KUCHING: There are many similarities between the indigenous people of Taiwan and the Bidayuhs of Sarawak, as delegates from Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) found out during a trip to the republic recently.
The 40-member group, led by vice-president Joseph Jindy Peter Rosen, paid a courtesy call on Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of the Council of Indigenous People, Calivat Gadu, where several matters were discussed including future collaborations.
The DBNA members also visited the Wulai Atayal Museum, as well as other cultural sites and places of interests during the five-day visit.
Jindy said the trip was made on the invitation of Calivat, who himself had led a group from the council to Kuching in March.
“We made this reciprocal visit to Taiwan to study and learn more about the indigenous people there. It was a self-financed trip, which we did for the love of our community, as we wanted to learn from others.
“We talked about few things, including students exchange (programme) for our young people to do cultural studies.
“We, in DBNA, are also looking into (making) similar visits to indigenous groups in other countries in Asia,” he said.
Meanwhile, the meeting with Calivat also included a sharing session by the Council of Indigenous People on how the community had been preserving its culture and identity in modern-day Taiwan.
They also presented slides on ‘Indigenous Agriculture’, and the implementation of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Taiwan.
The DBNA delegates also comprised Serian Bidayuh Temenggong Henry Bujang Sendan, another DBNA vice-president Jimas Jihel, treasurer-general Asem Linkin, deputy secretary-general John Laurence Anga Solep, cultural officer Paul Akiu Bandat, executive committee members Bronnie Marshall and Mejun Abang, and several DBNA branch chairmen and members.
The trip was organised by DBNA’s Entrepreneurial Committee chaired by Bronnie.