Origin of Kampung Keriam

The first school I attended was the Sekolah Melayu Muda Hashim at Bukit Bendera in Tutong. It was on top of a hill and in those days I can see monkeys and squirrels swinging by on the trees behind the school. Most of the students spoke Tutong and I think I caught a few words here and there. After Primary 1, my family moved to Bandar, otherwise I would have been a fluent Tutong speaker. So Tutong does hold a bit of a soft spot for me.

Tutong is actually an interesting district. I wrote a little about it a few weeks ago when I talked about the origin of the Tutong language. Tutong used to be part of the Melanau government in the 14th century before becoming part of the Brunei Sultanate in the 15th century.

Among the many villages in Brunei, the Tutong villages have interesting beginnings. I thought I will focus on the origin of one village in Tutong - Kampung Keriam. This village was occupied since 1920s and became quite developed when the main road was built across it then.

The origin of the village was said to be when a Dusun family came over from Sungai Bera in Belait to another village in Tutong called Kampung Panapang. The head of the family was called Si Rium. They became very prosperous in Panapang until one day they were told by a shaman that their son will be in danger from a crocodile. So in order to protect their son, they then moved to this new place.

In this new place, they still managed to do quite well. They built a house to stay in and Si Rium would go fishing everyday. And everyday Si Rium would bring back a basketful of sand from the sea until the mound of sand surrounding the house became quite huge - that mound is still visible now with the sand much different compared to the sand in the area. However one day while their son was asleep, a bag made out of crocodile skin fell on the boy and the boy then suffered from a strange illness. He lingered on without a cure and he passed away.

Over the years, many people came from the surrounding area to build houses around the area of Si Rium's house. Eventually as more houses were built, the whole area became known as Kampung Si Rium. That name would have stayed on but in 1926 the name of the village was changed to Kampung Keriam. In 1926, the then District Officer renamed the village as Kampung Keriam on the basis that Keriam was easier to pronounce than Si Rium.


Anonymous said…
no wonder the village is pronounced as "ke-ri-um" in tutong language
Anonymous said…
This is my first reply to your excellent Blog page, which I think is very enlightening and informative, especially to those interested our local heritage, albeit those living locally in Brunei or in overseas.

FYI my wife is from Kg Keriam (which coincidentally in a mukim also known by the same name i.e. Mukim Keriam). Her grandfather is one of the knowledgeable and respected elderlys in the Kampong. Unfortunately I am currently overseas, but your thread has made me want to go immediately to him and ask him on his views on the origins of the name of a Kampong which I consider is very unique as it retains the traditional close-knit society which I used to remember during my boyhood days in BSB. InsyaAllah, I will do this upon my return.
Anonymous said…
i only stumbled upon post today, year 2011!. im a native urang keriam and speaks bahasa tutung fluently with my family members. im proud of that cos kids these days they cant even cakap melayu fluently, let alone their native language like tutung, belait dusun etc.sad fact...speaking yo! infact bahasa melayu brunei comes second in this kampung.. i find this article really interesting because i never knew this kampung had such rich history or legend whatever.the way we pronounce pun different..kampung ke-khayy-om.if i were to have kids one, i guess i will have to ask them to google if they want to know the history of my kampung.i agree with fact that everyone in this kampung is close knit.to my tutung peeps, benuwih jimu tuh...ado ado gala.

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