The Kinoingan Question
By: Tan Sri Herman Luping
THERE is a difference between the Nunuk Ragang legendary first person, Kinoingan and Kinoingan the accepted name in Kadazandusun for God in the Bible.
According to the Tangaah of Penampang Nunuk Ragang story or legend, two children, male and female, came out from a rock which had split open at the banks of the Tampias river. The rock was underneath a big nunuk tree (banyan or fig tree) and the two children lived under the canopies of the tree whose foliage when seen from afar was red – hence Nunuk Ragang. The two children’s name, according to the Penampang legend were Kinoingan and Suminundu. They were human beings with supernatural powers, therefore considered semi divine, but not God.
(God in Kadazandusun is Minamangun or Creator.)
They begot children who later spread out to populate the whole of Sabah. They had 8 children, six males and two females. The eldest was a girl and she was named Huminodun. It was Huminodun who was sacrificed by Suminundu so that her flesh became the staple diet of the Kadazan – padi – and other parts of her body were turned into fruit trees, vegetables etc.
Huminodun today is remembered during the Harvest festival celebration.
Her spirit is called “Bambaazon”, the spirit who guards the padi.
Today, once a year a beauty contest is held amongst the young Kadazan girls to commemorate Huminodun. Incidentally a Japanese social scientist had written an article about the origin of the Harvest festival and said that Huminodun could have been a male. The name Huminodun does not necessarily mean female, he wrote. But in our Tangaah opinion and belief, Huminodun was female, the first daughter of Kinoingan and Suminundu.
The Tangaah argue that the food for the people from Huminodun’s flesh and bone are females.
The padi in the fields are all females; the fruit trees like bananas are females; so are the langsat, the bununu, the tarap etc.
If there are bambangan trees or mango trees not fruiting, this is not because the trees are males but because they are “barren” incapable of pollination. So, goes the argument to show that Huminodun was female.
The name for God in Kadazan is Minamangun – meaning the Creator.
And indeed, in the rinait or incantations by the Kadazan type of Bobohizan in Penampang, the term Minamangun is mentioned as the Creator of the world. (The other type of Bobohizan’s inait is Tangaah).
Indeed, the creation of the world is not far from the Bible’s story in Genesis.
In the Kadazan version, the Creator created the world, the land and the sky from the dirt of his body (ngingi) as he washed himself in a cascading waterfall.
Meanwhile, The term Kinoingan for God was believed to have been introduced by the White foreign missionaries, particularly the main stream Christian denomination, the Roman Catholic Church.
From the moment they set foot in North Borneo (Sabah) beginning in the late 1700s, they decided to learn the Kadazan language – especially the Tangaah of Penampang dialect. They started to collect words and learn to speak them. They also started to translate the English version of the Catechism, the prayer book and even portion of the Bible into the Tangaah dialect. And I believe the word “Kinoingan” was introduced to them by the first catechists they employed to help them to reach to the people.
These catechists were also employed as school teachers. Amongst the early catechists and teachers before the second world war were such persons as Louis Majapul, John Goyopong and Bernard Mojikon.
Datuk Anthony Gibun of Tambunan was also amongst the first school teachers employed.
These early educated Kadazans helped the foreign missionaries to learn and speak the language.
The term “Kinoingan” for God the almighty, the Creator, was preferred to be used for the prayer books instead of Minamangun.
Thus, when I first went to school after the war, and St Michael Primary was reopened in 1946, (I was nine years old) we were taught the catechism.
The very first sentence is “Who made you? Ans: God made me”.
And the translations was “Isai minonoodo diau? Kinoingan minonoodo dogo”. I believe these translation into Kadazan were done with the help of the Kadazan teachers such as Peter Lansing, Samuel Majalang, Stanishlaus Tindahal and Bernard Mojikon. They were the teachers after the Second World War – replacing Louis Majapul etc. The first Kadazan dictionary compiled and edited by Rev Fr Antonissen was made possible, I understand because of the help of these teachers.
God the Creator, the Almighty, or Yaweh in Hebrew or Allah, was and is Kinoingan in Kadazan today.
And the use of this name for God in the Bible has nothing to do with the name of the first Kadazan person, named Kinoingan in the Nunuk Ragang legend.
I suppose there are similarities today in regard to the name of God.
To the Roman Catholics, there is but one God also but there is also the “three persons” ( persona in Latin) in one God – – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. All are equal and indeed God.
This believe of the three persons in one is contained in the Church’s Apostle Creed and also the Nicene Creed. The latter was introduced by all the churches leaders in Nicene, Turkey, in the year 300 or so.
Both contain the pillars of the belief of Christians, particularly the main stream denomination.
Jesus is the Son of God – the Second Personae. We believe He is God, but He is also known as Joshua in Hebrew and Isa in Arabic. And both these names are used liberally by many as a name.
And so is the name “Jesus”.
I suppose there is nothing wrong with that. And the use of the name Kinoingan as God the Almighty is also acceptable if the early missionaries also decided to use the name of the Nunuk Ragang legend to call God for the Kadazan instead of Minamangun. The position of Kinoingan and Suminundu in Nunuk Ragang was that they were equal in rank and status.
No one was above or ahead of the other. Both had supernatural power.
They sat together as equal, I am told.
When the Huguan Siou Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan was or is performing his duty as representative of Kinoingan and Suminundu at Nunuk Ragang, I believe his position or status is the same as his wife who is seen as representing Suminundu. Remember, there is no suggestion that these two first beings are the Creator, the Almighty. They were humans with supernatural powers. Both Huguan Siou and his wife should therefore be seated together, next to one another for no one is “higher” than the other.
I would repeat that in the Tangaah Penampang and Papar Nunuk Ragang legend, the term Kadazan was first used at Nunuk Ragang.
It means the people. The term Kadazan in fact is also mentioned in the Inait or Rinait of the Bobohizan of Penampang – to refer to the people living in the Tampias area. The term Dusun was never mentioned.
This is not surprising. Dusun is not a race or people. It was a term used by the Brunei overlords who owned and controlled the Putatan river and Papar river as slur words, derogatory words to call the Kadazans under their control. The people living along the river valleys were their “properties” and they were made to pay “buis” (taxes) annually to the Pengirans who owned the rivers. Besides, the Kadazans were practically all pagans or have no religion. Islam has become the religion of the royals in Brunei by 1400, according to the history book. The non-Muslim Kadazan did not convert or took to the new religion.
To the Brunei overlords who were Muslims, the Kadazans were kafirs – dirty infidels, village yokels – dusun! No wonder the Kadazans fought a lot in school when they were called ‘dusun”! Indeed, there was a case about a Kadazan young man working in Brunei who felt insulted when a group of people called him “dusun”, meaning a village yokel. He punched the offender but the offender’s friends came to his aid and in the ensuing fracas the Kadazan got killed. Another Kadazan who had a gun became so angry to see his fellow Kadazan killed that he shot to death the assailants and then turned the gun on himself.
He died too. This is a story told many times but considered based on hearsay!
Adapted From: Daily Express Opinion 4 Sept 2011
Picture: Google Image