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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

What does it take to be Kumang Iban Borneo Hornbill Festival?

What does it take to be Kumang Iban Borneo Hornbill Festival?

Personally, after being in the Borneo Hornbill Festival family for five years, I see that this event grew from a merely simple get together avenue among young Sarawakians to showcase their costumes and culture into something bigger in which to show to the vast public including the foreign viewers the in-depth showcase of culture sharing from both Sabah and Sarawak.  

Eversince being crowned the Kumang Iban Borneo Hornbill Festival in 2011, I felt that I have the responsibility to give back to the community by sharing my knowledge in Iban costume though not that expert but I believe I can enhance that knowledge along the way. To me, being given the title is not merely having the glamourous limelight of being called a once “Kumang”, no, that title does not work that way. Kumang as most of the Iban would know as the legendary Mother Goddess of Iban who possessed the top most quality of a woman apart from her prowess skills in weaving pua kumbu. She was also depicted as having a good heart and of course of exceptional beauty.

However, in this modern day not many Iban women are able to weave pua kumbu or even weave mats because I too do not have such talents to be frank. So what is the relevance of Kumang in this era then? That is what the objective of Borneo Hornbill Festival is all about. This future Kumang must be able to embrace her culture in which through her research in any sect of the Iban culture, be it Iban costume, adat, tusun tunggu, food, ngajat etc. Her research will show that she is passionate about what she is, an Iban blood and heart. 

Eversince the ngepan Rawai Tinggi emerged at the Borneo Hornbill Festival 2011, only then people become more interested in knowing the roots of the costume and lo and behold even more Iban ngepan from other Iban sects, Batang Ai, Batang Rajang, Julau, Kapit, Entulu just to name a few. Borneo Hornbill Festival became the platform for these Ngepan as not many of these “unknown” costumes were showcased in Sarawak. In this event contestants are given the opportunity to present their researches not forgetting their costumes, presentation skills, catwalk, beauty, congeniality and discipline. 

What about beauty then? Well my dear contestants, I would say beauty is a bonus because a beautiful face with a rotten heart will lead you to nowhere as physical beauty will not last forever, beautiful face will only stay in photographs, but beautiful heart does bring you a long way.  Beauty is subjective anyway and no one in this world should be judge whether a person is beautiful or not, chubby or thin, tall or short and if you do you are also questioning God’s creation of creating various range of race, colour, sizes etc. 

I must say that when I was one of the contestants of the 2011 Borneo Hornbill Festival I was neither the prettiest nor a catwalk model (I don’t even know how to catwalk!). I was just a 28 year old who just want to try her luck in a pageant and not wanting to live in the “what if” moment. I just wanted to try and experience how it feels to be in a pageant. Apart from that I wanted to see how far I can go after participating in this competition. 

Of course elaborate research was done for my costume hence I wore the ngepan Rawai Tinggi of the Saribas tribe as it was never been showcased before. I also brushed up my knowledge on tourism and culture as that was one of the segments that we were being tested at. Throughout my journey of extracting information about the ngepan as well as my culture I began to realize there is potential in this field, whereby the information on this ngepan Rawai Tinggi cannot just stop at BHF, it should go beyond that. Hence exist my blog Kumang Saribas, This is My Story blog page, surprisingly never could I have imagined that it would become source of reference for some viewers including by contestants of BHF and I thank you for such support and with that encouragement it gives me more inspiration to do more for my community. 

In conclusion, not that I want to discourage you from entering this competition but if you are thinking of being glamourous after winning in Borneo Hornbill Festival, then you are confused. BHF is not Miss World or Miss Universe where looks play important part in winning other than your confidence. BHF requires you to research your culture and embrace it until it is within your blood. From there we can see your confidence will show through a confident presentation of your research, not merely memorizing the accessories on your ngepan. 

Remember, catwalk can be taught and polished, appearance can be altered with make-up but humility and kindness towards others will make you the person whom people love and remember you by

With Love, 

Kumang Iban Borneo Hornbill Festival 2011

Friday, 12 February 2016

Who will be crowned the next Miss Sarawak Ethnic Iban Category 2016?

