KUCHING – Today, the cheerful atmosphere at the iconic Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) is somehow special and unique from any other day, when the ‘living museum’ on the foothills of the legendary Mount Santubong received British royalty as visitors.
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrived at the SCV, some 35 km from here around 2.30 pm, accompanied by the Minister-in-Attendance Datuk Seri S.K. Devamany, who is also Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister and Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth And Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Hamzah.
Upon arrival, the royal entourage was greeted by Sarawak Economic Development chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Hussain, SCV general manager Jane Lian Labang, SCV officials and feted to a brief welcoming performance by SCV dancers in their colourful traditional costumes.
The British royal couple then took a stroll along the wooden trail to explore the fascinating ‘village’ landscape the centre had to offer in its tireless hope to share the Sarawak experience to the world “all within a day”.
Their first stop was at the Rumah Iban or Iban longhouse to explore the interior of the traditional house of the largest ethnic tribe in Sarawak.
At the Iban longhouse with its unique home structure that is usually located away from the bustling city, it is customary for its visitors to be greeted by the longhouse maidens and young men performing traditional dances and playing ceremonial gongs as a welcome gesture to their humble house.
Prince Charles later had a private dialogue session with six community leaders from the Bidayuh, Iban, Orang Ulu, Melanau, Chinese and Malay communities at Persada Alam, while Camilla proceeded to the Dewan Lagenda to view the local craft exhibition.
The session lasted for some 15 minutes, and after that the royal couple proceeded to Rumah Penan, or the Penan hut, where Charles was clearly excited when he tried his skill at using the blowpipe.
The royal couple were then ushered to the lake in the middle of the ‘village” for a ride in a simple bamboo raft to get that “daily transportation in the remote area” experience.
The royal couple left the SCV at around 3.40 pm to proceed with their tour of Kuching. They are expected to head for Penang later this evening. – BERNAMA