Playing Chopsticks, Preserving Culture

Chopsticks

Helloindonesia.id – Many countries recognize chopsticks as weapons. In Asia, chopstick culture is known in Japan and Indonesia. In Indonesia, especially people in the interior of Kalimantan, chopsticks were known before the arrival of the invaders.

Chopsticks are traditional weapons that are in the shape of a long pipe in which a small arrow is inserted to be thrown with the help of the wind from the mouth. For the Dayak people of Borneo, apart from the mandau, chopsticks are a weapon they always carry when they go hunting in the forest.

In the past, for the Dayak people, making chopsticks was quite a complicated job. Chopsticks are made from tree trunks which are scraped with a knife. But now, the function of the knife is replaced by a drill. Making chopsticks is even easier. Besides making it easier, using a drill also makes the chopstick holes tidier and nicer.

Chopsticks are 1 to 3 meters in size. The chopsticks blades are made of pelawi trees, while the arrows that are thrown (called damek) are made of bamboo which is made wide at the base. This shape is designed to make it easier for the arrow to slide when fired.

Apart from being used as a weapon in hunting, chopsticks were also a symbol of the resistance of the people of Borneo to Dutch colonialism.

It is said that during the colonial period, the Dutch army was more afraid of chopsticks than firearms. Apart from being operated quietly and without making a sound, the Dayak people also smeared arrows with poison. The poison is taken from a concoction of tree sap taken from the forest. According to some Dayak elders, there is no antidote that can cure the poison in chopstick arrows.

When going out hunting, arrows are stored in a container made of bamboo. The container is in the shape of a tube and is covered with a lid, while on the sides it is tied with a strong tree branch. The branch serves to attach the container to the belt of the person carrying it. One container can accommodate up to tens of arrows.

If you pay attention, there is an interesting side that distinguishes Dayak chopsticks from chopsticks in general. The ends of the Dayak chopsticks are equipped with spearheads. This shape was deliberately maintained so that the chopstick blade would still function as a spear if the arrow ran out.

During its development, Dayak chopsticks have undergone several changes in function. Initially, chopsticks were used as weapons for warfare and hunting. Now, chopsticks are used as a contested dexterity art. The art of chopping is also included in the curriculum for local content lessons in schools in Kalimantan. In fact, in 2011, the City Government of Singkawang, West Kalimantan, also held an international scale Kalimantan chopstick tournament. This was done as an effort to continue to preserve chopsticks as a traditional weapon that was born as the original culture of the archipelago. [AhmadIbo / IndonesiaKaya]

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