Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Injin Puput-Passage to the Heart of Borneo.

An invitation for a trip to Sabah came as a great surprise to me, especially when I had to cancel my planned trip two years ago due to family commitment. Tourism Malaysia (as usual), in collaboration with Sabah Tourism Board has extended an invitation to the Media from Semenanjung Malaysia (West Malaysia) to attend the annual month-long Sabah Fest 2013. We took off from KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) in Sepang in a Malaysia Airlines aircraft 737 at 8.30am and touched down at the newly completed Kota Kinabalu International Airport at 10.45am. The flight was quite smooth and as usual, the food was good….so good that Ridhwan, my Media friend sitting next to me, asked for a second nasi lemak!

The newly completed Kota Kinabalu International Airport is a landmark by itself.

Hotel Promenade - The host for my five day trip to Sabah.
A panoramic sunset view from the promenade just across the hotel.

We were later sent to the Hotel Promenade, a nice city hotel fronting the seaside promenade and a short walking distance to the Handicraft Market and KK Waterfront. After some free and easy activities in the afternoon, we were told to gather at the hotel lobby at 6.30pm for our seafood dinner at a popular floating restaurant called Restoran Kampung Nelayan at Taman Tun Fuad, Bukit Padang, not far from Sabah Golf and Country Club. The food, needless to say, was superb. What looked like an extravagance of scrumptious dishes soon turned into a set of empty plates on the tables.

Crunchy garoupa. Mmmmm.....

Finally, for the main event of the evening, we were brought to JKKN Complex near Penampang, about 20 minutes drive from the restaurant. The complex would be hosting a three day cultural extravaganza from the 3-5 May and the highlight was a musical theatre titled “Injin Puput – Passage To The Heart Of Borneo”. Injin Puput is the local term for the old locomotive which used to provide the locals access in and out of the interior parts of Sabah. The story combines two folktales which chronicle the beliefs of an interior people, the Murut, on the advent of the railway in Sabah, and the reminiscences of a grandfather of the railroad. Presented in the form of a train journey, the information is conveyed through the story-telling style of an elder, a grandfather called Aki Arusap to his grandson, Aaron. 
The poster for 'Injin Puput'
The Opening Act begins with the perception of an old Murut warrior who had never seen a white man before. The warrior dreamt about the arrival of the British. He interpreted his vision as spirit beings descending from the sky, bringing with them a ferocious dragon that spat out orbs of fire from its mouth and threaten to destroy his people. The dragon turned out to be the train services which were progressively extended into the interior of Sabah. 

My complimentary ticket for the preview.
A scene from the opening act .
Aki Gounon and Mei Ling after they were solemnised as husband and wife.
The Kadazan Papar dancers performing their ethnic dance.  
The Second Act portrays the elder, Aki Arusap, train travelling with his young grandson, Aaron. The journey turned to be a nostalgic passage for Aki Arusap, as well as an educational one for Aaron. Aki recollected the tales of his father, Aki Gounon who was an assistant to a British railway engineer, and of his father’s encounter with his mother, a Chinese girl by the name of Mei Ling. In his recounting, he described the events that occurred along the railway line while his father was on duty on the railway line. All the events were portrayed in a brilliantly choreographed dance and music performances of the various ethnic cultural dances by the Bajau Putatan, the Kadazan Papar, the Bongawan Brunei, the Kadayan Beaufort and the Muruts. 

The grand finale of Injin Puput.
All in all, I have to say that ‘Injin Puput-Passage to the Heart of Borneo’ was indeed a dazzling performance, more so when I was later told that the majority of the dancers/performers are amateurs coming from the various districts along the railway line. Kudos to all the performers and the whole production and creative team members. Thank you so much to Tourism Malaysia and Sabah Tourism Board. Looking forward to your invitation to the Sabah Fest again next year!

For more information on Sabah Fest, please visit:  www.sabahfest.com

For more information on tourism activities in Sabah, please visit: 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Most Popular Article