Back-to-basics lotud beauty pageant
Published on: Wednesday, June 12, 2019
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TUARAN: Fashion evolves and local traditional ethnic costumes are not spared from these changes. Noting that the modern alterations may harm the authenticity and original beauty of these costumes, Ta’il Bulawan organising chairman Dee Layun took a bold step by introducing the back-to-basics concept in the pageant.

 “Contestants are required to wear the classic style of ‘sukub’ (blouse), ‘gonob’ (skirt) and ‘kuluwu’ (shawl) of the Suang Lotud – the black colour is more dominant and not decorated with sequins,” he said after the crowning ceremony during the Imbang-Imbang Kino’omoto event, here, recently.

“They were also asked to put on basic and simple make-up as well as tying their hair into the distinctive Suang Lotud hairbun, ‘sinulug kisinungkok’.”

The Suang Lotud traditional costumes are dominantly black in colour and adorned by intricate and colourful designs of ‘linangkit’ (embroidery) on the ‘gonob’ and the ‘kuluwu’.

The modern version of this costume which is sometimes heavily-ornamented with sequins is now more popular that the interest on the costume’s classic style had faded significantly.

Even in recent pageants where contestants need to wear traditional Suang Lotud costumes such as the Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan, they would prefer to wear the present style instead of opting for the classic style.

Dee said the Ta’il Bulawan pageant aimed to become an avenue to revive the popularity of the classic Suang Lotud costume.

The pageant’s name derived from the name of a woman from a Suang Lotud folk tale.

“According to the story, Ta’il Bulawan was extremely beautiful and well-mannered…none can outdone her.

 “She was also intelligent and passionate in preserving arts and culture apart from being highly respected by the community,” he said.

And in honour of her characteristics, Dee said, the pageant’s mission is to educate the young contestants on the authentic Suang Lotud traditional costume apart from empowering them with adequate knowledge on their mother tongue.

 “When I was first given the duty to coordinate Ta’il Bulawan, I had voiced out my intention to ensure that the pageant has its own unique identity as well as to become a benchmark for the efforts to retain the authenticity of the Suang Lotud costume.

“The rapid growth of modernity has motivate most us to be overly creative in altering the traditional costumes.

“As a genuine Suang Lotud, I think the originality of these costumes should not be compromised as the classic style had existed more than a century ago and that is why we should preserve it,” he said.

He added, it is still not too late to create awareness among the public to revive the glory of the classic style of a presentation of a Suang Lotud woman, from the costume to her accessory, make-up and hairstyle.

“I hope the Suang Lotud community in Tuaran will united in their will to maintain the costume’s originality so that it will not continue to be altered to anyone’s liking.

“The costume is part of our (Suang Lotud) history. As such, its historical value should be appreciated…we should respect the legacy of our ancestors as it forms our identity.

“If no effort is taken, then I am afraid that we will only be left with the name ‘Suang Lotud’ without any distinctive artistic or cultural values.”

The pageant was participated by 10 Sumandaks from six villages here - Batangan, Barus, Korompitut, Wokok, Dungang and Pandamai.

Sixteen-year-old Petsy Joyce Petrus wowed the judges with her charm to walk away with the main title. 

She was followed by Jessica Deanna Jonas in second place and Rozviviyen Vivi Ronny in the third spot.

During the competition, each contestant was also required to answer two questions in the question and answer session with one of them in mandatory Lotud language.

The competition was the highlight of the two-day Imbang-Imbang Kino’omoto event.

Prior to the finals, the contestants also attended an intensive Lotud language class and a public speaking training session as well as an introductory class on the various aspects of the Suang Lotud culture.

With a population of more than 20,000, the Suang Lotud ethnic group is mainly found in Tuaran.

Just like the other Dusunic ethnic groups, the Suang Lotud has its own distinctive culture, ranging from costumes, to dance and music.


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