Pua Kumbu the woven dreams of Sarawak

April 24, 2013 by  
Filed under General

One of the most popular handicraft is the Pua Kumbu that can be found only here in Sarawak. Pua Kumbu is essentially a traditional woven tribal textile made by the women living in longhouses in Sarawak. It used to be that the weaving goddess Kumang would dream dreams and give the designs and patterns to the weaver through the dreams.

A woman’s status in a society can be seen from the type of motifs weaved. During the olden times, only the wives and daughters of the longhouse can weave humanoid figures, also known as engkaramba. These figures with raised arms and out-turned legs represent the deities of the Iban’s animistic religion and is like a talisman that protect the wearer from all harm. It also ensure bountiful harvest during fruiting or harvesting season. The motifs on the Pua Kumbu can be ceremonial rites, animals, daily activities, plants, or more intricate design or pattern that is brought down from generation to generation. The next generation then add in some creativity in their weaving and make it look prettier than the previous generation’s handiwork.

The current most popular design is the ikat or tie and die method. Here, the warp patterns are created by selectively dyeing the longitudinal threads before weaving. So the weaver will later enhance the motif by adding in brocade weaving, embroidery, tapestry weaving or supplementary weft embroidery. The weavers seem to believe that they must continue with the old method of weaving to avoid bad luck or misfortune upon them.

pua kumbu

pua kumbu

(image credit: jungleartsandflora.com)

The current most famous export from Sarawak for pua kumbu is the design by Edric Ong, a reknowned batik designer who has gone on the international fashion runway scene. He has worked with the women at Rumah Garie longhouse, on the River Kain in interior Sarawak, accessible only by longboat, to adapt silk yarn to their traditional cotton pua techniques with outstanding success. For this they have won a coveted Seal of Excellence from UNESCO, for outstanding craftsmanship and traditional technique.

So when you are next in Sarawak, do check out the unique Pua Kumbu and buy some to bring back as souvenirs. You can get to Kuching where most of the pua kumbu can be found by flying with MASwings airline from any of the other Borneo destinations that MASwings fly to. Check out their low rates here: www.MASwings.com.my

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Kuching Food Festival the annual yearly event that promises fun, food and entertainment for everyone

April 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries, General

Kuching Food Festival, in Kuching Sarawak is one exciting event that locals and tourists alike can look forward to if you are in Kuching from 12 July – 4 August 2013 to be held at the Dewan Masyarakat or Community Hall of Kuching South City Council. If you are planning a trip to Kuching, and you love to eat, this is the best time to come. Fly with the best regional airline, MASwings and come visit Kuching Sarawak to sample all these delicious local and international cuisine all in one place.

Food oh la la

There are estimated to be over 220 stalls participating in this year’s event.

As this event is about food, so there will be a great variety of food available at the event ranging from muslim food, chinese food, Indian and western food. There will be a new international food corner catering for International cuisine covering Korean, Japanese, Philippine and even Vietnamese food. This goes to show that there is an increase in demand for international cuisine by Kuching folks as well as an increase in expatriates coming to work in Kuching.

Kuching Got Talent

The one exciting event that most people will look forward to is the “Kuching got Talent” contest. The contest covers broader areas such as comic dialogue and crosstalk, ventriloquist, magic, stunt, academic and martial arts.

Each team must consist of not more than five members and the performance time is limited to five minutes.

The judging is divided into four components namely talent (25 pct), entertainment (25 pct), creativity and uniqueness (25 pct), and overall performance (25 pct).

Astro has invited three guest judges from Kuala Lumpur and Kuching to identify the true champion of ‘Kuching Got Talent’.

The champion and first runner-up will walk away with RM2,500 and RM1,500 respectively while the second runner up will bring home RM1,000. The ‘potential prize’ winner will receive RM500.

There will also be a brass band competition for secondary school bands. Through such activities, the youth will be occupied with an activity that is productive for their time and talent.

The council is also planning to organize horse riding within the compound area for the public.

There will also be a Garden Show to encourage the publis to beautify their homes through creative design and special plants.

Other activities are the martial arts display, Sports Toto 3-on-3 Basketball Jamboree, rugby tournament, football tournament and hockey tournament.

If you have the talent, why not fly with MASwings to Kuching during those dates and join the Kuching Got Talent Contest? Who knows you may just shine your hidden talent and walk away with some cash prizes or in worst scenario, just have great fun? Book your air tickets now at www.MASwings.com.my

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Surviving Traditional Skills in Modern Day

April 20, 2013 by  
Filed under General

Sarawak is always known for her beautiful handicrafts. Ranging from basket weavers, to mat-making, and ikat-weaving, these items became the main attractions for both domestic and international travelers.

In the past, if someone mentioned to hear about Sarawak handicrafts, they would think a ‘longhouse’. Public will have the picture of Dayaks’ life still living in primitive days. However, a lot has changed in the past 30 to 40 years.

In today’s society, we no longer see these groups of Sarawak Dayak people still living in their primitive days. They are following the world trend. Some eventually decided to find better opportunities by going to town. With the new education policies, these young children now even have the chance to go to school and further their studies.

