KOTA KINABALU: From Gomantong in Kinabatangan, to Madai near Kunak, as well as the colourful culture and traditions of the surrounding communities in the east coast of Sabah, this year’s Sabah Fest, Agop – which means ‘cave’ in the Ida’an language – kicked off last night at the National Department for Culture and Arts Sabah complex here.
Celebrating another important icon of ancient Sabah which still thrives today as a living tradition, ‘Agop’ takes us on an expedition to the east coast of Sabah to experience the charms of its communities, namely the Ida’an, Orang Sungei, Dusun Begak and Dusun Subpan, who identify with the ancient cave culture and related traditions and practices still observed today.
The musical theatre also highlights the role of the Chinese who came across the highly-valued birds’ nests in Sabah’s caves which they brought back to their homeland, where it was equally treasured, showcasing the important export trade relations between the two states.
Other rarely seen groups such as the Tidong of Tawau, Dusun Sandayoh of Paitan and Dusun Melangkap of Kota Belud have also been invited to perform and display their culture and musical traditions at this year’s Sabah Fest, along with the love story between a man, one of Admiral Ong Seng Ping’s commanders, and a beautiful local girl accompanied by Chinese contemporary and creative dance.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, who graced the preview of the musical theatre yesterday evening, said more room should be allocated to showcase Chinese cultural performances at the annual fest to show the significance of their existence in Sabah’s history and culture since they have been here since the 15th century.
“The Chinese contemporary and creative dance (as part of the ‘Agop’ musical performance) shows that we recognise the Chinese as part and parcel of our community,” he said when met after the preview yesterday.
Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Agop Sabah Fest.