Abang Jo: Sarawak too can make its version of ‘Winter Sonata’

Abang Johari rides on an old bicycle after launching the State-Level Youth Day celebration. Also seen are Snowdan (right) and Karim (third right).

By Karen Bong

KOTA SAMARAHAN, Dec 5: If Korea has ‘Winter Sonata’, the K-dramas that became a very big hit and helped spread the Korean wave globally, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg believed Sarawak can create its very own ‘Asajaya Sonata’.

Stressing on the state government’s seriousness and committment in developing the domestic arts and culture sector, he said efforts include turning the Old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Building into a performing arts centre with an investment of over RM160 million.

“This will become the avenue to train and nurture our youths in performing arts including film, drama, music and so on which we must inculcate.

“Now that we have our own TV station, the first state in the country to do so, we can start our our drama (production) too. If Korea has ‘Winter Sonata’, maybe Sarawak has ‘Asajaya (Sonata)’,” he motivated the youths in giving his remarks when launching the State-Level Youth Day celebration at Asajaya Sports Complex here today.


Through dramas that present and portray Sarawak’s culture, he said they can be a culture tool to promote Sarawak’s uniqueness and diversity around the world.

Abang Johari noted there were many successful Sarawak-born artistes in Malaysia and globally like singer Hafiz who performed in the celebration today and sape musician Alena Murang who recently won an international award for her ‘Midang Midang’ music video at the Bueno Aires Music Video Festival in Argentina as well as diving queen Pandelela Rinong in the sports sector.

Abang Johari (centre) flanked by Karim on his right and Snowdan on his left applauds after the launching gimmick for State-Youth Day celebration.

“From Datuk Sabanun Merikan to singers like Hafiz, Bob and Nurfaizah. Even ministers can sing well like who doesn’t know our late Tok Nan (Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) is the Elvis Presley of Sarawak.

“So we see we have the talents and creative people. So that’s why I develop the performing arts centre for the youths and adopted technology in stage designs. We also need to create jobs in this industry for the future graduates,” he added.

In sports development, Abang Johari pointed out that a sports academy for Sarawak is in the pipeline as the state government wants to train and produce excellent athletes.

“Like in New Zealand, a country with small population but with advanced trainings and state-of-the-art facilities, they produce champion athletes in the Olympics,” he said.

With policies targeted at youth development and as Sarawak strives to become an advanced and developed state by 2030, Abang Johari said he foresees Sarawakian youths will be taking leading roles in moving the state further ahead.

“My job and that of the past generation since Tun (Abdul) Taib (Mahmud) who developed Samarahan followed by Tok Nan and me, we had and are preparing the platforms for our youth to continue the leadership roles and excel towards 2030.

Abang Johari delivering his remarks.

“To transform Sarawak, it is in the hands of our youth today. Like what Datuk Karim said, to see the future, look at our youths today. If our youths are working hard, disciplined and take responsibilities, I believed our future is bright in 2030,” he added.

The state government, Abang Johari said would continue to prepare new platforms to nurture and develop youths with strong leadership.

“Now that they can become a candidate at the age of 18 years old, we need to groom them to become leaders who can take over from us.

“So let’s pray for our state to always be peaceful and leaders to be focused in development. And when the youths take over, Sarawak will always be peaceful and continue to progress,” he emphasised.

At the event, Abang Johari also presented State Youth Awards to Husseine Tuah (Men category), Dr Sim Wen Sann (Female category) and Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia’s Awg Syazuan Shafiq Awang Jaya (Association category).

The three State Youth Awards recipients (kneeling front from left) Husseine, Dr Sim and Awg Syazuan in a photo with Abang Johari (second left) as well as Karim (left), Snowdan (third left) and other distinguished guests.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan and Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali were among those present. — DayakDaily