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By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, March 19: It was a colourful evening filled with men and women in their beautiful traditional attire at the Dayak Icons appreciation and awards ceremony yesterday.
It was also an opportunity for the ‘Jasa Mu Dikenang 2023’ attendees to meet Dayak personalities who have made their mark in international and national spheres.
For many, meeting these personalities face to face and getting a photo with them is akin to winning the jackpot because they have heard of these people, seen them on television, newspapers, magazines and social media, but never in person.
The organiser, Sarawak Tajai Culture and Arts Association, and Sarawak human rights activist Peter John Jaban dubbed the event as the first of its kind in Malaysia.
“Tonight, we are here to celebrate modern Dayak culture and the contribution of iconic figures from the Dayak community in the fields of sports, arts and music.
“As you’ve seen, we invited well known Dayak icons in several fields including several mixed parentage Dayak beauty queens who will walk from the back all the way to the stage and later mingle around with all the attendees.
“They are Miss Malaysia World 2014 Dewi Liana Seriestha, Miss Universe Malaysia 2020 Francisca Luhong James, Miss World Malaysia 2018 Larissa Ping Liew and a few others.
“We also have Malaysia’s national body builder Buda Anchah and women’s bodybuilding athlete Philomena Dexclyn Siar together with our legandary Malaysian boxer Sapok Biki,” Peter John said.
Due to their training commitments outside Sarawak, others such as Olympic silver medalist diver Dato Pandelela Rinong Pamg and Malaysian sprinter Watson Nyambek could not attend.
As the event was organised by the local community, Peter stressed that there were no political involvement and the event was funded entirely by community members in their private capacities.
Apart from representatives from various Dayaks communities in Sarawak joining the event, Peter John said those from Kalimantan and Brunei Darussalam across various ethnicities were also present in their traditional attire and ‘bersirat’.
Meanwhile, in congratulating all these Dayak icons, Peter John pointed out that there are other Sarawakian sports stars or even singers who have been forgotten despite having contributed so much to Sarawak, national and international arenas. — DayakDaily