It seems that the years flew by so fast that Borneo Hornbill Festival is going to be organising its 8th Edition of pageantry with the tagline THE GR8 Road to London BHF 2016

Now, it has gone through a long haul of adventure and culture findings for the past few years. We learnt different costumes of different culture even from different era and sub-ethnicity. More and more "mini researches" being done by the contestants that became an eye opener to all of us. 

I missed last year's Borneo Hornbill Festival as I gave birth to my own Kumang in the making my little Eleanor Lempa. So I hope I am able to see the spectacular presentation of my Borneo culture this year. 

Borneo Hornbill Festival made a great impact on me as it became the platform where I showcased my rare Ngepan Rawai Tinggi thanks to BHF's concept in competition in showcasing the costumes of yester years. Not only it gives the liberty of portraying such, it also gave the emphasise of nature conservation and other aspects of culture such as food, music, tourism, games etc

So, who will be crowned as the next Miss Sarawak Ethnic Iban Category? Well, auditions are happening now...who knows IT COULD BE YOU?    

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Who wil be crowned the next Miss Sarawak Ethnic Iban Category?

Sa, Dua, Tiga, Empat, Lima, Nam, Tuuujuuuhhhhh.......

Seven is the lucky number for Borneo Hornbill Festival this year as it celebrates its 7th Year of establishment in promoting Borneo to the public. One great success of Borneo Hornbill Festival is that it has created many confident young talents who are now considered as successful in their own way.

The pageantry began in 2009 was done in a small scale compared to the newer generation of BHF starting from 2012. It began with just ethnics in Sarawak and in 2012 Borneo Hornbill Festival spread its wings to our neighbour Sabah by introducing our first Runduk Tadau competition for Sabah female. Now the Borneo Hornbill Festival has become a bigger event in Kuala Lumpur's calender as more publicity and exposure of this event has been made be it through social media or word of mouth. 

Borneo Hornbill Festival plays a significant role in the Borneo community particularly within the Sabahan and Sarawakian community here in Kuala Lumpur as it acts as the platform of networking for people from various ethnicity, age and creed. 

As the former winner of the Borneo Hornbill Festival 2011, I have the responsibility (yes until now despite of being married and pregnant too) to promote and explain to my non-Borneo friends what Sarawak is about particularly and Borneo generally. I had a very good experience joining BHF despite being among the more "senior" group age than others but all was for the good. I gained more confidence and also courage to face the public. 

As you have heard on seen on Borneo Hornbill Festival's page...the online voting is still on and have you voted for your favourite?

Here is the link for the online voting and the highest vote of each category will get an automatic place at the grand finals...well who doesn't want that right?

Voting ends this weekend so be fast.....kayuh kayuh perahu for your favourites ya!

And as for me I would always feature this so-called "Wall of Fame" of Kumang Iban BHF starting from my lovely Senior Ms. Nelly Sengalang Kumang Iban 2009...

Okay that's all for now.....All the best candidates BHF candidates!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Mr. George Pansiol of Magic Shutter Photography

Let’s see who I can feature today as our Borneo friend….. 


 Let me introduce to you Mr. George Pansiol or fondly known as “Angkol George”. He is the official photographer for Borneo Hornbill Festival 2014 under the team called Magic Shutter. Magic Shutter is the collaboration between two brothers and a friend Desmond Pansiol and Harrisson. Mr. George hailing from Membakut Sabah is a Dusun Kuijau, one of the rare ethnics in Sabah.

Now back to photography….Mr.George has been doing photography for 5 years now and mainly cover wedding photography. He gets his inspiration from National Geographic because it features natural photos in minimalistic amount of editing. Here are some of his works together with Magic Shutter for you to see. 

Mr. George aspires Magic Shutter to be the Photographers of Peoples’ choice whereby good photography does not necessary burns a hole in your pocket

So there you have it…Mr. George Pansiol of Magic Shutter…interested? Do visit their Facebook page or website :Magic Shutter Photography

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Borneo Hornbill Festival 2014 - Miss Sarawak Ethnic (Iban Category)

And so, Borneo Hornbill Festival closed its curtain for 2014 and the winner of Iban category has also been crowned. This year's winner was Ms. Nathalie Dinggai, an English teacher from Kapit, Sarawak. Beautiful and graceful in her own way, she managed to wow the jury with her confidence in public speaking apart from a good command in culture knowledge.  


