Monday, July 30, 2012

Village synonymous with gongs in Matunggong, Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Kampung Sumangkap Matunggong, Kudat, a small Rungus village just a couple of kilometres from the main road, usually affirms its claim to fame during a festival when it comes to life with the sounds of gongs and feasting.

One such festival is the Gong Festival which is apt for the village because it’s there that the gong-makers are found – a group of about 20 families supplying buyers statewide with this home-made  percussive instrument.

Gong-making in Kampung Sumangkap has been going on for a long time. In fact, the area is now synonymous with the activity. The commercial venture is an tradition passed down from generation to generation.

Seline Ojingan has been making gongs since she came to live in the village in 1994. The petite 34-year-old mother learned how to make gongs from relatives and friends after she got married to a local.

“Life isn’t easy as a housewife, especially when you depend solely on your husband for everything,” she said.

After realising gong-making was a way to make extra income, she decided to learn how to make them.

Nowadays, she makes standard gongs and as well as smaller ones as souvenirs.

“I can make seven gongs between a week and 10 days,” she said, adding that the traditional skill of making gongs should be perpetuated.

Roslina Jomuon from another village but married a gong-maker in Sumangkap, has been helping her husband with his work.

A mother of four children, the 33-year-old said she acquired her skills through hard work.

“I’m proud to say I can make seven standard gongs in a week and several souvenir gongs in a day. It’s hard work but well-worth it when  I see finely-made gongs in my display shelf.”

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