07 June 2010

Sabahan All Over Again: How I Celebrated the Harvest Festival

So, my celebrating Harvest Festival was kacau-ed by my Aussie trip this year, just as it was when I flew out to London exactly on the same day last year.
Coming back when the month long celebration was rolling to its end, I had to run here and there to catch whatever there was to catch before it was too late. Luckily, there was this to attend at the Community Hall right in my very hometown of Keningau.
Then I had to leave half-way through the Unduk Ngadau Beauty Pageant’s Q&S session when I noticed how the celebration was organized by some political party.
No thanks to the long row of beaus, I never liked the idea of Harvest Festival being politicized. Sorry, but it is just so not right for me.
Then I was invited to attend a Harvest Festival celebrated by a small community in a village called Kg. Ria, also in Keningau. Oh well, it was a far cry from the politicianAKAduitrakyat-sponsored celebration back at the Community Hall but it was far more hilarious.
At least people were there to sincerely celebrate the true meaning of Harvest Festival and its significance to the KDM (KadazanDusunMurut) community in Sabah.
Oh well, while it was probably impossible to bring in all the beautiful girls to contest in the beauty pageant with nothing so fancy to offer, they had their own way of ‘charging’ the air up with their own ‘beaus’.
It gotta be the most daring aqua show that I’d ever seen. They were so funny I almost laughed my head off. I mean, my upper HEAD. Not that head OK? Aqua pageant might not be customary in Harvest Festival celebrations, but a festival is a festival. They can put in whatever they wish to bring in more hilarity to the festive mood of the community.
Then I was given the honor of being one of the judges in the ‘The Best Tapai’ contest. Oh well, if you don’t already know, tapai is what we call rice wine here in Sabah. Seriously, with so many alcoholics hard-core drinkers around, I still don’t know why they picked me to be one of the judges. :=P
Oh well, despite that little celebration that I went to, I still felt like I had missed out a lot on the festive season of May in Sabah this year. A very heavy downpour had hampered my plan of celebrating the Kaamatan with a bunch of friend at the KDCA’s Hongkod Koisaan.
Then an invitation to a friend’s wedding in Kota Belud came almost to my rescue.
It was actually my very first time attending a wedding in the district whose local community is known as the Cowboy of The East.
Again, the rain.
I don’t know why Mr. Rain always turns up during a celebration. With quite a limited space to go to, I had to be prepared for the worse with this time bomb bulging right over my head.
It turned out to be such a great event for a wedding though. Starting off with the procession of the bride with all the bridesmaids into the groom’s house, I felt so sorry to see how the girls with all the beautiful costumes had to half-run to get out of the rain.
Luckily it stopped after quite a while and things began to take the flow accordingly. Quite new to me, they had this session called ‘Sepak Manggis’.
Led by the bride and groom as the first couple to take up the court, each of them should kick the takraw ball by targeting to hit these.
Oh well, a few attempts by the couple didn’t make it to the targets so the session was opened to the crowds.
I was told that the targets would burse off when it is hit hard by the ball at the right spot. The winner would get a prize from the wedding couple.
Quite customary to most wedding ceremonies I think in just about anywhere now, there was this session where the couple would go to each table for a toast. Of course, it wasn’t a hotel or something so there were no tables but still the concept was similar where the wedding couple would go mingling with the crowds.
Oh well, I had my very own share of orange-juice. It was all free-flow.
Don’t be fooled. It is actually Bahar, another one of Sabah’s so many locally brewed wines. Be warned, it is so strong it may send you down to the floor before you even managed to raise your white flag.
Then you know the celebration has really BEGUN when you see people taking on the dance floor and dancing SUMAZAU.
It’s Sabah’s most popular traditional dance!
And I noticed how for the past few years wedding bashes in Sabah would never be complete without Poco Poco, an easy dance of back-n-forth, left-n-right steps that would require you to compassionately throw you head backward like a puppet on a string. LOL!
Easy it might be but still it can make you sweat so profusely you may need to keep checking on your make-up after each session. LOL!
Then there was the usual cutting of wedding cake.
But the bahar was eating up on my head by then. I couldn’t even keep my head up and look straight at the girl. Shit, I actually didn’t realize how 'cute' she was until I looked back at the picture! I tried to find if I had the latest phone number stored in my handphone but there was none. Oh no!
Hehe. After finally saying good bye to the, errr, newly-wed couple, I was led to another kampong where I’d be spending the night in. Oh well, it was so cool getting to experience a real kampong life in my own homeland. You know, like waking up and having this right out the window.
And coming down to the home ground and finding some of these.
Located like in the middle of nowhere, it really is such a beautiful village.
It is probably the only village where you'd find 3-storeys for a wooden house. 
Dashing slowly right across the middle of it is this beautiful river called Kedamaian River.
Flowing right down from the majestic Mount Kinabalu, the cold of the water penetrated instantly right to my bones even when it was around midday when I took my first dip. :-D
I was so fascinated by this big rock here I actually asked if it was built up but no, I was told it has always been there probably even before the kampung even took shape.
And just as I threw a handful of pellet fish food into the water, the water surface instantly went roar with fish scrambling into each other I found myself jumping on my feet like a small kid who has just been given a hand full of candies. The river was full of fish mannn! Fish!!! o.O
Being a visitor to a kampung lived by a Dusun ethnic community in Sabah means you have to be prepared for something like this.
I’ve been to so many places with lots of different beverages from the most famous to the lesser known ones, I was quite surprised I’d never found it anywhere else before. The big bottle of liquor comes with the smaller bottle of lime which should be very very briskly placed vertically head-to-head into each other before the mixing circulation could begin taking 'its course'. Wohoooo! Isn't it cool??
I don’t remember what they called it but the taste was actually quite good. You see, anything with lime is good. Then they had quite an assortment for pusas to come with it including amongst others, one of the biggest tilapias that I’d ever seen, grabbed fresh from the backyard pool, boiled to cook with slices of cinnamon and bambangan (wild mango?)! Putting a spoonful of it into my mouth, I was so in heaven!
Hehe. But seriously, being among the friendly locals in this little village community is something that I really don’t mind doing over and over again. For one thing, it makes me feel so Sabahan all over again. :-P
Hehe. Of course I've always been Sabahan. But I really didn’t understand when they kept insisting that I should get a grab of leaves from this tree here to bring back to KK. They call it ‘Pokok Perawan’ (the Virgin Tree?).
Fine, it is known to, errr, re-tighten, errrr, that. But what is there for me to re-tight???
Done with the second bottle (wohooo!), the little adventure of mine didn’t just end there. They led me off to the far end of the village.
Guess what they’ve got there?
A pool table! You see, they don’t have to drive up all the way to Kota Belud Township to throw away money over petrol just to play a pool there. They’ve got it right here in the village. In fact, they could use the money to do a little bit of betting against each other. (everybody loves betting mahh!)
And playing pool right in the middle of the village means you have to keep up with kampung chicks keep rubbing on you legs.
And some kampung bitches keep licking on your toes. LOL!
hehe. Oh well, I didn’t go the village for nothing actually. This beautiful kampung (I wouldn’t reveal the name now as I’m going there again soon to gather up more info, and hopefully more pics) is among a list of villages that will all be gone soon just because of some DAMN project that will turn the whole village together with a few others into a giant reservoir.

