Sarawakian actor-model wins Mister Heritage International 2023 contest


Tamin hopes to use his Mister Heritage title to showcase the beauty and diversity of Malaysian culture to the world. Photo: Bunny Bimba

Sarawakian actor and model John Watson Tamin, 31, has made his home state and Malaysia proud by emerging champion at the Mister Heritage International 2023 competition in Manila recently.

The contest, which took place on April 28, brought together 30 contestants from various countries who vied for the coveted title.

The handsome Iban winner stood out from the rest of the contestants by wearing the traditional Iban Ngepan attire, which showcased Sarawak's rich culture and tradition. His stunning performance and authentic portrayal of the Iban culture captivated the judges, earning him the top spot.

"I never expected to win the competition. I am so grateful and proud to represent my home state and country in this competition. Winning the Mister Heritage title is an incredible achievement, and I hope to use it as a platform to promote the beauty and diversity of Malaysian culture to the world," said Tamin during a phone chat after returning to Kuching from Manila on May 2.

Tamin hopes he can participate in more competitions and showcase other ethnic traditional wear of other communities like Bidayuh, Kenyah, Kayan and Kelabit. Photos: John Watson TaminTamin hopes he can participate in more competitions and showcase other ethnic traditional wear of other communities like Bidayuh, Kenyah, Kayan and Kelabit. Photos: John Watson TaminThe Mister Heritage International competition aims to promote, preserve and celebrate cultural heritage and tourism. Contestants came from India, South Africa, Vietnam and Japan.

The contestants were judged based on their cultural knowledge, performance and authenticity. Tamin's win reflects his talent and dedication and highlights Malaysia's rich cultural heritage.

The Betong-born man said his costume, costing about RM20,000, stood out due to its uniqueness.

“We have many types of Iban Dayak Ngepan attire. The one I wore for the competition was the Ngepan Batang Ai worn by Batang Ai communities living around the Sri Aman Division in Sarawak. I feel proud and honoured to showcase our traditional costume to the world. Hopefully, I can participate in more competitions and showcase other ethnic traditional wear of communities like Bidayuh, Kenyah, Kayan and Kelabit."

Tamin (centre) with the finalists of Mister Heritage International 2023. Tamin (centre) with the finalists of Mister Heritage International 2023.

Tamin also hopes his win will inspire young people to embrace their culture and heritage.

Throughout the competition, Tamin wore many shirts, vests and sashes with Sarawak’s Orang Ulu, Penan and Iban motif.

He wrote this on his Instagram page: "I will show the world what my traditional costume looks like. I may not be the first to show it to the world but I will continue the legacy of showing the world a Ngepan Iban. My culture made me who I am today."

He received many congratulatory messages from netizens. @win.dfly commented: "Congratulations on winning the competition. Hopefully you can participate in high-tier international pageants in future. I can't wait to see you soar further."

@veronsransing said: "Congrats. You make us so proud."

Tamin is also a workout trainer, independent singer, and motivational speaker. Although he is delighted about his win, Tamin shared that he had to use his own money to take part in the event.

"I regret to say that I had to pay from my own pocket for the competition. I didn't get any sponsorship or help from the government or non-government organisation."


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