Home......World......Southeast Asia.....Malaysia......Murals......E-mail


malaysia_mejong_pix1.jpg (13750 bytes)

I slept beneath these human skulls.

malaysia_mejong_pix2.jpg (14551 bytes)

My blowgun teacher

malaysia_mejong_pix3.jpg (14373 bytes)

Proof that I hit the mark.

MEJONG LONGHOUSE TIN I knew I wanted to go upriver to visit a village of the indigenous people.  The Dayak lived in longhouses.  They were exactly what they sounded like.  Whole villages of people lived in a long building with each home connected under one roof.   They weren't measured by feet or yards.  They were measured in how many doors each longhouse contained.  I stayed in one that was twenty-six doors long.

The interior of the longhouse was cut down the middle lengthwise.  One half was a commons area where the people wove, socialized, danced, and displayed the heads of victims cut off one hundred and fifty years ago.  (This was where I slept with a few dozen skulls over me.)  The other half of the building was the individual home of each family behind those twenty-six doors.  It never occurred to me that they might want to collect another skull while I slept.

Traditional dancers entertained in the evening.  Because the horned bill bird was special, most of the dances were slow, graceful, and elegant.  Everyone, yes, everyone, had to dance.  We also had to try some rice wine.  I took a sip and passed it to the guide who chugged it.

When the dancing finished, all the local villagers pulled out their handicrafts.  It was both fascinating and a guilt trip if things were not purchased from everyone.  I bought basketry and  was so glad when the sale ended and the guilt stopped.

Just before leaving Mejong, an ancient little man with elongated ear lobes and a body covered with tattoos, appeared in his loin cloth and feathered head gear.  In his hand was a blow gun for he was determined to give me lessons.  I missed the target by a long shot.   A second chance was in order -- and I was able to hit the leaf that was attached to a tree ten yards away.  I was impressed and ran over to take a photo of my accomplishment. And, I quit while I was ahead. 

Copyright 1998 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.