The last time I got to write here, the by-election in Batang Ai was still at the campaigning stage. Rightly, the BN won and our friend, Mussen is now a YB and no more in the state civil service.
During that particular election, the Dayak Iban Cultural Symposium was held in Betong. This time around, it is the "Orang Ulu's" turn to have the same agenda. I begin to think that this kind of events are just part of or an element of campaigning by the government of the day. It is being held, co-incidently, every five years and it involve a lot of community leaders, be it government appointees or elected into the various NGOs.
As a matter of fact, the land issues is still the the topic of choice and hotly debated. But we must remember this is a "cultural" symposium. The forum hardly get any representation proper from a cultural point of view beside some mentioned of orang ulu "fine arts" and artifacts worthy of heritage listing in a couple of papers presented.
The last part of it was the persuasion paper to get a localised version for the "orang ulu" called 'community-based reference' or self-lingo referencing into "LUNDAYA". This was hotly anticipated, whereby the chairperson of the session was non-other than the person who has helped formed the "Orang Ulu National Association" himself, YgBhg Datuk Wan Ullok. At the end, the participants are still far-apart in their acceptance of the term. One eminent person from the floor stood up to ask questions which one sounds like "adakah cadangan pertukaran nama ini ada udang di sebalik mee?". I responded silently like "they want somekind of legacy".
Personally, I believe that the notion is a waste of time, as some participants openly grouses there and then. It is just like wanting to change the name "mercedes to proton". One is already highly regarded all over the world but crying wanting to be a known locally in Malaysia only. No wonder the presenter of the paper, non-other than the organiser himself, our very own brother Datu Ose Murang struggled so much with his lingo, only helped so much by the pauses and interruptions of the other panelists whom were given time to speak on the issue.
Another fellow participant put it like this in Kayan "tiah ngalui basung anan pah.. pakai basung maring bi bu mengo' loh kah ihah, bu na' piah dahin tula loh kah na'a." - like changing shirt, still with the same armpit smell.
At the end, the cultural symposium is still worth an avenue for the Orang Ulu to expose issues and exchange ideas and thoughts. It would be best if more cultural and arts related matter were put up at the symposium and leave other matters like economy, business to other fora.
Resolutions resulting then, must be forwarded to the authority and followed-up to ensure this channel remain relevant. Otherwise, it will just be another waste of time and effort or simply and pre-election campaigning gimmick.
jangan ambik hati sangat tuyang...
Purely Orang Ulu.