Lex Petros: Day 4: Sarawal Cultural Village (Part 2)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day 4: Sarawal Cultural Village (Part 2)

Continued... (from Part 1...obviously...)
Next up, the Orang Ulu longhouse...The Uluians were famous for their sword-making skills....We were graced by one of the locals playing a sape, pronounced "sa-peh", is a traditional lute of the Orang Ulu community or "upriver people" of central Borneo. It is traditionally used by the Kenyahs, Kayans and Kelabit tribes.

Carved from a bole of white wood which repels insects, the 'Sape' is a masterpiece of woodcarving. The carver, usually a musician, hollows out the body of the sape with similar tools used in boat-building to a length of about over a metre, and approximately 40cm wide.

Left the right: A Orang Ulu playing the 'Sape' and the Ulu girls breaking it down!

Jennifer and Grace producing a semblance of a tune on the Gabbang..

The girls on the other hand were having fun with a 'Gabbang', a traditional xylophone with eight wooden keys. This beautiful instrument, a product of the Kadazandusun community of Kg. Bitoon Nunuk Ragang, Ranau, is carved from pakudita wood. The Gabbang is often part of a musical ensemble played during festivities such as weddings and the Harvest Festival of Sabah. There was also a short dance performance by the Ulu ladies...

Kim, Francis and Asther trying out the 'Bamboo dance' under the Malanau tall house

Later, we proceeded to the Malanau Tall House....literally ! (it stands approx 30 ft off the ground) The Malanaus are known for their Sago harvesting and constitute 5.5% of the population in Sarawak. In fact, their staple food is Sago, in preference to rice. Hmmm...interesting...

Later, we visited the Chinese community, getting educated about pepper grinding...Do you know that black and white pepper comes from the same pepper seeds? Black pepper is when you grind the thing with its skin on and white pepper is made from grinding the pepper seed after it's been removed by soaking it for 14 days in water...Again, another piece of information which I never knew. Next up was the Malay house, but I was already giving up by then...I'm sure there's a show case on how to prepare belacan and stuff...Bo chap already!

Last, but not the least, a 45 minute cultural show at the theatre, show casing a myriad of traditional dances and costumes...

After a good seafood lunch (very late lunch at that!), we all went back for a short rest, only to prepare ourselves to venture to the Riverside, at the banks of the Sarawak River... food stalls, peddlers and the streets were strung with lights...nothing better than to exhaust the rest of the evening and ourselves!!!

The Riverside walk took us a good 45 minutes and terminating at the end, is a refurbished fort, probably left behind by the Portugese many decades ago...or more...on the way back, I spotted a joint with a sign which read "Happy 24 hours!" (in red-neon some more)...which I thought was "one of those places", till I realized it was a local convenience store... He he...I guess the fatique was getting to me...

It was the best sleep I had that nite...although, not much of it, since I stayed up to enjoy every minute I could remain awake, in this quaint and laid-back city...

I love Kuching!


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