Rural Baram school defies odds to win storytelling award in Japan

MARUDI: A short video titled ‘Marung Usu’ or The Power Of Hands’ by students and teachers from SK Long Sepiling, Baram was declared the winner of the Best Story Telling Award at Kid Witness News (KWN) at the 2017 Global Summit in Tokyo, Japan in early August, reports Bernama.

The four-minute and 54 seconds video in the Kayan and Iban languages about why man must appreciate their hands as invaluable gifts from God, beat out 18 entries from other countries.

“Four pupils, namely, Anilov Fabien Tingang,13, Juwita Ulean, 12, Fiona Fredick, 12, and Michael Nyamun, 11, came up with the idea for the video aided by teachers at the school. Teachers, school staff and villagers pitched in to help in the shooting, which was completed in a month,” said Penang-born teacher Muhammad Saffuan Jaffar, 28.


“Many challenges were faced such as lack of skill in using gadgets, slow Internet and the lengthy shooting period which were really tiring for the pupils involved.”

He also highlighted the sacrifices of the teachers at SK Long Sepiling who slogged to create ideas for the video and travelled for six hours by water and land to Miri to complete its production.

Organised by Panasonic Corporation, KWN is an educational programme which is designed to help in video productions by primary and secondary school pupils worldwide under the concept ‘The World Through Their Eyes’.

SK Long Sepiling, which had nine pupils and 11 teachers, including the headmaster, is located in the sub-district of Baram which is only accessible via a three-hour express boat trip from the closest town of Marudi, which is another three hours away from Miri.

Reflecting on his feelings when informed he would be posted to a school in the interior of Sarawak, Muhammad Saffuan admitted that he felt a bit apprehensive because it would be the first time for him to ‘fly far’ after receiving his primary, secondary, matriculation and teacher training institute studies in Penang.

“I felt happy as I did not have long to wait for a posting after graduating from the Penang campus of the Teacher Training Institute. But I felt a bit apprehensive as I didn’t know where I would be posted to in Sarawak,” he said.

Regarding teaching at an interior school as an endeavour to teach the children of the nation, Muhammad Saffuan, who is also an only child, often received strength from his mother from across the South China Sea.

“My source of strength is my mother; despite being stationed far in the interior of Sarawak, she always boosts my spirit and inspires me,” he told Bernama.