Thursday, February 13, 2014

Malaysia Borneo Cultural Festival 2014

Salaam Tahun Melawat Malaysia 2014!

Visit Malaysia Year 2014 is the nation's biggest and grandest tourism celebration with Malaysia Truly Asia's endless wonders of events, festivals and activities all-year round. For our international tourists, this is the perfect time to see, feel and experience Malaysia! With the tagline "Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia,” Sabah Cultural and Heritage Association Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya (Warisan Sabah) is organizing Malaysia Borneo Cultural Festival 2014. With the theme "...bridging cultures and traditions," and endorsed by Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, it is an inaugural event with the aim to build unity, understanding and strong bond between Malaysian in line with the 1Malaysia concept.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Inner beauty needs no make-up

Salaam, valued readers.

There is no doubt that the celebration of Harvest Festival is a celebration that is often eagerly awaited each year, especially for Sabahan. And, of course, the most anticipated event is Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan (traditional beauty pageant). This event will be less lively without the presence of "non-professional jury." This sounds cynical, but this is the reality. Here are some of the verses that will normally be echoed here and there, much less something like these:

“Punya cantik tu sumandak. Bulih tahan oh!”

“Ini kalilah saya punya kuda. Kihoyy!”

“Mana cantik tu. Bida juga tu kalau inda da mekap.”

“Astaga, paitungnya!”

“Arahi oku ti sumandak.”

…and the list goes on. Oh, dear!

Kenali Tantagas - Warisan tradisi Dusun Lotud

Salaam, semua.

Kenali 'Tantagas.' Bagi yang sudah tahu, bolehlah tunjuk ajar di mana-mana yang silap (sebagai pencerahan). Moga-moga info ini boleh dikongsi bersama.

Pakar ilmu tradisional (traditional priestesses) atau pakar dalam upacara ritual (kerohanian), atau 'Tantagas', adalah hampir kebanyakannya terdiri di kalangan kaum wanita, dan mahir dalam menghafal 'rinait,' iaitu sebuah pembacaan berupa dikir panjang/doa yang ditujukan kepada dewa-dewa di kalangan masyarakat kaum Dusun Lotud. Di kalangan kebanyakan kaum rumpun Dusun (Dusunic group) di Sabah, rinait merupakan satu genre yang unik umpama syair yang dibacakan secara lisan. Ia terdiri daripada siri ayat-ayat - pertama dalam bahasa sehari-harian, dan yang kedua (yang mempunyai makna yang sama) dalam upacara tersebut. Rinait tersebut  menceritakan tentang penciptaan dunia; hal-ehwal dewa-dewa, asal-usul nasi, preskripsi/pengubatan dalam kehidupan; amalan-amalan kerohanian, dan aspek-aspek  kebudayaan dalam kehidupan. Bacaan rinait mungkin dilakukan secara berbisik, laungan kuat atau lembut/sederhana, dan boleh bertahan untuk beberapa jam atau hari, mengikut konteks dan majlis.

Unduk Ngadau gone too commercial?

Dear readers,

With numerous organizations, including even nightspots and trade associations now seen organizing their own Unduk Ngadaus (traditional harvest beauty pageants), some feel the time has come to place restrictions on staging this now highly commercialized event so that it would not lose its dignity.

Asal-usul masyarakat Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDM) mengikut teori persamaan dengan kaum Bunun, Taiwan

Asal-usul masyarakat Kadazan? Dusun? Murut?

Mari kita mulakan. Ini pendapat peribadi sahaja ya.

Buvazoi Tavantang (Harvest Prince, Sabah)

Hi, there!

Some of you might have known it, while some of you may not. As I google around, there is not much information I obtained from the internet (online searching). So, whatever I have written here are based on my amateur knowledge. But, hey, dear readers, if you have some information regarding on this traditional-oriented male beauty pageant, feel free to give me any responds for further improvements. This competition is a male version of Unduk Ngadau.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ratu Serimpak and The Land of The Cowboys of the East

Dear lovely readers,

The quaint town of Kota Belud lies about 70 kilometers, or an hour’s drive away, from Kota Kinabalu. Well-known for one of the most scenic districts in Sabah. Kota Belud is a wonderful tapestry of cultures and customs; embracing those of the Bajau Muslim majority and smatterings of the Kadazan Dusun and Irranun mores. For many centuries, Kota Belud has played an imperative role as the cultural hub of Northern Borneo. It is mostly known for its vivacious 'tamu' and unique handicrafts. Kota Belud is also the gateway to the beautiful Mantanani Island.

