Unduk Ngadau contest to see changes, improvement
Published on: Wednesday, April 24, 2019
By: Ricardo Unto
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KOTA KINABALU: This year’s State Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan (UNK) will witness several changes and improvement, said its organising chairperson Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas.

Among the significant changes, she said, is the requirement for State constituency representatives to the State-level pageant to prepare a documented cultural research of their respective ethnic group.

“This research will be conducted through a group effort where the title hopefuls can get the help from their family members or the district organising committee members,” she said, after chairing the district UNK coordinator meeting, here, Tuesday.

“The documented research would then be presented to a panel of judges during the pre-judging session prior to the finals.

“Contestants are required to touch on studies focusing on the traditional costumes that they are wearing and optionally the related cultural aspects of the ethnic group.

“And that is why contestants are encouraged to wear or showcase the traditional costumes distinctive to the area that they are representing.”

Jo-Anna said this is one of the initiatives to preserve and conserve the rich cultural tradition of the Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) in the State.

“As we are all aware, some cultural history has not been documented much.

“That is why we take this initiative so that documentation can be done by referring to reliable and relevant sources.

“Such valuable documentation will also facilitate future efforts to update the information, when needed,” she said.

She added this will also encourage the young generation, especially UNK contestants, to enhance their cultural knowledge.

Another big change to the annual cultural pageant is the participants’ age limit.

“The committee has decided to increase the maximum age limit for participation to 27 from 25.

“We feel that there are many 25-year-olds who are still furthering their studies and could not find the time to join the pageant.

“Taking this into consideration, we increase the maximum age limit to provide more chances for them.”

The top three winners, she said, will also be required to be involved in community-based projects in their respective districts throughout their reigning year.

“Among the projects that they can participate are cultural education, tourism ambassadorship and community work.

“We aim to educate and encourage youths to contribute significant efforts to their respective districts.

“Such projects would also highlight the UNK pageant as a medium to showcase the roles and contributions of women in community development,” she said.

On the increase number of participants from last year’s 46 to 64 this year, Jo-Anna said it would widen the avenue for the various Kadazandusun Murut’s (KDM) culture and traditional costumes in the State to be showcased.

“The increase was mooted by State Kaamatan Festival Organising Chairman Datuk Peter Anthony who wanted to see more participation from all State constituencies in Sabah.

“For example, there are three State constituencies in Tuaran - Sulaman, Tamparuli and Kiulu, and there are also other sub-groups of Dusunic community, apart from Suang Lotud.

“So by having more slots, we could promote the other ethnic groups in the district.”

However, the increase in the number of participants would also affect the pageant’s duration.

“The committee is aware of this issue but we have designed a programme so that it would not be dragged for too long.

“Furthermore, we have also taken into consideration that the Kaamatan Festival celebration falls during Ramadan,” she said.

While welcoming the recent announcement by Peter on the cash prizes of the top three winners, Jo-Anna disclosed the committee is still finalising the list of other prizes for the winners.

“As announced, this year’s winner will bring home RM18,000 cash, followed by RM13,000 for the first runner-up and RM10,000 for the second runner-up.

“There will be other prizes which are still being sorted out.”

The final stage will be hosted at the Hongkod Koisaan Kadazandusun Cultural Association’s (KDCA) hall on May 31.

Several activities and events will be organised prior to the finals, including registration and introduction night on May 27, and the gala dinner on May 29.

Meanwhile, Jo-anna said a portion of the proceeds from the ticket sales of the gala dinner will be channelled to charitable bodies.

“The beneficiaries are Kota Kinabalu and Likas community-based rehabilitation centres as well as the Sabah Caring and Helping Individuals Learn and Develop (Child) Association.

“The contribution aims to help support individuals and children with special needs,” she said.



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