Ministry plans to hold State-wide cultural heritage awareness programmes, especially in schools

Chai speaking to reporters after the talk about the Red Bridge of Kampung Serapok at Telang Hotel today (Oct 22, 2023).

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Oct 22: Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts MTCP) will conduct cultural heritage awareness programmes throughout Sarawak, especially in schools.

MTCP Principal Assistant Secretary of the Arts, Culture and Heritage section, Dr Elena Gregoria Chai Chin Fern, said after the Sarawak Heritage Ordinance 2019 is gazetted successfully, it is important to allow the public and the younger generation to benefit from their own cultural heritage.

“To love our heritage, it must come from the younger generation as we want them to be ambassadors,” she told reporters after a talk about the Red Bridge at Kampung Seropak at Telang Usan Hotel here today.

The talk was presented by Ib Larsen, a researcher at Roskilde University Denmark and former advisor to Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB), Ministry of Housing and Local Government, Federal Government from 1999 to 2012. The talk was organised by Sarawak Heritage Society (SHS).

Chai said that the government wanted to invite them (students) to go around Sarawak and appoint a few as ambassadors.

“We could invite them to our museum and then they will be the spokespersons because they could spur on other young people to be interested in our heritage to continue preserving them.

“I’m an anthropologist by practice. Sometimes when I go to villages, children are very interested but it’s just that they don’t know how to start.”

Chai worried that the interest in traditional culture and heritage could disappear as family members have converted to Christianity and other religions

She pointed out that traditional practice is a heritage inherited from our ancestors.

“Even though we don’t practise it, we should acknowledge it as it has been passed down from our forefathers.”

Chai elaborated that traditional knowledge is something that should not be forgotten but instead, appreciated.

“As such, we want the younger people to be proud of their own heritage, be able to speak in our own dialect, for instance, as it is a lifelong thing that you have and is a treasure.

“We have to work together and to have a policy to make sure that it will be implemented,” she said.

On historical findings concerning the Red Bridge at Kampung Seropak in Bau, Chai said MTCP will write a letter to the Sarawak Museum to investigate its heritage value to the State. — DayakDaily