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"More significant role for Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan’: Joanna
Published on: Monday, May 27, 2024
By: Ricardo Unto
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Joanna and Carol
Kota Kinabalu: Starting this year, the Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan (UNK) title will take on a more significant role after the competition was recognised as having national status, said KDCA Women’s Council Chairperson Joanna Datuk Kitingan.

"UNK is no longer just at the village, district, or state level but at the national, and maybe soon international level,” she said after the registration of the National UNK finalists here on Sunday.

“Our people, the Kadazan Dusun, are everywhere worldwide.”

 This year’s UNK winner will work around Sabah and throughout Malaysia to promote our culture.

 “We always bring last year’s top three winners together for any activity to build lasting friendships and make it more enjoyable for them.

“We even took them to Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia,” said Joanna, who is also the National UNK Organising Chairperson.

 This year, she said the top seven winners will undergo an intensive three-day course at the Sekolah Adat in Tuaran to deepen their cultural knowledge.

 Joanna reiterated that an Unduk Ngadau does not only carry her name but also her personality and life values.

 “UNK is the longest cultural pageant in Malaysia, and over the years, it has been a platform for empowering women and young people.

 “The programme shapes them into Kadazan Dusun women who are proud of their cultural heritage.

 “We always instil this value of appreciating your culture in our programme.”

 Meanwhile, last year’s winner, Carol Abbey Gail Grimaldi, shared some tips with this year’s aspirants.

 “You should always be mindful of your attitude and practise punctuality.

“Do not be stressed out during the competition, but you should also enjoy the moments,” she said.

She said she participated in various programmes, including charitable activities, during her reign.

“The most memorable for me was when Sabah was hit by drought, especially in Papar. I played a role in helping to deliver bottled water to the affected residents.

“I was also appointed as an ambassador for the State Museum and biodiversity.”

On handing over the crown, she admitted to having mixed feelings about it.

“I had so many memories while carrying the title. My self-esteem was also enhanced. Before this, I was shy, but when I held the State UNK title, I had the opportunity to host events and meet many people.

“After this, I will focus on my career, but first, I would like to have a perfect rest,” she said.

This year’s title winner will take home prizes worth over RM100,000, including RM12,000 in cash.

The pageant will be the highlight of the annual National Kaamatan Festival, which will be held on May 31, at the Hongkod Koisaan Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) in Penampang.

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