Date : 29 & Sunday 30 October 2022 l  Venue : Ground Floor Boulevard, Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur.

The Kelabits Live in Kuala Lumpur will be held in Berjaya Times Square to celebrate the vibrant culture of the Kelabits, a unique ethnic group originally from Sarawak. This special event will be officiated by Yg Berusaha Puan Zubaidah Binti Mukhtar, Head Director
(Ketua Pengarah) Istana Budaya -representative of YB Dato Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia.

About the Kelabits
The Kelabits hail from Bario in Northeast Sarawak, Malaysia. Lying 1,000 meters above sea level in the remote Kelabit Highlands, accessible only by air transport and a windy mud road . Sixteen Kelabit villages are located within this highland tableland, while four other villages are located in the lower parts along the tributaries of the Baram River.

The Kelabits’ ancestors were traditionally farmers and headhunters. The Kelabits of today live a more progressive life. Many have migrated to urban areas for work or further education.

The Kelabits are a close-knit community, noted for their cheerful, industrious and refined nature and generous hospitality. Family life and friendships are highly valued in their society.
From being animist they adopted Christianity in the 1940’s and still retain a lot of colorful cultures , dances and crafts honed from many years of tradition. Representing them are the official Rurum Kelabit dancers.

Making impact to Malaysian Tourism
Malaysia’s diverse races and cultures makes it beautiful and culturally diverse. Highlighting our mysterious indigenous folks adds flair and depth to Malaysia’s inclusivity and diversity. The Kelabits bring a culture that has been long secluded high in the mountain tops, their ornate dances tell a story of the natural fauna cohabitating with their village while their warrior shows depict the fierce battles, they once faced displaying bravado and prowess. In the midst of it all, their Sape instruments soothes all and cleanses the soul as the string instrument resonates through the single bole of white wood.

The event aims to highlight Bario and Sarawak as a tourist destination with bold displays of the mist-soaked beautiful highlands and villages and holiday homes that traverse it.

The event is timed twice a day, each displaying the dancing prowess and grace of the Kelabits represented by the Rurum Kelabit dancers. Performances like the ‘Makasor’ or ‘long dance’ are often performed to welcome visitors to the longhouse and the Kelabits always love welcoming visitors because getting into Bario is never easy. Other dances include the Arang Iyap and Arang Rinuh which have delicate movements showing their interaction with nature and people. There will be solo performances with the Rurum performers donning their traditional Sapa Arit with its headdress. A peak into Bario cuisine with rice wrapping for participants to try will be on display while samples of their popular highland salts and fragrant Bario rice will be given out but subject to availability. Tourists can try their hand at basket weaving but the techniques must be followed otherwise it’s not a Kelabit basket! Central to the Kelabit dress culture is their beading , make your beads and try to make one for your loved ones as a souvenir at their workshop table.

About the Project
Datin Pearl Masna, a director of Yayasan Kesenian Orang Asli is our coordinator for this event. She was one of the first Kelabits to venture out of Bario and in doing so also one of the first Kelabits to participate actively in promoting Sarawak culture and dance under the umbrella of the Sarawak State Government. With many accolades in charity work, she joined the Foundation for the Indigenous Arts to help promote indigenous people as she herself understands the need to raise awareness of the various beautiful cultures and diversity of our Malaysian brothers and sisters. The project not only aims to reach out as a tourist attraction but to also educate our Malaysians of a little known but colorful group of less than 7000 persons in Malaysia,

Organizer: Foundation for the Indigenous Arts (Yayasan Kesenian Orang Asli) aims to bring one of Malaysia’s smallest and most secluded indigenous tribes to halls of Kuala Lumpur to display and promote their colorful culture and heritage.

Main Sponsor: Ministry of Tourism Malaysia & Australian High Commission
Co-sponsors : Lecadia Prima Care Centre Sdn Bhd, Klinik Dr Lela Ratos Dan Rakan-Rakan & SEDC Sarawak.

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