Friday, July 31, 2015

Record Borneo highlanders’ rich cultural heritage and folklores

BARIO: Communities living in the Kelabit and Maligan highlands in Sarawak and Sabah have something to be proud of – a book that documents their rich cultural heritage and folklores.

Entitled ‘Highland Tales in the Heart of Borneo’, the 92-page tome written in English and Bahasa Malaysia is a colourful showcase of the community’s past, present and future intertwined with their surroundings in the picturesque highlands of Ba’ Kelalan, Bario, Long Semadoh in Sarawak and Long Pa’ Sia, Sabah.

The book, launched by the Chief Minister’s wife Puan Sri Jamilah Anu during the Bario Food and Cultural Festival yesterday, is published by the highland’s grassroots and transboundary alliance Forum Masyarakat Adat Dataran Tinggi (Formadat) supported by Sarawak Forest Department, Ministry of Tourism Sarawak, Sarawak Museum Department and WWF-Malaysia.

Formadat Malaysia leader Penghulu George Sigar Sultan said the highlands of Sarawak and Sabah are home to the
Orang Ulu comprising the Kelabit, Lun Bawang and Lundayeh in the northeastern of Heart of Borneo.

“Each has its own distinct dialect and cultural nuances rooted at the core with parallel mythology and oral history. We are the guardians of a rich array of tribal stories and legends,” he said in a press release.

He said the book documented the stories of old and showcased some of the most distinctive sites and stories known to these communities in Sarawak and Sabah.

“This publication will serve as promotional material for ecotourism at natural and cultural sites of the Kelabit and Maligan highlands, a reference for nature guides to use and share with visitors and tourists, and a way to document the history of the Kelabit, Lun Bawang and Lundayeh people in the Heart of Borneo,” he said.

George added that the book meets Formadat’s objectives to raise understanding about the communities in the highlands, maintain cultural traditions, build local capacity and encourage sustainable development in the Heart of Borneo without degrading the quality of social and natural environment.