Unity in Diversity: Bisaya and Kadazan Dusun Forge Cultural Bonds Amidst Sabah’s Rich Tapestry


Bisaya, Kadazan Dusun Close Ties Symbolize Unity Among Sabahans

Unity in Diversity: Bisaya and Kadazan Dusun Forge Cultural Bonds Amidst Sabah's Rich Tapestry
Unity in Diversity: Bisaya and Kadazan Dusun Forge Cultural Bonds Amidst Sabah’s Rich Tapestry

Cultural Unity Amidst Diversity

PENAMPANG (June 7): Sabah, renowned for its rich cultural tapestry stemming from 35 different races and 217 sub-ethnic groups, finds unity in its diversity. Amidst this colorful mosaic, the close ties between the Bisaya and Kadazan Dusun ethnic groups stand out as a symbol of solidarity and shared heritage.

Celebrating Shared Culture

The Bisaya, primarily residing in Beaufort and Kuala Penyu, share a lineage and centuries-old harmonious coexistence with the Kadazan Dusun. This connection is not only linguistic but extends to customs, beliefs, music, and attire. Notably, the Bisaya actively participate in the Kaamatan Festival, showcasing their cultural parallels with the Kadazan Dusun.

Emphasizing Similarities

Datuk Ruslan Muaram, President of Persatuan Bisaya Bersatu Sabah (PBBS), highlights the intrinsic bond between the Bisaya and Kadazan Dusun. Despite linguistic nuances, cultural performances, including traditional dances and music, reveal striking similarities among Sabah’s diverse ethnic groups.

Cultural Preservation and Adaptation

The Rumah Bisaya at the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) serves as a testament to cultural preservation and adaptation. Initiated by the late former PBBS president, Datuk Lajim Ukin, this establishment not only showcases Bisaya customs but also caters to the needs of Muslim visitors, reflecting Sabah’s inclusive ethos.

Reverence for Tradition

Dr. Siti Aidah Lukin@Lokin, Deputy President 2 of PBBS, emphasizes the enduring traditions shared by the Bisaya and Kadazan Dusun, notably the reverence for the spirit of padi. Despite evolving practices, rituals like ‘manangas padi’ underscore the communities’ collective identity and connection to their agrarian roots.

Bridging Differences Through Language

Language serves as a bridge, facilitating understanding and solidarity among Sabah’s diverse ethnic groups. While variations exist in grammar and structure, shared root words foster communication and mutual comprehension, reinforcing the unity within the Kadazan Dusun lineage.

Upholding Identity Amidst Change

As the Bisaya community evolves, preserving its identity remains paramount. Inspired by symbols like turmeric flowers and pumpkin shoots, Bisaya traditions adapt to contemporary contexts while staying rooted in their unique heritage.


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