1Malaysia Hope

Revisiting Gawai 2009 for 1Malaysia

Its funny what a bowl of laksa on Merdeka Day can do for you. I met a bunch of Nadai Nama Nama readers at the shop who asked me why its been pretty quiet in my blog front. I did explain to them that though the blog was silent but a lot of things are happening behind the scene. With the Puasa Month during this holy month of Ramadhan, things are beginning to settle down . I was reminded of last year's post which put this blog in the spotlight when the Malay Mail Cyberspot published its existence in their Merdeka edition. For that I thank you again. For this year, the movements are a bit restrained due to the H1N1 thingy.

But talk about Merdeka, Malaysia Day and 1Malaysia - everyone have their own say and somewhere at the back of my mind, I have my say. Its quite a mouthful really and is very much related to last Gawai. This country we love is experiencing some rough patches here and there as we progress together but it is certainly blessed with the peace and tranquility that one do not find in modern countries known to be technologically advanced. The earth shaking experience and tornadoes that sweep into our shores are normally political in nature - something of our own doing. It is still my strong belief that when Sarawak teamed up with the Federation of Malaya and the Northern Borneo State of Sabah to form Malaysia, we did so with the hope that equity and justice enshrined in our country's Rukun Negara and Malaysian Constitution will propel Sarawak and its people to enjoy the fruits of independence - an equal partner in the name of progress, modernization and nation building. I don't have to go far to find an example of this 'hope'. Come Gawai Dayak in June 2009, the time capsule is revisited as this typical Sarawakian family goes into the Malaysian mode of balik kampung. Yes its to that remote area in Nanga Beguang Song which is yet to be connected by the critical road arteries - quite a contrast to the modern transportation connections one can find in Metropolitan Kuala Lumpur. I believe our Member of Parliament has debated himself hoarse on the need for this infrsatructure to come to our area. But alas it seems to be falling onto deaf ears.

Justin and his Balik kampung cheer amidst One Malaysia Cheer.

The family bus ride in balik kampung mood

Then its by motor boat launch as our longhouse is still cut off from the main road

Some of us have to continue that journey via longboat as the motor launch do not go beyond certain points - be the journey at night. It is risky and the boatman has to be very familiar and experienced with the corners and waterways

Gawai Celebration in 1Malaysia Spirit

During Gawai Eve there are various activities organised by the longhouse committee. One of them is of course the beauty contest for the kids which I noticed is an example of 1Malaysia being practiced.

1Malaysia kids costume contestants: All are the children of Nanga Beguang with a special Malaysian makeup ~ at least of of their parents are from the longhouse and other than being Iban some of the kids here are Chinese and Malay.

Sandau Ari: one of the many Iban ceremonies in the longhouse during Gawai Dayak being performed for a Chinese businessman who is married to one of the ladies in our longhouse

The Sandau Ari involves the killing of a pig to read its liver which is supposed to carry encoded messages from the Iban gods

The liver will be placed on a banana leave for the experienced longhouse wise men to dechiper the messages intended for the celebrant

One of the highlights of the Sandau Ari is also the rolling of eggs from the roof as the 'offering' made during the ceremony is placed on the roof. Those at the verandah (tanju) are expected to catch the eggs (one is seen broken up as it approached the edge).

1Malaysia - a Sabahan (sorry I forgot the name) from MAKNA (Malaysian Cancer Association) was one of the visitors who spent the Gawai holidays at the longhouse

1Malaysia: Our visitor, David who hails from Kuala Lumpur also enjoying Gawai Dayak 2009 with our family.

1Malaysia: David learns the Gawai traditional dance, taught by of the longhouse elders

Gawai is also an opportunity for us to teach the kids about real jungle environment - compared with the concrete jungle surroundings that they are exposed to in towns and cities

It also allows us to go back to the basics for our food as shown by Johnady, my brother in law here as he tries his luck at catching the fishes at the fish pond - certainly a different experience compared to shopping for the fish at the fish market or supermarket

The bamboo cooking we leave to our experienced chefs as the fresh fish is immediately cooked

The bamboo fish is ready to be served in a matter of minutes ~ fresh food which need not go into the freezers of the supermarkets

Some are simply barbequed - something we share with our young ones about food cooked in a natural setting minus the expensive ovens and expensive F & B utensils. Though it does seem simple, the longhouse experience will bring rich memories for the kids as it has done for me when I was little. Sometimes we take our country's abundance for granted and suddenly have this desire to exploit the natural treasures of our country into glorious plantations so that our Gross Domestic Product figure look pretty for a developed country. A developed Malaysia - minus this simple environmental settings would rob our younger generations of the natural beauty we once were and they get to see these in books and zoos. There is no value in that.

Then it was time to go as Gawai ended as fast as it had started. Time flies when one is having fun and we see our David here going onto the motor boat launch from a simple jetty walkway. One he would compare with those modern LRT and Star Railway stations.

Gawai for the family continued in Sibu as we rounded up the fun and family celebrations. At the end of the day Nadai Nama Nama will say that without the peace that our country enjoy now these simple gatherings would not be possible. We do our part in making 1Malaysia spirit alive while there are other quarters who may wish to shred that vision into pieces for their own agenda. Some point fingers at Nadai Nama Nama and say how it can be so complacent when the interiors of Sarawak are still in the backwaters. Being an agent of development in this corner of Sri Aman, I am able to see the importance of keeping that 1Malaysia candle light burning when spreading the idea of development and guide them through its implementation. I discover I can voice my own dissatisfaction with some of the slower delivery on behalf of the people as compared to last time when we as government officers will be disciplined for doing so. Presently the government is all ears to our recommendations. It is a matter of negotiations with the higher powers and it is also how we convey the people's needs. Take away the 'politics', 'self interest' and 'greed' part of it and I believe there is hope yet. 1Malaysia - if its holistic meaning includes developing the country without sacrificing the people's aspirations and conserving the natural environment, then there is hope.

As one unknown author said, "Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope." We see hope in 1Malaysia, so give it a chance. Cheers.


headsteadi said…
happy merdeka bro. welcome back after a long silence :)
Monyet King said…
Hi Desmond
Where is my bottle of wine ?