SERIAN: The Serian Mini Stadium erupted with the thunderous sound of traditional drums and gongs and the chanting of Bidayuh traditional toasting of “tara, tara, tara” as Pesta Birumuh 2015 (Harvest Festival) kicked off yesterday.
However, this year, there was extra reason for the people in Serian to be joyful because Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, who came to officiate, took the grand opportunity to declare Serian as the 12th administrative Division of Sarawak. Several community leaders met yesterday expressed their delight at the announcement although they had expected the good news to come yesterday.
A Serian District Councillor Duncan Dalot from Kampung Semungkoi said Serian being the Bidayuh heartland deserves such a recognition after 50 years of independence.
“Probably, our council will be upgraded to ‘Majlis Perbandaran’ or municipal council, while we as councillors will have more responsibilities we need to perform for the rate payers,” added the councillor who has served for the past two years.
“We are very happy and proud that Serian is elevated to the 12th administrative centre in Sarawak and we thank the chief minister for recognising the Bidayuh community,” he enthused.
A Bidayuh Muslim farmer Daud Abdullah from Kampung Bedup Meriam said the elevation into a division will lead to more economic activities in Serian.
“I feel very proud to have witnessed this historic occasion. I am still feeling ecstatic over the announcement made by the chief minister. Through this elevation to division status, I hope more can be done to help farmers like us who now generate our income from oil palm, rubber, pepper, cocoa and other cash crop farming activities,” he said,
The 64-year-old village headman of Kampung Engkaroh, A-on Abon said he and other fellow village chiefs had patiently waited for the announcement since they were given hints that the good news would come yesterday.
“This is the happiest news we have received for the Bidayuh community. After 20 years as headmen, this is a moment I cherish with my fellow villagers,” said A-on who was leading two contingents for the festival who played the bamboo flute among those wearing in costumes resembling a mythical Bidayuh beast.
The costumes were made of husk or fibre of Ijok palm trees and they also don wooden masks depicting different facial expressions.
A retired medical staff, Kuak Saul, who plays the bamboo flute, was very happy and pleased that finally Serian was made a division.
“We should have had it long before but it never materialised and we must thank our leaders in making this a reality,” said the 67-year-old man, also from Kampung Engkaroh.
Dressed in traditional Bidayuh costume, Margaret Rajan said she did not know much about the elevation of Serian but she was very proud of it. The housewife from Kampung Koran Empenig hoped that Serian town will be better known after this and that it is the home of the Bidayuh people who also contribute to state and nation.
Meanwhile, the Pesta Birumuh 2015 launching saw the attendance of almost 10,000 people from all walks of life filling up the mini stadium. A total 36 contingents representing various Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) branches from throughout Sarawak, and those from other ethnic groups in Serian were involved in the festival parade.
Among the very famous Bidayuhs in the parade were Olympian Pandelala Rinong and Miss World Malaysia and Miss Talent World Dewi Liana Seriestha. Adenan, after declaring Serian as the newest division, also expressed his delight with the spirit of unity shown by the Bidayuhs, especially among its leaders who came together for the big occasion regardless of their political differences. Other activities for the Pesta Birumuh include an International Remote Control (RC) Boat Race, Serian Bike Gathering 2015 and the Birumuh Idol.