Lumat (right) showing off her Iban woven handicrafts at the venue of the 2015 Sarawak Craft Festival yesterday.
Edwin (left) showing his distinctively unique Bidayuh carved and painted bamboo.
KUCHING: Handicrafts are alway synonymous with a certain region, a people, culture or even religion everywhere. It is a trademark of traditional handiwork kept alive in generations.
In short, anybody who wants to learn more about Sarawak can get information on a certain region, people, culture or religion found in the state just by studying or looking at their handicrafts.
Sarawak, like any other state in Malaysia, is diverse in its people, culture and religion.
As a matter of fact, it is one of the two most demographically diverse states in the country, the other being its East Malaysian neighbour Sabah.
The 2015 Sarawak Craft Festival is currently ongoing at the Kuching Waterfront.
Featuring lots of booths selling all sorts Sarawakian handicraft, the event stretches from Sept 18 to 27, with several other activities scheduled to be held as well.
Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, his wife Datin Amar Jumaani Tuanku Bujang and a few other VIPs too visited the exhibition yesterday.
A few sellers of uniquely distinctive Sarawakian handicrafts (and crafts from other regions in the country as well) were interviewed by thesundaypost as they explained why they choose to sell certain handicrafts specifically.
Maidi Duraman, who is of Bruneian Malay ethnicity from Limbang Division, commented that he chose to sell blades as Limbang in his opinion has always been synonymous with producing blades such the knife, keris, the parang and the like.
“It more or less represents our culture in Limbang and our blades have always been very popular. As a seller I constantly have orders and demands from everywhere due to the fact that Limbang-produced blades are of high quality,” he added.
Pang Ibang, who is a Kenyah (Orang Ulu) from Baram, on the other hand commented that accessories made from beads are not only popular but also synonymous with the Orang Ulu community in the state as well.
Not only that, she said the beadworks which is traditionally an Orang Ulu staple is now a Sarawakian icon.
As for Lumat Lebong who is an Iban from Kampung Lebor, Serian, her people have always been besotted with woven handicraft not only because they are beautiful but useful as well.
“Ibans are always well known for their woven craft, be it blankets (known to her people as the ‘pua kumbu’), rattan mats, baskets, backpack and others. Woven craft has always been synonymous with my people,” she said.
Edwin Sijan who is a Bidayuh from Kampung Pichin, Serian on the other hand commented that selling handicrafts is not just about the money but is about preserving and promoting the people’s tradition as well.
He sells bamboos decorated with distinct Bidayuh designs, a must-have souvenir for tourists to Sarawak, to bring home a memento for themselves or as gifts.
Whatever types of craft are available at the 2015 Sarawak Craft Festival, all of them are crafts found in Sarawak and represent the true identity of the state’s diversity.
While tourists or outsiders can find useful information about the state from the craft sellers, local Sarawakians can help the industry to survive by supporting them such as buying the products or promoting them to anyone who wants to know more about Sarawak.