Sunday, July 18, 2010

Central Borneo culture on display at Rainforest World Music Festival

KUCHING: The annual Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) was extra special this year thanks to the display of indigenous culture from Central Borneo on the festival grounds.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia social development advisor Cristina Eghenter said a range of high quality highland products such as Adan rice, mountain salt, wild cinnamon, indigenous handicrafts and musical instruments were displayed and sold during the festival.

“Cultural performances and poster exhibitions in and around the booth captured the beautiful landscape and culture of the land of Formadat (Forum of the Indigenous Peoples of the Highlands of Borneo) as well as promote eco-tourism destinations in the highlands.

“Music and lyrics have the capacity to bind people together with a shared understanding or vision. In many ways this is exactly what Formadat represents,” she said.

Through RWMF, Formadat hoped to raise awareness of its existence within the community as well as its vision and commitment to protect and sustainably develop the common cultural heritage and land that lies within both Malaysia and Indonesia in the Heart of Borneo (HoB).

Eghenter said among the ways was through performances by the Dayak community, which portray a strong image of rainforest diversity.

The booth was set-up through collaboration between Formadat – a grassroots, cross border, organisation representing the indigenous people of the highlands, WWF-Malaysia and WWF-Indonesia.

Formadat was established by the main ethnic groups in the area — the Lun Bawang, Lun Dayeh, Sa’ban and Kelabit – who number around 25,000, 75 per cent of whom are on the Indonesian side of the border.

The Borneo Highlands, which comprise the sub-districts of Krayan Selatan and Krayan in East Kalimantan (Kaltim province, Indonesia); Bario, Ba’Kelalan and Long Semado in Sarawak; and Long Pasia in Sabah constitute one geographic, environmental and cultural land inhabited by people who share a common origin.

WWF said in a press statement that the HoB initiative aims to assist Borneo’s three governing nations (Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia) to conserve the area through a network of protected areas and sustainably managed forests as well as through international cooperation led by the Bornean governments.

HoB is the only remaining place in South East Asia that still holds huge tracts of continuous pristine forest.

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