DBNA launches book on Salako dialect

Manyin (fourth left), Ranum (fourth right), Ik Pahon (third right) and the others gave their thumbs up following the launch of the
Salako word list.

LUNDU: The Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) has finally completed the documentation of the first word list or standardised spelling for the Salako dialect group of Lundu district after working on it for 18 years.

The completed work in the form of a book titled ‘Bup Paririkng Kata Salako’ was launched last Saturday at the village hall of Kampung Serayan Ulu by Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong.

The book marked the final or fourth Bidayuh word list produced by DBNA, after word lists for the Jagoi – Singai in Bau, Bukar Sadong (Serian) and Biatah (Penrissen/ Padawan).

Another first which took place at the same venue that day was a debate competition or ‘babantah’ using the Salako dialect.

Manyin, who is also DBNA advisor, said efforts to preserve the Bidayuh dialects deserve to be supported so that the younger generation can appreciate their heritage and cultural identity.

He pointed out that while the Bidayuhs have four distinct dialects, they are ethnically and culturally the same and therefore should remain united.

“Please don’t look at the differences. Focus at the similarities. By doing this, Bidayuhs will remain united and become strong despite being a minority group. Be as one Bidayuh, not two or three or four which will only split us and make us weaker,” he said.

He also urged the Bidayuhs to master English and other international languages as well as excelling in their studies, so that they form quality human capital which is vital and needed for the progress of the nation.

Also present at the launching ceremony were Opar assemblyman Dato Ranum Mina, DBNA president Datu Ik Pahon Joyik and Yayasan Sarawak deputy director Ellen Manium Engang.

Ranum who is of Selako descent said he always supports any initiative to promote and preserve the Salako traditions and culture.

He pledged a sum of RM50,000 for DBNA to continue with such efforts for the Salako group.

Ik Pahon, who also spoke earlier, said he was happy that DBNA has finally completed the word list for the Salako dialect, 18 years after the initiative started in 2000.

He said the word list was made possible through a collaboration with SIL International, a non-profit worldwide organisation working with DBNA to preserve the four main Bidayuh dialects.

He pointed out that a consultant from SIL International Dr Ricard Escuain Anderson from Spain, had lived with the Salako community for five years for this purpose.

“We in DBNA are happy that we have achieved our KPI (key performance index). As president of DBNA, I am very happy and praise and thank the Lord for making this happen,” he said.

He pointed out that a second edition of the word list will be worked on soon where there will be more words added.

He singled out Manyin and Ranum for allocating funds from the government to realise this word list and preservation of Bidayuh dialects.

It is learnt that many of the Salako word list books were bought by the public who came that day.

Booths by DBNA and local traders were set up outside the venue in conjunction with the occasion which also saw Bidayuh recording artistes Rannee Pat and Dino entertaining the crowd.

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