Linundus Kinabalu Headline Animator


(Note: Protect and Preserve your 'Kadazan' and 'Dusun' identities. Read the articles published HEREand HERE and participate in the survey Poll located at the top right-hand column of this page.)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kadazans “The Identity Snatchers”?

I refer to the Special Report which was published by Daily Express last Sunday 22nd February 2009 on page 8 captioned “The Identity Snatchers”, arising from the interview between Datuk Ayub Aman and DE Special Writer Mary Chin.

Going by the caption and the contents of the report, it would give the readers the wrong impression that the Kadazans are trying to “snatch” away the identity of the Dusuns. I did not find in Datuk Ayub’s statement to insinuate this notion, and neither did the Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS) declare that it was “improper to identify oneself as a KadazanDusun”. Please refer to the statement of KSS President which appeared in the DE on Thursday, 25th December 2008.

The term “Kadazandusuns” (with small ‘d’) and “KadazanDusuns” (with capital ‘D’) are two different terms, the latter being two indigenous tribes of “Kadazan” and “Dusun” merged together, while the former is a coined word - a term expediently assigned to unify the two indigenous tribes for whatever reasons – that does not denote a race.

The term ‘Kadazandusun’ is not an indigenous ethnic race, but “KadazanDusun” are two ethnic races combined. Therefore, we should either be Kadazan or Dusun depending on one’s own preference. We have always respected those who wish to be known as “Dusun” just as we have expected others to respect our preference to be known as “Kadazan”.

There are Kadazans and Dusuns throughout Sabah, even throughout the world, but it is up to the individuals as to which ethnic group a person is comfortable with. But definitely Kadazandusun is not an ethnic indigenous term recognised in Sabah. Even Datuk Ayub Aman did not object to this statement.

I was informed by a friend of mine, a former employee of the NRD, who confirmed: "There is no classification of Kadazandusun as a race in the National Registration Department. It is either “Kadazan” or Dusun." He is prepared to vouch this statement.

As racial debate is a very sensitive issue, the DE Special Writer should have at least taken the precaution or have avoided the term if she does not fully understand the salient meaning of it. She should have at least understood first the minor difference in spelling between Kadazandusun and KadazanDusun before indulging into commenting racial issues as their connotations and meanings have far reaching effect that might bring the two ethnic groups into confrontation.

I strongly believe that this is not in our (the Kadazans’) agenda. We only want to rectify those terms that need to be corrected; otherwise, as it is now, there have already been misgivings between the Kadazans and the Dusuns over the terms used.

I applaud Datuk Ayub Aman who is the Executive Chairman of Sabah Times, for putting correctly the heading of his Kadazan and Dusun Section as “KADAZAN DUSUN” Section, This is absolutely correct. Meanwhile, Daily Express has put it as “Kadazandusun” Section. This is totally incorrect if this Section is meant for Kadazan and Dusun readers. There is a world of difference in meaning between the two terms. Hence, correction in DE’s paper is in order, unless it is deliberately done to further confuse the people.

The argument as to the origin of the words “Kadazan” and “Dusun”, will not benefit both ethnic groups. We are happy to be known as “Kadazan” or “Dusun”, whichever racial group that we are comfortable with. I am proud to be called “Kadazan” because my parent’s race in my birth certificate was registered as “Kadazan”, although I was born in 1947. It therefore goes to prove that the race “Kadazan” existed well before 1961.

In fact, the word ‘Kadazan’ is not of recent origin. There was evidence that the term has been used long before the 1950s. Owen Rutter, in his book, “The Pagans Of North Borneo”, published in 1929, wrote: “The Dusun usually describes himself generically as a ‘tulun tindal’ (landsman) or, on the West Coast, particularly at Papar, as a Kadazan.” (page 31).

Owen Rutter worked in Sabah for five years as District Officer in all five residencies and left Sabah with the onset of the First World War. This means that he started working in Sabah from 1910 and left Sabah in 1914. We can therefore safely say that the word ‘Kadazan’ was already in existence before any towns or shops were built in the Penampang District and that Kadazan politicians did not invent the word in the late fifties and early sixties.

I do not wish to be drawn into argument with Datuk Ayub Aman who was formerly the Minister of Local Government & Housing during the Berjaya Government and Marcel Leiking was then his Assistant Minister, but suffice it for me to make the following clarifications regarding the word “Kadazan” which he (Ayub) referred to as “people of Town”.

