Thursday, August 13, 2015

Language not barrier at Sabah International Folklore Festival

KOTA KINABALU: Language barrier has not stopped the participants of the 10th Sabah International Folklore Festival (SIFF) from forging new friendships and ties with those from other nations.

Yesterday, participants from Indonesia danced to the tune of an Indonesian melody together with the participants from India, and other countries.

Another participant from the Republic of Sakha Yakutia who spoke very little English, described the performers from Slovakia as his ‘brothers.’

This was clearly what Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun meant when he said the aim of having SIFF was not really to select the best performing country but more towards promoting peace and making new friends.

“The Sabah International Folklore Festival is a symbol of peace in the world. The 16 participating countries are symbolically showcasing this message,” he said when launching the event.

The countries participating are China, Russia, Indonesia, South Korea, Latvia, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, India, Kyrgyzstan, Brunei Darussalam, Slovakia, Taipei, Turkey, Mexico and Malaysia.

Mexico, Turkey and Sakha Yakutia Republic are joining the festival for the first time this year.

Some countries have been supporting the event from the start and they comprise of Kazakhstan as well as neighbouring countries Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Masidi welcomed the participants and hoped they would continue to support the event.

At yesterday’s event, the participants were given the opportunity to showcase their culture and tradition to the folk of Kota Kinabalu.

They were flagged off at Wisma Budaya and they walked under the sweltering hot weather towards Lintasan Desaoka and later to join Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir at the Kota Kinabalu Community Hall.

Their colourful costumes were an attraction to the local folk and many were seen ready with their cameras and smartphones to snap photographs of the participants at the parade.

Some, like the participants from South Korea, were clad in very thick costumes and one wondered how they could endure the hot and humid weather.