Vol. 2, No. 2 (2006): 29–50.
This paper concerns reading symbols that had appeared in the “Tambunan Dusun Origin Myth” published in the Journal of Malaysia Branch Royal Asiatic Society (JMBRAS) by Williams (1960). As Campbell (1988: 5) said, “We should read myths. They teach us that we can turn inward, and we will begin to get the message of the symbols. Read other people’s myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts—but if you read the other one, you begin to get the message.” In other words, myth is a manifestation of symbolic images. The symbolic field is based on the experiences of people in a particular community, at that particular time and place.
Low Kok On (PhD, Universiti Sains Malaysia) is a Senior Lecturer attached to Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kampus Antarabangsa Labuan (Labuan International Campus). The main focus of his research area is on folk-literature of the Kadazandusun in Sabah. His latest publications include Reading Myths and Legends of Kadazandusun (Bangi, Malaysia: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 2005), “The Origins of the Kadazandusun Reconsidered Based on Oral Literature” (in Sarim Mustajab (ed.), Warisan Budaya Sabah: Etnisiti dan Masyarakat [Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia: Universiti Malaysia Sabah, 2004]), and “Kadazandusun Folklore” (in William M. Clements (ed.), The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Folklore and Folklife [Wetport, U.S.: Greenwood, 2006]). He is currently collecting stories on the legendary Tunku Syarif Kedah, a Malay saint known amongst the Kedayans and Brunei Malays in Labuan Island.