There has been no shortage of old world stories and folk tales about the people in Sarawak, which have been shared weekly by The Tuyang Initiative on its social media channels since the movement control order (MCO) started in March.
These stories contributed by Tuyang Initiative's small community deserve a wider audience. The good news: this pandemic lockdown project - a book called Dayak Lore: A Collection From The Indigenous People Of Sarawak (Borneo) - is finally going to see a release on Sept 1. Book lovers can pre-order it here.
Dayak Lore is a story/colouring book for children and the young at heart. It features three stories, with original illustrations accompanying each tale. The material is an adaptation of Tuyang Initiative’s Tuesday Tales, a platform for folk-based stories from Sarawak's indigenous communities. This series continues to be uploaded weekly on Tuyang's Facebook page and website.
"This book was conceptualised during the peak of the covid-19 pandemic of 2020. What started as a sharing of folklores on our humble website, it expanded into an opportunity to grow Tuyang’s cultural practitioners beyond just sharing our stories orally, but to translate it into the English language and illustrating it for the world to visualise. Through precious feedback from friends and followers, we have then decided to publish it in a book that is tangible for you to have in your hands and homes instead," read a statement on Tuyang's website.
In Dayak Lore, you can get acquainted with a Kayan tale about a greedy, durian-loving boy named Ditut; a Penan folk tale about Kangkaput, a bird beloved by all that decides to fly away, and never return; and an Iban story about Apai Saloi, a man whose life took a twist, having thought to be descendent of the deities.
The share of proceeds from the book will be distributed to all cultural practitioners involved in the creative development of the book.
The Miri, Sarawak-based Tuyang Initiative is a community-led arts management company. As a social business, it works with Dayak (Borneo indigenous) communities in areas of cultural heritage by upskilling practitioners for a chance at meaningful livelihood and cultural continuity.