KEPALA Kapo is a name given to the most beautiful girl in any Kedayan village or district where her beauty, character and looks are considered incomparable.
The words Kepala Kapo have existed in the Kedayan community for a long time. It’s a title given to the Kedayan girl with beauty and character that cannot be challenged but only admired.
“The most beautiful girl with good character and personality in any Kedayan village can be named Kepala Kapo,” Lawas Kedayan chairman Harris Majid told thesundaypost regarding the recent Kepala Kapo (Beauty Queen) Contest in conjunction with the Makan Tahun Perdana Festival (Annual Grand Festival). It was the first held in Lawas since 2014.
According to him, the Kepala Kapo is chosen by the headmen and villagers based on her character, attitude, appearance and beauty.
Based on Kedayan tradition, no other girls from the community in the village or district can compare with the beauty of the Kepala Kapo who is regarded as the icon of her area.
The trademark of the Kedayan attire is black and red and girls joining the Kepala Kapo competition must wear these two colours.
The baju kurung or baju kebaya is coloured black with red stripe cloth design on the lower part of the arms and neck and the bottom part of the garment.
Harris said the Kepala Kapo contest was held annually to keep this tradition of the community alive.
“It’s preserved as a Makan Tahun Perdana iconic event, involving all Kedayan villages in each district where all the Kedayan girls will vie for the Kepala Kapo title.”
He also said the first competition was organised by Persatuan Kedayan Lawas (PKL) and attended by Bekenu state assemblywoman Rosey Yunus.
From then on, he added, it was held by PKL’s counterparts in Limbang, Sabah and Sibuti where the majority of Kedayans live.
“Nowadays, the Kepala Kapo contest is one of the highlights of the Makan Tahun Perdana Festival where community leaders and family members from Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan and Brunei meet up.”
Harris said the Kepala Kapo contest was held by not only Kedayan villages but also Kedayan associations to promote the culture of community to the outside world.