3 things you didn’t know about this Crazy Rich Asian

There’s more than meets the eye with Henry Golding - Asia’s rising star, host and lead actor in the upcoming film Crazy Rich Asians. Bold and adventurous, learn about the other side of Henry and his return to his tribal roots on Discovery Channel’s Surviving Borneo


#1  Henry is a descendant of the headhunting Iban tribe 

Part British, part Iban—a Bornean tribe once known for their headhunting traditions—Henry Golding spent most of his life away from his indigenous roots. But that hasn’t stopped him from being curious about his heritage. To him, heritage is a birthright. “It’s the culture that you’re…born into. You may not have as much exposure (to it) as others or vice versa, but it really is for yourself to discover and explore.”

Henry is a descendant of the headhunting Iban tribe.

Young Henry and his family in Borneo.


#2  Henry didn’t go through the traditional rite of passage to earn his tattoos

The Iban mark significant life events like fatherhood and travelling to foreign lands with intricate tattoos unique to the tribe. Henry Golding is also inked with Iban tattoos of the Bunga Terung or eggplant flower on his shoulders. Typically the first tattoos an Iban male would receive, the Bunga Terung signifies the passage to manhood and must be earned by going on bejalai, or a voyage of self-discovery. Having lived away from the tribe for most of his life, Henry Golding had not gone on his bejalai and needed to earn the right to don the Bunga Terung before he married his now wife, Liv Lo.

Henry and his wife Liv Lo at their wedding

Henry and his wife Liv Lo at their wedding after his successful bejalai.


#3  Henry journeyed with indigenous tribespeople, deep into the Bornean jungle

Trailing through forests and learning survival skills from his Ibanese uncle and the elusive nomadic Penan tribespeople, Henry Golding hunted boars, built shelters and learned to kill with poisonous blow darts as part of his bejalai. “Eating smoked wild boar four days on the trot, that was a new one to me,” says Henry. “It really is just going out there, experiencing and being taught…this wealth of knowledge that these tribes have.”

Henry learning how to use a hunting blow pipe

Henry learning to use the blow pipe, taught by the elusive Penan tribe.

Fittingly, at the end of his journey Henry Golding inked his successful bejalai with another Ibanese tattoo. “We chose one and did it in the traditional way of hand tapping,” he says. “And it took ten hours to complete.”

Join Henry’s journey on Discovery Channel’s original series, Surviving Borneo. Catch episode previews here or follow Henry’s adventure every Sunday, 9.00PM, 8.00PM (BKK/JKT).

Henry getting a traditional hand-tapped tattoo

Henry receiving a traditional hand-tapped Ibanese tattoo on his leg.

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