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Ann Massey

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Member Since: Jan, 2011

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The Phoenix Prescription
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A training surgeon is trapped in a hospital by the Blizzard of 1978 and must decide by himself which trauma victims live and which die...  
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Blogs by Ann Massey

Tattoos more than a fashion statement
2/22/2011 11:58:40 PM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

Tatts are hot, the trendy 'in' accessory but you may be surprised to know that for the Dayaks, the Indigenous people of Borneo, a tattoo is much more than a fashion statement.

Badge of honour

In Miri, you could recognize headhunters, (warriors not human resource scouts), by their tattoos. Like notches etched into gunslingers' pistols, the fingers of headhunters are tattooed with mythical creatures known as tegulan. Each tattoo corresponds with the taking of a human head. As a westerner, it was hard for me to understand the attraction but I learnt that Dayaks believe the soul lives in the head and when beheaded, their victim's status, strength, skill and power is transferred to their slayer.
I saw a number of elderly tribesmen with tegulan on the streets of Miri but, it wasn't until I visited a jungle longhouse with ancient human heads tied up with rattan hanging in bunches from the rafters, that I saw tribal women with tattoos. Young women with the skill to produce cloth, mats and baskets are much sought after. The talented ones are tattooed. Easily identified they can pick and choose from their suitors.

Free pass to the afterlife

Traditionally, Dayaks believe that only the souls of men and women with hand tattoos - symbols of their success at headhunting and weaving are able to cross the River of the Dead where they are reunited with their ancestors. The unworthy, the ones without tattoos, are cast into the river by Maligang, the malevolent guardian of the bridge where they are devoured by Paton, a giant catfish. Head hunting was banned in the 19th century but it proved difficult to eradicate. One can't help but wonder if it doesn't continue deep in the forbidding rain forests because I have seen Dayak men with both hands covered with tegulan and, in their ears ornaments made from the beak of the helmetted- hornbill, carved to resemble the canine tooth of a tiger-cat. Indisputable proof, they have taken heads.

In Dayak culture evil spirits are attracted to immoral individuals and when self-centred Crystal gets a snake tattoo, the motif associated with evil, she gets more than she bargained for.

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More Blogs by Ann Massey
• Free Kindle eBook: SALVATION JANE by Ann Massey - a Christmas Gift of hope and goodwill to all men - Thursday, December 04, 2014
• Special Announcement - Monday, August 25, 2014
• Salvation Jane Reviewed By Janet Walker of - Wednesday, August 28, 2013
• What's the single biggest influence on contemporary literature? - Saturday, August 17, 2013
• Pest Control- different pest, same solution - Friday, August 16, 2013
• Random Reviews - Wednesday, August 14, 2013
• Book Review: Salvation Jane - Tuesday, August 06, 2013
• Cultivation of micro-organisms on the International Space Station - Thursday, August 01, 2013
• Books That Defy Genre Labels - Tuesday, July 30, 2013
• The Author As Social Commentator - Sunday, July 28, 2013
• Ban the beggars: Tough strategies proposed in Miami and Melbourne - Thursday, July 18, 2013
• NEW RELEASE - Tuesday, July 16, 2013
• The most remarkable woman I ever met - Sunday, July 14, 2013
• Mental Illness - the link between schizophrenia and homelessness - Wednesday, July 10, 2013
• Con-men & Cheats: Men who Prey on Vulnerable Women - Sunday, July 07, 2013
• Serious commentary on Social Conditions Disguised as Chick-Lit - Tuesday, July 02, 2013
• Human rights abuse inspired Ann Massey to write Salvation Jane - Saturday, June 15, 2013
• Australia's new homeless: the working poor - Saturday, May 25, 2013
• Plants light up on the International Space Station - Tuesday, May 07, 2013
• Biocide Conspiracy in Syria - Monday, May 06, 2013
• My Success Story - Saturday, April 27, 2013
• Going for Gold - Saturday, April 27, 2013
• Bingo: Thirteen Lucky for Some - Saturday, April 27, 2013
• Hacked - Monday, April 15, 2013
• UK- style riots in Australia - not so far-fetched - Wednesday, August 10, 2011
• Does anything supernatural actually exist - Wednesday, March 09, 2011
• Nothing's so much fun as simply messing about in boats but ... - Friday, March 04, 2011
•  Tattoos more than a fashion statement - Tuesday, February 22, 2011  
• Shopping Can Be perilous: shopoholics in need of a fix put their lives in danger - Saturday, February 05, 2011
• The Strangest and Most Interest Person I Met on Public Transport - Tuesday, February 01, 2011
• The strange and amazing people you meet on public transport. - Tuesday, February 01, 2011
• Bioliogical Weapons Convention Ignored - Thursday, January 27, 2011
• And the Winner is - Tuesday, January 25, 2011
• Bilogical Warfare : Is it ever justified? - Saturday, January 22, 2011
• Multiple Births: a blessing or a blight? - Thursday, January 20, 2011
• Thou shall not wash dishes - Saturday, January 15, 2011
• Enter Miss Miri - Thursday, January 13, 2011
• Click to Save the Rain Forest - Wednesday, January 12, 2011
• Borneo's Tropical Rainforest is Disappearing Fast ... So What! - Saturday, January 08, 2011
• Sweetest Things Turn Sourest By Their Deeds - Wednesday, January 05, 2011

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