The Semiotic of Bangkai-Bangkaian: A Special Space for the Spirit


The major purpose of this paper is to offer a brief ethnographic description of death ritual among the west coast Bajaus in Sabah, by stressing more on matters relating to the preparation of bangkai-bangkaian after burial of a dead person. This cultural artifact is perceived as a resting place or 'special space' for the spirit which is believed will visit his or her family members during a special feast and occasion, known as bejogo, mangan bangi and malam tujuh. Apart from that, bangkai-bangkaian also symbolizes the values of love, care and respect for the dead. Symbolically, the act of preparing bangkai-bangkaian also reflects the world-view of the Bajaus. The discussion also covers the concept of spirit's space among other ethnics groups in Sabah. The data were gathered through interviews and participant observations carried out at kampong Kota Belud, Sabah, Malaysia. The qualitative description were analysed and elucidated based on semiotic and non-verbal communication perspectives.

Author Information
Halina Sendera Mohd Yakin, University of Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia
Andreas Totu, University of Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia

Paper Information
Conference: ECSS2015
Stream: Anthropology

This paper is part of the ECSS2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon