Remember I told you about my mixed feelings the other day?
Well, it was an interview session arranged by my sis with Diana, a journalist from The Star whom based in Miri. I was one out of four chosen speakers for the upcoming Borneo International Beads Conference 2010 to be featured in The Star-Star Mag. A colleague of mine forwarded the link of my interview with The Star’s journalist and below is the extraction of it (just in case, the link gets ‘break‘ in the future);
Beads conference speaker reminds Sarawakians on adding value to heirlooms
By DIANA ROSE
THE coming Borneo International Beads Conference is a wake-up call for Sarawakians to re-evaluate the way they regard their traditional heirlooms, especially in terms of economic value.
“It is very important for us Sarawakians to value our rich material heritage. If you add stories to each of these items, the value will be more. We must not let this heritage slip away from us into oblivion,’’ said Elaine Paya Foong, a marketing executive of Curtin University of Technology Sarawak.
Elaine is a presenter at the conference in Miri. which begins Oct 9. Her paper titled ‘’Barang Pu’un Mek: An Uma Pawek Family’s Pesaka Beads” will tell of her beads which have been in her family for at least four generations.
She said her family is among only eight families in Sarawak that has “lukut sekala” beads in their possession. “Lukut sekala” is a much prized bead among natives. It is usually designed in chevron, swirled, zone or eye style. A single “lukut sekala” bead was worth an adult male slave in the past.
For bead collectors the single “lukut sekala” will fetch a handsome price at current market value. How these precious beads came to be Elaine’s family heirloom is something participants of the convention can look forward to listening to.
’’I am lucky that my upbringing was more Kenyah even though my father is a Chinese,’’ she said, adding that her interest stemmed from many oral stories told to her by her grandmother.
The two-day conference will provide an avenue for bead enthusiasts to exchange information and acquire knowledge. Ten beads specialists have been invited to share their knowledge and expertise at the conference.
Among them is American Jamey Allen, a researcher, lecturer and specialist onantique beads, especially multi-layered Rosetta beads.
Others are Dr Cheah Hwei Fen, an expert on Nyonya beadwork; highly-respected antique and modern bead jewellery designer from Indonesia Yekti Kusmortono; Sarawak Museum director Ipoi Datan; Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s Poline Bala; Orang Asli specialist Reita Rahim and Nor Azmah Abdul Kadir from Standards Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia.
So there you go, nowadays material culture always seems to be seen as a decorative item in many household. To me, each material culture has its unique history behind it especially when one put the effort of getting to know the story behind it. It provide an insight stories of respective generation thus remembrances of sentimental value and family history.
Today, very few people have the family stories associated with their heirlooms. Some of us (most of us actually) are inclined not to look at our past. We consider what had happened in the past is not relevant to what’s happening today but when we do not remember the past, we not only forget who we are but where we are heading. So when we can pass the heirloom and stories that goes with it to the next generation, it become priceless.
Come and support the beads conference coz you’ll never know what it has to offer to you. 🙂