Sabahans celebrate Kaamatan in UK

KOTA KINABALU: Over 100 Sabahans and non-Sabahans living in the United Kingdom celebrated Kaamatan at Chieveley Village Hall on June 3.

The celebration was organised by the Sabahan Abroad United Kingdom (SAUK), formed by a group of friends living in the UK, to support other Sabahans, promote unity amongst them and cultivate cultural awareness, especially amongst the younger generation.

“We may be far away from home but our love for our cultures and traditions remains close to our hearts,” said Leorita Joseph Henry of SAUK.

On a gloriously sunny Saturday, over 100 Sabahans and non-Sabahans who live in the UK and abroad, came together in solidarity and friendship to celebrate the spirit of Kaamatan, through the sharing of their cultures, traditions and food.

In a fun-packed all-day event, both adults and children competed in arm-wrestling and tug-of-war, and danced their traditional sumazau and magunatip.

“We feasted on our favourite delicacies such as hinava, bambangan, tuhau, and sang our favourite Kaamatan songs. What could be more appropriate but a shot of lihing (sponsored by Stephen Chin from Kota Kinabalu) to welcome our guests to the evening reception,” she said.

Keeping the true tradition of Kaamatan, one of the highlights of the night was the Unduk Ngadau contest. The honour went to Kelly Joeman from London.

“To keep us all entertained, we had a talented 10-year-old Maya Linawa with her ukelele, performing ‘Tomoimo ondom ku iziou’ an old classic by the late Lucy Sikuat. Another highlight of the evening was a beautiful cultural performance by the UK Kulintangan group, showing the true essence of dance from Penampang and Papar, complemented by the magunatip dance,” said Leorita.

The prizes for these competitions, including lucky draw, were generously sponsored by a number of establishments in Sabah such as Chanteek Borneo Indigenous Museum, Hilton Kota Kinabalu, Borneo Holidays & Vehicle Rental Sdn Bhd, Borneo Travel Planner & Trip Advisor, Jurukur Luaran and Associates, Shoney’s Dining & Bar and Langkah Syabas Resort. Other sponsors were Wing Yip Supermarket, Kings Lynn Vehicle Repairs and Mr and Mrs Stickler from the UK,

The celebration brought everyone together through fun games, love of food, social dancing and light-hearted competitions which were enjoyed by all. These were captured in photos by Mae Kolis Photography and various photographers on that day. With the help and support from friends and families, the event was a complete success.

Going forward, SAUK is hoping to gain more sponsors for prizes and venue, as well as volunteers to help organise a bigger and better Kaamatan. With the new found friendships amongst fellow Malaysians, this could also lead to a collaborative social events in the future.

The organising committee members hope to continue the Kaamatan spirit and the togetherness it brings, regardless of race and religion here in the UK for many more years to come.

You can find out more about the Sabahan Abroad UK by visiting its website on


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