MIRI: The United People’s Party (UPP) Pujut branch has embarked on an initiative to collect and document various aspects of Sarawak’s ‘intangible’ cultural heritage as part of the efforts to safeguard and preserve the state’s rich legacy.
UPP Pujut chairman Bruce Chai, who made the announcement during a press conference at the branch office here yesterday, said the ‘Non-Tangible Cultural Heritage Museum (Virtual)’ project is currently seeking collaboration from associations of various communities in the state.
Elements of intangible cultural heritage may include food recipes, oral expressions, social practices, rituals, traditional craftsmanship and the performing arts.
“UPP Pujut is in the process of creating a database to collect and preserve the cultural data. These beliefs and practices of local cultures must be preserved to avoid it from becoming extinct.
“We initiated this, but of course we cannot do this by ourselves. We need input from members of the public from different culture. This is not just targeting the Chinese community and their culture, but also the Malays, Indians, and the natives,” Chai added.
He encouraged Sarawakians to get involved in the drive by compiling, documenting and sending their own videos, photos and information of traditional Sarawakian practices to UPP Pujut for preservation.
“We will also write to several associations of various ethnic groups in Sarawak to get them involved in this initiative, whereby they would also be able to assist in editing work as to ensure that the information including the wording used are precise before we publish it on the database.”
Those wishing to contribute can send entries to ‘Miri Cultural Heritage Museum’ Facebook page, or email them to MCHMuseum@hotmail.com.
Chai said they are also looking at setting up an app for their database once they have received sufficient information.
“We cannot keep all the information on Facebook in case something happened. So, we have to preserve these by setting up an app for smartphones. When people wish to look for any information on various Sarawakian heritage and culture, they can access the app and look for it. The information on the app will be more complete, structured and systematic for people from anywhere around the world to search for it,” he pointed out.
He believed that the database would also be a great add on to the Miri Cultural and Heritage Museum – the first community-based museum here, which is expected to open this year.
“We are also looking forward to donate our database to the museum for information to be shared among members of the public. So this is the start, starting from virtual and we will move on to the actual museum,” he added.
“A lot of our beliefs and practices of local cultures may disappear one day because they are passed down from the older generations, but we do not record them down. We need to ensure that this does not happen and we need to preserve it.”