Sunday, December 14, 2008

Photography Tour To Iban Longhouse

When long time friend veteran Journalist cum Photographer Steve Ling ( returned to work in Sibu after a 4-year stint in Kuching, we quickly teamed up to explore photo shooting opportunities in and around Sibu. One of the places we visited together with Hii Chii Siew ( Hii is one of the only two Sibu Photographers who has earned the prestigous FRPS title . He was also the immediate past president of the Photographic Society of Sibu ) in October was Rumah Ancho in Bawang Assan. Steve suggested that we organized a photography tour for friends and members of the Photographic Society of Sibu.After more than a month of planning and waiting, we finally got off last Saturday afternoon with 25 participants. The above picture shows Steve leading the group to Rumah Ancho.

Ms Irene (right) and two Iban ladies in traditional costumes anticipating the arrival of the guests. Irene and her husband, Austin, had received many hundreds of guests to their longhouse but it was the first time for them to deal with a group consisting only of photographers. Both of them were rather worried on how best to handle this group and she called me several times to sort out things together.

Drinking Tuak (rice wine) is part of the traditional welcoming ceremony. As the guests enter the longhouse, each one is offered a small glass of Tuak. You can politely decline by just touching the glass and say Terima Kasih (thank you). But usually guests are only too happy to accept the drink and gulp down in one go.

When we were inside the Ruai (communal varendah), the very friendly,hospitable and charming hosts also offered us tea and home-made cakes. But most of us were already too busy taking photographs.

After being briefed on the planned activities, we were also entertained by both male and female, old as well as young dancers. This was a great chance to take photos of these graceful dancers.

And the gong and drum players were there too to play the traditional welcoming music . Guests were then invited to dance together with the hosts.

This old Iban man could speak quite fluent Foochow dialect. He was one of the welcoming team members who gave us a warrior dance.

When this young girl posed for the photographers, I was outside the longhouse for some fresh air.It was a very hot afternoon but we all were sweating with pleasure of taking many good photos.
Current President of the Photographic Society of Sibu, Mr. Ling Liong Hui was seen here taking aim at his target while some tour members danced away.

Ex- Journalist Miss Hii Miew Tiing is a popular and very dedicated lady Photographer in Sibu. She became a full time Photographer since leaving the press.

Hii Chii Siew (FRPS), the boss of Swan Photo Lab and Tango Photo Studio with the two models. Hii speaks very fluent Iban. Thanks for sacrificing your time to act as director of photography during the model shooting and cock fighting sessions.

All of us left the longhouse very contended after a rich dinner of traditional Iban food like fish and local rice cooked in bamboo,paku,pampkin and some other local vegetables. We all look forward to next year to organizing and participating in more events like this.


sarawakiana said...

Very interesting photos...and excellent hospitality which should be advertised to help the longhouse people earn some good income.

I think a pictorial book on Bawang Assan would be a great project for you and your friends!! Congratulations on your team effort!! I am envious!

victor said...

I miss up a lot of nice shoot! My camera out of battery! haha

-eiling- said...

Very nice photos you have here and I'm sure the outing was fun. it's so nice to learn about the many cultures of different races. Wish I have the chance when I make a trip to east malaysia again.

Hardy said...

I missed all the action. Nice photos you have here.

Bengbeng said...

well done, very well done
post n pics too.

Philip said...

sarawakiana:Quite many local and foreign tourists are visiting Bawang Assan Iban longhouses, especially Rumah Ancho.A few of us are planning a book on tourism next year.Hope it can materialize with the endorsement and fund from some relevant authorities.

Victor: Oh, you really missed taking lots of photos. I knew you were very disappointed. Next time must bring 2 extra batteries.

eiling: We certainly had fun as we mingled so freely with the longhouse people and they were so warm and friendly. Will surely plan a visit to some longhouses when you come here.

hardy: Would you like to join the Sibu Photographic Society? More activities will be planned next year.

bengbeng:Thanks a did very well too.

Chris AngelicDemon said...

My longhouse is within that vicinity also. The first longhouse on your right after passing the bridge.

Philip said...

Chris: Would love to visit your longhouse when there is a celebration going to inform me ya. Free photography for you!

Chris AngelicDemon said...

I'll see what we have in store for Gawai Dayak this year.

Chris AngelicDemon said...

Just to inform you that we will have tons of activities during Gawai eve (31st May). Would be wonderful to see the preparations and also the Pekit Kumang and all the activities held.