Monday, May 8, 2017

Islamic Version of Kaamatan

Women wearing a fully covered-up version of the traditional Kadazandusun costume during a 'Kaamatan Islamik' programme in Papar, Sabah on May 6, 2017

Photos of several women dressed in a long, loose robe-like variation of the traditional Kadazandusun black-and-gold costume, but with their arms and heads all covered up have created an uproar in Sabah amid the month-long Kaamatan festival celebration.
Believed to be taken during a “Kaamatan Islamik” programme in Papar over the weekend, the photos have since drawn censure from Sabahans of all creeds who are keen to separate culture from religion.
In this case, Kaamatan, the Kadazandusun harvest festival, is largely rooted in the beliefs of the indigenous people who are giving thanks to their gods for a bountiful harvest.
“In Sabah, Kaamatan is a celebration for the Dusun and Kadazan people, and there should be no religious element. What if later on there is a Christian Kaamatan, a Buddhist Kaamatan, and so on?” Japiril Suhaimin voiced his concern to Malay Mail Online today.
The Muslim of Dusun ethnicity said his community has always celebrated Kaamatan in a big way, and people from all religions join in the celebrations.
“Kaamatan in Sabah has united its people and we don’t want our harmony to be destroyed because of it,” he added.
Although not listed on the photographed banner of the event, Sabahans with social media accounts believe this alternative Kadazandusun harvest festival is organized by an Islamic NGO, the Hidayah Centre Foundation in Sabah together with Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia.
Bersih 2.0 vice chair for Sabah and also the Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia secretariat director, Beverly Joeman said that Sabahans were not against Muslims celebrating Kaamatan but were more worried about the intention in inserting another religion’s take on it.
“The crux of Kaamatan is to give thanks to Bambazon, Kinoingan, and to Huminodun who sacrificed herself to restore land fertility that her people will not die of famine and starvation,” she also told Malay Mail Online.
[Note: In Kadazandusun culture, Bambazon refers to the rice spirits, Kinoingan their God, and Huminodun is his daughter].
“Kaamatan uses many paganistic rituals – why is the ‘Kaamatan Islamik’ trying to change the very core of Kaamatan, replacing the Magavau with a doa kesyukuran in Arabic and Dusun? Then what is left of Kaamatan? Is the word ‘Kaamatan Islamik’ itself not an oxymoron?”
Furthermore, she added: “Please do not rape our culture, our adat and the essence of being an Orang Asal and try and make it into some sorry state of “celebration” your way”.
Already Facebook users of all religious persuasions have also criticized the organizers for making the much loved celebration take on a religious slant.
James Milner missed a penalty as Liverpool were held to a 0-0 home draw by Southampton yesterday in a blow to their hopes of finishing in the EPL top four and securing a place in next season's Champions League.
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On Friday, I was in Jalan Tangsi, KL to attend the UniRazak Toastmasters Club's First Anniversary celebration dinner:

I'm glad to be able to give support to this group of vibrant Toastmasters!

PM Najib Razak's son also attended the said event an affable guy, really. Mohd Nizar Mohd Najib was there in his capacity as Alternate Director of Noah Foundation, the club's sponsor.

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