The kejaman tribe of Sarawak

Pastoral visit to the Kejaman people
28th-29Jul 2018. Belaga

The Kejaman tribe is another lesser known minority ethnic group under the Kajang community together with other sub ethnics such as Punan, Sekapan, Lahanan and Sihan. The Kejaman people live in long houses. Kejaman can be found in two villages, Long Liten and Long Segaham in upper Rejang River in Belaga district, Sarawak

Suwey is Kejaman ethnic traditional dance usually performed during festivities or celebrations, and to welcome guests to their longhouse.  If performed in longhouse, it is usually done circling the "Ruai" (verandah) of the longhouse chief and sometimes the entire longhouse.  Sigu is Kejaman food cooked from Sago.

They made themselves known in 2016 by setting Malaysia's record for the highest number of people to participate in a Suwey Dance. That same year they produced a picture dictionary to preserve their dying language. Kota Kinabalu Polytechnic lecturer Jacquelyne Ekot co-authored the dictionary with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) lecturer Amee Joan.
Jacqueline who hails from Long Liten said, not many Kejamans speak their native language now due to mix marriages.  The Kejaman language is in danger of being lost from the linguistic landscape in Sarawak. Kejaman is a language spoken by about 1,000 people. They are sometimes called Kejaman and other times called Kayaman

Many Kejaman people are leaving their traditional way of life. Many are marrying out of the Kejaman tribe and joining other people groups.

The primary religion practiced by the Kejaman people is ethnic religion. Ethnic religion is deeply rooted in a people's ethnic identity and conversion essentially equates to cultural assimilation. These people are losing their language and culture. The Kejaman people need believers to help them adjust to the modern world as their old ways die out as they embrace Christianity.

*Pray that Kejaman leaders will have dreams of Jesus where the Savior reveals Himself to them.
* Pray for the Kejaman people to have a spiritual openness to Jesus during this time of great change.
* Pray for them to preserve their language and culture in their own churches.
* Pray for a disciple making movement to emerge among the Kejaman people.

On 28thJuly 2018  Rt. Rev Bishop Richard Ng together with his team members made the challenging journey to serve this remote tribe in ulu Rejang.
It was indeed not an easy leisure trip. It was a 302Km drive one way from Miri including a 45 km on rough hilly winding bad condition gravel roads.

It was already late in the evening when the team arrived at their destination. The Bishop accompanied by local priests Fr. John Mcaulay and Fr. Elvis Mbangsi celebrated sunset Mass at St Faustina Chapel, Kejaman Neh, Long Liten 120 doors Kejaman longhouse majority Catholics. The chapel was declared open and blessed by  Bishop Richard Ng himself on 10th December 2015.

Next morning 29th July 2018, Right Reverend Bishop Richard Ng administered Sacrament of Confirmation to 104 candidates mainly teenagers at St Francis Xavier Church, Belaga during Sunday Mass accompanied by Fr. John Mcaulay and Fr. Elvis Mbangsi followed by presentation and  performance by Fr. Elvis choir group and lunch.

Photography - Dennis Ng
Story compiled and edited by Ben Chang

28th July 2018 - Kejaman Neh Long Liten

29th July 2018 - St Francis Xavier Church,  Belaga

New Sop Eff 01May2022 ... Watch here.

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