Saturday, August 24

Redeems’ Gawai carnival set to attract large crowd

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BAU: Association of Research and Development Movement of Singai (Redeems) which will be hosting the ninth Gawai Carnival from June 20 to 24 is now all set to receive its special guests in the persons of Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Its president, Datuk Peter Nansian, who is also Assistant Minister of Community Development said the Gawai Carnival this time would be more meaningful with the presence of the most distinguished guests from the state and the federal governments.

“The Head of State will be coming to open the event where Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem will also be present,” he told reporters after chairing the final preparation meeting at the Redeems Centre near here yesterday.

He said they were expecting a bigger crowd to the carnival this year in view of the various side events that will also be held right from the start till the end despite the fact that it coincides with the World Rainforest Music Festival (WRMF).

“We don’t think it will affect the people’s turnout because most people will like to see the unique Gawai Dayak celebration where this year the concept is different from that of previous years,” he said.

He said it would be a ‘full spec’ Gawai where traditional Bidayuh rituals would be displayed and showcased throughout the celebration.

“Therefore, we expect that it will attract a really big crowd,” he said, adding that among activities that had been lined-up would be Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Corp Micro Financing Carnival to be held today, sales of food and handicrafts, exhibition by the various government departments and agencies, Gawai rituals at the Bidayuh longhouse and Dayung Sikora (beauty pageant).

“On Saturday, we will have sales of food and handicrafts, social welfare aid programme and other fun-filled activities. The highlight will be a state dinner with Minister o f Social Development Tan Sri William Mawan as the guest-of-honour,” he said.

He said this would be the best opportunity for visitors from various races and backgrounds to witness the actual Bidayuh Gawai rituals which were nearing extinction following the introduction of Christianity into the community.

“Gawai rituals are rarely practised today but in this Redeems Gawai Carnival we are bringing it back and to showcase it to the younger generation and also the general public and those who want to see them are most welcomed,” said Nansian.