Of colours and culture

Sunday June 3, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/6/3/education/11374642&sec=education

CELEBRATING different cultures is nothing new to the teachers and students of SMK Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Gapor in Kuching, Sarawak.

The school has made cultural celebrations its signature theme ever since the first Student Integration Plan for Unity (RIMUP) programme was launched in the school several years ago.

School principal Hasanah Junaidi said that the programme would bring students of various ethnic groups together besides helping change their mind-set concerning other cultures.

“Integration is everyone’s responsibility. Parents should teach their children values such as tolerance and respect for other cultures when they are young,” said Hasanah.

Hips don’t lie: Zainoren (front right) performing the welcoming dance with his students.

This year, the Bidayuh culture was chosen as the programme theme.

The school had, in the past, emphasised the Malay, Chinese, Iban and Melanau cultures.

The programme kicked off with a lively traditional Bidayuh dance, theRejang Ba-uh, performed by Special Education teacher Zainoren Jack and his students.

Guest of honour, Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie praised the school for carrying out the cultural integration programme and said “Everyone should learn and appreciate the richness of other cultures so that we can live peacefully together in this country.”

He officiated at the event by symbolically hitting the kidibat or gong seven times.

Similar to previous years, the organising committee included an exhibition booth, cultural dances, cooking demonstrations, the playing of musical instruments and the parade of different Bidayuh tribes’ attires.

The school was a sea of colourful ethnic costumes as many students and teachers wore the signature black, red and white Bidayuh outfits even though they were not Bidayuhs.