Being Miss Fair & LovelyAt the very last minute, three free tickets to the Gawai Tourism Night at the Sarawak Cultural Village fell upon my lap last weekend. It was harder than I thought to convince friends to go with me but finally, I got Cyn and Gette in my bouncing tin-can of a jeep on the 45 minute drive up to SCV.
There were two main events for the GTN: Miss Fair & Lovely Contest and a play, Agan Tadun. Needless to say, we were only there for the latter.
(o/t: whatever happened to the Kumang Gawai contest? Fair & Lovely, good grief. I know it’s the name of a local cosmetic brand but the name alone, SHEESH! Anyway, I rather prefer Kumang Gawai because they celebrated local beauties from each indigenous group. Each contestant had to wear the traditional costume, and was judged for the beauty of the costume as well. Fair & Lovely was just this generic beauty contest that anyone, regardless of whether Gawai meant anything to them culturally-wise, could sign up for. And the makeup was way too over the top, making the 18 year olds look twice their age. And what’s the deal about announcing their height and weight? Why not inspect their teeth, while they’re at it?).
Anyway, the play.
Sigh, the play.
I was excited about seeing the play, because it was locally produced and based on a local legend from the Orang Ulu group. It turned out to be, well.. entertaining but for all the wrong reasons. It had so much potential, such as having such a great setting (it was held outdoors, with a life-size Orang Ulu longhouse as part of the stage), and enthusiastic performers but the awful script and mediocre narration spoilt it all.
The narrators swung wildly from reading the script so blandly like they were reading a textbook to over-the-top emphasis on the wrong syllables.
I wish I could tell you more about Agan Tadun (the warrior hero) but most of the time, I couldn’t understand the narration and was distracted by a cast of about a hundred, I guess, running here and there periodically, while screaming at their top of their lungs. I mean, well, props to the actors, they gave their all. Just too bad about the script and the narration (there were no speaking parts, just narration).
At one stage, this Orang Ulu warrior gets on his cell phone (it’s supposed to be held in the olden days of yore), and starts yakking about putting an order in for sapes. It was just SO LAME to be funny.
(My sister told me about a previous play where the narrator was talking about how the natives used to use longboats but NOW! THEY USE JET SKIS! Cue in the roaring of jet skis in the stagnant pond they call a lake)
My “favourite” (read: sarcasm) part was when they were extolling the virtues of Agan Tadun and how those attributes are FOUND! IN OUR LEADERS! OF TODAY!
I couldn’t help but give a melodramatic loud groan at that.
Some guy behind us exclaimed indignantly, “I paid money for this?” (it was RM30 per entrance).
We didn’t stay to see who won Miss FAIR! & LOVELY! and while weaving in and out of the audience, we bumped into an old friend. Cyn immediately launched into her thoughts of the play, which included, "…. and the narration was so bad!”
To which he replied with surprise, “oh, really? I was one of the narrators”.
Oh dear.. but she covered herself quite well by insisting that the sound system was probably at fault. Too funny.
My sis said that the first ever play for GTN was excellent but it seems like they've been going downhill since then. Too bad. I don't know... would love to continue supporting local productions but even for a semi-decent play, I think RM30 for really bad seats (you're pushed to a tiny corner while those who paid RM120!!!! get prime seats) is not worth it.