“Just Because We Have Tattoos Doesn’t Mean We’re Bad People”


Bejalai SS1

Culture is a mark of civilisation, and for the Iban people in Borneo, the most visual form of culture is in their traditional tattoos.

When Iban males come of age they travel in search of knowledge, or experience. These quests are called “bejalai”. This rite of passage is recorded or commemorated with body markings.

Bejalai SS4

This documentary shows how this ornamentation is done: no machines, a hammer-like device, and beautiful stylised motifs.

It is a dying tradition that has renewed interest today among the tattoo and body modification community.

Watch ‘Bejalai’ by Uzair Sawal (Malaysia) on Viddsee:

Uzair’s documentary was made in Sarawak, Malaysia, as part of short film series commemorating Malaysia‚Äôs Independence Day.

Here’s another fascinating documentary, ‘Destiny’ by Grace Chew, about three Vietnamese women who hope to marry foreign men for a better future

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