Angela (right) and Anna (left) dress in their traditional Iban and Bidayuh costumes respectively while at work in Sushi Jiro, Vivacity Megamall.

Proud indigenous ladies serve sushi in traditional costumes

KUCHING: So you cannot return to your hometown for Gawai. So what?

Why not adopt a new normal? Bring Gawai to the workplace!

That was exactly what the managers of Sushi Jiro restaurant in Vivacity Megamall here did when they chose to bring Gawai to their workplace.

Angela Caesarina Samana

Clad in their traditional Iban and Bidayuh costumes, outlet manager Angela Caesarina Samana, 31, and assistant manager Anna Rosiana, 23, were the centre of attention at the restaurant.

From afar, passers-by on the third floor of the building where the outlet is located, could hear the clinking sound from their costume belts made with strings of ancient silver coins.

Although the two were actually at work, serving their customers, their graceful presence on that particular day definitely took the customers by surprise.

Ironically, the outlet is known to serve Japanese food but for this Gawai, the duo took the opportunity to promote their identities as Iban and Bidayuh ladies.

According to Angela, the majority of the workers were unable to return to their hometowns to celebrate the festival due to the restrictions on inter-district travel under the conditional movement control order (CMCO).

“Most of us are Bumiputeras, comprising Bidayuh and Iban, celebrating Gawai but all of us could not ‘balik kampung’ for the festival.

“At the same time, we are also needed to be at work. We want to keep our spirits up.

“That is why we came up with the idea of bringing Gawai to our colleagues instead, to lift up the spirit of our colleagues at work,” she told New Sarawak Tribune and Suara Sarawak at Vivacity Megamall on June 1.

To celebrate Gawai in the new norm, they had to first ensure a homely atmosphere.

“Therefore, we came up with the idea to wear our traditional costumes, which would eventually promote or bring out our identity to the public.

“With this, we would also be able to cheer up our colleagues at work,” she said.

She also said many customers complimented their costumes and even went as far as to request for photo opportunities to appreciate the traditional costumes worn during Gawai.

“It is a positive initiative to show off the indigenous culture. It is a reminder that Sarawak is a state of multicultural society,” she added.

Such initiatives to wear traditional costumes might be continued in the coming years or during other festivals, she added.

Selamat Hari Gawai, gayu guru gerai nyamai to all celebrants and I hope everyone would have a good time during this year’s Gawai despite the CMCO,” she said.