Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sabah Fest turns to folklore to lure tourists

With all the racial, religious and political strife, what the world needs now more than ever is love. And love it is that will draw tourists to this year’s Sabah Fest. This, at least, is what Sabah tourism officials hope. They have themed the annual cultural showcase of the Borneo island state “The Legend of Arung Salamiah”, an ancient love story of the Bajaus of Semporna, a sleepy fishing town on the south-eastern coast. With a cast of 500 and an outlay of half a million ringgit ($152,000), the two-day one-hour musical is expected to fill the 1,000-seat ballroom of the Magellan Sutera Harbour Resort in Kota Kinabalu from May 1.

The legend has a ring of Forrest Gump who kept running all over America for three and a half years after Jenny Curran, his childhood sweetheart, jilted him. Forrest became famous and attracted thousands of people who ran with him. Tanjung Kalang roamed Sabah after he failed to marry Arung. In the course of his journey, he learnt of the cultures of the different people that he met.

Marlena Jaafar James, 28, of Lahad Datu, will play Arung. She is a dancer with eight years of experience having graduated last year with a degree in dance performing art from the Universiti Malaya.

“Rehearsing the role for about four hours every day has been tough,” she says. “But I like it very much.”

Already, 50 Australians have bought the 50-ringgit tickets, according to Tengku Zainal Adlin, chairman of the Sabah Tourism Board. “Thirty to 60 Australians come to the Sabah Fest every year,” he says.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Sabah Fest turns to folklore to lure tourists

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