Gongs from Sabah for UK Kaamatan
Published on: Saturday, May 25, 2019

Kota Kinabalu: Sabahans living in the United Kingdom recently celebrated Kaamatan (Harvest Festival) but unlike previous years, this time they had a set of gongs sent all the way from Sabah.

 The celebration, their sixth this year, was organised by Sabahan Abroad UK (SAUK) that was held on May 4 in Theale, Reading.  It was attended by guests from Ireland and Kota Kinabalu.

 SAUK said in a statement that the gongs arrived in the UK with help from NCT Forwarding and Shipping, and were played for the first time by its committee members. 

“It was indeed a proud moment especially for the Kadazans, Dusuns and Muruts present, to hear the majestic sound of the gongs echo through the night,” it said. 

 SAUK hopes that by having the gongs in the UK, they will be able to further promote the Kadazan-Dusun heritage at the international level. 

 It is also their aspiration that the gongs will open up opportunities for Sabahans in the UK to learn to play them or at least rekindle their connection with this traditional musical instrument.

 Despite the cold and grey weather, the event’s outdoor games went ahead with children and adults participating in a three-legged race, tug-of-war, pop-the-balloon and other fun games. 

Some indoor games such as Speedy Melon and Ball-in-Cup race were also organised for the children.

 For afternoon tea, guests enjoyed delicious food sold by Sabahan stall holders promoting delicacies from home such as Kuih Wajik, Laksa, Onde-Onde, Kek Batik, Coconut Pudding, Sandakan’s iconic UFO tarts and more.

Mae Kolis playing the ‘kulintangan’.

This year’s Kaamatan UK festival themed “Pirubaan id Piombolutan” (meeting up and making friends), was mainly focused on getting together and having fun.

 While feasting on a lavish traditional and varied buffet dinner, prepared by SAUK’s Kitchen Team, guests were presented with the Traditional Costume Fashion Show, showcasing several traditional costumes from Sabah and Sarawak. 

The most anticipated programme was the Kulintangan gong performance played by Mae Kolis as well as the introduction of the Kadazan tagung (gongs). 

 Other programmes lined-up also included a Mangatap demonstration by SAUK committee members, Alfred and Laura, to show non-Malaysian guests how rice grains are traditionally separated from the paddy husk.

Guests were also serenaded by singers Mohd Izman, Joel Andu Soh, Sarah Michelle, Lester Michael Tugung and 12 year old Maya Linawa. 

The Kulintangan Dance Group, who performed at Westminster Abbey in London in February, captivated everyone with their graceful performance of the Daling-Daling dance. 

After a fun-filled evening singing and dancing the Sumazau, the night ended with a closing speech by Sabahan Abroad UK’s President, Nelda Hendon, and the results of the Traditional Food Competition. The Hinava dish, prepared by Leo Henry, was voted as the winner.


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