Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rare bloom in giant’s lair

A GROUP of Bidayuh surveyors stumbled upon a huge strange-looking flower and froze in their tracks, wondering if they had stepped into a giant’s lair.

There is, after all, a legend that tells of a behemoth inhabiting the mountainous wilderness where this rare flower blooms.

A heightened sense of foreboding soon mellowed and turned into curiosity as the group began photographing their unusual “discovery” before leaving the site to continue their frontier inspection.

It was October 17, 2013. Murris Sagoi, 63, a JKKK member from Kampung Krusen Kranji, was carrying out an inter-village perimeter survey with 11 other villagers, including his village head Paron Langgar.

The purpose was to determine the boundary of a Bidayuh village – Kampung Krusen – which encompasses three other villages – Kampung Krusen Kranji, Kampung Krusen Mawang and Kumpung Krusen Siu in Serian District. These three kampungs, in turn, share boundaries with four others – Kampung Prangkan, Kampuung Payau, Kampung Bidak and Kampung Karuh.

After treading their way into many areas they have not visited over the past two decades, the group finally came to Darud Sirumpe (officially known as Gunung Sirumpang). This 1,000-feet high mountain has, for centuries, been shared by the villages around it and the surveyors had to ascertain which part belongs to which village.

The way to the mountain was via a trail from Kampung Prangkan. At about 10am, the group reached the part of the mountain purportedly belonging to Kampung Krusen Kranji. They were near the summit before they caught sight of a giant whitish green flower among the shrubs, creeping rotans and trees of the secondary forests.

The cream-coloured flower was bud-shaped – and seemed not to have come into full bloom yet. It was firmly attached to a single stalk with no leaves but only a huge bud over two feet tall on top, and enveloped by a lime green spathe. The sight of the flower gave Murris and Paron goose bumps. The hair on their neck stood up as they gazed (for the first time) at the bizzare-looking plant.

Their reaction was understandable as the Bidayuh community have been living in the area for centuries but there is no mention about the existence of such a giant flower in their folklore or stories passed down by their ancestors. However, there is legend among the Bidayuhs of Kampung Krusen Kranji that the place Murris and Paron were standing on used to the dwelling ground of a giant.

The legend has it that a giant (antu jin in the local dialect) had been occupying the area around the mountaintop. About 20 years ago, the Bidayuhs, who were still planting hill padi in the area, were told making noise between 6pm and 10pm was taboo.

“Even barking of dogs was not allowed. You’d be asking for trouble if you made loud noise as it would draw the giant to you and he would devour you,” Murris told thesundaypost.

With the legend still fresh in his memory, Murris’ first thoughts when he saw the flower were – could the flower be the giant’s pet flower, and had he and Paron “trespassed” into the giant’s backyard?

With all the questions popping up in their heads and after regaining their composure, curiosity got the better of the group and they began taking pictures of the flower with Paron’s handphone before continuing with their assignment.

When they later returned to the village, the image of the flower lingered in their minds. To ease their angst, they finally decided to notify a fellow villager, Peter Sibon, who heads The Borneo Post Special Desk.

“Despite the legend of the giant and everything, we hope someone can tell us what this flower really is – whether or not it can be called a new species since it’s so rare. If so, it will put our village in the spotlight and hopefully, bring in more development,” Murris said.

Their enthusiasm took a knock when Peter told Murris the photos they took were too blur to be used – actually so blur that one could not even make out what the flower looks like. Just a blurry silhouette.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Rare bloom in giant’s lair