DAYAK FOLKLORE: Panglima Burung 4.0


Panglima Burung 4.0


M.S. Gumelar I Author



“My duty to awaken and protect the Dayak Tribe isn’t a mere choice; it’s an undeniable obligation etched into my memory. After countless millennia, I find myself drawn back, my consciousness transferred into a fresh body, yet filled with ancient memories. Once again, there’s a purpose—a mission—to safeguard the Dayak Tribe in this critical moment,” declared Panglima Burung.




“No!” exclaimed a man with a thick mustache and a long white beard, his eyes ablaze with determination.

Ampong interjected, “We must distribute the red bowls promptly; otherwise, the Dayak tribe will fade into history. Djata, our survival hinges on this.”

Djata remained resolute. “Listen, Ampong. Among the dwindling 300 of us, it’s uncertain whether Dayak DNA still flows within our veins. Centuries of intermarriage with other tribes and races have blurred our lineage. Can we truly claim the title of Dayak?”

Ampong responded, “True, Djata. What remains is the Dayak Culture—a shield for our identity. While I may not directly descend from the original Dayak Tribe, our shared struggle binds us. We seek survival together.”

“Regardless of the authenticity of external threats, our Dayak tribe faces extinction. Let us unite, as our ancestors did,” Ampong declared, his face etched with anger. “It’s time to invoke the ngayau ritual with our ancestors’ guidance.”

Harati’s voice trembled. “Ten Khuntiens have infiltrated our hiding place within minutes. The red bowl ceremony must commence urgently!”

Purok’s urgency matched the danger. “A single Khuntien can decimate 300 lives in minutes. Now they send ten—hurry!” he shouted.

Djata remained composed as he spoke, “I harbor doubts about its efficacy. The mere circulation of the red bowl doesn’t guarantee that an ancestral mind will mindport and unite with one of the 300 Dayaks here. Our Dayak genetic lineage is uncertain, and this may well be a myth.”

“Djata, a simple answer: yes or no?” Purok’s voice rang out.

“Yes! Proceed, Nara!” Djata granted permission and issued instructions for the red bowl ritual.

Nara promptly extracted red sap from the jaranang tree, invoking memories from the distant past into the present.

Harati leaned toward Hante, a muscular man with a strong demeanor, and whispered, “I wonder if Nara’s words truly echo the ancient Dayak language. After all, that language vanished millennia ago.”

“Hm…” Hante cleared his throat, his expression inscrutable.

The atmosphere grew tense. Three hundred souls, uncertain of their Dayak lineage, participated in the ritual—a blend of fading hope and lingering doubt.

It felt like clutching at grass on the edge of a ravine, devoid of hope.




The sound of a metal door splitting and crashing onto the metallic floor reverberated—a cacophony that defied mere thuds.




A delicate young lady coughed, her frail frame trembling. The others carried on, seemingly accustomed to this routine occurrence.

“Intruders have breached the outermost door of our hideout,” Harati whispered to him, careful not to drown out Nara’s voice as Nara performed the red bowl ritual.

“We’re all doomed,” Harati confided in Danum, a young girl who appeared weak and sickly. Danum had suffered from acute asthma since childhood and was the frailest among the 300 present.

“My… I apologize, but I’m uncertain if this sentence truly belongs to the Dayak language. The Dayak language has evolved over time, and I can’t be sure if this is its current form. Which tribe does the Dayak language represent?” Nara suddenly halted, doubt etching his face.

The group exchanged glances. In the distance, a resounding crash echoed…



“Nara, follow your instincts!” Djata’s shout cut through the tension.

“F… Fine!” Nara resumed the ritual.

Hante took the detector from Harati’s hand.

“Those who harbor the spirit of frontline warriors, step forward! The Khuntiens have breached our third line of defense,” Hante declared, projecting a map into the air from the device he held.

“Ready!” Ten men and eight women armed themselves with lamandaus (light mandaus/light sabers), following Hante’s determined lead.

“In five minutes, they’ll arrive,” Harati whispered to Danum.

“Huh… hunk, hukk! …,” Danum’s cough reverberated loudly.

Danum, worn and frail, had battled her own illness throughout her life. Medicine was scarce in this region.

Danum’s recovery seemed unlikely. The lives of those who claimed Dayak heritage were fraught with suffering. They grappled with the enigma of why the Khuntiens relentlessly pursued them, seeking their demise.

Danum knew only of a peaceful past—a time when the area held no threats. Tourists flocked from beyond the Dayak region to immerse themselves in the culture and traditions of the Dayak tribe.

