Malaysia My Destination : Info about Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia Capital - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Putrajaya : Federal Territory - Malaysia
Selangor : Central Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Terengganu : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Kelantan : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Pahang : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Johor / Johore : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Malacca / Melaka : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Negeri Sembilan / The Nine State : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Kedah (Langkawi) : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Penang / Pulau Pinang : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Perak : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Perlis : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Sabah : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Labuan (Federal Territory) : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
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  Labuan Map
   
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  Nature Attraction
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Sarawak : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
 
 
 
LABUAN - EAST MALAYSIA / BORNEO MALAYSIA

PEOPLE & CULTURE

 
 

Labuan's close proximity to Negara Brunei Darussalam has had a major influence on the island's socio-economic and cultural evolution. More than 60% of the 60,000 local are descendents of the Brunei Malays.

 
 

THE BRUNEI MALAYS

The Brunei Malays are found along the west coast of Sabah as far as Papar and in Limbang in Sarawak and the 5th District area of Brunei. They originated from the Brunei Sultanate, which had survived for five centuries and at one time included present day Sarawak and some parts of Sabah. As Brunei lost territory during the 19th century, the cultivable area shrank and both the Malays and Kedayans, whose homeland was Brunei, migrated to neighbouring areas, including Labuan which was virtually uninhabited when the British took over.

 

The well-known water villages of Patau-Patau and Kampung Bebuloh were set up by the Brunei Malays, carrying on their traditional lifestyle of living in stilt houses over the sea. These villages consist of large communities with shops, surau and other facilities. They have also settled on land, especially in the Kampung Rancha-Rancha, Lubuk Temiang, Gersik, Tanjung Aru and Pantai areas. Their dialect differs somewhat from the Peninsula Malay dialect. Some of their customs too, are slightly different. Traditionally these people were fishermen, sailors and traders. Today they fish using modern boats and methods, and many are employed in the civil service and service industry.

 
 

THE KEDAYAN

The Kedayan people make up about half of Labuan's population, and like the Brunei Malays have moved into adjacent areas in Sarawak and Sabah. Their origins are somewhat mysterious, with some claiming to have Javanese origins. But some researchers think they may have Kalimantanese roots. Hose, in his research in 1912 classified them under his early Kalimantan group, while Leach in 1950 thought they might have been an early cultural stratum of a Murut-Kelabit type, who became Islamised and eventually drawn into Malay cultural influence, especially with the setting up of the Brunei Sultanate. In Labuan the Kedayan make up just over half of its Muslim population. They speak a Malayic language which is similar to Malay, but they have their own distinctive culture and like to preserve their own identity.

 

In the past, the Kedayan people have shown a streak of rebellion and had rebelled twice within the last 114 years. In 1884, together with the Bisayan and Limbang Muruts, they took part in a rebellion in the Limbang area against the Brunei temenggong's and raja's. They rebelled again a few years later and questions were asked whether this sparked off an influx of Kedayan people into Labuan. The early Kedayan were mainly padi farmers. Today, as there are hardly any padi grown in Labuan, the ones that are still farming tend to grow fruits and vegetables instead. An interesting note is the Kedayan's knowledge of use of medicinal plants. They grow plants which are used to treat a wide range of ailments, and sometimes they mix the plants to make tonics. They also have plants for antidotes.

 
 

THE CULTURES

The geographical and historical links to Negara Brunei Darussalam have a major impact - on Labuan?s socio-economic and cultural - evolution. More than fifty three percent of the island?s 75,500 population claim Brunei-Malay ? descendence. Bahasa Brunei is the leading dialect spoken on the island. The famous water villages of Patau-Patau and Kampung Belulah were set up by the early Brunei-Malays in Labuan, who continued their traditional lifestyle of living in houses on stilts above water. Later they settled inland, establishing communities in Karnpong Rancha-Rancha, Lubuk Temiang, Gersik, and Tanjung Aru. The strong influence of their culture and traditions are evident in their everyday life. Visitors to their homes are warmly greeted and entertained with good food and company. The younger people normally show their respect to the elders by addressing them as tangah for an older man, and babu for a woman.

 

The Brunei Malay's

They have may traditional instruments similar to those found in Sabah. The Kulintangan is a set of small gongs on a frame giving out ripples of musical chimes when played. Bigger gongs like the Agong and Tawak-tawak are also played. The Gambus, similar to a lute and Qendang (drum) are some of the instruments which are played during special occasions, especially weddings. Singing and dancing are a high point of such events and guests will join in the dondang and yadan with much gusto.

 

The Kedayan

They number only slightly less than the Brunei-Malays in Labuan and many claim Java origins. They speak a dialect similar to Malay, but have their own distinctive culture. Their knowledge in the use of medicinal plants is well-known and they grow a wide range of such plants to make tonics, antidotes and medicine. The Kedayan are inland people and build their houses in clusters, with their gardens stretching outwards. They are a close community, and inter-marriage among relations are encouraged. The women work as hard as the men, and as such, are entitled to own land. If a man dies, the property goes to his wife as administrator, which on her death, is divided up equally among the children. Landless relatives are usually given a piece of property by those who have excess.

 
 

TRADITIONAL GAMES

Many traditional games are still played here. They include the popular gasing or top-spinning where a wooden top is skillfully released from a coil of rope. Children play it, grown-ups play it.

 

Layang.layang or kite-flying is at its best during competition when competitors score on ?. decoration, flying techniques and aerial ? maneuvers.

 

Gusti Lengan or arm-wrestling, kasut gergasi, a relay race using over-sized wooden planks as shoes and simban, game of stones are other popular past times.

 
 
 
PEOPLE & CULTURE
LABUAN - EAST MALAYSIA / BORNEO MALAYSIA