Wednesday, August 27, 2008

North Coast Culture

Illustrations from F.S.A. de Clercq. Link…

The referenced Ternate: The Residency and its Sultanate is also worth a look as a snapshot in time and place.
Abolition of a Few Pagan Practices
7. Making a kind of canopy in the palace after the burial is not permitted; neither is it permitted for women wearing high hats and red balls to sing the lego-lego there.
Similarly, it is not allowed for any woman to accompany the dead body to the graveyard; neither is it allowed to make a bier in the house.
"The unfavorable profile of the Alfurus in the well-known magazine article is definitely exaggerated and it is completely untrue to say that they do not understand the mutual relationships of consanguinity or marriage. On the contrary, they usually have only one wife, obtained in the normal Polynesian manner of paying a certain dowry; quarrels which lead to murder and manslaughter are caused by the weaker sex, since otherwise they lead a quiet life, submit to their headmen, pay their dues regularly and do not cause the government any trouble. The Moslems do indulge in opium and the Alfurus in sagwire*, but gambling is restricted to the Rajah and the headmen—strangely enough, their favorite game is vingt-et-un." [my bold emphasis]

* "One of the most useful and abundant of all the palms, is the sagwire or gomuti (borasms gomutus). This afford the principal supply of that saccharine liquor which is used so much by the natives as a beverage, or for the extraction of sugar. The gomuli is the thickest of all the palms, but shorter on that account. It is readily distinguished from all the other palms by its rude and wild aspect. The fruits, which are about the size of a medlar, and of a triangular form, grow from the shoots of fructification, on long strings of three or four feet. The fruit is in such abundance, that the quantity depending from a single shoot is more than a load for a man. The fleshy outer covering of the fruit is of a poisonous quality, or at least, affords a juice of a highly stimulating and corrosive nature, which, when applied to the skin, occasions great pain and inflammation. The inhabitants of the Moluccas were in the practice of using, in their wars, in the defence of posts, a liquor afforded by the maceration of the fruit of the gomuti, which the Dutch appropriately denominated hell water. The principal production of this palm is the toddy, which is procured in the same manner as from other palms, or in the following mode: one of the spatae or shoot of fructification is, on the first appearance of fruit, beaten for three successive days with a small stick, with a view of determining the sap to the wounded part. The shoot is then cut off, a little way from the root, and the liquor which pours out is, received in pots of earthenware—in bamboos—or other vessels. The gomuti palm is fit to yield toddy at nine or ten years old, and continues to yield it for two years at the average rate of three quarts a day. When newly drawn, the liquor is clear, and in taste resembles fresh must. In a very short time it becomes turbid, whitish and somewhat acrid, an intoxicating quality. A still larger quantity is immediately applied to the purpose of yielding sugar. With this view, the liquor is boiled to a syrup, and thrown out to cool in small vessels, the form of which it takes, and in this shape it is sold in the markets. The sugar is of a dark colour and greasy sistence, with a peculiar flavour. It is the only sugar used by the native population (meaning of Java). The wine of this palm is also used by the Chinese residing in the Indian Islands in the preparation of the celebrated Batavian arrack."

No comments: