Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2011 (Part 3)

How did I spend my Christmas Day? As in previous years, went back to my late father-in-law's kampung (village) at Bantayan, Tamparuli to visit Christian relatives.

Bantayan and Damat next to it is unique in the sense that the majority of the villagers are Dusun people (they prefer to be called that instead of Kadazan) but some of them are Muslims. Thus, quite a number of the crowd that day were Muslims. Similarly, during Hari Raya half of the crowd would be Christians. Good example of 1Malaysia, I think.

To be exact they are Dusun Lotud, a unique sub-community of the Kadazandusun found only in the Tuaran district which includes the Tamparuli sub-district. Unique in their dialect as opposed to the Kadazan spoken in Penampang. Unique in their traditional costume and dance, the Sumayau, as opposed to the Sumazau of Penampang. Thus, it is quite understandable that they want to remain as Dusuns. After all, we are living in a free world and it is their right.

As usual on that day, there was of course music and singing. But not just Christmas songs. The ever popular song and dance is still Poco-Poco. The whole afternoon that I was there, this Indonesian song was played at least a few times and each time the dance floor was full., by both the young and old. Mind you, 90% of the people occupying the dance floor were Dusuns - far from being Indonesians.

Which sets me thinking - that Poco-Poco is still very much in fashion ever in our villages, a few years after it first 'landed' in Sabah from our neighbouring country. It's just like fashion. You can't kill it. So just let it disappear by itself over time, just like fashion.

So I just don't understand so was the fuss all about when certain quarters querried, a couple of years ago I think, why Poco-Poco was incorporated as one of the dances during the State-level Harvest Festival or Kaamatan celebration at Hongkod Koisaan, the KDCA building in Penampang. Come all, let us be more civilized and open-minded. Don't be narrow-minded. Gone were the days of Sabah for Sabahans - PBS and more recently SAPP (Batu Sapi) found that out the hard way. A Poco-Poco dance lasting a few minutes among a score of other dances can't hurt, can it? It can't be Sumazau the whole day, can it? Otherwise even the tourists would be bored.

I know some people may not like what I write but I stand by my conviction. To these people, my advice is simple - stop reading and move on to another blog. As the Malay saying goes, "Dunia masih luas" (the world is still wide). Don't waste your time or energy expecting an apology from me because you won't get any. You are entitled to your opinion which I respect but I am entitled to mine. To borrow the words of the late Datuk Felix Golingi: "I won't use my importance to put other people down, but neither will I let other people to use their importance to put me down!"

The Poco-Poco reminds me of my childhood and teenage days as a bandboy. Those days, the 'dance of the day' during parties and other social functions would be Joget or in those days known locally as Dendang. Each time the music starts, the dance floor is full, just like the Poco-Poco. But I am sure the Joget and Dendang were not invented by Sabahans (or those days North Borneons). They originated from Indonesia and the then Malaya (now Peninsular Malaysia). Nobody made noise then.

All they care is it is everybody's favourite dance. No problem. But nowadays the Joget and Dendang are no longer fashionable. They have been replaced by the Poco-Poco. As simple as that. So what's the problem? Over time it will pass and the Poco-Poco will be overtaken by something else.

And this change may come sooner than we think. That afternoon in Bantayan, apart from the Poco-Poco, two other songs were played over and over again. Each time these two songs were played, a goup of kids would, without being shy, take to the floor. Before long the adults joined them. And they could not even understand the meaning of the words because they were Bajau songs! One was sung by a Bajau singer called Den Bisa, I was told, and the other by a Kadazan or Dusun from Kota Belud! See my point?

I took video (amateur standard lah) of these songs/dances and will put them in my next posts after I uploaded them to You Tube. Then you will know what I mean.

Till then, bye. Oh ya, by the way, the picture - my family, in-laws, nephews, and nieces at Bantayan. In the foreground (right) is the 'matriarch' of the family.

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