But seventy years ago, someone unwittingly opened Pandora’s box. Suddenly, Khuntiens emerged, hunting not only Dayaks but all humans. The Dayak tribe stood as the last bastion of resistance.

Danum and her family constantly shifted from one location to another, evading the relentless pursuit of the Khuntiens. That changed when her parents fell victim to one of these relentless hunters.

Even now, Danum vividly recalled a particular Khuntien—an immense hole seared through its heart by her father’s laser beam just before the Khuntien’s lightsaber claimed her father’s life.

Gasping for breath, Danum had scrambled amidst rubble and twisted metal, her small form agile and desperate. It was Djata who rescued her—a surrogate father who provided hope, sustenance, protection, and life lessons.

In the distance, Hante and other warriors remained vigilant. The third layer of defense began to fray.




Tendrils emerged from the fallen metal, reminiscent of a squid’s limbs, followed by humanoid bodies. These beings had elongated arms, their fingers like human hands, each wielding two green light swords.

“Khuntiens…” Hante hissed.

“Wait for my signal. Ready your lightmandaus!” Hante commanded.

Before long, more Khuntiens infiltrated the forest, encased within a metallic dome. Their aggression was palpable—their sole purpose: to exterminate the remaining Dayak tribes.

“Nara!” Djata’s voice echoed through the room.

“Done! Here, let’s pass it on!” Nara responded.

Djata froze, tears welling up in his eyes and spilling down his cheeks.

“Why?” Nara inquired.

“It feels as though something is amiss, or perhaps this is all just a myth. Once the red bowl ceremony concludes, the memory of one of our ancestors should inhabit you,” Djata’s voice carried the weight of centuries, barely containing his emotions.

“I am not the leader of the Dayak tribe; I am merely the eldest among us. That’s why I chose you to be the warlord, to invoke our ancestral memories. But now, it seems I made a grave error!” Djata’s frustration erupted, his anger directed at Nara.

All eyes turned toward Djata.

“I… I’m also uncertain if the incantation I recited was accurate. I apologize, Djata,” Nara’s voice trembled, wounded by the accusation.

“Very well, let’s continue distributing the red bowls…” Djata whispered to Nara.

“Pass this red bowl, and may the jubatas protect us all!” Djata handed the red bowl to the person beside him, then moved to retrieve the lightmandau.

The red bowl circulated from one person to another, eventually reaching Harati.

“It feels futile to perpetuate myths, contributing to the genetic and cultural erosion of the true Dayak people. We claim knowledge of their culture and language, yet we may not truly be Dayaks,” Harati lamented to Danum.

“Huh… huk, huukh!”

Danum clutched the red bowl assigned to her. Her body weakened by asthma struggled for breath. Even in recent years, pneumonia had plagued her, refusing to heal, and her persistent cough persisted.




In the distance, the voices of Hante and his companions reached their ears.

The others knew instantly that Hante and his friends, who had stood as the last line of defense against the Khuntiens, were no more.

Each person in the room tightened their grip on their lightmandaus, ready for the impending battle.

The room fell into a heavy silence as the red bowl rested in the trembling hands of the last person.








Everyone’s gaze was drawn to the mangled metal debris, with smoke billowing from its sharp edges – the broken remnants of their defenses. Slowly, through the dust and smoke, the figures of the Khuntiens emerged, forming a steady line of ten individuals, resolute and indefatigable.

“For the Dayak Tribe!” Djata’s battle cry reverberated through the chamber. He lunged at the Khuntiens, Nara and others following suit.

Harati stared at Danum, his gaze sharp,“Danum, in moments like this, fleeing is the pragmatic choice—for the survival and future prosperity of our tribe,” Harati’s words cut through the tension.

Danum’s desperation spilled forth. “No, I’ve run long enough—illness, orphaned, without parents. Perhaps dying as a warrior is my rightful path.”


Djata’s stifled scream echoed as he fell near Danum, Khuntien’s beam sword piercing his body, rending him apart.

One by one, lives extinguished swiftly. Harati fled, seeking refuge, leaving Danum behind.

Beside Djata’s blood-soaked form, Danum wept. Her emotions tangled—a web of despair. The red bowl ritual, once their beacon of hope, now felt hollow. Everything reduced to myth.

Her only choice: death—a release from suffering, from illness. To reunite with her parents, her adoptive father Djata. Danum embraced it all, nothing left to lose. Calm settled over her mind; she was prepared to meet death.

She retrieved the lightmandau lying near Djata’s lifeless hand. Danum stepped forward, her approach serene, unnoticed by the unsuspecting Khuntien.

