Without A Past You Have No Future...
Ten years has passed since the first spark of an idea crossed my mind to build a cultural village based on the Kadazan culture. Why? Fourteen years prior to these thoughts, I arrived in Sabah to marry my wife Aima and through this union I joined the largest indigenous native group in Sabah. When accepted into this tribe u not only gain a wife but you also become a part of the local culture and community. The marriage was a ritual on its own with a dowry ceremony and the step by step process of the marriage was my first initiation into the traditions and customs of the Kadazan. I was even more intrigued when I discovered I had also married into a family steeped with these wonderful traditions and history, one of them Monsopiad, a famous Headhunter whose trophies of forty two skulls still hung in the house of Aima’s uncle Dousia Moujing “The Keeper of The Skulls”. These were all very alien and unusual things to me being a man from Manchester England, but over the years Aima and other family members explained to me and I even participated in numerous rituals that were performed in the House of Skulls. I slowly came to understand and care for this ancient way of life.
I started the Scuba Diving business in Sabah which eventually led to the founding of the famous Pulau Sipadan, my work took me away from the mainland for long periods of time but during the times I came back to mainland I noticed a dying culture. Rituals and ceremonies of weddings were replaced with karaoke, rock n roll dancing; the sumazau was only a 5 minutes dance in these events, the western culture settled in and dress codes changed. Television and games were drawing away the local youth. Where had all the tradition gone? It was then the thought of doing something to revive the interest in the culture became a priority, I had been approached many times by tourist interested in experiencing the local customs but these facilities did not exist on a day to day basis. I also visited the House of Skulls on many occasions to listen to the stories of this warrior Monsopiad and realization set in that once Dousia passes so would all this amazing history and knowledge, the old language and traditions would fade away. So I thought why not use tourist dollars to assist in the venture of preservation of the kadazan peoples traditions and culture. The outcome was the birth of Monsopiad Cultural Village in April 1996.
My wife Aima was the leading person in the developing of the village, her hard work over a long period of 8 years set up a good strong foundation for the future. 10 years have passed now and not without many trials and tribulations. In that time the village has been host to thousands of tourists and VIP’s, local guests, television crews from many countries and now the culture and the life style of the Kadazan people is known throughout the world. Its been my dream that one day “Monsopiad “ and his cultural Village would be mentioned in the same breath as other famous landmarks in Sabah such as Mount Kinabalu, Pulau Sipadan and Sepilok and to be classed as “ A place you must visit when you go to Sabah”. I do believe Monsopiad Cultural Village has reached that status.