Note: That guy is not me. :-D
You see, Mr. Gov has been putting a lot of big questions in the heads of many people with a list of mega projects in the past few years. While the implementation of the much controversial coal-fired plant is said to be very much undergoing despite strong oppositions from many environment and nature-concerned people including ME, now they come up with this ridiculous plan of flooding down a whole number of HUMAN settlements together with their ayams, itiks, babis, lembus, kerbaus, farms, paddy fields, EVERYTHING. Even the this beautiful community who has probably lived there even before Sabah was called Sabah.
I mean, have they ever considered how long did it take for the nature to shape up those EVERTHINGs into how they are now? Thousands of thousands year, NO?
Ohh, and I don’t even want talk about the risk if things suddenly go wrong with the dam. Just by thinking about those things now is making me go headache. I know I have to stop now or my head is gonna blow up. I promise, I’d come back with more about this ridiculous plan by Mr. Gov again soon.


aud said...

That was a really, really good Kaamatan weekend you had. I agree with you on how they have politicised the festival in some areas, a terrible thing IMHO.

Wah the bride also have to play 'sepak manggis' kah? :)

A Big NO to Coal and other mega projects like that. *thumbs down*

JIPP said...

Thanks Aud. Yupp, had a great weekend to end the festive season. Yupp, the bride has to do it. Hehe. Yupp, a no no to those nonsense projects. They are not ikhlas to do it for rakyat, they just wanna do it for the sake of money raked in by doing those projects.

chegu carol said...

nothing beats the keramaian in the kampung bah kan. punya men lama sdh i didnt attend one...and that ratu pondan...wuish, it still exist!!

and oh, long time ago, when i was still muda2 and suka round kampung tu join the UN....Kg Ria was one of my winning kampung. Not first la...second place ja. Hahaha!

The wdg in KB...wahhh, the bride also had to kick the ball ka??

Lizeewong said...

Punya siok!!!!!!! I like the house on that weird looking rock. So out-of-this-world!

JIPP said...

Carol: wahh, u did join unduk there. Didn't know coz u were more like into bigger events that I knew. hehe. Yupp, the couple had to kick-start. :-)
Liz: best kan? hujan emas di negeri org, hujan batu2 sja di negeri sendiri, our own homeland is always the best. hehehe.

**~Pu-3~** said...

I never seen such wedding, Sepak Manggis? Son interesting! Thank you for sharing :D

JIPP said...

hehe. No problem Pu3. That's what I do - sharing. It was new to me too. :-)


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