Huminodun: The Mystical Origin of the Kadazandusun People

Dear all, lovely readers.

First, there was nothing but Kinoingan and Suminundu . Together, they created man and the universe, the earth, and everything seen and unseen, known and unknown. 

"Malaysian’s work of art fetches RM117,000 at Christie’s" The Star, Monday 26 May 2008, under Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art. One of Yee I-Lann's "Kinabalu series, Huminodun explores the eroded spiritual power of a Kadazandusun woman and her shifting relationship to her land.
That Kinoingan so loved the world that He sacrificed His only beloved Daughter, Ponompuan. This greatest love of all was the expression of Kinoingan’s purest love for mankind. Overwhelmed, they repented, genuflected and uttered prayers of thanks to Kinoingan, Sumundu and Ponompuan whom they now call Huminodun, (the transformed Sacrifice). Huminodun’s rusod (spirit) now lives in every plant. Huminodun’s rusod in paddy is regarded as Sunduan in status and is fondly called Bambarayon by Bobolians to denote the highest hierarchical position of this plant in the eyes of all Kadazandusuns. - A piece of creative photography by Benny Liew (

The Kaamatan Festival

Salaam, all.

The word Kaamatan is derived from the root word 'tomot,' a Kadazandusun term for harvest. Kaamatan refers to the paddy-harvesting period, which involves a series of traditional rituals culminating finally to the Kaamatan (harvest) festival. The Kaamatan festival is an annual event in the cultural life of the Kadazandusuns of Sabah since time immemorial. In its deepest sense, Kaamatan festival is a manifestation of Creator and Creation relationship, as well as Inter-Creations relationship. It embodies the principal acts of invocation of divinities, appeasing, purification and restoration, re-union of benevolent spirits, and thanksgiving to the Source of All. It is part of a complex wholesome 'Momolian' religious system centered on the paddy rites of passage and the life cycle of 'Bambarayon' - the in-dwelling spirit of paddy.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sarawak Ethnic Contemporary Fashion and Exhibition 2013

Salaam, all.

Organized by Gem Events Sdn Bhd and Panggau Singai Crew, SECFE 2013 is a unique multicultural-based event showcasing new and emerging local talented designers that transform traditional ethnic costume wear to modern contemporary wear suitable for formal and informal wear for modern day men and women. 

Best in Malaysia Traditional Attire, Miss Malaysia Kebaya 2013

Dear lovely readers,

From magnificent tribal head-feathers with bark body-covers to antique gold-woven royal songket fabric, the array of Malaysia's traditional attires and textiles are stunningly diverse and colorful. 

In the early days, the aboriginal tribes wore native bark costumes and beads. With the advent of the ancient kingdoms, hand-loomed fine textiles and intricate Malay batik were used by the Malay royalty. As foreign trade flourished, costumes and textiles such as Chinese silk, the Indian fabrics or plaid sarong and the Arabian jubbah a robe with wide sleeves were introduced to the country. 

Winner - Massuhaella binti Mohd Idris (Puteri Santubong inspired traditional attire) 

Kebaya in the spotlight, beauty pageant and the advantages

Dear lovely readers,

With the mushrooming of beauty pageants in Malaysia an almost monthly occurrence, what’s going to differentiate the Miss Malaysia Kebaya 2013 from the rest?

The Miss Malaysia Kebaya (MMK) 2013 pageant was being held for the second time this year and surprise surprise, it actually stood out head and shoulders above other more established beauty pageants in Malaysia. Why? Firstly, the Miss Malaysia Kebaya pageant was a groundbreaking beauty pageant created and organized by Smart Network Marketing to promote tourism, cultural diversity, our common heritage and also harmony among all races and cultures in Malaysia. With that, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture has in turn played a key and proactive role in raising the awareness and prestige of this pageant. In return MMK provided the platform to elevate our beautiful and stunning national heritage costume, the Kebaya on the international level.

Miss Malaysia Kebaya 2013 - Continuing a tradition of excellence!

Salaam, all.

Congratulations to all title receivers of Miss Malaysia Kebaya 2013 (MMK2013)! BIG hugs to our newly crowned queen, Miss Sunshine Aileen Devi Eric (Wilayah's representative). And, the runner ups - Maryanne Lee (Sarawak), Massuhaella Mohd Idris (Sarawak), Ann Soe (Selangor), and Davina Naidu (Perak). Hosted by Deviyah Daranee (Miss Malaysia Earth 2012) and co-host Aeyrul Joseph (Panggau Singai Crew), it was a beautiful and successful event - overall. Glittered by the appearance of our beauty queens across Malaysia, this annually held MMK event act as a good platform for our Kebaya attire to be nationally recognized. On other note, with the mission to keep Malaysian’s heritage, culture and tourism exceptional and encourage harmonious relationships and friendships, MMK also serve as a good medium to bring love and cheer for charitable causes. Good job to the founder and President, Mr. Jason Hee Jee Pin for the wonderful efforts and determination. 

