KOTA KINABALU: It is not cheap to take part in the Unduk Ngadau competition.
The Sabah Kaamatan Festival Unduk Ngadau contender from Tenom, Estherlyn Joseph, said she had to rent the elegant traditional Murut costume that she wore during the State Unduk Ngadau registration held at Le Meridien yesterday.
“I had to fork out RM200 to rent the costume. Another RM150 for the makeup as well as several hundred more for the hairdo.
“When I took part in the Tenom district Unduk Ngadau two days ago, I spent about RM500,” she told the Borneo Post.
Looking elegant in the costume, Estherlyn, 20, didn’t know how much more she would need to fork out to vie for the State level Unduk Ngadau title but noted that so far, it has been an expensive venture.
“I work in Kota Kinabalu, so I had to travel back and forth to Tenom for the contest,” she said.
Fortunately, her ‘investments’ had been worth it after she was crowned as Tenom’s Unduk Ngadau two days earlier.
She added that it was the first time she was competing in the competition and felt happy to be able to represent Tenom in the State Level Unduk Ngadau pageant.
The 160cm tall Kadazan lass who presently works as an accounts assistant for a local firm here hopes to become an accountant in the future.
“I sat for my STPM (Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia) last year and will be enrolling into the Banking course at Universiti Malaysia Sabah during their upcoming intake,” she said.
She said that she opted for accountancy because of her penchant for numbers, and that her brief working experience as an accounts assistant further strengthened her resolve that accountancy would be the perfect career path for her.
On the upcoming pageant, Estherlyn said that she hoped to be among the top seven winners.
“However, my main aim is for the experience I would be getting from participating in the pageant. After all, I am still young. I can always try again,” she said.
Liz Lorena, 25, who is representing Johor Bahru in the upcoming State Level Unduk Ngadau competition also described her happiness at being picked as the first Johor Bahru Unduk Ngadau.
“I was quite pleased, proud and happy,” she said.
Standing 165cm, the lanky lass said she moved to Peninsular Malaysia six years ago to pursue her tertiary studies.
She now works for an oil and gas company as an executive in Johor Bahru, while the rest of her family continue to live here.
“My father is a lecturer at a teachers’ college here while my mom works as a staff nurse. I also have a younger brother who is already working,” she said.
She aspires to become a businesswoman eventually, but for now, she said that she was happy to be where she was.
She also expressed how much she missed her family here.
“I miss them dreadfully, but being far from them is the price I have to pay to garner work experiences and to become more independent,” she said.
Yet another brainy contestant met at the registration drive yesterday was Putatan Unduk Ngadau representative, Samantha Laujang, 20.
Samantha shared that she was a second year accountancy student at a university here and that this would be her second time contesting at the State Level Unduk Ngadau pageant.
“I manage to get the fifth spot in 2012 and the experiences I have garnered then had been invaluable. We learned how to promote the local culture, the importance of discipline, of punctuality particularly during rehearsals. I also made a lot of friends and the experience boosted my confidence level,” said Samantha.
Aside from that, she also visited and made appearances at various events.
She added that she hoped luck will side with her this time around and allow her to attain the State Unduk Ngadau crown.
Career-wise, Samantha wants to become an accountant and slowly raise enough capital to start her own restaurant or fashion shop.
During her spare time, she enjoys working in sales and marketing.
“I like ‘helping out’ and selling products,” she said.
The three contestants were part of the 42 district level Unduk Ngadau winners contending in the upcoming State Level Unduk Ngadau competition which will take place on May 31 at the Hongkod Koisaan near here.