Upon the invitation of Mr Fred Black, my Chonglin Park friend, I was attending this church service at SIB today. After prayers and hymns, Patrick was making announcements before starting his talk on St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. He was welcoming the visitors when he spontaneously expanded my nickname DP to David Panai after welcoming me to the church.
Later, Patrick said it was common for the Lun Bawang to give an ethnic name to a visitor, to facilitate easier recognition and assimilation within the community. To me, this was a precious gift and it makes me feel very privileged! I knew a little about this Sarawakian ethnic group from my Lun Bawang student, Elisha Batuncang, who seemed pretty serious about his ethnic identity. This was important to me as I am only too aware of the assault of modernity on traditional cultures around the world. Today, I feel I am born again, as a Lun Bawang!
What a unique privilege!