Thursday, September 18, 2008


Pangkis is a Kadazan word which means a cry, a yell or a scream. It can be heard during performances of the Sumazau dance. Usually the Pangkis can be shouted at regular intervals by the men who performed the sumazau dance. Women rarely yell the Pangkis but don’t be surprised to hear their piercing scream when they get drunk and aggresively forcing alcoholic drinks especially to the men dancers.

I read about an article about Pangkis and it inspires me to write about it through my experiences when that piercing scream was performed during some ceremony by Kadazan Bobohizan or priestess. Those ceremonies during that time were regularly performed due to a fact that a number elders during that time were pagan which organise such ceremonies.

During one of the ceremony like Monogit or to appease the spirit, I remembered there was a bobohizan dancing around a circle of people with a sword in hand. That was the time when we were asked to yell loudly the Pangkis at regular intervals. I was made to understand that it was done to help the Bobohizan to fight the evils. It also symbolizes the return of the strayed Bambazon, as in the Magavau ceremony, which the Bobohizan has to bring back.

Pangkis Pangazou means was the triumphant cry by a Kadazan warrior who managed to cut his opponent head during a fiery fight. During those days only the strongest men can survived and saved his villagers from attack from other opponent from other villages. The number of human heads or skulls symbolizes that he was one of the greatest in the likes of Monsopiad and others.

The triumphant cry by the warriors will no longer heard in this era of modernization but during wedding or Harvest festival, this scream will be replaced by a triumphant joy and merry making. Pangkis will remain in our midst if the younger generation commit themselves in preserving the traditional scream whenever sumazau dance is performing. Kiihoi …….

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