Thursday, June 30, 2022

Gawai Dayak: An occasion to strengthen our culture, celebrate the culture of other people – Tun Taib

Secara Rawak

* Gawai Dayak meesage by Tuan Yang Terutama Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak, Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud

As we celebrate Hari Gawai Dayak in and outside the State, I wish to say here the celebration has been changing, not in its form as a whole, but in the ways that bring a lot of joy and happiness to the people.

This is happening because of the way of life of the Bidayuh, Iban and Orang Ulu communities has enabled them to exploit opportunities that emerge through the process of development in the State.

For this reason, we can see the migration of the Ibans, Orang Ulus and the Bidayuh from rural areas to towns and cities.

Actually, it can safely be said that there are towns or cities that do not have the Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulus in them.

Generally, the celebration of Hari Gawai Dayak is being celebrated by people of other races and that the celebration is being enjoyed not only by the Dayaks but by people of other races too.

This has been happening for ages among the Malays, who accept the participation of the Ibans, Bidayuhs, Chinese and others in celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Likewise, the Chinese New Year, which is also being participated by people of other races.

Although the Chinese New Year starts with a family dinner but the Chinese have also extended the celebration by holding open house and welcoming guests not only among Chinese but people of other races too.

For this reason, we can actually say the celebrations of every community like Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Christmas, Chinese New Year and Gawai Dayak are very popular and being participated by all communities in the State.

Undoubtedly, this is a good trend for Sarawak, which has diverse ethnic groups; some of them reside in the remote hinterlands, some in places of rugged terrains of hills and valleys and, of course, those in urban areas in towns or cities.

We in Sarawak welcome and celebrate Hari Gawai Dayak as a celebration that gives a lot of fun and merry making not only among the Ibans, Bidayuhs, Orang Ulu but by people of other races too.

The process of mixing together and recognizing and understanding the customs and traditions of other races are spreading throughout the State.

Recently, the people are also celebrating Gawai Dayak in Johore to show that there is already significant number of people from Sarawak working there.

But I believe we are not losing the way of life and the celebration of any community as it brings the spirit of joy and happiness among members of the community in Sarawak and in Semenanjung Malaysia where the people of Sarawak can find jobs and group together among them to celebrate the occasion.

For this reason, Hari Gawai Dayak must be preserved to become an occasion to meet, exchange visits, interact and understand each other’s customs and traditions so that a celebration, which has been given a public holiday, can help to strengthen the unity of all communities not only in Sarawak but in Kuala Lumpur and Johore too.

For this reason, we must consider each celebration of communities in Sarawak as an occasion to strengthen our culture and at the same time to learn and celebrate the culture of other people

For this reason, every time I make a speech to celebrate Hari Gawai, I always remind the people to realize even though we comprise diverse ethnic and religious groups, we can all celebrate the good and beautiful aspects of any culture that have their own attractions, which may not originate from a certain community only.

For this reason, as we celebrate Hari Gawai, we must all realize and regard the celebration as not only a special occasion for the Dayak community but as an opportunity to meet and recognize the positive, the advantage and the amusement that can be found in a culture that may be different from our own.

This has been going on very well in our society, those that have been spreading in urban areas whether in big or small towns in particular.

Before Hari Gawai used to be celebrated only in Bidayuh, Iban and Orang Ulu areas that were distant away from urban areas whether big or small towns.

But now the celebration is being celebrated by all the people cutting across any barriers; no limits any more.

We all consider Hari Gawai as a day of celebration, which is being celebrated by all communities with the feeling of joy and merriment among them.

Selamat Hari Gawai, Let us all work together to achieve greater progress and prosperity ahead of us.

Let us continue to interact among ourselves regardless of our diverse ethnic origins and religious beliefs and let us all realize that the customs and traditions of the Iban community or for that matter the customs and traditions of the Dayak community have been changing with times to become more lively and more refined because of our ability to interact among ourselves and our way of life has become more organized and comfortable through the process of development and progress.

Selamat Hari Gawai. May peace and happiness prevail among us for now and in the future.
Thank you.

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