Sarawak steals spotlight at London Craft Week

Abang Johari (fifth left) lighting a cannon to officiate the event, accompanied by Awang Tengah (third left). – Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING (May 10): Sarawak stole the spotlight at the recent annual London Craft Week at the Malaysian High Commission in the United Kingdom (UK) with its diverse and unique culture and heritage.

Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawak outshined two other states representing the country – Pahang and Terengganu – with its songket, keringkam and woven crafts.

“The exhibition impressed the King and Queen of Bhutan who were among the many royal guests present,” said Abang Johari at the Samarindok Aidilfitri Sarawak Malay Culture Foundation Charitable Trusts (Amanah Khairat Yayasan Budaya Melayu Sarawak) at a hotel here tonight.

He added that the exhibition was visited by dignitaries who came for the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Some 2,000 people came for the historical event.

The Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah herself gave detailed explanations about the various cultures exhibited including Sarawak’s, he said.

Meanwhile, the trust board chairman Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said that the original copy of Sarawak Malay literature – the first Malay novel in the world – has been found at the Rhodes House of Library in the UK.

The novel, entitled Hikayat Panglima Nikosa Mendapat Kesusahan Waktu Perang Hingga Mendapat Kesenangan, was published in 1876, he said.

“Currently, the publication, research and documentation efforts are being carried out to push this novel’s copy as one of the nominations in the Memory of the World at the international level in the International Register of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).

“This is what we can learn from the historical side that the value of civilization that was inherited for thousands of years has been successfully excavated for its historical value in order to give a beneficial impact to the people of Sarawak as a whole,” he said.

Awang Tengah, who is also Deputy Premier, added that Sarawak Malays have long had a scriptorium civilization which is one of the characteristics of one of the old civilizations, which is the culture of written history in the form of manuscripts.

The Hari Raya Aidilfitri gathering was attended by some 1,000 people.

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