Friday, September 30, 2022

Murut Culture at Marais Center, Sabah

A great place for you to experience Murut culture is at their community-based Marais Center, located at Kampung Marais in Tenom, Sabah. And I was made to understand that Marais Center is managed by Koperasi Marais Centre where its main objective is to promote sustainability and improve the livelihood of the community here.

This beautiful village is enveloped by mountains, surrounded by paddy field surrounded with river and creeks. Activities offered here depicts their daily lifestyle that has been inherited many generations ago, amongst it are paddy cultivation, rubber tapping, lanjung weaving (a type of Sabah rattan basket), barksloth making (Murut traditional attire), bead crafting and many more. Other activities that for the city folks might be interested paddy field and hillside cycling, rubber tapping, fishing net and trap making and perhaps cooking local delicacies. Of course, these activities have a nominal cost attached to it, worry not as it is not pricey (unless you plan to partake in all activities).

We were also introduced to the Murut traditional attire and some of us donned in their traditional attire for cultural experience. Murut men traditional attire consist of tree bark vest or babaru puputul, a red loincloth, and a headdress decorated with Argus pheasant feathers.

Traditional Attire
Bark Vest (Babaru Puputul)
It is made of the puputul tree, the vest is later decorated with bead motifs. The bark vest is paired with loincloths (aba puputul). You can usually see red is being used as it symbolizes bravery in Murut culture.

Loincloths (Aba Puputul)

Two meters long cloth made of the inner bark of a puputul tree. The cloth worn on the waist where it is passed between the legs. Cotton cloth is used to attached at the front and back part (apron like). Red cloth is common because red is used to symbolise bravery. Sinuzu motifs can be seen on the cloth.

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Lalandau or Tupi Sinulatan
Tupi Sinulatan is taken from the word sinulat which means weaving. It is a tree-bark head gear, some were decorated with Argus pheasant feathers (local call it as Tawou).

The other thing that fascinated me was the ladies’ head gear that resulted to me seeking permission to buy them, unfortunate they have none to spare so I told them I wanna have a picture with it. Oh yah, I bought their beautiful bead neckless.

Traditional Dance
Murut Timugon tribe from Tenom is famous for the Magunatip dance, the word Magunatip originated from the word ‘apit’ which means ‘jepit’ or pinch. This dance is commonly known as bamboo dance, performed with two bamboo poles clapping together to the gong rhythm. Dancers will skip/jump in a timing (to the rhythm) to avoid their feet being clapped.

Local delicacy is one not to be missed especially their ampurau, umbus, tuhau, hinava and many more. He ingredients were sources locally and cook with love, a must try and one can easily fall in love with the taste – simple, light and easy on the tummy.

Marais Center
Kampung Marais
Tenom, Sabah
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