Uggah strikes the gong to officiate at the closing ceremony of the annual Gawai procession.
BETONG: The Dayak community’s younger generation must know their culture well in order to develop, treasure and cherish their cultural identity.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas says this is because culture is a crucial aspect of the community’s way of life and also that of the older generations.
“We have a very beautiful and colourful culture as manifested especially in our traditional costumes and our dances.
“We should be proud of it. It can contribute to the diversity of the Malaysian culture. By preserving our culture, we could continue to proudly show it to the world,” he said in officiating at the prize-giving ceremony for the division-level ‘Gawai Procession 2019’ at Tan Sri Stephen Kalong Ningkan Hall here yesterday.
Commenting on the event, Uggah said its many activities could also be very captivating to foreign tourists and add to the natural or historical attractions that Betong could offer.
“Our culture is a unifying factor for all of us and with other Malaysians.
“Let us protect it against the ravages of time,” said Uggah, who is Bukit Saban assemblyman.
A total of 1,300 participants from 26 contingents took part in the annual procession covering a distance of two kilometres, serving as part of the division-level Gawai Dayak carnival.
It is believed to be the first Gawai procession to be held in Sarawak for this year, ahead of the major Gawai Dayak celebration this June 1.
Betong MP Datuk Robert Lawson Chuat, Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu, political secretary to the chief minister Dr Richard Rapu and Betong Resident Friday Belik were among those present.
Meanwhile, SMK St Augustine emerged the ‘Best Contingent’ for the third time running – a feat that earned the school the Gawai procession’s ‘Challenge Trophy’ and also RM10,000, presented by Uggah at the end of the event.