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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Origin of Kampung Batu Ampar

I remembered in the DBR talking about a few place names in Brunei where the place names are a tad unusual. In fact, not many people would want to live there if the place names resemble their names. The places included Kampung Parit (ditch) and Kampung Sungai Hanching (smelly river). One particular place name which I liked was Kampung Batu Ampar. My colleague, the DPS for PMO lived there.

It took a while for me to find out how Kampung Batu Ampar was named. I remembered speculating what is it about the rocks there that they become so knackered. 'Ampar' in the Brunei language in the definition of Kamus Nusantara is 'tidur nyenyak kerana terlalu letih' (sleeping too soundly because of over tiredness) which to me translates to the British word 'knackered'.

Why are the rocks then said to be so knackered or tired?

According to Syair Awang Semaun, which is our oral tradition poems, the village got its name because that was where Awang Senuai used to compete in gasing against Mambang Dewa. Awang Senuai was in the the same syair is the guy who owned Mutiara, the cockrel that fought against Asmara that eventually transformed into the two islands of Pulau Pilong-Pilongan and Pulau Lumut Lunting. The gasing competition was so intense that rains come down and that the rocks became flattened as if they had turned to 'tikar'.

In the Syair Awang Semaun, it was said that:

Hujan lalam bersatar-satar,
Batu pun pipih seperti tikar,
Menjadi halaman si pantai kittar,
Dinamai orang Batu Ampar.

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