Sunday, October 18, 2009

Undying passion gives lifeline to fading Kadazan art of craft-making


KOTA KINABALU: Most of the Sabahan womenfolk in the past were proficient in handi-craft-making.

Of course, during those days the handicrafts which we know now as devices that looked pretty behind glass walls were often put to good use by the folks.

Crafts such as the ‘sinagging’, a Kadazan term for the backpack, were used to carry fruits, vegetables, catches from the sea or the river while the ‘tikam’, which is a local term for a mat, were often placed on the wooden or bamboo floors during festivities and other special occasions.

The enterprising women also made the ‘siung’ meaning ‘hat’ in Kadazan. It’s triangular in shape and made primarily out of bamboos and rattan and used by the folks as a head cover whenever they have to bask under the hot sun or rain.

But with the time passing, there were lesser people practicing handicraft-making and these skills, which once was so prevalent among the locals of Sabah, are slowly being forgotten and would surely fade if not for the effort of some folks who continue to enjoy making local crafts.

One of these womenfolk is Lapar Binti Salah, a Murut woman who hails from Tenom.

An ardent handicraft maker, Lapar said that her livelihood depends on her craft-making skills.

“This is my job. What I make, I will later sell to people, most of whom are tourists,” she said.

She added that tourists liked the local handicrafts as it was unique and beautiful for them.

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