Especially troublesome were the young wives who had remained behind in the villages to raise tupoi pigs and who relied on overworked fathers-in-law or other women's husbands to clear garden land for them, or the young women who grew tired of waiting for their betrothed husbands to return home and who threw brideprice
negotiations into disarray by running off with other men.
In the case of the Lun Bawang, the brideprice
is limited by custom to three buffaloes and cash amounting to 2000 Malaysian ringgit.
One view is that the accumulation and distribution of brideprice
serves to promote productive activities and reflects a different approach to 'wealth'.
They claimed that they had all given food to Kule Waure over the years and would contribute towards his brideprice
in the event of him marrying, but in the meantime the 240 kina belonged to the project.
The returned migrant mistakenly believed that his earlier generosity in hosting visiting relatives would partly repay his debts to his uncles; they on the other hand, only remembered his inadequate repayments on his brideprice
debts for his first wife.
She found herself in a difficult position since her husband had not paid a brideprice
for her and she therefore had no pigs of her own to rear.
The pigs copulate, multiply, and translate into shells and money, and furthermore, enable for humans to obtain more wealth and all sorts of goods, and through brideprice
they become conjoined in sex, make babies, and every so often they tear each other apart on the account of all these things--principally wealth and sex.
Especially for younger, unmarried women, hence for women for whom no brideprice
had been paid, an illegitimate pregnancy is socially precarious and more often than not linked with vehement, also violent arguments with their own family.
When someone's son was married, everyone came together to pay the brideprice
, and when someone's daughter was married, everyone came together to receive the shell-money and contribute to the marriage feast.
As I listened to his assessment of his situation at the end of his mourning period I could clearly see that he was concerned, not only with his relationship with his wife's spirit and with his affines, to whom he remained connected as his children's 'mothers' (MZ and MB), but also with the fate of his daughters' brideprice
Furthermore, as most ceremonial and social exchanges, from brideprice
payments to church offerings, from gift giving during religious festivities to collections for marriage or funerary feasts now involve both cash and store-bought items, money has invaded all aspects of local sociality and has become an invaluable source of efficacy, power and prestige.
They can hear disputes about brideprice
, custody of children and matters relating to so-called domestic problems, but they have no power to actually grant divorces.