Saturday, October 02, 2004

Rugged country

Riders Posted by Hello

Pic: Kota Belud, said to be the land of the Sabah cowboys or the Bajaus, comes alive once a year for the Tamu Besar Kota Belud that boasts of pageantry, costumes and a good time. Horsemen, young and old, gather from all around with their faithful steeds, clad in multicoloured finery, and the men themselves as decorated. Kota Belud, Sabah, 2003.

Kota Belud lies in the interior of Sabah, in plains of fields hemmed in by high mountaintops. The people here are a hardy bunch and the occupation and traditions here speaks out for that fact. Many of the locals here are adept horsemen, riding starts early and the steed they ride are companions to the end. Many fine racing horses for the Sabah races also originates from this area. Another local product famous for its craftsmanship, is weaponry manufacturing with finely crafted parangs (large machetes) that is equally fine in it's sharpness. Every year the locals will gather back for the Tamu Besar (large gathering) where the horsemen show their skills in handling their steeds, buffalo racing is held, pageantry, gala, re-enactments, song and dance and the main attraction is the local market which sells everything from crafts to foodstuff. The town retains it's air of frontier spirit with life moving at a slow pace but at times hard and furious as well. Large areas are grown with paddy as a food crop while the town itself is not too large and people friendly.

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