Sarawakian gifts Bidayuh ‘rompi’ to royal prince Tengku Hassanal at polo event

Tengku Hassanal wears a Bidayuh rompi at Putrajaya Equestrian Park on Oct 15, 2023. Photo credit: Ian Mcleod Simasur

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, Oct 17: The Regent of Pahang, Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah, has gone viral for wearing a Bidayuh ‘rompi’ (vest) during the Royal Malaysian Polo Association’s (RMPA) Agong’s Cup 2023 held at Putrajaya Equestrian Park recently.

Several photos of him wearing the traditional costume were uploaded by a Facebook account by the name of ‘Ian Winston’ on Oct 15, at 11.37pm.

The owner of the Facebook account, Ian Mcleod Simasur, 28, told DayakDaily that he had personally given the rompi as a gift to Tengku Hassanal.

“Personally, I was happy and I feel blessed because my wish was fulfilled that day.

“Although it was an indirect move, I felt that I represent Sarawakians to ‘melepas rindu’ (release their sense of longing) towards the royal family since the Kembara Kenali Borneo tour ended last month,” the Bidayuh man from Siburan said.

Tengku Hassanal (left) and Ian (second left) in a group photo at Putrajaya Equestrian Park on Oct 11, 2023. Photo credit: Ian Mcleod Simasur

Recounting the moments leading to the event, Ian said he went to watch one of the polo matches on Wednesday (Oct 11) where he befriended another Sarawakian named Felicia Lenora.

He said initially, he had no intention to go to the event but Felicia had convinced him otherwise.

Following their phone conversation, the duo planned to wave a Sarawak flag during their next visit but they did not have one.

This is where Ian had came up with the thought of giving a traditional costume to the royal prince, who had garnered a lot of love and attention from Sarawakians, while Felicia planned to wear a ‘pua kumbu’ gown to the event.

They then attended the Friday match (Oct 13) but Tengku Hassanal wasn’t present.

Nevertheless, that day, Ian had fulfilled his wish to present another traditional costume of the Iban tribe as a gift to Tengku Muhammad Iskandar Ri’ayatuddin Shah.

On Sunday (Oct 15), Ian and Felicia tried their luck again where they visited the Equestrian Park for a separate friendly polo match, hoping that Tengku Hassanal would be there.

As luck would have it, Tengku Hassanal was present and the duo pledged not to miss the opportunity by lining up behind the barricades together with the crowd, waiting for the moment to have the closest interaction they could have with the royal prince.

As Tengku Hassanal walked nearer, Ian humbly requested the prince to accept his gift and wear it on the spot for a photo, which the former replied: “Boleh” (Sure).

What was more surprising was that Tengku Hassanal recognised the motifs on the cloth, asking Ian to confirm if it was a traditional costume of Sarawak.

The original Facebook post can be viewed here. — DayakDaily