Even some of the elders these days, will follow their sons and daughters to live in the town area. These urban artisans will work quietly on their own and some will work part time with a company. Then again, the common complaint is of course none other than the resources which are hard to get in town.

In many urban areas, those younger generations in Sarawak who are keen to learn how to weave these unique and beautiful handicrafts will receive an informal lesson from the elders. Such classes are usually setup by a group of community associations. The problem still lies in the question on where and how to get a handful of raw materials.

Since it is hard to get the required raw materials, these traditional Dayaks’ being creative managed to find other alternatives to it. They managed to produce baskets by using recycled newspaper or old magazines and later packed up nicely in a plastic packaging ready for sale.

Although it was made out of recycled newspapers and magazines, the quality of their hand works are still in high quality. They will eventually try to recycle thrown away stuff and see what they can make out of it using their traditional skills respectively.

Experimenting and trying out with new materials in handicrafts are always the fun part for these elders in Sarawak. Living in an urban area using traditional skills to survive, the weavers definitely will have to keep an eye not only on the latest trend but also what will sell well. Traditional costumes are popular but they are not very high in demand. Items such as smaller purses, handbags, and beads, are more likely inviting to most domestic or international travelers.

Sarawak Cultural Village and the Kuching City Waterfront will have various selections of traditional handicrafts to pick from.

Although they have shifted and assimilated themselves with the urban lifestyle, these creative Sarawak Dayaks will work side by side with their close friends or relatives to produce the handicrafts. Some successfully managed to open up their very own home made handicrafts business, will rally with more friends and relatives back in their village for help. Moreover, some of them are not actually working as a full time job in this handicraft business but see it as a good way of welcoming a little bit extra cash and keeping old skills alive.

Sarawak Handicraft

Sarawak Handicraft

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Experience the sights and sounds of the Borneo Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching

Do you want to experience wonderful live performances by world singers and bands in Malaysia’s largest musical event? Then, look no further, for the annual Borneo Rainforest World Music Festival, held every year in Sarawak Cultural Village, is here again to dazzle you with its spectacular sights and sounds starting from the 28th until 30th of June 2013. Kuching is indeed the place to be in at this time of year!

Rainforest World Music Festival

MASWings has regular daily flights from Sarawak’s major cities, Kota Kinabalu and Bandar Seri Begawan. Thus, it is a convenient thing for you to attend the wonderful Borneo Rainforest Music Festival. If you are flying from further afield such as Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, there are many direct flights you can take to Kuching from these destinations.

Rainforest World Music Festival

The Sarawak Cultural Village, the venue of this event, at the foothills of the majestic Mount Santubong is surrounded by beautiful lush green rainforest. During these three days event, there will be numerous workshops held during the daytime and music performances at night. During the last Rainforest World Music Festival, the weekend audience totaled to around 30,000 people. It is no surprise that this festival is now acclaimed as the largest of its kind in Malaysia.

Rainforest World Music Festival
This year’s musical line up will consist of several local and international talents. Lan E Tuyang, a traditional Kenyah band called Lan E Tuyang performing the exotic native Kenyah tunes. Coming from further afield, the Ukrainian Spiritual Seasons band will entertain you with medieval, Irish and Scandinavian folk tunes. The local Sarawakian Gema SLDN-SCV group will undoubtedly enchant the audience with their various different local percussion instruments such as drums, gongs and bamboo. A solo native performer, Maya Green, is no less impressive with his solo native Borneo music, a blend of traditional tunes and sounds, played on the iconic sape. Hailing from Australia, the Nunukul Yuggara dance troupe will entertain you with their traditional Aboriginal song and music. These unique performers are just but a few that will grace this year’s wonderful Rainforest World Music Festival.

Rainforest World Music Festival

During the day, the performers will conduct several workshop sessions relating to their music and songs in the various traditional houses within the Sarawak Cultural Village. If you are interested to know more about how to play musical instruments or sing a tune, this interesting workshop is something you should not miss! There will be workshops on songs from various countries, the origin of the traditional gong, traditional Aboriginal body rites, the music and traditions of the Bidayuh people, different types of drum percussions and many more. It would indeed be an experience of a lifetime, learning about the delightful sounds and music from around the world.

Rainforest World Music Festival

Will all these fun-packed activities during the day and breath taking musical performances at night, The Borneo Rainforest Music Festival 2013 is guaranteed to blow you away! Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s head down to Kuching this late June and enjoy the sights, sounds and music from around the world. You’ll not regret it.

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Let’s Tee Off With MASwings Special Promo Fare

April 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Offer

Let’s Tee Off With MASwings Special Promo Fare

Have you picked your travel dates yet or are you still planning your destination? Are you looking for that affordable flight tickets? Well folks here it is! It is time to Tee Off with MASwings promo fare!

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Let’s Tee Off With MASwings promo fare price are from Kuching to Balikpapan at RM 99, Kuching to Pontianak at RM 160, and Kuching to Bandar Seri Begawan at RM 145!

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You may start your booking now as seats are limited and travel any time before the end of July 2013!

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