Gawai Tourism 2011 at Annah Rais

It was a rainy day on the 3rd of September 2011, all the way to late evening. Maybe that’s why the turnout was low, even with free food. The event started early, by noon many villagers opened up their stalls selling food, drinks and crafts. This year is the 2nd year it’s held, this time in Kpg. Saba (translated as the upper village) longhouse.

By 7.30 PM, the VIP arrived, YB James Dawos. It was so 1Malaysia, national anthem, 1Malaysia song etc. The programme began with traditional performances by the villagers and the invited dancers from Kpg. Semban, the ones who still wear the brass coils around their legs, arms and stomachs.

After the first biranggie (traditional dance), the VIP gave his speech. And what a long winded one it was. Of course, I should have expected it. I have yet to listen to a short, simple and to the point speech given by a local politician, Sadly, it’s publicity time! He’s repetitive, boring and has the least inspiring voice I’ve ever heard. Halfway through it people were beginning to nod off and play with their apps.

While the MC decided to speak only in Malay, so I’m guessing the foreigners just try to make the best of what’s going on.

What’s with the smoky stage effect anyway? It stinks, and the older dancers cringed whenever thick smoke started to engulf the stage. Not to mention the lighting (those big concert lighting) which blinded the poor ladies.

The last event is the joget time, with a live band and guest star Claudia Geres. Still much to improve, but it’s still in its second year. Great effort, although I wished it was more encompassing so that the Bidayuhs from other regions can join in and promote their own brand of culture.


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Gawai Tourism 2011

The state-level Gawai, or “Gawai Tourism” will be held in Annah Rais on September 3, 2011 to showcase the Bidayuh Biatah culture. The cultural event will be in the evening with an appeareance by the Dayung Iyang Biatah 2011, followed by the stage show and concert by local Dayak artists. I heard they’ll be a cultural exchnage programme with Kpg. Semban (among the last kampungs to still have ladies wearing brass coils around their arms and legs).

For those going, you can also drop by the Annah Rais hot spring, although I suspect it’ll be jam packed with families since it’s the weekend.