CASTING....Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Masidi Manjun (centre) together with some of the cast of 'Injin Puput'.
By : ELAINE MAH
WITH 32 officially recognized ethnic groups, Sabah takes pride in its cultural diversity and the people’s ability to live together harmoniously despite the differences.
Each year, the Sabah Tourism Board and Sri Pelancongan Sabah, the business arm of the tourism corporation, jointly organize the Sabah Fest, a cultural extravaganza aimed at showcasing Sabah's diverse people, their cultures and traditions.
As one of its progammes this year, Sabah Fest offers "Injin Puput - Passage to the Heart of Borneo", a musical performance by a combination of professional artists and amateur dancers from the rural districts of Sabah.
The musical will be held for two nights on the 3rd and 4th of May at the National Department for Culture and Arts Sabah (JKKN) Auditorium Complex starting at 8.30 pm.
"Injin Puput" tells the story of Aki Guonun, a Murut warrior who falls in love with Mei Ling, a maiden from a cultural background very different from his. As the romance unfolds, "Injin Puput" goes back to different timelines of Sabah's history - from the legends of Batu Punggul in the misty past to the construction of the North Borneo Railway in more recent times.
Through the musical, the audience will have a glimpse of the cultural heritage of Sabah’s interior, especially the districts through which the railroad meanders between Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) and Melalap in Tenom.
The production is authentically local, according to Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun at the Sabah Fest press conference today.
Masidi is sure that "Injin Puput" will evoke memories of many Sabahans. He said he himself fondly remembers a time when the North Borneo Railway played a central part in the lives of many Sabahans.
The locals at the time called the train "Injin Puput", a name that imortalised the sound the steam engine made. Some say Puput was probably also the way the local people misprounounced “Beaufort”, a stopover town before the train snakes its way to Tenom along the Padas River.
The "Injin Puput" musical with a cast of 400 people took one year to produce. It will also showcase four new songs produced especially for the performance.
Tickets for the show are priced at RM50 each and can be purchased from both the Sabah Tourism Board and Sri Pelancongan Sabah offices in Kota Kinabalu.
Organizing officials told reporters that approximately 60 percent of tickets have already been sold. (Insight Sabah)