'Sumpahan Jerunei' to promote Sarawak's natural wonders
Last Update: 01/09/2019
KUCHING, Sept 1 -- The Sarawak state government has never failed to support any entity that wants to promote Sarawak and the latest being Produksi Seni 2020, which is producing a flick titled ‘Sumpahan Jerunei’ (Curse of the Jerunei) that revolves around the history of the Melanau people.
Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the movie based on the fourth largest ethnic group in Sarawak is a joint effort between the state government and the production team.
“Our hope is for this movie to be well-received by the general public and become a box-office hit.
"The filming was done in many areas in Sarawak, including Mukah, Siburan and Santubong," he told reporters, adding that he also made a special appearance in the film.
Hopefully, he said the locations chosen for the scenes would highlight Sarawak's reputation as a wonderland of nature that would draw tourists to the state.
The film will feature the history of the Melanau people that is steeped in mystery, especially the burial customs concerning elite members of the community and connection with the jerunei.
Incidentally, remnants of the jerunei are still visible in Kampung Tellian Tengah Mukah.
The jerunei, a monumental burial pole made from Belian tree (Borneo's ironwood) still stands tall and formidable today despite being 200 years old.
According to history, two or three holes are dug under the tree that has a circumference equivalent to two hugs, for burial of a deceased Melanau elite or his or her skeletons, and valuables or 'piyou’ to accompany the dead in the hereafter.
The exterior of the tree is usually engraved with animal motifs such as a dragon, tiger, snake, dog, cat, or rat, depending on his or her position in the tribe and the wish of the deceased.
The process of making a jerunei is tedious and requires patience and allegiance to the upper class and prominent members of the tribe at the time.