Gawai Dayak impresses tourist from Shanghai


NEW EXPERIENCE: Chuan (right) in a photo call with a few of the longhouse folk donning the Iban traditional costume.

SIBU: The unique customs and practices of the Iban community in ushering in Gawai Dayak have greatly impressed a tourist from Shanghai, China.

Chuan Xia who joined a group of members from Sibu Vui Neng Association visited Rumah Grace Itun Upon at Salim-Stabau Road here recently to savour a new experience in celebrating Gawai.

“This is my first time setting afoot a longhouse…which I came to know of through my affiliate clan association,” he said when met during his visit and expressed gratefulness for the “affable hospitality” of the residents which made him feel comfortable and at ease.

Among others, Chuan was greatly impressed with the Iban traditional dance of ‘ngajat’ with the dancers donning colourful traditional costume.

“I would not let go of the golden opportunity to take a picture with them together with other longhouse folk.

However, what captivates me more is the ‘Ranyai’ or banana tree which is rarely seen in China,” he said, adding that he was really taken in by the dancers performing the ‘ngajat’ around the uniquely decorated tree.  He said he would share his memorable experience with his friends and family when he returned to China. Chuan also promised to come back to Sarawak again after such a fulfilling experience here.

“Honestly speaking, the culture of the community at the longhouse is very unique and captivating – more so with so many residents living under one roof. They seemed to be very closely-knitted,” he said.

He added that this would be unimaginable in his country because of modernisation and appreciated the unity shown by the longhouse residents.

Sibu Vui Neng Association organises annual activities like this to promote and strengthen friendships with other races in line with the 1Malaysia concept.

Association chairman, Kong Sing Ping and Kapitan Kong Kuok Sing brought about 30 other members to experience the unique Gawai Dayak celebration at the longhouse.