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.


My eldest expression meeting her old folks for the first time in almost a! We visiting her at the big city where she resi...