KUCHING (March 19): The Dayak community needs to be creative and not just expect help from their elected representatives to survive, said Gabungan Orang Asal Sabah dan Sarawak (Goass) chairman Peter John Jaban.
Speaking to reporters when met at the Dayak Icons Award and Appreciation Gala Dinner 2023 themed “Jasamu dikenang” event here last night, John expressed his disappointment with “some Dayak leaders who are successful and rich” but did not want to support or participate despite being asked.
“This event is held as a result of collections and contributions from ordinary people, without sponsorship from known leaders, nor Dayak people’s representatives.
“This event was initiated by ordinary people, who wanted to meet Dayak personalities, who have succeeded in making the name of Sarawak famous people in the eyes of the world.
“We are proud of successful Dayak personalities in the fields of modelling, music and traditional culture, who attend this event without asking for payment from the organisers,” he said.
John said the event, which was jointly organised by Tajai Culture and Arts Association (Tajai) and Goass, was held to gather Dayak associations that are active in safeguarding the arts and culture of the Dayak community.
About 800 people attended the event that included Tajai president Themotty Jagak, Temenggong Dato Bernard Aggan Asaan, Dayak activist and former Saratok MP Dato Sri Edmund Langgu, Unimas senior lecturer Dr Luis Ringah Kanyan, Kelab Main Asal Dayak (Kemada) chairman Jackery Chukan and Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) and The Borneo post columnist Sidi Munan.
Themotty in his speech, said the event was held to celebrate Dayak personalities who have made Sarawak famous either locally and abroad.
“This event is also attended by members of Goass from Sabah, and at the same time, we also collaborate with several Dayak associations in West Kalimantan (Kalbar), Indonesia.
“We hope that tonight’s event can further strengthen the relationship between the ‘orang asal’ of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
The recipients of the Dayak Icons Award were Miss Malaysia World 2014 Dewi Liana Seriestha, Miss Malaysia Universe 2020 Francisca Luhong James; Miss Malaysia World 2018 Larissa Ping, Mrs Petite Global 2023 Joyce Nyupeh, Miss Planet International 2019 Viviana Lin Winston and former Miss Cheongsam Sarawak 2016 Saphire Wng, renowned bodybuilders Philomena Dexclyn Siar and Buda Ancah, boxing champion Sapok Biki and two-time Motorsport World Champion Freddy Lawan.
The organisers also presented the ‘Outstanding Community Award’ was presented to Sidi.
Also held during the event were the launch of Tajai association song, a presentation of the uniqueness of the Dayak traditional costumes, Sape, ‘Gendang Pampat’ and Kuntau performances, exhibition and selling of Dayak handicrafts and food.