Kick Andy on Location: FORMADAT in the Heart of Borneo



Posted on 08 February 2013  | 
Cristina Eghenter of WWF-Indonesia explained WWF cooperation and support for FORMADAT
© WWF-Indonesia / Silfia FEBRINAEnlarge
A strong message from the peoples at the border of Malaysia and Indonesia in Krayan, “Better to put friendship first, than exacerbated the situation” (Lebih baik mengedepankan kebersamaan, daripada memperuncing keadaan)

In January 2013, a prominent talk show program, Kick Andy, run by Indonesian national TV station, MetroTV,  made a special feature on the Heart of Borneo. For five days, the Kick Andy team stayed in location in , Krayan, Malinau, East Kalimantan, the border area between Malaysia and Indonesia that has seemingly been ‘left behind’ and untouched by development. The state administrative boundaries are not dividing its peoples who have lived side by side for  hundreds of years ago and  have been sharing cultures and history of Lun Dayeh-Kelabit-Lun Bawang-Sa’ban, regardless of their comparatively recent country boundaries.

The show hosted by Andy F. Noya centered on the community struggle to maintain its environment and culture led by their community leaders, Lewi G.Paru (customary chief of  Krayan Selatan, and  head of Formadat Indonesia) and George Sigar Sultan (head of Formadat Malaysia). Despite the demands to survive with the limitations of transportation, information, communications, public facilities, etc, peoples with their local wisdom have shown that it is possible to protect nature and culture, and benefit from that. Through the strong friendship between peoples in the border area, they have shown us that it is possible to foster the friendship and kinship between Indonesia and Malaysia on the ground.

Throughout the story, devoted local people supported Formadat’s mission are highlighted, like Ilyas Yesaya and Kisuh who devoted their time and land to establish a Cultural Field School where people, especially young ones, are be able to learn their traditional culture. In addition, as part of the show. Cristina Eghenter from WWF-Indonesia outlined  why WWF is supporting the people from highland.

During 1.5 hour people will  see and feel Krayan Selatan, meet the local people and  enjoy the beauty of the land from the Heart of Borneo.

Watch the show: http://www.metrotvnews.com/videoprogram/detail/2013/02/01/16052/190/Inspirasi-dari-Jantung-Borneo/Kick%20Andy
 
(Translation of http://www.kickandy.com/theshow/1/1/2430/read/INSPIRASI-DARI-JANTUNG-BORNEO.html)

INSPIRATION FROM THE HEART OF BORNEO

Looking for the similarity will be more conciliate than seeking the differences. This becomes the people's trust in the highlands, the heart of Borneo, or Borneo Island.

In the highlands, there are people who claim that they have the same ancestor, family, and tradition. Although there is an administration barrier which separate them as people in two different countries but they can create the harmonization of a relationship which has a mutual connection. They are the people of Indonesia in Krayan, Nunukan, East Kalimantan and the people in Sarawak and Sabah, Malaysia.

Since November 2006, the indigenous people of the two countries Malaysia and Indonesia, have declared the establishment of an Alliance of the Indigenous People of Borneo Highlands (FORMADAT).

The declaration indicated the visionary thinking that the land and the future of indigenous people in the Borneo Highlands, even though they are administratively separated, they have to be one and requires a shared commitment to build a more prosperous livelihood and maintain a good environment.

Together, they build the cooperation to maintain the culture, traditions, languages, and relationships of indigenous people from Borneo Highlands. They also jointly, develop a sustainable economic that enterprises, such as an organic agriculture, community-based ecotourism, and formed fair trade network.

So, when there are many conflicts which happen between Indonesia and Malaysia, we will then see the opposite conditions on the community of Borneo Highlands. Their harmonies are not only for the two countries, but also the harmony between human and nature. The two countries agreed to encourage the conservation, rivers, indigenous forests, preserve the historical sites, and culture. Lewi G. Paru is a custom leader of Krayan Selatan, who is now the Chairman of the Indonesian Alliance of the Indigenous People of Borneo Highlands. While from Malaysia, there is George Sigar, a figure from Bakelalan, Sarawak.
From the conversation between Andy F. Noya as a host and the two figures, we can take a lot of inspirations about peace on the border, and even more, about the peace of the community in the two countries.

One thing that should be highly appreciated from their leadership and experiences, is the attitude of willingly sacrifice. Moreover, Lewi G. Paru, as a custom leader and Chairman of the Indonesian Alliance of the Indigenous People of Borneo Highlands, felt that the road access to the border is an infrastructure that must be built to achieve the common purpose. So he was willing to sell his 300 buffalos, for the construction of roads in the border of Krayan into Sarawak.

For Lewi, the access is more rational, rather than thinking about the access to the capital regency, which is still to be reached by pioneer aircraft. Krayan subdistrict does have a location which is still secluded in the middle of a thick forest in Borneo. To be there, we have to use the services of pioneer aircraft from Tarakan City, East Kalimantan. In addition to cooperate in the economy sector, FORMADAT also has a mission to preserve the traditional culture of Lundayeh of Borneo Highlands.

To fulfill that mission, they built the Cultural Field School (CFS), an organization of preservation of art and culture which regularly provide training to the younger generation.

This is a picture of a beautiful harmony in the border of two countries. Imagine, if at any point in the borders there is peace like this, how life on earth will be full of joy. There will be no hostility; there will only be a harmony for mankind and the universe.

Cristina Eghenter of WWF-Indonesia explained WWF cooperation and support for FORMADAT
© WWF-Indonesia / Silfia FEBRINA Enlarge
Interview scene with FORMADAT leaders
© WWF-Indonesia / Silfia FEBRINA Enlarge

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