Tuesday, October 26

Iban culture, traditions on display at cultural night


Doris striking a gong to mark the occasion while other VIPs look on.

KUCHING: The ‘Cultural and Entertainment Night’ organised by Kelab Dayak Middletown and Persatuan Ngasi Sarawak at Taman Unicentral Kota Samarahan on Saturday showcased splendid performances to promote Iban culture.

The night started with rituals called ‘Biau Piring ke Petara’ and ‘Biau Pengabang’ by Nichol Ragai Lang and Nicholas Beliang respectively to appease the gods and to welcome invited guests.

Diners, including guest-of-honour Dato Sri Doris Sophia Brodie, who is a political secretary to the Chief Minister, were treated with cultural performances such as ‘Gendang Pampat’, Sape music, ‘Ngajat Pua Kumbu’, ‘Ngajat Kumang Berhias’, ‘Ngajat Iban Kuntau’, ‘Ngajat Ngalu Temuai’ and a medley of ‘Ngajat Nyumpit’ and ‘Ngajat Lesung’.

The ‘Gendang Pampat’ team played four musical pieces — Pekok Manok Kaki, Terambit, Pepitu and Petau Bindau.

Ragai also performed a ritual called the ‘Pantun Ai Ansah’ for Doris before she delivered her keynote address.

The night also showcased contemporary performances with Seruran Merindang under the music label OCHSP and

singer Fiedarus Udin taking the stage, followed by performances from the top two winners of a recent Battle of the Bands.

Doris said language and culture are the tools of racial identity.

However, she said the Iban language alone is not enough to be the key marker of Iban identity because others had picked up the language and used it almost daily.

Such was the case of Fiedarus who is a local Malay speaking and singing in Iban, to the delight of the diners on Saturday.

“Cooperation among NGOs (non-governmental organisations) is imperative in Dayak efforts to protect, preserve and promote its culture and traditions. The Dayaks’ existence in the world depends on the degree and intensity of promotion. As our culture is beautiful and local cuisine exotic we can use them in the promotion of state

tourism. The Dayak must also persevere in their entrepreneurial endeavours so that we can be on par with others,” she said.

Among those present were co-organising chairmen Blixie Genek Francis and Ajat Sumoh; Julie café operator Julie Bunjai as well as councillors Florince Christy and Christina Lamanu.