Federal tourism minister vows to promote Dayak longhouse culture to the world

Longhouse residents pose for a photo with Tiong (in light blue shirt, right) as they warmly welcome him during his Gawai visit.

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KUCHING, June 4: Federal Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Dato Sri Tiong King Sing vows to promote Dayak longhouse culture in the eyes of the world.

According to a press statement, in conjunction with Hari Gawai Dayak, Tiong, who is also Bintulu MP-cum-Dudong assemblyman, is back in ‘action’ to celebrate with the local community, visiting Bintulu and Sibu, including nine longhouses, from May 30 to June 4, to celebrate the festive season with friends in the longhouses and rejoice with the people.

Despite having to travel back and forth between two locations, Tiong made every effort to schedule time to learn more about the actual situation in each longhouse and the problems they face, particularly some longhouses in Dudong that continue to experience unstable water and electricity supply.

Regarding such infrastructure concerns, the Bintulu MP explained that the Sarawak government is committed to increasing the supply of water and electricity, particularly to ensure that the living standards of interior longhouses can improve.

Tiong (right) in discussion with a resident.

As per the statement, in addition to listening to the longhouse residents’ livelihood issues, Tiong participated in traditional Dayak ceremonies such as miring, poco-poco, and others, and invited friends from Peninsular Malaysia to visit and soak in the festive atmosphere, which included partaking in delicious Dayak cuisine, rice wine (tuak), the tree of life (Ranyai Tree), and other activities.

Tiong also expressed his desire to leverage the upcoming 50th anniversary of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations in 2024.

He proposed holding a cultural exchange programme with the theme of ethnic minorities in two locations in his area, so that people from both countries could learn from one another and exchange ideas, promoting mutual understanding, and strengthening friendships and bilateral ties.

Among the longhouses visited by Tiong in conjunction with the Gawai Dayak festival were Rumah (Rh) Ukar Kenyalang and Rh Renga Layang in Bintulu; Rh Alice Nori Langot, Rh Nyudang Jalin, Rh Dayong Sahak, Rh Dinnis Umpol Andrew Ungon, Rh Madgeline Tugang, Rh Raymond Bandang, and Rh Penghulu Peter John in Sibu. — DayakDaily

Tiong (in light blue shirt) and longhouse residents savouring local dishes during his Gawai visit.