Experts from China to train locals

KUCHING: In an effort to boost Sarawaks fledgling bamboo industry, experts from the China-based International Network for Bamboo (INBAR) headquarters in Beijing will train about 30 locals in bamboo-based handicraft and furniture making from June 7, it was announced yesterday.

The Association of Research and Development Movement of Singai Sarawak (Redeems) president, Peter Nansian Ngusie, said two experts from INBAR would be sent to the Redeems Centre at Kampung Apar-Segong, Singai in the Bau District, near here, for three weeks.

Redeems, a community-based NGO, covering 12 villages with an estimated population of 12,000, will also invite another bamboo expert, Dr Fu Jin He, to give a talk on the global bamboo industry on June 28.

Redeems is working on a collaboration with INBAR to promote community bamboo projects to create awareness on the importance of the bamboo industry under the one district one product initiative, he said at the Gawai Carnival

Redeems (GCR) 2008 sponsorship agreement signing ceremony on Sunday night. It was witnessed by State Secretary Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot.

Nansian, who is also the Tasik Biru state assemblyman, said Redeems was developing the first community bamboo botanical park at Kampung Apar-Segong, Singai in the Bau district with US$50,000 from the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) Global Environmental Fund (GEP) Small Grant Programme (SGP).

He said the park was aimed at deepening the knowledge of locals on bamboo and developing an advanced bamboo industry in Sarawak later on.

As part of an enhancement to the park, Nansian said Redeems had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Kuching Hopoh Association, a Chinese community-based body, to build a Chinese bamboo garden.

Earlier, Nansian said the Gawai carnival would be held on a grand scale this year at Kampung Apar-Segong from June 21 to 29 as one of the programmes for the Sarawaks 45th anniversary celebration.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu will launch the carnival while Environment and Public Health Datuk Michael Manyin will grace the closing ceremony.

Gawai is usually a time for celebrations to mark the end of a successful rice harvest before the next padi planting season begins.

As one of the most important annual festivals for the Dayaks and other Sarawak native tribes, it is celebrated officially on June 1 and 2.

Themed Bring forth cultures and traditions to the modern era (Kayak Adat Asar ke Joman Bauh) in the Bau-Jagoi Bidayuh, Nansian said many activities had been planned.

They include Gawai rituals, Bidayuh traditional food cooking competitions, Bidayuh language public speaking contests, cultural dances, traditional Bidayuh music and arts, traditional dance presentation, Bidayuh maiden beauty contest, development exhibitions, resident band performance.

Nansian said these age-old rituals would not only help strengthen bonds among Bidayuhs but would also help younger people to have a greater appreciation of the Bidayuh cultural heritage besides serving as a window of culture on the lifestyle of the Bidayuhs for non-Bidayuh Malaysians and foreigners.