Miss Sunshine Aileen Devi Eric (Wilayah's representative). May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day, Miss Sunshine!
Malaysian beauties in their Kebaya attire during Miss Malaysia Kebaya 2013. From right to left - Davina Naidu (4th runner up), Maryanne Lee (1st runner up), Sunshine Aileen Devi Eric (winner), Ella Idris (2nd runner up) and Ann Soe (3rd runner up)
The objectives of Miss Malaysia Kebaya are:
1.   A platform for MMK girls to publish ( To be Famous)
2.   A Platform for MMK Products & Services to Advertise
3.   To bring all Beauty Queens , Top models & Celebrity into a beauty gallery
4.   To capture market readers to read your Beauty, Life Stye & Celebrity News
5.   To Support Beauty Pageant by getting more sponsors by Advertising their products & services
6.   A platform to be Celebrity & network to corporate world

On the other hand, heartfelt congratulations to the top five winners for Best in Malaysia Traditional Attire Category. This category was sponsored by Persatuan Kebudayaan dan Warisan Sabah (Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya) and Borneo Global (Julie Jidwin), with the support from Panggau Singai Crew, Gading Kenyalang/Pua Heritage and Miss Borneo Kebaya 2013 working committee. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Best in Traditional Attire, Miss Borneo Kebaya 2013

Salaam to all lovely readers.

Last week (November 22nd, 2013), I have had the chance to work with Miss Borneo Kebaya committee 2013 (MBK2013). Mrs. Julie and I (from Persatuan Kebudayaan dan Warisan Sabah Kuala Lumpur, Selangor dan Putrajaya) had the chance to do jugding for the Best in Traditional Attire category/subsidiary title. We really appreciate the chance given not only as part of the judging team but also to learn about the uniqueness of  Kebaya attire.

During the event, the first segment was traditional attire parade in which the contestants were given the opportunity to wear traditional attires that represent any ethnics in Malaysia. Most of the contestant chose to wear traditional attire from East Malaysia (Sabah/Sarawak). Then, came the self-introduction part. After a few catwalk-ing, the contestant intoduce themselves as “..Melati, 18, Sarawak!” And, continue with their motto part. All the contestants were equally gorgeous, and well prepared. You can easily tell from their fantabulous traditional attire and showmanship!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Putrajaya Botanical Garden: Persona Borneo

Salaam, all.

Outdoor photography session with DiaNni Othoe Kayar Lee and Ren Yon (Sharon Adrain). Dianni is a reigning harvest festival queen (Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan Peringkat Negeri Johor 2013). Sharon was the runner-up for Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan KDCA Johor State Level 2013, and is a reigning harvest festival queen (Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan Daerah Semporna 2013). Wardrobe by Mrs' Caroline's and Cleopatra's collection. Album: Putrajaya Botanical Garden - Persona Borneo.

"...Pada pandangan saya, pertandingan ratu cantik berkonsepkan tradisional ini sangat-sangat diperlukan pada masa ini kerana dengan adanya pertandingan sebegini, orang-orang muda akan lebih menghargai warisan bangsa. Seperti saya sendiri, banyak saya tidak tahu tentang bangsa saya sehingga la saya mengikuti pertandingan berkonsepkan tradisional ini. sesetengah orang sangat sukar untuk menghayati sesuatu hanya melalui bacaan di buku tetapi lebih mudah memahami melalui pengalaman, kan? Jadi kepada gadis-gadis KadazanDusunMurut (KDM) di luar sana, jangan lepaskan peluang untuk menyertai pertandingan ratu cantik tradisional kerana pengalaman tidak boleh dibeli dengan duit..." -Sharon.

"...Konsep tradisional bagi saya lebih kepada budaya dan adat resam sesuatu kaum, bersifat sopan santun. Saya tidak gemar mengenakan pakaian yang terlalu menjolok mata malah lebih kepada pemakaian baju tradisional dan ini sangat bagus kerana dapat mengekal dan meneruskan budaya/adat resam supaya tidak pupus ditelan arus permodenan..." - Dianni. 

Read more about them, click here - Dianni Murni Kayar and Sharon Adrain