Datuk Seri Doris Sophia Brodie

KUCHING: The Dayak community should confine their Gawai celebrations this year to their own household and ‘bilik’ (rooms), especially in the longhouses.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Women chief Datuk Seri Doris Sophia Brodie said lifestyle in the longhouses are very close-knit hence social distancing including good hygiene must really be practised.

“The closely knitted lifestyle in the longhouses is conducive for Covid-19 virus to spread and if it happens the result will be immense,” she told New Sarawak Tribune yesterday.

She said the new norm maybe a cultural shock to the Dayak community because merry makings are usually very warm and gestures for example drinking tuak (rice wine) from the same glass, shaking hands, sharing utensils during meals must be avoided.

“Please do not encourage visitors or family members from elsewhere to come home and join the celebration even for one day.”

She said what everyone must adopt and put prime now is the fight against Covid-19. Gawai celebration is an annual thing and it can be celebrated pompously in future years when the battle against Covid-19 is won.

“The standard operating procedure (SOP) and guidelines introduced such as no ‘ngabang’ (visiting) and ‘balik kampung’ (going back to home towns) must be observed.

“We all must adhere to this and in fact we need to be more vigilant and cautious at all times; just confine to immediate family members’ i.e those living within the same household. Always bear in mind that keeping you and your family safe is the most important thing to do now,” she pointed out.

She urged community leaders and village chiefs to play their parts to assist and create awareness in their community.

“Keeping in-touch with family members who are elsewhere can be done via video conferencing, phone calls, Whatsapp and others.

“For those who can’t get access to the internet facilities, let’s remember and think of each other through prayers and keep each other in our thoughts.  Be consoled that although we are apart, we are safe at home,” Doris said.