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Book review: A Borneo healing romance: Ritual storytelling and the Sugi Sakit: A Saribas Iban rite of healing

EXCERPT

Dr. Clifford Sather is known for his ethnographic works on the Iban in Sarawak and the Bajau in Sabah. His Seeds of Play, Words of Power (2001) is a major work on Iban shamanic chants. The book under review here is about an Iban healing ritual called the Sugi Sakit. Such a ritual had died out about 28 years ago. In 2003, Dr. Sather was lucky to get Renang anak Jabing, an Iban priest bard, to perform the Sugi Sakit for a record. This is a labour of love that involves tedious work of recording, translating, analysing and writing. Only a very committed ethnographer would spend so much effort to finally produce this book of more than 500 pages, which contributes greatly to preserving a fascinating aspect of Iban cultural heritage.

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