Suddenly, a blade of lightmandau struck the Khuntien’s head—ngayau! Decapitating an adversary. One Khuntien, its chest bearing a gaping hole, fell as its neck was severed by a surge of electricity.

Danum descended gracefully, akin to a hornbill with plasma wings. Imaginary energy feathers adorned her back, propelling her downward.

The remaining Khuntiens stood stunned, their collective gaze fixed on Danum.

Never before had a human bested a Khuntien; this moment shattered records.

“Panglima Burung!” Harati’s voice rang out as he emerged from his hiding place.

The twenty-one survivors marveled at the Panglima Burung’s prowess—ten Khuntiens dispatched in mere seconds.


Their triumphant shouts echoed as they rushed toward Danum, lifting her in exultation.

Panglima Burung!

Panglima Burung!

Panglima Burung!

Panglima Burung!

Panglima Burung!

Panglima Burung!

Panglima Burung!

Panglima Burung!

Panglima Burung!

Seated on the platform where the red bowl ritual began, Danum faced the expectant crowd. The Panglima Burung, standing proudly at the altar, addressed them.

“My dear Dayak tribe, do you realize that you haven’t inhabited an agricultural, rural, urban, or forested area? It took time to locate you.”

“But haven’t we lived in cities, villages, and forests all this time?” Harati questioned.

“No,” the Panglima Burung replied. “You’re en route to a new planet aboard a spaceship. The old world was obliterated by a rogue robot—a pawn of greed. Now, greedy humans manipulate artificial beings—what you call Khuntiens, derived from ‘sentien’—to seize control and eliminate political opponents. And you, my dear tribe, are those very opponents…”

“… the two political opponents employed sentients to eliminate rivals and other political adherents, resulting in the extinction of all humans—not just the Dayak tribe. Some managed to escape, but ten sentients persisted, relentlessly pursuing you across this plane for a thousand years,” explained the Panglima Burung.

“A thousand years? On this plane?” Harati’s disbelief was palpable.

The Panglima Burung moved purposefully towards a specific area in the room, deftly pressing a concealed button on a control panel.

“Indeed, you are all inside a spacecraft. About seventy years ago, someone managed to infiltrate the isolation chamber of the AI robot and the sentient freezer.”

The jungle-like surroundings around them abruptly transformed into a room adorned with screens and control panels.

“An illusion that feels real?” Harati questioned.

“Yes, advanced holograms,” Panglima Burung confirmed. “Observe through the window—you’ll see stars and vast cosmic expanses. And on your destination planet, you’ll encounter the true sea.”

“Sea?” Harati muttered.

“Indeed, the sea—a visual construct that lacks actual water—has been our sole perception until now,” added the woman standing to Harati’s right.

“Yes, the sea,” Panglima Burung reiterated.

“On this plane, no true sea exists; only simulated vistas. But on the planet you’re bound for, you’ll witness the genuine expanse of water.”

“In 172 hours, this spaceship will touch down on your newly discovered world. Embrace life, live as the Dayak tribe—one with nature. Find peace as Sea Dayaks, River Dayaks, and Land Dayaks, just as your ancestors did. And perhaps, one day, your descendants will reclaim the mantle of Space Dayaks,” Panglima Burung declared.

“While you’re here, rest assured—you can request medicine or sustenance using spoken words,” Panglima Burung clarified.

“Access the pneumonia medicine,” Panglima Burung commanded.

A beam of light materialized in her palm, revealing a bottle of pneumonia medication.

“Administer this to Danum,” she instructed, handing the medicine to Harati.

“Where are you headed next?” Harati inquired.

“I will return when your next generation calls upon me. Farewell,” replied the Panglima Burung.




Danum sat weakly, her breath shallow. She wondered why everyone was staring at her.

Harati hurried over, guiding Danum to sit on the altar.

“Access water,” Harati commanded, and a bottle of water materialized before her.

“Wow!” Danum marveled. Harati then opened a medicine bottle, offering Danum a capsule of pneumonia medication.

“You also can do it by yourself later,” Harati whispered.

Danum smiled at Harati, who returned the smile.




The sape’s music calmed their minds.

“In one hour, we’ll land on the planet our ancestors designated. What name shall we give it?” a woman from navigation asked.

“Humi,” Harati replied.

“Humi, bumi—earth, home?” Danum questioned.

“Yes, home,” Harati gazed at Danum, who appeared clean, healthy, and radiant.

“Chief Harati, we’re approaching the flat area our ancestors calculated,” the navigation officer informed.

“Very well, prepare everything as needed. Soon, we’ll have a true home on Planet Humi,” Harati commanded.



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Author: M.S. Gumelar

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Michael Sega Gumelar
Articles: 38

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