Let Malaysia Day be reminder of our integrated diversity
SARAWAK’S rich cultural heritage stems from its diversity of ethnic communities who have their own identity yet live together in harmony.
This heritage can be seen in the distinct traditions, customs and lifestyles of each community, from music, song and dance to handicrafts and food.
Some of the well-known cultural artefacts clearly represent the community they come from, examples being the Iban ceremonial textile called pua kumbu and the sape, a traditional string musical instrument of Orang Ulu communities such as the Kayan, Kenyah and Kelabit.
At the same time, there is something recognisably Sarawakian about the various tangible and intangible forms of cultural inheritance resulting from the harmonious way of life in the state.
In the words of Sarawak Heritage Society president Datuk Seri Robert Jacob Ridu, “Sarawak has an extraordinary history and milieu of peoples bringing about a real confluence over the years.
“This has brought about a unique fusion of the ways of life into the ‘Sarawakian’ way. It has made Sarawak a place for pleasant and quality living.
“Our wholesome, rich and varied heritage is a precious common good, first of all for Sarawakians but also for visitors and the world.”
Sarawakians love to share their culture with one another and with other people. Nowhere is this more evident than during festive occasions and celebrations, and Malaysia Day is no exception.
For Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing, Malaysia Day is an appropriate occasion for everyone to come together and showcase the state’s culture.
“Malaysia Day should be celebrated by all Malaysians, whether we are from Sarawak, Sabah or peninsular Malaysia. This is our day to remember when Malaysia was created. Let us get together, not only with Sarawakians but with all Malaysians to celebrate.”
Wan Ahmad Tamizie, a performer at the Sarawak Cultural Village, said Malaysia Day was a good occasion for everyone to remember that they played a role in promoting unity.
One way to do this, he said, was to look beyond race and religion and not allow cultural differences to create walls of separation.
“In the past 54 years since Malaysia was formed, people have developed a love and appreciation for the diverse cultural heritage, food and traditions of the nation, including adopting the traditional motifs of other ethnic communities.
“This goes to show that Malaysians have absorbed a little bit of each other into our lives,” he said.