Rainforest World Music Festival 2017 : My Favorite Findings

Had a blast during the recent 20th anniversary of Rainforest World Music Festival albeit having mild migraine attack on the 2nd day of the festival due to the pouring rain. That’s when I knew my immune system was so weak hence lack of coverage on the night performances.

Put that aside, here’s a recap on what I find interesting throughout the 3 days music festival. 😉

Greening Activity
The activity is done on an annual basis held at Kuching Wetlands National Park. It involved the music festival performers, the media team and the festival volunteer organized by Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) with the collaboration with the Sarawak Forest Department. There were 200 young loop root mangrove (Rhizophora Mucronata) were planted and expected that it will grow over course of time and will help preventing coastal erosion at the same time provides shelter and food for the depending species of animals at the area.

momento of exchange between STB & Sarawak Forest Dept

The loop root mangrove planting is not the only effort of going green but STB also incorporate new ways of reducing waste and carbon footprint such as providing shuttle buses to the festival venue to reduce carbon emissions, initiating composting any wet waste collected at the festival venue into biodegradable waste and also recycle the old promotional banner of last year festival into a tote bag. Creative idea, I must say! Looking forward to see more new recycle item to be introduced for next year festival.

Sarawak Biodiversity Centre
In my own term, Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) is an organization that is responsible to initiate conservation, utilization, protection program and also provides sustainable biodiversity development in Sarawak. They also served as Sarawak gatekeeper to those who wanted to access to the state rich biodiversity resources for research or for commercial purposes. The centre is running few programs and I was really attracted to one of its program: Traditional Knowledge (TK) Documentation. I hope one day, I’ll get to work with SBC on this particular program (new addition to my wish bucket list).

candid shot while the 3 of us visited SBC’s booth – pic credits to Sarawak Biodiversity Centre
orchid is one of my favorite flower and this species of orchid (Bromhedia Finlaysoniana) has a medicinal value to it

During the recent Rainforest World Music Festival, SBC made their presence to the festival goers. IMHO, SBC should continue to capitalize the platform for public awareness at the same time for its branding purposes. I dropped by at their booth simply because I saw a ‘rare’ species of a medicinal plant that I failed to grow back in year 2009 (during my research on the Penan at Baram). Little did I knew, I got more than what I asked for. Let me share with you on the medicinal plant and LitSara.

Jerangau Merah/Boesenbergia Stenophylla
I did blog about this medicinal plant before so I’m not going to write further about it. However, here’s an additional information about the medicinal plant. Apart from an anti-drunk antidote, it is also said it’s an antidote for poison. During the old days (my great grandparent era), black magic were widely practiced. Your food or drink can be spiked with black magic portion therefore for protection, one would slit a small piece of dried ‘jerangau merah’ at their teeth and upon consumed the food, the ‘jerangau merah’ would neutralized the toxic. It was proven effectively as per my family oral history however it is yet to be scientifically proven. Perhaps this is where SBC can play their part by applying its TK Documentation and also perform further scientific research on the plant.

jerangau merah

Also, this medicinal plant only lived well on high attitude hence it is now grown commercially at Pa Lungan, Bario.

LitSara® – Sarawak’s Pride & Joy
Lit stands for Litsea cubeba while Sara stands for Sarawak hence LitSara®. Litsea cubeba is a species of a tree that grows wild in the forest that bears berry like fruits. It has a strong crisp, citrus lemony scent and the plant has been traditionally used by the indigenous community of Sarawak for medication and also for food flavoring. Litsea cubeba is known as ‘Pahkak’ to the Bidayuh and ‘Tenum’ to the Lun Bawang and Kelabit community.

Litsea Cubeba

SBC partners with these indigenous communities to study and develop the innovative products through its TK Documentation program. There were 5 identified villages (Kampung Kiding Padawan, Long Kerebangan & Long Telingan Lawas, Pa Ukat & Pa Lungan, Bario) that share same resources and found that the communities has long utilized it for healing and culinary purposes. With that, various products has been produced from the mentioned plant as it has shown good antimicrobial and insect repellent properties of which making it suitable as an ingredient for personal care products.

