Daily Express, Photo Credit to Daily Express
clock 17-11-2019
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Making Villages Aware of Their Uniqueness

A participant at a recent social awareness talk here fears his family’s skill in producing machetes for time immemorial will end with him as none of his children seem keen on the decades-long craft. 

 “It looks like I am the only one still with interest in craft of Parang making. The art was passed down from father to son right to my grandfather, who took me under his tutelage. 

None of the techniques were documented. It was passed down through oral tradition and hands-on learning. This talk made me realise that this family’s craftsmanship has to be recorded for prosperity. I shall make a concerted effort to put all these in writing for future generations,” said Paul Kissol from Kg Bahang, here. 

He was taking part in a talk involving community leaders from a few villages in Kepayan organised and hosted by the public relation unit of Kepayan Assemblywoman office, Jannie Lasimbang, titled “Identiti Kampungku”.

The villages involved were Kg Kobusak, Kg Tunoh, Kg Nagasiba, Kg Koidupan, Kg Hungab, Kg Ganang, Kg Mogoputi, Kg Bahang and Kg Sodomon.

Jannie said the villages may have a similar commonality, but no two kampungs were exactly alike. Each may have a uniqueness of its own; it may be a product, a service provided, an art or even a story or legend associated to the place. 

One such product is Lihing (fine rice wine) but the taste and texture of Lihing differed from kampong to kampong. The ingredients chosen, the fermentation process adapted which differentiates the Lihing produced, ought to be researched and documented. 

When all such material are collated, some day Lihing may be listed as a connoisseur wine served in the top international restaurants.

She also emphasised on proper packaging and branding their products to make it attractive for sale in the commercial market. 

Rita Lasimbang, a facilitator at the talk suggested that the participants jot down in point form whatever knowledge they have been told or know of their respective kampongs. 

The participants shall be assisted by social researchers and the knowledge gleaned from the collective findings will be documented for reference. However, the imitative must come from the participants.

Another facilitator was Simon Jr Jailin of Sri Pelancungan, a subsidiary of Sabah Tourism Board who shared the statistics on tourist arrivals in the country.  He said, everyone in the community has a role in expanding the tourist sector of the economy and likened the people to be the software, whereas the places of attractions are the hardware.

Jannie urged community leaders to be proactive, in engaging their respective villages to take potential advantage of the spin-offs from the mainline inbound tourism business that is now progressing well in Kota Kinabalu.

The plus factor for these villages was their close proximity to the KK International Airport (KKIA) and to the inner city area.

The question that the community leaders as well as the villagers should ponder upon is how to create products that would make these villages near to the city as mini hubs for tourists to want to visit. Cleanliness issue would be one of the main key factors

 “I have set the ball rolling to get the authorities and NGOs to support our cleanliness programmes (building a biogas digester and trash collection centres, to segregate and recycle trash), but the communities would have to keep these efforts going.

We may not have the scenic beauty but we have a rich history, culture and the story of our struggles to maintain our Kampung in this rapid urbanisation. We just have to recall these stories and tell it in an interesting way,” said Jannie.

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