Thursday, June 03, 2010

Kaamatan - Sabah’s natives speak for 1Malaysia

Kadazandusuns and Muruts give substance to unity in diversity

Sabah’s 738,500 indigenous Kadazandusuns and Muruts make up less than 3% of Malaysia’s 28m multi-ethnic population which includes Malays, ethnic Chinese and Indians. But they are the largest native group of 40 ethnics who form a fifth of the north Borneo island state’s 3.5m people. Their yearly Kaamatan or harvest festival is the country’s showcase of unity in diversity that gives meaning to prime minister Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia.

The Kaamatan now takes its turn on the calendar of national “open houses” to foster unity among Malaysians by celebrating one another’s cultural and religious festivals such as Chinese New Year, Ramadan and Christmas.

A feeling of oneness comes naturally to the Kadazandusuns, Muruts and other Sabahans because intermarriages and social interactions have transcended all cultural and religious boundaries. Even Sabah chief minister Musa Aman, a Muslim, is descended from the Kadazandusuns who are mostly Roman Catholics.

Thus “cultural diversity, foundation of harmony” is most apt for this year’s month-long Kaamatan which culminated into two days of cultural carnival from May 30 at the Hongkod Koisaan hall of the Kadazandusun Cultural Association in Penampang, about 10km from Kota Kinabalu city centre.

It was more than a celebration of a bountiful rice harvest for the traditional farming natives. “It is also a time for thanksgiving to God,” said Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Huguan Siou (paramount leader) of the Kadazandusuns and Muruts.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Kaamatan - Sabah’s natives speak for 1Malaysia

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