MELANAU TALL HOUSE

[Photo Gallery]

Be entertained by tall tales of spirits and demons at the Melanau Tall House. Try our tall swing, too; the tibau swing is used as a fertility rite during the Pesta Kaul. Watch the step-by-step processing of sago and taste the finished products: sago pearls and biscuits.

The Melanau people making up 5.8% of Sarawak’s population, now mostly living in the central coastal region, were once more widely scattered. They traditionally lived near the sea within reach of pirates. As a means of protecting themselves, the Melanaus built massive houses forty feet above the ground.

The Melanaus differ from most other Borneo people in one important aspect: they eat sago in preference to rice. Sago palms originally grew wild in the coastal swamps, and the Melanaus took it upon themselves to cultivate these plants. The ten-metre high palm trunk accumulates starch. It swells just before flowering indicating the right time for harvesting by felling.

The pith is grated to a fine mash. This is soaked in a long wooden trough, then trodden through a mat to leach out the sago starch. The off-white sediment settles at the bottom of the trough it is spread on mats to dry into lumps. These are broken up and finally ground into flour.

If you have further enquiries about Melanau Tall House, please email us at melanau@scv.com.my

Hotlink:
Lamin Dana Online

Photos by: Alfred Molon, SCV

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Bidayuh Longhouse
Iban Longhouse
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Orang Ulu Longhouse
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