|Humoring baby on the ferry.|
|Nek Sumila cradles a baby, to the delight of some fans.|
Nek Sofia recalled that, in the past, a baby's placenta had been taken in a jukung and thrown overboard from a jukung. The further out the the jukung went, the more outgoing or adventurous the child would grow up to be. (I have the impression that being outgoing or adventurous is not an especially valued trait, as it may lead to the child eventually moving away from the Cocos Islands--an undesirable result). Apparently this and other birth ritual have been interrupted by the requirement for expecting mothers to deliver in Perth. Home Islanders I spoke with regretted this. Monika said she had spoken with someone who felt that having not been born on the Cocos Islands, the new generations would never be truly Cocos in the way of preceding generations.
Anthropologists call hair cutting rituals “tonsure”. I first came across the term in relation to the Thai prince. For Thai people, the ritual cutting of a tuft of a male's hair (around the age of 12-14) is cut his a deeply meaningful event, and initiates the boy into adulthood. On Home Island, tonsure occurs earlier in life.
Over the next decade or so, the child will begin school, commence afternoon classes in Koranic Arabic (ngaji), start high school, and possibly continue high school on the mainland. If the child is a boy, he will be circumcised as well.
|At school, reading a English book.|
|Nek Suma's grave stands alone, outside the cemetery. He is affectionately referred to as "baldy".|
After dinner we staid to see a half superstitious scene, acted by the Malay women. They dress a large wooden spoon in garments — carry it to the grave of a dead man — & then at the full of the moon they pretend it becomes inspired & will dance & jump about. After the proper preparations the spoon held by two women became convulsed & danced in good time to the song of the surrounding children & women. It was a most foolish spectacle, but Mr Liesk maintained that many of the Malays believed in its spiritual movements. The dance did not commence till the moon had risen & it was well worth remaining to behold her bright globe so quietly shining through the long arms of the Cocoa nuts, as they waved in the evening breezeNevertheless, it seems the "spoon" may refer to the shape of the grave marker. Death rituals are very different currently, as I have described in "Ritual Meals on Home Island".
|Mourners gathered at house of bereaved|
|At Swan Island|
Life stage and name change
|Mak Mia, Mia, and Pak Mia|
Progression through life stages
Age set and age grade
|Class of 1969--an Age Set|
|Age groups (Nadel calls them "age classes"). Korongo and Meskain pass through these, from Nadel "Witchcraft in Four Societies"|
In summary, you progress through an age grade, while you stay in an age set forever.