Saksak & Sanguma
Thomas H. Slone
THSlone at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 2 11:43:59 EST 2002
1. John Burton asked for additional entries for saksak. Quotes are
from Wantok's Stori Tumbuna
nil bilong saksak: sago thorn, sometimes used to kill pigs by stealth
"Na tupela i kisim sampela nil bilong saksak na sutim long pikinini
bilong kwambi, na tupela i tromoi i go daun long dispela tupela pik
long kaikai." [Kwambi is an Abelam word.]
bun bilong saksak: the thorny sheath of the sago palm
"Long dispela tupela i pasim tok pinis, na long moning long narapela
de, tupela i go wantaim bilong katim saksak pinis, na tupela i rausim
bun bilong saksak, na man bilong em i paitim saksak i stap long akis
meme bilong saksak: inedible sago pith
"Em i go na i lukim meme bilong saksak na i subim susa aninit long
meme bilong saksak."
skrapim saksak: to scrape sago pith as part of its preparation as food
"Em i tokim ol pinis na em i go skrapim saksak."
wasim saksak: to rinse sago pith so as to remove toxins
"Long wanpela taim tupela susa i go wasim saksak."
wokim saksak: to process sago so as to make it edible
"Na i no longtaim pikinini i go long ples we papa bilong em i save
basket saksak: basket made of sago leaves
"Em kisim basket saksak wantaim na umben bilong painim pis na em i
bihainim ol marit meri i go."
saksak tru: cultivated sago (as opposed to wail saksak)
Unitech has a slide show on the Web on traditional sago production
(but it's slow loading):
and traditional products:
2. John asked for other variants on the definition of sanguma.
Murphy (1985: 100) defines sanguma rather specifically: "The term
originally comes from Madang where it was used to describe a species
of malign sorcery and also the person gifted with the power of
performing it. It was performed by bringing about an apparent
mesmerism of the victim by the sorcerer who then led him to his
assistants and then the thorns were pushed into parts of the body
where it was desired pain or illness would manifest itself and
eventually cause the death of the victim. A short thorn was pushed
into the tongue causing it to swell so that the victim could not talk
and tell the name of the sorcerers. The thorns were dipped in a
special secret brew which apparently rendered them poisonous. The
victim invariably died. The term has spread to other parts of the
Territory to describe similar sorcery where the victim first
undergoes mesmerism or is frozen with fright."
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