KUNDASANG – A ritual to pacify the guardians of Mt Kinabalu following its alleged desecration by a group of foreign visitors recently, was carried out here today.
Prior to conducting the ritual at 8.25 am, ‘bobolian’ (spirit medium) Abas Arinting, 93, from Kampung Bundu Tuhan led 10 elders from the same village and Kampung Kiau to mark the site for the ceremony.
During the 30-minute ritual in the vicinity of Timpohon, Kinabalu Park, which is the starting point for the ascent to Mt Kinabalu, a buffalo was slaughtered as a sacrifice to the mountain guardians.
The bobolian used a contraption called ‘lumai’, to communicate with the spirits.
The local community believe in the existence of spirits that guard the mountain, and the need to respect them and their role.
Ceremony coordinator Johnny Ghani described Mt Kinabalu as sacred to the community and though the public could freely have access to it, customs that had been entrenched for generations must be followed.
Thus any transgression, such as the recent foreign visitors’ action to pose nude on Mt Kinabalu was tantamount to desecration or utter disrespect, not only to the mountain guardians but the people that love it.
“So in a way, this ritual is to restore our mountain’s dignity and particularly pacify the wrath of Mt Kinabalu’s guardians and us, for that matter,” he said when met after the ceremony.
Only the liver, heart, a portion of the meat and the tip of the animal’s nose were taken for the offering. The rest of the meat were cooked for a simple meal for those in attendance including dwellers around Mt Kinabalu.
For Johnny who is also a member of the Mt Kinabalu Advisory Council which arranged the ceremony, the ritual would hopefully restore calm and harmony within the community already devastated by the earthquake at Mt Kinabalu.
A 5.9 magnitude earthquake shook Mt Kinabalu on June 5, killing 18 people and causing extensive damage to certain areas in the vicinity.
Meanwhile, Terrestrial Sabah Parks manager Maipol Spait said the agency was determined to play its part to safeguard the customs, hence its involvement in the ceremony.
He said the ritual was also significant as Sabah Parks would be starting work to rehabilitate the mountain trail and other relevant structures damaged in the earthquake. – BERNAMA