Chance to witness international puppeteers at Rainforest World Puppet Carnival 2019 next month

Abdul Karim (third right) holding a puppet orang utan. Also seen are Ting (second left), Hii (fourth right), Goh (centre) and others.

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Oct 15: The Rainforest World Puppet Carnival 2019 will be held in Kuching from November 11 to 16.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that a record total of 56 puppeteers and festival jury members from 17 countries are coming to Kuching for the six-day event.

He said that these puppeteers are from Korea, Albania, Brazil, the Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, Bulgaria, Peru, India, Turkey, China, Romania, Australia, Vietnam, Argentina, Thailand and Malaysia.

Abdul Karim said that the carnival is jointly organised by World Arts Convention together with Society for Arts and Handicraft Sarawak (SAHSA).

He revealed that during the event, there will be exciting puppet and theatre shows for all ages which will be held at the Auditorium of the Old Court House, Kuching.

“This is something very fascinating to see and parents can bring along their children and family members to the show. We will also bring those unfortunate children to the show,” he said during a press conference at his ministry office here, today.

Abdul Karim also disclosed that there will be puppet making workshops to inculcate interest among locals especially young people, and participation will help to achieve Malaysia Book Of Records recognition in the category of “the most number of puppeteers in a single puppet parade”

He said that this special event is scheduled to be held on November 16 at the boulevard driveway in front of Majlis Bandaraya Kuching Selatan (MBKS) along Jalan Padungan.

“The performance of the puppeteers from around the world will enhance the visiting experience of tourists visiting Kuching city.

“The carnival will also give another boost to our “Visit Sarawak Campaign” by attracting the fans and followers of the participating puppeteers who are coming to Kuching and (encouraging the puppeteers) to render their best performances.”

He also revealed that up until the end of September, the total number of visitors to Sarawak is 3,366,922 people.

“The number indicates that there is an increase of 4.24 per cent as compared to the corresponding period of last year,” he disclosed.

“I am not sure whether we are going to hit the 5 million visitors target but there will be more visitors this year to Sarawak.

“The 5 million is our visionary number and if we can hit it, then it is beautiful. If we do not hit it, we are also very happy.”

Abdul Karim revealed that the tourists who visited Sarawak so far this year come from different places and the state is not focusing on mainland China alone.

“We are seeing more Singaporeans, Indians and Filipinos, unlike before when we only see Bruneians and Indonesians,” he said.

“It is also our hope the organiser will continue to organise the carnival and continue to make Sarawak shine in the world tourism map.”

On the puppet carnival, Abdul Karim explained that the Rainforest World Puppet Carnival (RWPC) is the Asian version of the World Puppet Carnival (WPC) which is based in Europe and has been touring around the world for a decade or so.

He observed that the Rainforest World Puppet Carnival made its debut here in 2015, initiated by the Ministry of Tourism and World Arts Convention under the initiatives of the Continental Directory Board of World Puppet Carnival Director, representing the Asian Continent, Gerald Goh.

Abdul Karim lauded Goh for bringing in 40 puppeteers from 15 countries which in turn would also attract their fans and followers here.

“In 2020, the World Puppet Carnival is scheduled to be held in Dubai and it is our hope that with the various workshops held together with the international puppeteers, Sarawak can send a team to Dubai to perform a puppet show or theatre with Sarawak content,” he said.

Assistant minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Hii Chang Kee and SAHSA president Gerald Goh were also present.

For more information on the show and tickets, call Sheila Kho (019 886 7881), Liew (016 888 2090) or Gerald Goh (019 816 5368). — DayakDaily