3,000 expected for event to mark Kayan conversion to Christianity


MIRI: Around 3,000 Kayans from Baram as well as from other divisions in the state and Kalimantan Indonesia are expected to converge in Long Atip on June 5–7 to mark the 70th anniversary of the conversion of the Kayan community to Christianity (Borneo Evangelical Mission denomination).

Organising chairman Nawan Luhat disclosed that June 5, 1947 is the official date of their conversion to BEM which was then known as Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) as recorded by pioneering missionary  the late C Hudson Southwell in his book ‘Uncharted Waters’.

“The celebration will cover praise and worship, sermons, cultural presentations and games. Slide shows and a commemorative souvenir book will provide a glimpse of the Kayan community’s historical journey of faith begun by our forefathers who took the leap of faith 70 years ago.”

Nawan disclosed that the highlight of the celebration is the unveiling of the anniversary plaque on June 6.

Cultural troupes from Kalimantan and Sungai Asap Belaga are expected to showcase traditional Kayan dances at night.

“A mega long dance called ‘Hivan Upah’ will be held on the afternoon of June 7. Local residents and guests will join in the long dance in full traditional costumes. Also performing will be Kayan cultural troupes from Malinau and Miau Baru from Kalimantan, Indonesia,” Nawan said.

Long Atip is accessible using 4×4 off-road vehicles via the ferry crossing at Long Lama.

Those planning to attend the anniversary celebration are urged to drive safely and observe road signages, especially when driving on logging trails.