After a long hiatus from working with my friends from the Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (JOAS), meeting them during the World Indigenous Day Celebrations felt like a big family reunion.
I would be lying if I said I did not have my ups and down working with the network. Like with anything you feel strongly about, there are bound to be times of despair and frustration. But all that accumulated tears and sweat just makes the good times even better and the little achievements even more celebrated.
The little achievement during this event for me would be working with the media team to document and update the Center for Orang Asli Concern (COAC)’s Facebook page with same day/ next day photo and video updates. Although I went to Miri without a designated team, everything just sort of went into place organically and an impromptu team worked together to get the job done while having a great time.
It means even more to me because the capacity of the team to do it I feel has much to do with the community-based documentary training done between 2009-2010 to produce Towards Sustainable Forestry (Ke Arah Hutan Lestari). Apart from learning a whole lot from the project myself as one of the facilitators, quite a number of indigenous youth videographers were trained up and continue to document every World Indigenous Day Celebrations since then. It is so fulfilling now to see the continuity from the project applied.
This year, for the first time ever, we uploaded live updates of photos, videos and articles on the Center for Orang Asli Concern (COAC)’s Facebook page.
Here are some highlights from the annual celebrations:
It’s my second year with the honor of being one of the judges for it, and I must say, I’m blown away by the improvement in submissions. It was a really tough call this year and in the end Sharis bin Shafie won it, followed by Serengeh anak Useh, Freddy James Tonius and Henry John taking second, third and fourth place respectively.
And of course, each night we were spoilt silly with beautiful dance performances from all 3 regions, Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak with the participants dressed in their respective traditional costume.
On a more random note, I’m not often in Sarawak so it took awhile for me to adjust to working around all the feathered headgear and avoiding getting my eye poked out by them.
Check out the full updates; photos, videos and articles/ news updates on Center for Orang Asli Concern’s Facebook page here.