Sunday, February 03, 2013

Chapter 6: The Gomorun Connection

To widen our search for our root through my mother's side, I remembered one KadazanDusun old lady who attended my mother's funeral and who also sang during the funeral service. This lady Stelli Majanggan Benggon used to be my mother's playmate during their childhood days in Kampong Pulutan.

Through my cousin Yee Sze Moi, I managed to meet up with this lady at her house in Kg. Pulutan situated not far from my grandmother's old house. She is friendly and talkative. Through our conversation, it's also not hard to understand that she is also a very independent and industrious person and has worked very hard for the family. After her husband passed away in an accident three years ago, she now stays alone.

Her greatest gift is probably her singing and her ability to compose songs without any training in music. She has in fact already produced 4 CD's containing songs done in collaboration with other singers. Even during our first meeting, she just sang a number of songs for us even without our request.

Through Stelli Benggon, I came to know that I am related to the Rampas. The most prominent figure is this Datuk Louis Rampas, the current State Legislative Assemblyman for Kiulu who is also the Chairman of the Sabah Rubber Fund Board. He is the son of Rampas Gumpai, the brother of my grandmother, Lotimboi Gumpai. In hierarchy, he is my uncle.

Through Stelli, I also managed to meet up with the sister of this politician, Aunti Sulah Rampas and her husband, John Henley.  This Aunti Sulah also has a colourful history. She used to work as a RTM radio announcer and later resigned to join politics after being asked by AKAR to contest in Kiulu as an opposition candidate. AKAR was then an opposition political party led by the late Datuk Mark Koding. Unfortunately, she lost. Her husband, an Englishman used to work as a pilot for the Sabah Flying Doctors. He is now a Malaysian PR and works as a consultant for aviation quality and safety.

Aunti Sulah Rampas &
husband John Henley
Through conversation, I got to know that her daughter Jo-anna Sue, was crowned the Unduk Ngadau 2007 of Sabah.

From Sulah, I was told that I also have many Muslim relatives residing in Kampong Darau. To my surprise, this Muslim connection happens to be a long time friend of my cell member, Chio. This Haji as well as an Iman has worked for over 10 years compiling the genealogy of the family tracing from the Gomorun ancestry.

With Chio's help, we had no problem locating this relative's house in Kg. Darau. This relative, Hi. Mantamin is an uncle of mine. His grandmother Lopis was the sister of my great grandmother Rombis. His relationship with me was further reinforced when he showed me a photo of my grandmother which he kept with a number of other people.

Grandmother's photo
kept by Hj. Mantamin
When he showed me the 20mm thick genealogy book he compiled with two other persons, I found my mother's name. This is truly amazing! Now my job is to compile list of names of my siblings and the rest of the families and pass on to him to update his book.

60 01’ 15.40”N, 1160 08’ 35.23”E

With my uncle Hj Mantamin and cousin, son of Hj Mantamin's brother

My great grandfather Gumpai married Rombis, 
a descendant of Gomorun

My grandmother Lotimboi Gumpai had 2 children, my mother  

Yee En Jin (nicknamed Amoi) and 
my uncle Yee Tshan Fah (nicknamed Atai)
We were told that when they organised a family gathering of the Gomorun's descendants in 1 Borneo, more than 5,000 turned up.
I used to think that my family tree is simple and my extended family is not "big". So far, the revelation is mind boggling and I have yet to fully take it in.
Already, the truth is, I have an uncle who is a politician, a cousin a beauty queen and an uncle, an imam. One can expect more surprises as I venture deeper into my root!

P.S. I discovered from the Gomorun's genealogy that Stelli Benggon is also related to me. My grandmother came from one of the 4 children of Gomorun called Gorodong. Stelli Benggon is from the line of another Gomorun's son called Guminggon.


Serenely said...

Wow! I’m completely blown away by this! I didn’t quite catch the immensity of this discovery when we were trying to talk over Nathan’s incessant chattering on Skype the other day. But I truly share your excitement over this!

jenefer raymond said...

hai..i think we are somehow from the same family tree, we also found out some years ago that we are related to the rampas family and family also have that same boo with the family tree list...the sad thing is, my late father has been searching this family which he never knew he had because he and his sister was left by their parents at a very young age (which i dont really know the real story behind it,),..and a few months after my father passed away back in 2008, a man approached our family, i cant remember wheather it was hj.mantamin himself or was it uncle suking gadaun...its sad that my father has been searching for his family and his origin, but couldnt stay longer for that family to actually find us..

zamani zain said...

Harap kita semua dpt berjumpa

Unknown said...

harap ada di antara keluarga gomorun buat fb page gomorun tree