Sunday, May 05, 2013

Sarawak Cultural Village stages Orang Ulu tale for World Harvest Festival

KUCHING: It went the way as all love stories would go in a ‘boy meets girl’ affair. It was a perfect match in every way, except someone else wanted the girl too and the other girls wanted the boy.

And they all danced their way to a resolution, complete with the requisite village scenes, battle scenes, a courting dance and a beheading.

‘The Fish Princess: A Highlander Love Story’ is a tale from the Orang Ulu community, where a princess decided that she would leave the sea for land. She entered the lives of a poor barren couple, Abing Lian and Sigang Aban, in the shape of a fish.

They raised this fish for 17 years until it emerged as a human girl that they accepted as their daughter and named her Dayang Abing Lian.

Her appearance caught the eye of the village’s most eligible bachelor, Berapoi. A storybook romance brewed, and this incited jealousy from the other village girls.

They found an opportunity to push her into the river, and Dayang was swept away into the arms of Berapoi’s rival Liwai, who wasted no time in taking his captive home.

In turn, Berapoi rushed to the rescue of his lady love, which resulted in someone losing a head. The couple then lived happily ever after.

Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) has been staging these elaborate plays in conjunction with World Harvest Festival for a number of years.

The dancers and actors literally had a lot of ground to cover, given the distance from the main audience. The lady who played Dayang Abing Lian was particularly outstanding with her performance, having to appear in a lot of scenes and wowing the audience with an occasional power move.