Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Come every May, the Kaamatan Festival or Harvest Festival is celebrated by the Kadazandusuns of Sabah.

In every Kaamatan Festival, the Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan contest assumes the highlight of the day’s occasion where a beauty queen, Unduk Ngadau is selected in a pageant which is contested by more than 30 young maiden dressed in their finest traditional costume, each representing a district in Sabah.

Unduk or tunduk literally means the shoot of a plant while ngadau or tadau means the noon day sun. Taken together, Unduk Ngadau refers to the sun at its brightest; representing the zenith of youth where beauty transcends physical attributes, where sterling qualities of strength, beauty, courage and love are unrivalled and at their peak. When translated to the Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant that takes place in the Kaamatan celebration, the beauty queen selected from the ‘fairest’ of them all has deeper significance than what is apparent.

The origin of the Unduk Ngadau lies in the Kadazandusun legend of Huminodun, Kinoingan’s only beloved daughter who was sacrificed to become food for the people. She was said to have willingly sacrificed herself to save mankind who almost perished due to a great famine. It is thus her noble qualities of courage, compassion, beauty and sacrifice that the Unduk Ngadau is ideally based. The beauty queen is said to represent or meant to embody all of these qualities or comes close to personifying the mythical Huminodun as the ideal woman.

The Bobohizans or the Priestess of Penampang, a district in Sabah, recites Huminodun in their inait or ritual prayers (translated to):

Were your beauty light,
It would be as the blazing sun,
And my eyes would not withstand to gaze,
At your transfigured face…

Were your piety and might,
Measurable in terms of height,
It would reach the noon sun,
And yet stand firm and upright..”


Almost 400 people received the 'Darjah-Darjah Kebesaran Dan Bintang-Bintang serta Pingat-Pingat Negeri Sabah' awarded by His Excellency, the Sabah State Governor Tun Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Juhar Bin Datuk Haji Mahiruddin on the 18th November 2014. 

  It was a long day but not as long as the day before during the rehearsals. It was sweltering hot inside the hall.  Everyone was dressed in the official attire - the ladies in baju kurung or kebaya labuh and the gentlemen either in black baju melayu with black and gold sampin for Muslim and or lounge suit for non-Muslims. 

The ceremony was held at the Dewan Banquasi,  State Assembly Building as the Palace was being renovated. And the heat? The air-condition apparently choose that day to breakdown! And there were almost 400 people there! 

But on the actual day, the air-condition worked very well. .Phew.. His Excellency and Wife arrived at 9.55 am sharp and after the National and State Anthem, the award giving began with the highest Decoration award, the S.P.D.K. which carries the title Datuk Seri Panglima followed by the rest of the awards - the P.G.D.K., A.S.D.K., A.D.K., B.S.K., B.K., and SK. 

Am honoured to be one of the recipients of the small 'Bintang', but meaningful just the same. Thank you indeed.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Can't believe that the year will end in less than 2 months time.  Time it seems crept by and the realisation that another year is almost ending is like waking up from a dream.  Upon reflection, I guess I've done quite a bit the past months.  Have not done as much photography as I would like to though.  Them old hands now prefer to go about light and snap everything using my old rusty Iphone.  Heard that Iphone6 has just been launched but the price is very much beyond me. So I guess, it would have to be me and my rusty phone at the moment. 

Woke up the other day and my phone was buzzing and I was thinking, these people, early riser. It was a public holiday after all being the State Governor's official birthday.  And I was shocked  upon reading the buzz from a friend and being congratulated at having being awarded with some state award! And I was like 'whaaaat!?' 

Gosh, that was surreal and my friend took pains to take a snapshot of the paper where my name was one of those hundreds that were listed. It was a small award, but an award is an award. It is an honour indeed and I must thank the person who nominated me and for recognizing my small contributions to society through my involvement in NGO, though to me rather insignificant compared to many many others who have worked harder than me.  I understand that 4 names from my group were nominated, but that only 2 of us were successful. 

And so I received the letter from the Istana to attend the award ceremony on the 18th November 2014 to be held at the State Assembly building.  The usual place, i.e. the Istana is currently undergoing renovations.  The letter says that I can bring my spouse to witness the ceremony and I was like 'Great, someone to take photo of me during that historical moment too...hahaha.!!..  Hubby. however has some other ideas, that he would not be free that day and also he said that it is not as if I am receiving a 'Datukship'.. hahaha  cehh, spoilsport!  Oh well, I am sure there will be official photographers there. 

Talking about photography, I am glad that some friends have invited me to conduct some photoshoots. These friends are professional photographers of course and they were shooting young ladies in the traditional costumes for 2015 calendar.   My shots of course pale in comparison if not on the verge of embarrassment but then again, I defend myself that mine are simply for my learning process and just as a hobby. 

Anyway, to make the pictures look little more than just mere photographs, I played around with lights and colours.

Venue:  Sabah Museum

Model:  Miss Cheryl Lynn who is also the reigning Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan 2014/2015 (a Kadazan beauty pageant in search of the most beautiful maiden to commemorate the legendary Kazadan Princess, Huminodun).

She was wearing the traditional costume from the district of Kota Belud called the 'Sinipak'.

Many thanks to all the models, who were very professional and patient throughout the photoshoots especially with our many requests for unconventional poses.  They are a photographer's dream and we had lots of fun and laughter doing these photo sessions. 

 Model: Miss Christy
Wearing the traditional costume of the Lundayeh tribe from the district of

Model: Miss Bibie Lista wearing the Rungus traditional costume from the district of
Matunggung, the northern part of Sabah

 Model: Debbie
wearing the traditional costume from  the district of 
Lahad Datu, 
East Coast of Sabah.

Miss Bibie Lista

Have a nice day folks. Cheers and thanks for dropping by.


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