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Tamparuli folktale highlight of this year's Sabah Fest
Published on: Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Fest is back again this year, with the highlight being the live musical theatre of "Solungkoi: Jambatan Tamparuli" on May 4-6.

According to State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, Solungkoi: Jambatan Tamparuli is inspired by a Tamparuli legend that tells a story about a beautiful young woman who fell in love and later became a human sacrifice to appease the Tamparuli River spirits.

"For every Sabah Fest, our production team will research for legendary folktales from districts all over Sabah and use them as an inspiration to turn the story into a musical theatre. This year, we chose Tamparuli, featuring the legend of the Tamparuli Bridge," said Masidi, who was also the chief advisor of the musical theatre.

Tamparuli is a small town and a sub-district of Tuaran on the State's West Coast.

Speaking to the media at the Sabah Fest press conference at the Sabah Tourism Board meeting room Monday, Masidi said:

"Solungkoi: Jambatan Tamparuli tells a story about the construction of the Tamparuli Bridge by a British engineer during the post-war colonial period to provide an easy and better access for the villagers.

"The bridge continuously collapsed due to it being washed away by the river currents during rainy seasons.

After several attempts to rebuild the bridge failed, the villagers consulted a medium who helped them to communicate with the spiritual world.

"The spirits said the bridge was constructed on a sacred site and 'Ombuakar', the spirit said to live inside the Tamparuli River, demanded a fair maiden for a human sacrifice as compensation.

"Thus, a fair maiden was chosen to be the sacrifice. However, the engineer, after spending time with her, found himself slowly falling for Solungkoi. Thus the story is also about the dilemma he faces in choosing between his duty and his love for the fair maiden."

Masidi said local socialites will be starring in the musical theatre, including Hosiani Jaimis (Keewon) as Solungkoi, Dane Kovacs (Orang Putih Kita) as Robinson, Jayfrejoe Japrin (JoeJaprin) as Intang, Dayang Hasnah Ibrahim as Odu, with a special appearance by Sakinah (Sakinah vs Ondu).

Sabah Fest, held since 1988, is celebrating its 30th year this year. However, the musical theatre only started in2010. The list of musicals theatres are:

2010: The Legend of Arung Salamiah; 2011: Papakang: The Odyssey of Seven Brothers; 2012: The Adventures of Ngarayang; 2013: Injin Puput - Passage to the Heart of Borneo; 2014: Aki Nabalu; 2015: Agop; 2016: Gulu Gulu - A Tribute To the Past; and 2017: The Legend of the Supirak Stone Ark.

Masidi said at the moment Solungkoi ticket sales for May 4 and May 6 show are already 70 per cent sold, while for May 5 (second day) totally sold out. Throughout the festival, UiTM students will be assisting in the Sabah Fest 2018 production team.

Apart from the musical theatre, festival goers can indulge in a variety of foods from various food trucks, namely Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Shawarma Kebab, Hunger Lane, 70's Street Kitchen and more.

Other traditional and cultural activities include Colouring Competition (Saturday, 6 to 9 years old; Sunday, 10 to 12 years old), Traditional Cooking Competition (Saturday), Traditional Games, Art Gallery, Cultural Show, Contemporary Fashion Show, Bamboo Orchestra, Handicraft Exhibition by Kadaiku and Kraftangan Malaysia and Photobooth with Traditional Costume by Chanteek Borneo.

Admission to JKKN Sabah is free. Tickets for Sabah Fest 2018 - Solungkoi are sold at RM50 each.

The show will start at 8pm. There is no admission fee for the exhibitions.

Those interested about the show and tickets can contact Francesca Lydia Chipli, Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd at +6088-232121 or email to francesca@sabahtourism.com. - Neil Chan

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