Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Introduction to ‘orang Tutong’ and ‘basa Tutong’

‘Orang Tutong’ or puak Tutong is one of the seven puak jati (indigenous groups) of Brunei Darussalam. Orang Tutong speaks ‘basa Tutong’ – Tutong dialect or Tutong language (other than Brunei Malay and Standard Malay). To say basa Tutong as a dialect or a language depends on the perspective you look at. In term of linguistics, basa Tutong is a language. But in term of national perspective basa Tutong is just a dialect. (To explain why, I need to open my sociolinguistics textbook which I will do some days later).

Adat Burih Pu-o

Adat burih pu-o (ritual of pouring water) is the highlight of orang Tutong wedding ceremony. It is to be held if any one of both couple is orang Tutong (This may depend on the agreement between both family). The couple usually bersanding twice. First, on the pelamin (=wedding dais, a place built for the groom and his bride to be seated and seen by all the guests) inside the house and later outside the house where the adat burih pu-o is performed.


Photo shows a custom that is performed inside the house. The couple is seated on the pelamin. (Photo: Abdul Rashid Tahir. Taken on 8 June 2008)

Photo shows the pelamin outside the house where the couple are going to be seated during adat burih pu-o. The place where adat burih pu-o is not necessarily like this. A couple of nice chairs is enough. (Photo: Abdul Rashid Tahir. Taken on 8 June 2008)

The most important items in adat burih pu-o is gayung (=water scoop, the previous generation use coconut shell and a wooden as its handle), ipang (=water container made from clay), and, of course, the water (with flower added, if you want).


Photo shows the ipang and the gayung that are used in the adat burih pu-o. (Photo: Abdul Rashid Tahir. Taken on 8 June 2008)

The items may not necessarily use what the old or previous generation usually use. As long as the items able to fulfil the need of performing the burih pu-o part, it is okay. Therefore you still can use plastic water scoop and plastic water container (which are look nice, of course). But using what is usually called traditional (I do not like to use the word ‘traditional’ here) is to maintain the old or previous generations items so that such items are still can be seen by today generation (and the next generation, too). In addition, there two more items that must be ready, that is, a dangul (=parang, the malay cutting tools) and a sharpening stone.

Procedure: After bersanding on the pelamin (seated on the wedding dais) for a while inside the house, the couple is brought to the outside where the adat burih pu-o is performed. The groom’s right foot is put on top of the bride’s right foot. Both feet step on top of the dangul and the sharpening stone.

Somebody among the family (preferably from orang Tutong side) invites the wedding guests and family members of both couple sides to come forward to perform adat burih pu-o. Usually parents and close relatives of both couple sides will do the pouring first. Then, anybody from the guests including friends will do the pouring.

Photo shows a person is collecting the money on the behalf of the couple in the adat burih pu-o. (Photo: Abdul Rashid Tahir. Taken on 8 June 2008)

Photo shows the groom's right feet is put on the bride's right feet and both feet step on the dangul and the sharpening stone. (Photo: Abdul Rashid Haji Tahir. Taken on 8 June 2008).

Those who do the pouring need to give some money (at any amount) or gift (such as golden ring) to the person who is appointed (informally) to collect the money and gifts on the behalf of the couple. After the adat burih pu-o finished (when there is no more guest and family members to come forward), the couple is brought back to the inside to carry out the next custom in the wedding ceremony.

While the couple and their family carry out the next custom (such as makan bersuap) or/and program (photography session), representatives from each couple come together to do and witness the counting process of the money and gifts received during the adat burih pu-o.

The amount of money and gift is announced in front of the family members (and some of the wedding guest . Usually, at this time most of the wedding guests are already going home). ALL the money and gift(s) MUST be given to the couple and must be mentioned in the announcement that it is to be done.

NEXT (Sometime in the future): The Story Behind Adat Burih Pu-O.

Note: The description of adat burih pu-o in this blog is based on the writer’s (who is also orang Tutong) experiences attending a number of adat burih pu-o and conversations with a friend (who is orang Tutong) while doing a project on the topic sometimes ago.


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