Tales of a Village

Imagine about a hundred years back when 'padians' were still selling wares among the houses in the water village. Among the goods and wares that the padians would be selling would be food and fruits. With Bruneians living on the water, someone somewhere would have to plant the food and fruits and someone would have to get them from somewhere. This was the job of 'pengalu' and not 'padians'.

Pengalus function more like wholesalers and are generally men unlike the padians who are generally women. Pengalus are the ones who would be going deep into the interior of Brunei to get food supplies and other foodstuffs in exchange for goods which came from the Kampung Ayer such as the metal and brasswares and also goods which came via ships coming from abroad. Pengalus would bring the goods to trade with the Bruneians who lived further inland and exchanged them with fruits and other food stuffs.

The rivers were the main and only transportation networks in those days. There was an area where the pengalus came. The pengalus with their perahus would be rowing down the Brunei river and entering into the Damuan river and into a small non descript river where they would be staying overnight after a trip of roughly about 10 miles away from the Kampung Ayer. Here as usual they would be getting their supplies of fruits including pineapples. For some reason then, this area would be the supplier of pineapples or nanas as Bruneians would say, even though today, hardly any trace of the nanas is visible in the area.

As time goes by, the place where the pengalus would buy their pineapples or tampat membali nanas would become a placename but now hardly anyone remembers how Kampung Kilanas derives its name, let alone how the name of the place got corrupted to Kilanas. Kampung Kilanas nowadays is just another village people passed through on their way to Sengkurong or Jerudong. Its commercial role forgotten. The river where the pengalus used to come become so small that only a small fading sign naming the river is all that remains.

There are many tales in the Kampung - most villagers don't even know. There is a gravestone marking the tale of a very beautiful girl who killed herself because her fiance saw her and she was so ashamed. There is a 'sawang harimau' - harimau cave up on the hill somewhere complete with a wasai in the middle of it. There are many unnamed wasais around the area. There is a tale of how a little boy single handedly stopped a Murut Ayau. There are many tales around the Kampung I lived in. One of these days, I will have to write more about it.


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