LitSara Soap

For the record, LitSara® products are not available at any store but it is made available exclusively online. To support the involved communities, you can purchase LitSara® products at www.litsara.com. Your support is highly appreciated and LitSara® products is a community benefit sharing project. To know more about LitSara® story, do spare your time to watch the video. Trust me, it’s worth your time. 🙂

Family Story : Weaving for Trophy Heads
When I get to glance through the festival schedule on the Cultural Snippets by Sarawak Museum section, I saw Vernon Kedit’s name. I knew Vernon during Borneo Research Council Conference back in 2010 where I got to present my conference paper in front of him and other conference participant. So I thought, I must attend his slot as a sign of support to him and I knew for sure that he’ll be presenting something interesting.

Vernon Kedit

I was right all along. Here’s the summary of his presentation.

the presentation title
Vernon with his family heirloom pua kumbu

Vernon was the 7th generation of his family keeping the family heirloom pua kumbu. This is not an ordinary pua kumbu. It is a pua kumbu specially knitted by his great great great great great (forgotten how many ‘great’ were there) grand aunt to welcome the enemies’ head each time the warrior came back from a headhunting mission. To welcome the warrior home, the ladies are to welcome them with the pua kumbu and the warrior will hand over the enemy skulls onto the pua kumbu. The ladies will then bite the enemies skull, wrapped it with the pua kumbu, hold it like a baby then cried hysterically as if singing lullaby for hours. This is a symbolic ritual to welcome, mourning and blessings to the spirit of the skulls in peace.

Sape Master & Living National Heritage
I am lucky to have a good chat with Mathew Ngau; Sarawak’s Sape Master and Malaysia’s living national heritage. Mathew is also the Rainforest World Music Festival iconic artwork. The worry and concern on sape playing becoming a dying culture, had initiated him to bring the culture alive till today. I’m proud of his achievements and surprised to know that both of us shared the same concerns on the rising of new breed of sape players out there. Concerns on the future of the authenticity of a sape music, the different between the classic and modern sape music, sape music for single male/female and group dance performances not to mention the originality of making sape instruments and the mural designs on a sape.

With the modern technology nowadays, the sape music and the instrument itself will changed over time and it is already happening. I’m not denying that with the modern elements into the sape music does help the sape branding but at the same time, commercialization also took away the authenticity of the sape music. I just hope one day, people would appreciate the classic sape music more rather than knowing only the sape instrument. Before we departed, Mathew reminded me to send his regards to my mom. Mathew and my mom were schoolmates back then. 😉

The Security Team : Pentagon Security Services
I had my first Rainforest World Music Festival experience after signed up as a volunteer under the Security Team. We acted as the front liner as we were based at the festival venue main entrance and also at same strategic location within the festival venue. Before the festival goer gets to enter the festival venue, they will first to go through a tight security check. This is to ensure the safety of all festival goers at the same time ensuring a peaceful 3 days music festival.

Alyssa with her poker face pose while Leo, Head of Pentagon Security Services checking her bag

So when I entered the festival venue as a festival goer, I knew the drill. I felt their long hour of standing, sweating profusely under the hot sun or soaking wet under the pouring rain, having not enough sleep as they will be the last group to leave the festival venue during wee hours not to mentioned have to act numb to non-cooperative festival goer’s sarcastic rantings on the tight security check.

managed to catch up with Leo (Head of Security Team), Mandy & Linda during their break session – pic credits to Linda

This year, the security team had set a record. Apart from caught some free rider (not going to upload the pic coz it could be your brother/sister/husband/wife) during the 3 days festival, confiscated items, illegal substance were found too. Good job guys! Bulih bah kalau kamurang! 😉

no outside food & drinks are allowed hence confiscated items. pic credits to Linda
pic credits to Linda
pic credits to Linda

So, there you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post.
To Sarawak Tourism Board, keep up the good work and thank you for the warm hospitality.
To Sarawak Bloggers, thank you for opportunity.
To my fellow bloggers who covered the event with me, thank you for the memories and experiences.
To A Woman’s Diary reader, thank you for spending your time reading this post.

Cheers. 🙂


  1. Leo

    12 August, 2017 at 2:30 am

    On behalf of the entire security team for RWMF 2017, I thank you for the brief write-up, cheers!

    1. LadyBird Eileen®

      12 August, 2017 at 7:28 am

      Thanks Leo for dropping by. Keep up the good work! 😉
      LadyBird Eileen® recently posted..Rainforest World Music Festival 2017 : My Favorite FindingsMy Profile

  2. Linda

    12 August, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you LadyBird for the coverage on the other aspects of rwmf that most of us didnt know… ??

    1. LadyBird Eileen®

      12 August, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      It’s my pleasure Linda. Thank you for dropping by and also thank you for your pictures. ?

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