Yesterday, after work, i went to Kinokuniya KLCC for book session. Yes, i am book lover, and would like to check on some new books in the store.

I think i checked almost 10 new books on the ‘Highlite’ section, when i finally saw this precious book “Footprints in the Paddy Fields by Tina Kisil”!

The book is both a family portrait and a childhood memoir, set against the vanished world of bamboo huts on spindly timber stilts, a world where one’s prized possessions were makeshift farm tools and a buffalo or two, and where the dead were placed in stone burial jars. Those were the days when removing human heads was a sport, and the only mode of transport was a pair of good legs.

The author takes you on a fascinating journey into a world seldom seen, to see how the Dusuns in Sabah on the island of Borneo lived at a time when wealth was measured by the amount of rice a farmer harvested and a hardworking sumandak made a more alluring bride than her pretty sister.

It really makes me laugh to read lot of scenes back then. I remember my mother, aunties and grandma, used to tell me the same story on how they survived during those days.

I am a proud Dusun myself, and reading this book really makes me understand certain things in life. I remember how strong my Ina (grandmama) herself. Well, its true that in Asia, maybe more in Dusun culture, woman need to be like a ‘Bamboo and Silk’. Must be as strong as Bamboo to face any obstacle, calm in any situation, accept the life as it is, swallow all the hurt inside. Must be as soft as silk, to be a graceful and well mannered woman.

Well, i am so grateful for someone had take the efforts to write this beautiful book. Thank you so much Ms Tina Kisil!

Luang luangnyei tanggoh,
Tanggoh do Tonggolusan,
Intai tonggolimbusan,
Ringgit Tonggolusan

Hollow the water vessel,
The water vessel of Tonggolusan
Look who is approcahing,
Ringgit of Tonggolusan

Hehe..i love the poem meant for a beautiful Sumandak named Ringgit. There must be lots of other Dusun poem back then, and yea, hopefully someone will write another book to preserve the beauty of Dusun culture!

11 Comments on Footprints in the Paddy Fields by Tina Kisil

  1. What is the different between Dusun and kadazan? I have Sabahan fren. She always point out that Kadazan is higher than Dusun. Is it true?

  2. err…im not really sure myself..hehe..From what i know Kadazan comes from Dusun tribe as well. Well Dusun has lots of ''sub-tribe' (i dont know the exact name heeh). Like Dusun Bundu, Dusun Kwijiau, dusun-Tatana, Dusun-Rungus. but as far that i concern, there's no such thing like which tribe holds the highest rank or so. mean, be a Kadazan or Dusun, we are same πŸ™‚

  3. hahaha its called 'sub-ethnic ' la my dear! haha!! Ba, Ta kalau ko tau, berapa sub-ethnic Dusun d Sabah?

  4. jangan kamu mencabar pengetahuan ku! nahhh…ada AMPAT PULOH, in Dusun Apatnohopod..

    * Bisaya
    * Bonggi
    * Bundu
    * Dumpas
    * Gana

    * Garo
    * Idaan
    * Kedayan
    * Kimaragang
    * Kolobuan

    * Kuijau
    * Lingkabau
    * Liwan
    * Lobu
    * Lotud

    * Lundayeh
    * Makiang
    * Malapi
    * Mangkaak
    * Minokok

    * Murut
    * Ngabai
    * Paitan
    * Pingas
    * Rumanau

    * Rungus
    * Sinobu
    * Sinorupu
    * Sonsogon
    * Sukang

    * Sungai
    * Tatana
    * Tangara
    * Tidong
    * Tindal

    * Tobilung
    * Tolinting
    * Tombonuo
    * Tuhawon
    * Tutung


  5. Hi Tata Jane! As you can see, I'm here poking around… I'm surprised to see me staring back at me! And very, very flattered. I'm really glad that my book has caught the attention of the younger generation. Hopefully more young Dusuns will read the book.

    Proud to be Dusun!

  6. ya its the author!! :D..

    Ms Tina, keep on writing!we will always support you! πŸ™‚

    You should promote your book at Kaamatan Klang valley tomorrow!heheh..Many will love it!

    Bah, kotobian tadau tagayo do kaamatan!

  7. Hi Tata, that's a nice article on the Footprints book, and I share my sister's feeling too. Actually something else caught my interest, someone claimed that Kadazan is of higher status to Dusun?! I'm sure everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, but my own view is, back to the times before books were written, I think there was no mention of the Kadazan race – is it because it was not written? Anyway, my take on it is everyone was Dusun, until a new race came into being. I'm Dusun through and through, and I feel no less lower in status, so here's another Dusun and really proud of it. I fall under Tindal/Tatana grouping.


  8. I just finished to read the book today. It’s very inspiring and touching. Apart from her life story, it also contained historical value what was the life in Sabah before and after the formation of Malaysia.

    The way she told the stories as if I were watching them all in the screen of my mind. It did bring back my own childhood memories where some of my footprints I left in my parents’ paddy fields. Life was difficult then.

    By the way, it is a well written book by a talented author. I am looking forward to read her future published book.

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