The term “Kadazan” seems to have been wrongly understood and interpreted by others (including those of our own Kadazan writers) to mean as “town people”. The Kadazan word for town is ‘kadai’ (from the Malay word ‘kedai’) from which the word “kaka’dazan” was coined (‘da’ is phonetically hard), which means a ‘town-ship’; whilst the word “kadazan” (‘da’ is phonetically soft), which refers to ‘people’. The phonology of these two terms is dissimilar and, likewise, their meanings are not the same. Therefore, it is inaccurate to imply that the term ‘Kadazan’ means ‘town’ or ‘town people’.

According to the ancient language ‘Rinait’ of the ‘Bobohizans’ or Priestesses, the term ‘Kadazan’ is to mean ‘people’.

By the way, not all of Penampang was a town, even by 1961. The real Penampang Proper actually is a small village. The only towns in the Penampang District then were Donggongon and Kasigui. As a point of reference, Rev. Fr. Antonissen wrote the “Kadazan Dictionary and Grammar” as early as 1956 – well before Tun Fuad’s attempt to ‘label’ the non-Muslim Natives as Kadazans who, before then were conveniently labelled as the Orang Dusun, meaning “people of the Orchard”, or the farming people.

The Dictionary has been compiled and printed in Australia, "A Gift From The Australian People Under The Colombo Plan". On page 9, a statement is made by the writer as quoting:- " When I came to North Borneo in 1932 and was detailed to work amongst the Kadazan in Penampang and surrounding village". Fr. Antonissen lost his unpublished dictionary when he was interned by the Japanese in 1942 but “luckily, a Kadazan girl spotted my dictionary and managed to rescue it [...],” he wrote.

He went on to write and I quote: “After the war a Kadazan in Tambunan (in the interior of North Borneo) was found to be in possession of the dictionary and he was so kind as to return it to me.”

Again, those statements made by the author himself prove the fact that the name “Kadazan” did exist even before 1963! So, it could not have been started by Donald Stephens (Tun Fuad) the label “Kadazan” in 1961.
Articles from other blogs:


  1. Convincing enough Gundohing SJD ... well done. Keep it up ... SOIBU TOUN MANTAD BAINO.

  2. Convincing enough Gun SJD, well done. Keep it up ... 'SOIBU TOUN MANTAD BAINO'.

  3. Anonymous said ...

    Kotohuadan, Tanak Kadazan. Ahansan zou do kivaa comment nu di Tanak
    Tondu Sikul do doiho St. Francis. Encourage the parents to monitor
    their children's movement, not only in school but also outside the
    school yard. This nonsense must be stopped!!!

  4. Haloo gaman, i'm a dusun but in my birth certificate is stated that im a kadazan, i dun speak kadazan and only speak dusun. when i asked my father why was i born as kadazan, he told me the rules was changed , everybody must be a kadazan. Until now i dun agree with my father. Im from keningau and a hard core dusun boy. We dun even have penampang/papar blood who called themself kadazan. Now please gaman, pls give me an advice how to change back my race status to dusun which is my real one of the thousands victim during tun fuad stephen culture political crisis. yes i agree with u when u say kadazan and dusun are two different races but changing a person race to other race bcos of political is ridiculous (an UMNO style- who ever islam is malay), but that was what your people have done.

  5. Tobpinai its too late to change your race status now but I would like to know what race did you put in your children's birth certificate if you are really proud to be Dusuns and its not too late your future nephew and nieces can still put Dusuns as their race. The important thing now is we (Kadazans and Dusuns are the same stork or stock...correct me...) and we must remember that we are only 600,000 now of 3.1 million people in Sabah compared to illegal immigrant (PATI) of 800,000 meaning we are going to be the Red Indians of America soon.

  6. Jangan salahkan pemimpin lepas, pemimpin kadazan dusun dari KKS, DSS, UPKO, KDCA, USDA kalau betul anak jantan buatlah pisompuruan pertemuan antara leader-leader untuk solve this identity problem.

    Anak-anak masa kini tidak berapa minat article-article Ayub Aman , Patel dan lain-lain.

    Contohilah orang Jewish. Mereka sikit tapi otak bergeliga.Mereka di bunuh, dicaci pada WW2 namun Jewish Sampai berjaya tubuhkan negara Israel pada abad ke 21.

    Kalau orang kita , tanah setangah ekar di kampung pun mau jual sama melayu. Fikirlah wahai kawanku.......

  7. I'm from Tambunan, I was born after the formation of Malaysia, so that is why I was automatically registered as 'Kadazan' (following the directive of the then ruling party). My husband was born before 'Malaysia', so he is a 'Dusun'. Our anak-anak we put 'Kadazandusun'in the birth certs - all accepted.