Saturday, July 30, 2016


Mibabas. This is a Kadazan word that means 'to make peace' with someone we have hurt or when a person who has hurt us makes amend for what he or she has done. It is a way of saying, "I am sorry for hurting you and here is my peace offering as a sign that I am truly sorry."

The peace offering may be a chicken, a pig or a buffalo. The peace offering is determined by the village headman. In the absence of a headman, the norm is followed. This raises the question of what the norm is. The norm in one village or community may differ from that of another village or community. In reality, the seriousness of the wrong determines the type and size of the peace offering. The peace offering is called 'sogit' in Kadazan.

Sogit comes from the word 'osogit' which means cold. The sogit is intended to cause the enmity or antagonism between two people or two groups to cool down. It is believed that the sogit will ward off any bad luck or any untoward incident that may harm the one who caused the wrong.

However, sogit is also offered when something that is a taboo or prohibited occur. For example, a man may have molested someone's wife or daughter. Here the sogit is over and above the penal punishment and / or fine meted out by a court of law.

In the case of a serious offence, only a buffalo will suffice as the sogit. The animal peace offering has to be slaughtered and shared among the people of the village. The buffalo meat (or pork) will be distributed among the villagers. It is believed that by doing this, any calamity that may befall the village will be prevented. When a serious wrong is done, it is believed that it makes the village 'hot' ('ahasu' in Kadazan) meaning it is under some kind of curse.

Peace loving people may like this
Any person who values peace between people or between communities may love this native custom of mibabas and giving sogit.

But an increasing number of Kadazan refuse to adhere to this native custom. Society's values have changed due to outside influence. The world has become smaller because of enormous progress in the way people communicate as the result of great advances in technology. And the younger generations are susceptible to such influences because they were born in this technological age and are technology-savvy. Being constantly bombarded with values alien to their people, many refuse to follow the native norm.

In the past, a man would have to pay sogit if he held the hand of a woman who was not his wife. This was taboo. Because of changing values, one will often see a man holding the hand of a girl or woman without any fear of any sogit. You may even see a man and a woman hugging each other in public. And very often nothing will happen until the girl or woman becomes pregnant. And even then, leniency seems to be the rule of the day. Sometimes, the sogit will never be given and there is nothing that the parents of the girl can do.

It appears that sogit is losing its influence. There may come a time when it is totally considered irrelevant.When that time comes, people will come to appreciate the importance of the 'sogit' and 'mibabas.'

Created: July 27, 2016

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