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Saturday, February 25, 2012

KANANG, THE HEAD HUNTER


Kanang anak Langkau, the famous Iban Tracker of the Sarawak Rangers (later known as Rejimen Renjer) was awarded the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP) by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Iban is also known as Sea Dyaks and Bidayuh as Land Dyaks.

Kanang joined the Sarawak Rangers as a tracker on 21 Apr 1962 then sent for 1-month at Training School for Jungle Warfare (now PULADA), Ulu Tiram, Johore.

The battle cry for the Sarawak Rangers 'Agi Hidup Agi Ngelaban (Iban) means selagi ada nyawa selagi itu berjuang.


Kanang was born in Rumah Panjang Karangan Manok Nanga Meluan, Kanawit on 2 March 1945. His father left him and he was brought up by his mother and grandparents.

Growing up as a kid he was kind of lawless, independent and afraid of nothing. He decided to leave school at Kanowit by standard 3.

His grandfather told him that bujang senangs in the Kanowit River would not harm them as foretold in a dream in which he cured the son of raja buaya of a sickness.

In the days of his grandfathers and earlier tradition, the Ibans were ferocious headhunters using sandaus (parangs) and spears.

Kanang used M16 to hunt heads of Siliwangi infiltrators during the Confrontation (1962-1966) and communist guerillas during the Second Malaysian Emergency (1968-1983).

He could detect the enemy by the smell of the air, bird and animal movements, broken twigs, disturbed soil and other signs. He was not afraid of booby traps because he could locate and dismantle them. As sargeant heading a platoon he volunteered to be the man at the most front.

An Iban belief to avoid badi ie. being haunted by the spirit of the dead, Kanang got to eat the brain of a dead guerilla he killed.

He always had this dream of a pak haji berselindang hitam everytime he was about to battle the enemies in the jungle. He himself witnessed a Siliwangi soldier being kebal ie. bullet proof.

During Operation Gerak Setia Khas, early 1980 Kanang was shot at the chest and stomach several times. He was in coma for 1 week, spent 1 month under ICU and 1 year ward care.

Seperti mati hidup kembali, katanya. For the valour he was awarded the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa.

Kanan retired as Sgt. Major while serving the 11th Renjer Rejimen Malaysia on 30 May 1986. He brought his family to settle at Rumah Panjang Samy, Skra Hilir.

His past injuries disabled him to do heavy work and farming. Soon he was poor and neglected. The country just forget him.

This morning, Dato' Kanang will be among the speakers at the Colloquium of Malaysian History at the Experimental Theatre, University Malaya.

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