KUCHING, June 5: The traditional Gawai parade at Kampung Quop may one day be featured in the Ministry of Tourism’s tourism calendar.
Abdul Aziz Isa, the special assistant to Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen, was apparently smitten by the parade when he visited the village with Chong, who is also Stampin MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, on June 3 and promptly pledged to write to the ministry about it.
In a press statement, Aziz related that the parade was previously practised by the locals on every Gawai (harvest festival), but for some reason, it stopped for more than two decades.
However, several young villagers revived it last year.
“It (parade) had stopped for 25 years, but several young people in the village revived this traditional practice last year. This year, it was organised by a villager by the name of Jubilant Austinway,” said Aziz.
Claiming that the youngsters told him that they don’t want this tradition to fade away due to modernisation, Aziz said, “It is a wonderful tradition. As we went from house to house, dancers performed their cultural routine called ‘ngiyar’ in front of the house.”
The ‘ngiyar’ was performed to the accompaniment of several traditional musical instruments, including knobbed gongs.
“For the Bidayuhs, music plays an important role in every ritual they perform. Music serves to raise and drive out evil spirits during the ceremony, for instance.
“Traditional Bidayuh music generally is played with a large gong, cymbal, and ‘Tawak’ (a small gong). Other instruments include flutes and guitars,” said Aziz.
He hoped Kampung Quop would continue with this tradition for years to come.
“I will request the Ministry of Tourism to include this event (parade) into the tourism calendar to attract local and international tourists,” he said. — DayakDaily