Sarawak Series 1

Organized by Badan Warisan Malaysia

Live Webinar Details
Date: Thursday, 21 April 2022
Time: 5:00 PM (Kuala Lumpur, GMT+8)
Topic: The Heritage Of Sarawak’s Traditional Longhouse
Speaker: Dr. Robert Menua Saleh
Moderator: Tan Sri Leo Moggie
Venue: Virtual – Zoom Webinar
Free Admission

About The Talk
The longhouses in Sarawak epitomise the communal lifestyle of ethnic groups such as Iban, Orang Ulu, Bidayuh and Melanau. The communities that still live in longhouses until today are the Iban and Orang Ulu. For some members of these communities, their culture and ways of life are still very much part and parcel of their longhouse living.

Construction of traditional longhouses involved various considerations and planning, all related to customs and the culture of the respective communities. Collective decisions include the selection of the actual site, to identifying the building materials from the jungle, and the actual design of the house and its compartments. However, the old fine tradition of building wooden longhouses in Sarawak is fast disappearing.

Dr. Robert Menua Saleh speaks on architectural elements and longhouse society – aspects of how they live; from the nature of their leadership, hill rice farming, festivals, culture and crafts. He shares insights from the Tun Jugah Foundation’s initiative to preserve and conserve two traditional wooden longhouses for future references. He also discusses how longhouse communal dwelling has been modernised for current times whilst retaining their important cultural values.

About The Speaker

Dr. Robert Menua Saleh obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication in 1979 from University of Technology MARA (UiTM), Malaysia and has a M.A. in Mass Communications in 1994 from University of Leicester, England. In 2008, he completed his PhD in Development Studies from University of Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia. He worked for the Federal Land Consolidation & Rehabilitation Authority at Sarawak State and Federal levels from 1979 to 1991, and was Political Secretary to the Chief Minister of Sarawak from 1995 to 2000.

Dr. Robert is Research Director at the The Tun Jugah Foundation in Kuching, Sarawak and since 1994, he has carried out research activities related to various aspects of Iban ways of lives, their oral traditions, oral literature, and their language, which have been extensively published and presented in numerous conferences in Malaysia and in Southeast Asia. Among the main areas of research that have been carried out over the years are:  Timang (invocatory chants), Ramban (another form of invocatory chants), Renung Sakit, Berua & Pelian (shaman’s curing chants), Sabak (ritual dirge), Pantun (Iban traditional/praise songs), Ensera (poetic epics/legends), Biau & Sampi (ceremonial oratories/traditional prayers), Leka Taku/Naku (praise songs for head trophies), Entelah (riddles), Tusut (genealogies) and Cherita pengidup tuai ( life histories of Iban elders). Dr Robert is one of the main compilers and writer for various books published in Iban and English by the Tun Jugah Foundation. He is author of Traversing Jungle Tracks – My Autobiographic Sketch, published in 2013.

Recognized by Sarawak State, his awards include Pingat Terpuji Jubli Emas and Pegawai Bintang Sarawak. He is currently a board member of Majlis Seni Sarawak, member of Party Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu and is a Life Member of Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association.

About The Moderator

Tan Sri Datuk Amar Leo Moggie studied at Otago University, New Zealand on a Colombo Plan scholarship, graduating with a M.A. in History in 1965. He has a Master’s in Business Administration from Penn State University, USA. He worked in the Sarawak Civil Service before taking up a political career. He was a Sarawak State Cabinet Minister in 1976 – 1977 and a Federal Cabinet Minister from 1978 to 2004.

After his retirement from politics in 2004, he served as a Non-Executive Chairman of Tenaga Nasional Berhad, a power utility company, and its group of companies until 2020.

He has a deep interest in the background of the Dayak community and its progress in the modern world. He is a past President of the Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a member of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and is a Life Member of Badan Warisan Malaysia. He enjoys Impressionist art, reading and walking.