Donning the heavy beaded Iban Batang Rajang ngepan with confidence, she managed to smile all the way throughout the competition. I was awed with her costume because she indeed "owned" the "look" and not the ngepan wearing her mostly because of her height and slim stature.

Nathalie in her ngepan Iban Batang Rajang

In her pua kumbu dress designed by her own

Top 3
Nathalie was top three in the finale of the Ms & Mr. Borneo Hornbill and I am very proud of her because she managed to keep the crowd amused with her jovial way of answering the finale question on tuak

In essence, Borneo Hornbill Festival is not only about the perfect costume because there is none. We are diverse in culture, geographically, economy and most importantly history, we revolved and evolved and keep evolving within the vast community of Borneo...

Borneo Hornbill Festival is about embracing one's culture to celebrate our differences and not to quarrel on who is the best. We are one, We are Borneo, We must stay united in order to achieve harmonious Borneo...

Dearest Alumni and all, always remember that no matter where you go or "bejalai" never forget our roots and be proud of it...Like what I always keep in my heart: "YOU CAN ALWAYS TAKE A SARAWAK GIRL OUT FROM SARAWAK BUT NEVER SARAWAK OUT OF A SARAWAK GIRL." OOOHHHHHHHAAAA......

Some of the still memories of Borneo Hornbill Festival 2014. Congratulations to all the winners, to me win or lose all of you are winners in my heart...Lots of love from me...Till then SEE YOU AT BORNEO HORNBILL FESTIVAL 2015!

Photos are from Magic Shutter & Facebook...

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Iban Contemporary Ethnic Fashion

I would like to dedicate this post to my mum in conjunction of Mother's Day and her being my inspiration in fashion. 

One of my fashion idols is definitely my mother. Looking through her old photos showed me that she is indeed a person who is always on trend when it comes to fashion without being a fashion victim. 

 I love her retro style the best particularly her long dark brown hair cascading over her shoulders and myriad styles of the 70s be it maxi dresses, bell bottom jeans, platform heels and big sunglasses with minimal or no make up at all. 
Whenever I see her old photos it gives me the inspiration to be be unique and individual in fashion and my particular favourite is Iban contemporary ethnic particularly from the Pua Kumbu be it it's fabric or the motif.

My very young mum

In our ngepan Iban

The love story began when I saw my mother more a sleeveless jacket and skirt made of an authentic pua kumbu as an usherette at an event in Sarawak and that was from a photo in the 70s. 

Mum's Pua Kumbu Jacket
When I was small I loved the jacket so much that I always wanted wear it but mum would not allow me as it was too big for me. As a result she made me my own pua kumbu jacket and skirt by using a pua kumbu motif fabric. See how young I was exposed to traditional motif fashion? Thank you Mummy!

I do not have my mother's photo of her wearing the jacket as it is not with me at the moment. However, because of this old jacket and the "mini" version of it inspired me to showcase Iban contemporary ethnic fashion in whatever events I attended. I wish I can be a good tailor as at the moment I can only design and send my designs to the tailor.

Here as some of my Iban contemporary ethnic looks that I have styled before. 

To a pre-Gawai dinner in 2014

Borneo Hornbill Festival 2013

At a friend's wedding

Same skirt in different style

At a book review session where I presented Sarawak related book review in MITI
My engagement in 2011
My first try in sewing a Pua Kumbu skirt which definitely needs a lot of improvement

My BHF photoshoot

My brother's convocation

Trying out some different looks for marek empang

I am so happy that now more and more designers are inspired to bring back the ethnic look and their effort should be commended. I hope to see more Sarawakian designers showcase more ethnic fashion not only for the runway but also easy to wear styles. 

Before I end my post for the day, I would like to give a shout out to all the mothers out there, Thank you for being the inspiration to your children particularly your daughters as my mother did and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!