Traditional hand made parang ‘bokok tondok’ from Bidayuh village in Sarawak

The handle and sheath of this parang was hand made by a retired teacher in Sarawak

This is a hand made bokok tondok parang purchased from a local villager when I visited Kampung Semban (to meet the Ladies of the Rings) in 2010. A few of us were walking on the trail when we bumped into Mr Michael, a retired teacher who was on his way back to the village. On his waist, my eyes fixed on this beautiful parang, with intricate carvings. A parang I knew I had to see.

Mr Michael has obviously placed much care and attention when making this parang. While he did not forge this blade himself (a bladesmith from his kampung made it), the sheath and handle was made to fish and tiger motive respectively.

The parang sheathed

Hanging from his waist, from a distance as we came closer, the contrasting shade of color between the handle and the sheath stood out. The handle, carved to the motive of a tiger head was made of Tongkat Ali wood (Eurycoma longifolia). The sheath on the other hand was made of Tualang wood (Koompassia excelsa).

Very beautiful parang



The carved parang handle


While the parang is all pretty and nice, it does not lack in functionality at all. For starters, it was worn by its maker on the waist as he travelled through the jungle. And having purchased the parang from him, we realize that the blade is sharp, though perhaps a bit short. Other than that, the sheath also comes with a draining hole at the bottom, towards the tail of the ‘fish’. In a way, not only is Mr Michael an established carver but he also understand the needs of a user. With the draining hole, water (and to a certain extend dirt) will drain easier, keeping the inside of the sheath dry and clean.

Note the hole for water drainage

Well, this is one of the more original parangs in the sense that it is locally hand made in Sarawak. Probably one of its kind, this parang bokok tondok of Sarawak.

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