KOTA BELUD, Sabah, 18 August 2022: Teachers at SK Bangkahak are making efforts to elevate the status and preserve the cultural significance of Dusun Tindal’s traditional Rinangkitan garment.

They have taken the initiative to research the garb and presented the original garments worn by women in Bangkahak in the past during the Karnival Bahasa Kadazandusun and Tinimungan Tradisi Bangkahak that was held in Kampung Bangkahak Lama last week.

Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Environment cum Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai joined the event.

The unveiling of 100-year-old Rinangkitan outfits highlights the necessity of documenting and preserving the authenticity of the older forms of Dusun Tindal traditional attire. According to the teachers’ research, the garment has existed since 1920 and was worn mainly by Bangkahak women. A small but dedicated group of Bangkahak women have also been working to recreate the traditional garments by returning to using threads made from tree barks. Making a book about Rinangkitan and its history is also in the works.

Joniston believed the passion demonstrated by teachers and villagers would inspire and enable young children to understand their heritage and the need to preserve cultural identity.

“I’m glad to see such strong dedication and cooperation between school and the village community in protecting culture, which is crucial to our identity, the local economy, and the tourism industry.

“I believe that Bangkahak’s cultural traditions are its greatest asset, and if expanded further, it may be an appealing attraction,” he said, adding the Sabah Tourism Board is committed to providing the rural communities with assistance in developing tourism products.

While Sabah is best known for eco-tourism, Joniston said cultural tourism is also popular among tourists looking to immerse themselves in a new culture.

He then urged the Bangkahak community to be creative and innovative in identifying opportunities to promote their areas, so they do not fall behind in the tourism industry.

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(Your Stories: STB)