REDEEMS Carnival

REDEEMS Gawai Carnival 2008

REDEEMS (which stands for The Association of Research & Development Movement Singai Sarawak) is a community based and Non Profit Organisation made up of 12 villages in the Singai area of Bau and is a registered body with the Registrar of Societies since 7th July 1997. The Star Online appropriately described the Carnival as an elaborate nine-day Gawai Festival showcasing the Bidayuh culture, music and arts in Kampung Apar-Segong in Bau. This would be the first time that an event like this would be held at such a grand scale and I am thankful that I managed to experience this event. Still Emotions has her version of REDEEMS in the postings including her postings Pictures Worth Thousand Words. Perhaps some of my Bidayuh friends can correct me where I am wrong in describing some of the pictures.

Bravo REDEEMS: At first glance one would have to wonder how an 11 years old organisaton in the form of REDEEMS managed to stage a grand event. I am lost for words as my two days spent there I was overwhelmed by the rich cultures of the Bidayuhs from several dialects - including traditional food and drinks. Everything you wanted to know about the Bidayuhs background one can visit as one visits the bamboo structure (longhouse) which I was told is almost 100 metres in length and 200 meters in breadth.

Bravo YB Peter Nansian (ADUN - Tasik Biru): Being the President of REDEEMS, it must have been a monumental task to be able to organised this event. The State Ministers who attended the event were full of praises for YB Peter Nansian. I have to salute him too for the effort. I would have stayed there for a week to understand more about my Bidayuh friends because it almost became a one stop centre for Bidayuh culture.


How did REDEEMS reach this level of organisational excellence? It will certainly be a challenge for the other Dayak organisations which are much more older than REDEEMS. What REDEEMS managed to do can never be matched in terms an NGO's (Non Governmental Organisation) ability to work together with the private sector to ensure the success of this event. I am still reeling from the experience because the objective of showcasing REDEEMS was succesfully presented in this event. Indeed REDEEMS had managed to make its name branded amongst the visitors and it has become a source of pride for its members.

Collaboration with International organisations to ensure that the Bidayuh language is preserved and efforts are being made to elevate it to the next higher level

REDEEMS Centre (HQ) - Bratak Design

The interior of the REDEEMS Center is decorated with paintings depicting Bidayuh origins and culture with modern settings

The entrance to the REDEEMS Center during the Gawai Carnival

Interestingly the Carnival brought fun to the rural area with the participation of the amusement park operators - something the children can look forward to

REDEEMS Carnival was made more meaningful with exhibitions related to Sarawak 45 Years by the various Government agencies in Bau

Awesome and breathtaking - the bamboo structure which housed the Bidayuh traditional and cultural components at the REDEEMS event

Another view from the REDEEMS Center (Bratak) building

The multi entrance and wooden stairs to the breathtaking platform and longhouse built from bamboo

The might of bamboo - at night this area is full of people which goes to show the effort made by those constructed it to ensure it holds

Launching of the REDEEMS Gawai Carnival was officiated by the Deputy Chief Minister YB Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu. The theme for the celebration was "Kayak Adat Asar Ke Joman Bauh" which means Bring Forth Cultures and Traditions to the Modern Era.

By night the the structure was crowded with the surrounding villagers and Carnival visitors who came from afar

A big screen and large surround sound system enabled everyone to listen to the launching speech and also enjoy the food and drinks at the same time

Concerts were also held on a classy stage throughout the evenings of the event

Famous local singers were invited to entertain

Andrew Bonny James rendering a dance number

And party revellers danced to the addictive beat in a festive atmosphere

The other attractions included the traditional exhibits comprising of items which are used by the Bidayuhs in their daily life - notice most of the items are related to farming which was the way of life for most natives in Sarawak

The longhouse is unique - Each room (of the more than 10 rooms) has its own exhibits

The Deputy Chief Minister visited almost all the rooms in the Bidayuh longhouses comprising of REDEEM members

Traditional dance performed in the middle of the bamboo structure sees the dancers in a 'trance' state at one point in time as they paraded along the longhouse and finally in the centre

Apart from the longhouse the food stalls also serve traditional food which can be enjoyed by the visitors - the dishes are worthy of the Asian Food Channel if that Astro channel should drop by here one day

Some more samples of the famous traditional food served

The grand elderly Bidayuh ladies with the decorated rings on their legs and hands are always invited to the Bidayuh traditional functions including this one

Apart from being a fantastic organiser, YB Peter Nansian also showed his skills at playing the traditional Bidayuh gendang when he played together with Mathew Ngau the famous Sape player

Beauties catwalk action - the various Bidayuh maidens displaying the different costume wear of the Bidayuhs

Christine (on the far left) was my favourite as she gave everyone that captivating smile

Well - I guess I had many favourites

Let me say it again - I have to salute the organisers for the experience. Though it was quite a drive to get to the place - I 'll say it was worth it. The event has the potential of being developed into a tourism product. I am glad that I got this opportunity and I thank REDEEMS for thier memorable achievement. I look forward to the REDEEMS Carnival next year.


MaMabel said…
Hi Desmond,

Thanks for highlighting my link in your blog. I didn’t expect you to read my blog. Sheer coincidence, perhaps? Well, by sheer chance, I stumbled upon your blog not long ago and have been visiting it ever since. Hehehe..and you know what, I actually saw you at REDEEMS! I wanted to say HI but I didn’t have the guts..afraid that I might get the wrong person. Anyway, hope you enjoyed yourself at REDEEMS!! Oh by the way, here’s a short explanation to your query. The ritual is called ‘Simutur’ or ‘nyigar’, which is usually performed at the closing of the harvest festival. It is the climax of the festival, hence the BIG CROWD. Lead by the ‘pinyigar’ or ketua gawai, followed by ‘dayung boris’, they will dance around the ‘bawal’ or altar, in clockwise and anti-clockwise movement for eight times. Then, the pinyigar and dayung boris will climb each steps until the eight steps, after which the dayung boris will go into trance. This is done partly to thank the rice spirit for giving farmers a good harvest, and also to ask blessing from the spirit for a better harvest for the following season.