Padungan White Cat dressed for Gawai Dayak in attire combining Iban, Orang Ulu elements

Dr Sim (front row, centre), Wee (on his right) and others photographed during the lighting up of Padungan White Cat on May 29, 2024.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, May 29: The city’s iconic White Cat statue is officially ready for the Gawai Dayak celebration as it is now dressed up for the occasion in attire which combines traditional features of Iban and Orang Ulu tribes.

Apart from the attire, the statue is also holding a ‘terabai’—an Iban oblong shield made of a single piece of softwood and engraved with traditional designs.


What’s interesting is that the cat’s new look was created using recyclable materials —a creative approach by Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Sar-Alam Indah (SAI) to celebrate cultural heritage and diversity, and raise awareness about recycling and sustainability.

Situated on the right side of the cat statue are three used tyres which were decorated to resemble gongs, one of the main instruments in traditional Iban music.

There is also a bigger size ‘terabai’ or ‘kliau’ next to the statue, also made from used tyres and recyclable materials.

The Padungan White Cat dressed in clothing combining elements of Orang Ulu and Iban culture for the Gawai Dayak celebration.

Deputy Premier of Sarawak, Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian, who officiated at the lighting ceremony in conjunction with the Gawai Dayak celebration at the site on Jalan Padungan here, reminded Sarawakians that Sarawak is currently at a stage akin to a teenager maturing into adulthood.

“The next few years is so critical for that growing up period because under the leadership of Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, what we are trying to achieve is currently happening.

“Apart from free tertiary education initiative, the Premier (Sarawak) is now working hard in procuring a bank, an airline and a federal port,” he told reporters after the event.

Meanwhile, MBKS mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng revealed that the White Cat statue’s decorations symbolised MBKS and SAI’s efforts to promote environmental sustainability.

“We are using recycled items to showcase that we care not only during festive seasons but also every possibility to bring environmental awareness to the public, even on decorations,” he pointed out. — DayakDaily