Henry Golding’s Final Challenge | Surviving Borneo (6/8)


The last day of Henry’s Bejalai has arrived. In a few hours, his time with the elusive
Penan tribe, will be over. And his journey across Borneo’s tribal heartlands,
will be complete. I think I’m going to miss the silence and
nature, the fresh air and the beautiful rivers over here. And of course, the extremely welcoming people. A chance-encounter with some of the few nomadic
peoples still left in Borneo leaves a deep impression with Henry. But before he leaves, his guide, called Bapak,
has a little surprise for him. Wow. Look at that. Holy moly. Bapak! Holy moly. Perfectly working, mini version of a Penan
blowpipe. Thank you. Thank you so much Bapak. You’re one in a million. Thank you so much for teaching me everything. He’s a little rusty. We’re kind of struggling with this onslaught
of red ants. See you again! Henry departs one of the most remote settlements
in Borneo. This marks the completion of his two-month
personal journey, known as a Bejalai. But his attention must now return to his own
tribal roots. His roots, as an Iban. Under Iban tradition, completing his Bejalai
means Henry can now give credibility to the tribal tattoos he already carries. But Henry wants to take it a step further. He’s flying to the city of Kuching, on the
south west coast of Borneo, to seek out one of the world’s last Iban tattoo artists. Finally, how are you? Fine, fine. Good to meet you. Please, come in. Thank you so much. I’ve heard so much about you. Since 1998, Ernesto Kalum is one of the few
Ibans who still performs native tribal body art. Today, he has agreed to ink Henry using traditional
Iban methods, to mark the passing of his Bejalai. Every individual is expected to do the Bejalai,
that’s where you get your tattoos. Your tattoo also serves as a ticket to the
other world. In Iban culture, we live by the communal code
where everything is equal and people will actually tattoo amongst themselves. I tattoo you, you tattoo me. We don’t have a person that specifically
tattoos unlike different tribes here which have the cast system. The responsibility of getting a tattoo is
something that you’re going to carry with you for the rest of your life so you know
this is quite a mementos moment in your timeline. For me it is. Yeah of course. Because your body changes. Yeah. You become reborn. This is my personal belief. Every tattoo gives you a chance at rebirth
you become a new person. Yeah, it changes your life. So, my ideal positioning would be kind of
around my legs somewhat. I have one here. This is a Remuang. That’s a pill bug is it? Yeah that’s the pill bug. You see this is the crippling fig tree and
of course you have the butterfly on the top. I’m very much drawn to this sort of design. The crippling fig tree is designed whereby
it symbolises conquering. It conquers. The conquering sort of theme seems quite a
strong one. It’s a little bit sort of fitting with my
next chapter in life with my marriage impeding. It’s sort of changing from conquering my
bachelorhood into adulthood. This is a shape and meaning that I quite like. The patterns are put on with a stencil cut
out of dried leaves. Yeah that’s the right size. Ink is made from soot and pounded leaves then
smeared out over the stencil. It’s pushed on until the pattern comes out
on the flesh. The parts of the pattern that failed to come
out clearly are touched up with a small brush. Time to get started. Enjoy it while it lasts. The moment of no pain.

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