Melt­ing pot of her­itage to trea­sure

Let Malaysia Day be re­minder of our in­te­grated di­ver­sity

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Malaysia Day - By SHARON LING and GERYL OGILVY metro@th­es­

SARAWAK’S rich cul­tural her­itage stems from its di­ver­sity of eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties who have their own iden­tity yet live to­gether in har­mony.

This her­itage can be seen in the dis­tinct tra­di­tions, cus­toms and lifestyles of each com­mu­nity, from mu­sic, song and dance to hand­i­crafts and food.

Some of the well-known cul­tural arte­facts clearly rep­re­sent the com­mu­nity they come from, ex­am­ples be­ing the Iban cer­e­mo­nial tex­tile called pua kumbu and the sape, a tra­di­tional string mu­si­cal in­stru­ment of Orang Ulu com­mu­ni­ties such as the Kayan, Kenyah and Ke­labit.

At the same time, there is some­thing recog­nis­ably Sarawakian about the var­i­ous tan­gi­ble and in­tan­gi­ble forms of cul­tural in­her­i­tance re­sult­ing from the har­mo­nious way of life in the state.

In the words of Sarawak Her­itage So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Robert Jacob Ridu, “Sarawak has an ex­tra­or­di­nary his­tory and mi­lieu of peo­ples bring­ing about a real con­flu­ence over the years.

“This has brought about a unique fu­sion of the ways of life into the ‘Sarawakian’ way. It has made Sarawak a place for pleas­ant and qual­ity liv­ing.

“Our whole­some, rich and var­ied her­itage is a pre­cious com­mon good, first of all for Sarawakians but also for vis­i­tors and the world.”

Sarawakians love to share their cul­ture with one an­other and with other peo­ple. Nowhere is this more ev­i­dent than dur­ing fes­tive oc­ca­sions and cel­e­bra­tions, and Malaysia Day is no ex­cep­tion.

For Deputy Chief Min­is­ter Tan Sri James Mas­ing, Malaysia Day is an ap­pro­pri­ate oc­ca­sion for ev­ery­one to come to­gether and show­case the state’s cul­ture.

“Malaysia Day should be cel­e­brated by all Malaysians, whether we are from Sarawak, Sabah or penin­su­lar Malaysia. This is our day to re­mem­ber when Malaysia was cre­ated. Let us get to­gether, not only with Sarawakians but with all Malaysians to cel­e­brate.”

Wan Ah­mad Tamizie, a per­former at the Sarawak Cul­tural Vil­lage, said Malaysia Day was a good oc­ca­sion for ev­ery­one to re­mem­ber that they played a role in pro­mot­ing unity.

One way to do this, he said, was to look be­yond race and re­li­gion and not al­low cul­tural dif­fer­ences to cre­ate walls of sep­a­ra­tion.

“In the past 54 years since Malaysia was formed, peo­ple have de­vel­oped a love and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the di­verse cul­tural her­itage, food and tra­di­tions of the na­tion, in­clud­ing adopt­ing the tra­di­tional mo­tifs of other eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties.

“This goes to show that Malaysians have ab­sorbed a lit­tle bit of each other into our lives,” he said.

Sarawak’s rich cul­tural her­itage lies in its eth­nic di­ver­sity.

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