New magazine Adatku aims to preserve Penampang native culture

KOTA KINABALU: Local lore tells of angry spirits - those of two siblings slain by their parents for being romantically involved - that haunt courting couples or anyone engaging in hanky-panky at the Monsopiad Cultural Village grounds here.

Legend has it that the lovers were caught under a tree at the Monsopiad village in Penampang, now the site of the cultural village which is famed for its collection of skulls and other creepy objects on display.

The siblings were then put to death and their bodies drifted down the river, leaving their restless souls to roam the area and disrupt the lives of errant passers-by.

This is one of many stories shared in a recently-launched magazine on the culture and customary rites of the Kadazandusun natives of Penampang.

'Adatku' (my culture), published by the Penampang Native Court, will be published quarterly.

It will share stories of myths and legends of the Kadazandusun people, their traditions, customary beliefs and practices, as well as how these rites have evolved over time.

At the launch on Tuesday (March 9), state Local Government and Housing minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said such efforts to document an ethnic group’s customs and cultures would help in preserving, understanding and continuing these practices.

He said given that Sabah has over 30 major ethnic groups living together, it is vital that its people learn about each other's customs and beliefs, regardless of their religion.

“I believe every village has its own customs and traditions and it would only open our eyes more and encourage us to be more tolerant and accepting of one another’s differences,” he said.

Masidi said traditions, beliefs and customs were meant to protect and benefit those who practise them, and should be continued despite the modernisation of society.

He said in Sabah, there are also native courts and these serve to uphold an ethnic group’s culture and values.

“We have taken note of what’s lacking in terms of facilities and equipment needed for the native courts to function, and will see how to address this issue,” he said.

Asked if there could be a special library filled with information and books on the diverse cultures in Sabah, Masidi said it should be considered and implemented.

“But to do this properly, there has to be proper research," he added.

He also agreed that other districts could consider coming up with their own magazines to tell the public about their cultures and beliefs, provided the materials are properly thought through and researched before publication.

Also present at the event was organising chairman Charles Masuil, native chief for Penampang.

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