SIBU: Works are underway to erect the gigantic ‘Itut’ – a traditional Melanau swing, measuring 53 feet in height – at Sibu Town Square Phase 1.
Sahari Ubu, who is in charge of its construction, said the structure is much higher than that of last year, adding that it is expected to reach completion before the start of annual Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) here.
BCF 2018 runs from July 19 till 28.
He said the swing is jointly erected by Melanau Welfare Association of Kampung Nangka Sibu (PKMKNS) and Kampung Nangka security and development committee (JKKK).
For the record, ‘Itut’ is a distinctive feature for BCF 2018 – it was also a crowd-puller in last year’s festival.
“The wood itself measures 53 feet while the swing, when ready, is about 29 feet. We want to build it higher this year so that the swing can retain longer momentum for the people to enjoy.
“If it is shorter, it would slow down after a few swings. Hence, the taller, the better,” Sahari told The Borneo Post when met at the site yesterday afternoon.
“This is the traditional swing of Kampung Nangka Melanau. We all feel very proud when it is raised for the public to view – and ride on – later,” he said, admitting that the initial intention was to construct a 60-footer.
The swing is expected to be ready for the public this July 19 after the ritual ceremony, which is part of the community’s tradition. Former community leader Sahari assured all that the ‘Itut’ would be safe – a demonstration would be conducted before any member of the public is allowed to ride on the swing.
Sahari said with the ‘Itut’ up and running, it would be a form of achievement for the whole of Sibu.
“As a Melanau, I feel very proud to retain this type of traditional game for the future generation,” he enthused. Sahari also thanked Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) for providing them with all the necessary support.
“This year, we do not have enough manpower. For safety reasons, there is a mobile crane that help set up the structure. We are very appreciative of SMC’s support.”