KOTA KINABALU: Local artistic talents have been encouraged to use their works to convey the beauty of Sabah to the rest of Malaysia and beyond.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said the creative industry can help promote Sabah's unique culture by using their work to pique people’s curiosity.
“Creativity has grown in importance in tourism as it has the potential to influence travellers' motivation and decision-making processes.
"Sabah, for example, features a plethora of picturesque landscapes that can entice visitors.
“Local creative industry players should incorporate these into their works, whether through songwriting, dance choreography, or video production, among others,” he said at the launch of the "Oh Kinabalu" song and music video here on Saturday (April 23).
Justin Lewis, a Malaysian artiste from the peninsula, was inspired by Mount Kinabalu to write and compose the song in Bahasa Malaysia.
In the music video, viewers can see shots of the iconic Mount Kinabalu, the Melangkap River, Kundasang highland, Kudat's Tip of Borneo, and the islands. It also features a dance troupe in traditional dress.
Bangkuai, who is also Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman, praised Justin's dedication and expressed hope that the song will gain wide recognition.
“It is admirable to see a non-Sabahan singing about our state’s beauty. At STB, we'd like to see other artistes follow suit and use music to promote places of interest, particularly those in rural areas," he added.
Justin, also referred to as "The One & Only JLewis", comes from a musical family; his father plays the guitar and his uncle Lewis Pragasam is Malaysia's most well-known drummer.
During his university years, Justin regularly hung out with students from Sabah and Sarawak, where they would sing.
He became increasingly interested in Bornean culture, bringing him to Sabah, where he has lived for the past four years.
“I have never climbed Mount Kinabalu but I will always stop by at Pekan Nabalu to view the majestic mountain. I hope to make more music with talented Sabahans,” he said.
Two additional singles by Justin were also launched at the event. The songs are "Lonely" featuring local talents Hezron Diman and Akmal Hadi Jensa, and "My Lady" (Malaysia’s first song in the kizomba dance and music genre).