Kota Kinabalu: A proposal to set up a centre to churn out a new generation of Bobolians (shamans) was put forward at the end of the International Conference on Spirituality, Culture and Sustainable Tourism (SCST2017), on Friday.
Although it may be a long shot, if not impossible, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, said the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) still believes the idea is worth exploring.
However, he stressed that all angles must first be considered particularly religious sensitivity among people of mainstream faiths and also whether having such a centre is possible at all.
"Established religions many not be so keen unless this is purely cultural," he said, after officiating the closing ceremony of the conference.
He also acknowledged that there are only very few genuine Bobolians left in Sabah.
Alternatively, he said the proposed centre might instead focus on documenting about the institution of the Bobolians which have been traditionally a central part in the lives of the indigenous Kadazandusun people in the State.
"We'll have to discuss further about this," he added.
KDCA had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with university partners namely UiTM Sabah and Universiti Sains Malaysia Penang to promote, establish and develop research, education and training programmes on various aspects concerning culture and spirituality.
Dr Maximus pointed out that the cultures and traditional knowledge of the indigenous communities in Sabah contain high values which can serve the best interest of modern day society.
He said these values must be preserved and promoted through research and documentation.
Meanwhile, he also said the KDCA is planning to set up Kadazandusun-speaking kindergartens in urban areas in the State to promote the use of the mother tongue, and to preserve it.
He said this was part of the organisation's Key Performance Index (KPI) this year including the setting up of more kindergartens that use the mother tongue as language of instruction in the rural areas.
So far he said the KDCA has sponsored one in Kg Tiong and is targeting to set up three more soon.
He said the KDCA is concerned about the decline of the mother tongue among indigenous communities in Sabah.
(Source form Daily Express, 4 June 2017)