaru.

After Padang and his followers lived on yams and tapioca for a long time, he had another dream.  In his dream he met the same woman who had order him to leave Sungai Pinang Mirah and travel to Rimbas.  There, according to the dream Padang and his people would find the kayu belubang puak or a tree with a hollow trunk (that is sago palm) for food in addition to the yams and tapiocas.

In the morning after, Padang explained his dream to his friends and they all agreed to go with him.  Before they go, the men cut down bamboo and built a raft on which they floated down the Batang Lupar and up into the Saribas.  From the main Saribas River they had come into the Rimbas and settled at Tanjong Tagan, opposite of the mouth of Undai stream.  After their arrival they started to look for food as the goddess has instructed.  When they came to Tanjong Banan, they found many sago palms growing there.  They cut some down and grated them to flour for food.
After they had lived some years at Tanjong Tagan, one of Padang’s followers named Pajih and his son Gunggu went to visit some friends in the Skrang and Undup rivers.  They first went to Skrang where their friends gave them padi seeds for planting.  Then they paid a visit to Jelian, the pioneer of Undup at Wong Empagu.  Jelian taught them how to plant their newly obtained padi seeds at the right time and season.  Jelian also told them to follow strictly the movement of the Planetoid (Bintang Tujuh) and the three stars (Bintang Tiga) in accordance with the teaching of these stars to Sera Gunting when the later was on his way to visit his grandfather, Singalang Burong.

Jelian also advised them to plant cotton for clothes and blankets.  He also taught them on the rules they should follow when erecting a longhouse according to the precepts given by Apai Puntang Raga to Jelian himself.

After Jelian had taught them many things, Pajih and Gunggu returned to the Rimbas and relate this knowledge to the people.  Later the community at Rimbas was divided into three groups.  Padang led his followers to build their longhouse at Letong Beluok in the Undai stream.  His son Gunggu built his longhouse in the Sebaru stream, while Pajih’s longhouse was at Skaup.

While at Skaup, Pajih held the Gawai Batu feast.  He invited many people from Padang and Gunggu’s longhouses to the feast.  During the celebration they foolishly laughed at a dog.  As a result the hosts, guests and the longhouse were petrified.  Now the large stone is known as Batu Kudi Skaup.

Shortly after this disaster Padang and those of his people who had not been turned to stone at Pajih’s feast were fishing at Letong Beluok using the poisonous derris root.  On seeing a huge tapah fish or carp defecating in the river, Padang speared it with a spear, which was tied to his wrist.  Wounded, the tapah fish sprang away and dragged Padang into the river and drown him.  The fish drew his body down the Undai stream to the Rimbas and then down to the main Saribas River.  The fish continued up the Saribas to Lubok Sedebu and finally down the river again to the end of Lilin Cape near Beladin.  It was because of this strange event that the Dayaks and Malays of Rimbas claim that all land on both banks of the Saribas from Lilin Cape to Lubok Sedebu is the inheritance of the Rimbas people.

After the death of Padang, his son Gunggu became chief and led his people to live at Nanga Jerai where he died.  Gunggu’s son, Garai continued to lead the Rimbas people followed by his son Jana.  Jana and his descendants, all of whom are remembered, led further movement and migrations.

  1. There was also trouble in the Paku when the Serus killed Blaki. []
  2. The migration of the Iban to Krian only took place in the early ninetieth century. []

Private Journal of James Joshua