The InSight Story: Part 1
I’ve checked in quite late (around 6pm) than the other speakers as I have an exam to sit in the morning and meeting to attend in the afternoon. I went to the Secretariat counter to register myself and was given a conference bag. In the bag consist of Miri map, shuttle route leaflet, Sarawak Craft Council Craft magazine, conference program list, conference name tag and the conference journal. I skip the dinner for speakers’ session hosted by the organizer as I was too tired.
The following day, I had my breakfast at Melinau Terrace and had a chat with Heidi Munan (BIBCO Head of Organiser, also one of the speakers). I get to meet some of the speakers too. Later, the conference participant and I proceed to Peninjau Room for the first conference paper presentation by Reita Rahim whom had worked closely with the Orang Asal from West Malaysia and the Rungus tribe of Sabah. She was presenting her paper on ‘Cultivating, Collecting and Hunting for Beads: An Introduction to organic materials used as beads by the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia and the Rungus of Sabah’.
The second conference paper was presented by Ipoi Datan, Director of Sarawak Museum on ‘Beads from Archaeological Sites in Sarawak’.
After the 2 conference papers presented, we moved to Tinjar Room to witness the officially opening ceremony that was launched by Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr. George Chan.
Soon after the ceremony ends, we had our tea break session at The Ruai Lounge. Despite the fact, I’ve been approached by the conference participant and threw at me tans of beads questions, I responded to them calmly but deep inside I was feeling really nervous and worried. Simply because the next session of conference paper presentation will be my turn. Ten minutes prior to my presentation slot, I rushed to Peninjau Room to do a little bit of setup; displaying my family heirloom beads. I presented a conference paper entitled ‘Barang Pu’un Mek: An Uma Pawek Family’s Pesaka Beads Story.
After my presentation ends, participants started to take some shots of the family heirloom beads and little did I knew, some of them even brought along their own beads collection and asked me on their beads authenticity and identifying any on their beads for ‘Lukut Sekala’. In the Orang Ulu community, a ‘Lukut Sekala’ bead is the most precious beads as it is equivalent to one human life back in the old days. It is still valuable as of today. My family had 6 pieces of these priceless beads which was obtained during headhunting expeditions and in exchange of a slave. For the record, I’m the 4th generation that gets to keep the family heirlooms. 🙂
On my way to Loong Jin Restaurant for lunch, I was congratulated by Ipoi Datan, Director of Sarawak Museum on my paper presentation and had the opportunity to know more about Sarawak Museum in general and he was glad to know that I’ll be participating in the upcoming International Seminar on Borneo Archeology: The Past, Present & Future Prospects on the 27th October – 31st October 2010. The event is organized by the Sarawak Museum, Department of Heritage Malaysia and Ikatan Ahli Arkeologi Malaysia.
After lunch, Dr. Cheah Hwei Fen presented her paper entitled ‘Traditions of Nyonya Beadwork’. She comes from a peranakan family, settled at Canberra, Australia and currently teaching at Australia National University.
After her session ends, the last paper was presented by Dr. Poline Bala, a social anthropologist who is also a UNIMAS’s lecturer. Her conference paper was entitled ‘Old Beads and New Beads among the Kelabit of Sarawak; Their changing social roles and significance’.
Each speaker was given an allocation of 30 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for Q and A session. Each speaker too received a token of appreciation from the Organiser towards the end of their presentation.
The conference ended with a tea break and here I get the opportunity to visit respective beads booths.
Later in the evening, we were getting ready for the conference gala dinner.
To be continued..
Note: Some of the photos are taken from Crafthub official website.