MIRI: Minister of Transport Sarawak Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin wants Miri Orang Ulu Women Association (PWOUM) to hold classes where the younger members of the community can learn and help preserve the arts of their traditional handicrafts.
He pointed this out as ‘an important undertaking’, stressing that if today’s generation of the Orang Ulu failed to preserve this heritage, the next generation could never know and appreciate the uniqueness of their own handicrafts, especially the handmade ones.
“Today, most crafts are machine-made, so they do not have the same uniqueness and value as those made by hand.
“Handmade crafts, obviously, are made by human hands, and the makers put their hearts and soul in them – giving handmade items much more value than the machine-made ones,” said Lee, who is Senadin assemblyman, in his speech for PWOUM’s Pre-Gawai Dinner 2023 event on Friday.
The state minister also highlighted the many beautiful and colourful traditional handicrafts of the Orang Ulu community, each with its own uniqueness.
“So it’s important for such art to be preserved for the next generation. So to all the ladies here, please pass down all your handicraft skills to the younger generation. If you don’t do this now, the skills might be gone forever. Moreover, handicraftsmaking can also be a good source of income. In fact, you don’t even have to open a shop to market your products; you can just do it online via your mobile phone.
“You can even market them internationally, in US dollars, via many international online platforms,” he said further.
Lee then pledged an allocation of RM10,000 meant to help PWOUM promote their handmade handicrafts, as well as for the association to organise and run the handicrafts-making classes.
The dinner, held at Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club here, also hosted PWOUM chairwoman Kijan Toynbee and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth chief for Pujut branch, Kelvin Hii, who represented Pujut assemblyman Mayor Adam Yii at the event.
The Borneo Post