How did it began….my friend Susan Leo showed me an SMS that she got on the Kumang and Keling Borneo Hornbill Festival 2011 contest. It was an event organised by Persatuan Warisan Sarawak Kuala Lumpur. I was quite reluctant to enter this contest as mum never encourages me to do so ever since I was a student. After one persuasion to another by Susan finally yeah why not…after all I’m still within the age limit and it is one way to pursue my dream to embrace Iban culture more extensively.
|My photoshoot for the online voting|
1) Antique shops around main bazaar (Waterfront Kuching);
2) Sarawak Museum (Ethnology Museum);
3) Sarawak Museum (the bookshop at the Main museum building);
4) Textile Museum (opposite Old Kuching Post Office);
5) Pasar Satok (Satok weekend market);
6) My uncle’s house.
The research did not just stop there, internet, asking people around (and yes you need “muka tebal” / thick skin to ask), grabbing photos from every source that I can think of and Facebook. I also came to a point where there were too many information that I received that I got myself confused. So me and Susan discussed via the net on which style of costume that I should wear.
|My Mum, Mdm Sylvia Sayah Tangai|
Since I am from Saratok, Betong, by right I should portray Indu Dara Insin Temaga, a Kumang wearing the RAWAI TINGGI. No women since the modern Kumang Gawai being introduced in 1966 wore a rawai tinggi before as Kumang Gawai competition focuses more on the “official ngepan” which mainly consist the “marek empang” or “tango” (the colorful beaded accessory that an Iban woman wear around her neck) to complete the look apart from kain karap (skirt), the sugu tinggi (head dress), tumpa pirak (bracelets), lampit (silver belt), rawai (corset), selampai (shawl), sementing ringgit (coins attached to the rawai), gelang kaki (anklets) and buah pauh (olden day purse where they used to stash betel nuts and lime paste).
I was advised by a mentor on how Indu Dara Insin Temaga would look like and I quote:
“ The real ngepan worn by Kumang and her sister Lulong, according to our Saribas/Saratok tradition is:
1. Sugu pandak
2. Necklaces made of silver buttons (marek Ubu) –
they NEVER wore marek empang
3. Rawai tinggi from waist right up to the armpits just enough to cover the breast
4. Kain bebuah pandak (above the knee)
5. Three silver lampit
6. Tumpak pirak
7. Gelang kaki
This is the ngepan Iban for centuries (at least for Saribas tribe). If you dress this way, the old folks will remember that was the way they used to dress before the Second World War.”
D-day: 23 July 2011 (Satuday)
Location: MATIC, Ampang Kuala Lumpur
Emotion: Nervous with cold sweat
|The Olden days Sea Dayak bride|
|The modern version of Sea Dayak bride|
Being the Indu Dara Insin Temaga for almost 10 hours definitely paid off. Goddess Kumang indeed was smiling at me and Susan that night..We won the title..yeay!! Kumang Iban PWSKL 2011..It was overwhelming I must say…and surprised too because the community accepts the idea of Indu Dara Insin Temaga. We were glad to be able to show to the community and also the tourists the real ngepan Iban (Saribas tribe).
So what did I gained from entering this competition?
Of course experience - being onstage IS nerve-wrecking and I learned to be comfortable with my audience as in this kind of competition it is important to be able to "enchant" your audience. Throughout the process I begin to embrace my Iban culture even more strongly and I feel more connected to it.
I also gained more friends, now that I have more younger friends, so young I can call them my little brothers and sisters also some other friends older than I am whom I will always adore.
|With my Manager, my dear friend lovely Susan Leo|
With the blessings of Goddess Kumang I hope I am able to equip myself with more knowledge on Iban and spread it to the community.I'm proud to be Iban even though I have been far away from Sarawak since I was six years old, I'm glad to stay in touch with my culture and never at any single moment entering this competition a regret for me in fact I'm thankful to be given this opportunity... God Bless all of you...Ooohhaaa....
Our humble beginnings...
|Beautiful Elizabeth Lenna|
|Keling Winner Mr. Ricky Kimwah|
|Robson Jelian Keling Iban|
|Leannie and Dessi|
|Mr.Leonard Yiu (owner of some of the accessories)|
|Aunty Patricia Momyus (Robson's Mom)|
|Blogger friend Medeline Prada|
till then..we meet again in another post....