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From the brochure and a brief interview we had conducted with one of the Monsopiad Cultural Village's staff Miss Jeniffer, we had learned that Monsopiad Cultural Village was founded in 1996, in memory of the great Kadazan warrior and head-hunter called Monsopiad. This traditional village is actually a historical site and the only Kadazan village in Sabah. This so-called cultural village was built on the very site where Monsopiad lived and roamed some three centuries ago.
From what we had experienced in this cultural village, we would say it was like stepping back into the past, to the days of head hunting and spirit worship, to the days when the Bobohizan, the high priestess of the Kadazans ruled the village and took care of the health and spiritual well-being of the people.
This village was built entirely with traditional materials, the way the Kadazans have.
This organization did not mention any vision. However, they did mentioned their mission, which is to study, conserves, and to keep alive and sharing the rich cultural and ancient traditional heritage of the Kadazan in Sabah.
The Legend (source: www.monsopiad.com)
It is said that when Kizabon was pregnant with Monsopiad, the sacred bird, Bugang made its nest on the rooftop of their house to lay its eggs. The months passed and when the time came for Monsopiad to be born, so too, was the time for the eggs to hatch. Monsopiad's father, Dunggou, looked upon this coincidence as a good omen and a sign that his son would have special powers. Thus, whenever the baby Monsopiad was given his bath, Dunggou brought down the young birds to bathe with him. After which they were returned to their nest. This practice was diligently observed until the birds were finally able to fly and leave the nest.
Monsopiad was born and brought up in a village called Kuai, where his maternal grandfather was the headman. The village however, did not have enough warriors and was often plundered by robbers. During each attack, the villagers had no choice but to retreat and hide in nearby jungles until it was safe to return to their homes.
As the grandson of the village headman, Monsopiad received special training as a warrior. Monsopiad turned out to be a natural fighter and handled every weapon with ease.
His First Mission
While Monsopiad was tilling his rice field one day, a group of women came to him and started criticizing him for working so hard, saying it was a waste of time as most of the fruits of labor would be enjoyed by the robbers who always attack shortly after harvest. The women also ridiculed the men of the village and called them weaklings for not being able to defend their village effectively. Monsopiad, angered by such mockery, made a vow there and then that he would start looking for the robbers the next day and finish them off. He promised to cut off the head of their leader and bring it back to his village as a trophy to be hung from the roof of his house.
Monsopiad said he would bring along three young boys to bear witness to his deed. The boys would also return to Kuai ahead of him to announce his success and herald his impending arrival by blowing on a bamboo trumpet.
Monsopiad said that in response, the women must then put on their best costumes, bear bamboo trays and give him a grand warrior's welcome, failing which he would kill them all. The women promised to do as Monsopiad wished if he succeeded.
Monsopiad's First killing
Monsopiad set out with the three boys early the next morning, in search of the robbers who had been victimising their village. He finally found them five weeks later and a blobby fight ensued. As he had promised, Monsopiad fought the leader of the robbers and beheaded him. Seeing their leader dead, the other robbers fled for their lives. The three boys, who had seen the battle, sped back to Kuai.
When the people of the village heard the bamboo trumpet, they were at first confused and frightened for they had not expected Monsopiad to succeed. The women who had mocked him were terrified for they had never before welcomed a warrior home and remembered Monsopiad's threat to kill them if they did not fulfill his promise.
Fortunately for them, a bobohizan (priestess) knew what they had to do and gave them instructions. The women, bearing bamboo trays and led by the bobohizan, then formed a procession and the entire village joined in. They began singing songs of victory as soon as Monsopiad entered the village.
The sight so inspired Monsopiad that he vowed to wipe out all enemies of his village.
As the years passed, Monsopiad continued relentlessly with his self-imposed mission and in time, no robber or evil warrior dared to enter Kuai. He had by then however, become an obsessed person who resorted to provoking other men into fighting him just so he would have an excuse to kill and behead them. This made the other villagers, including Monsopiad's close friends and the other warriors, wary and extremely afraid of him. But a group of brave warriors got together and decided that despite his heroic deeds, Monsopiad's uncontrollable desire to kill had made him a threat to the village.
The warriors made their move while Monsopiad was resting in his house one day. He put up a fierce fight but found that he no longer had the strength he possessed while fighting enemies of his village. Monsopiad realised too late that by abusing the special strength bestowed on him by the sacred bird, Bugang, he had gradually become a common man. Monsopiad lost his life that day but the villagers still held him dearly in their hearts for he was alter all, the man who had vanquished their enemies. He had, in all, collected the heads of 42 powerful warriors, a feat which no other man could equal.
They forgave Monsopiad for his mistakes and in memory of his good deeds, the villagers erected a monument in his honour and renamed the village after him.
2.0 NATURE OF BUSINESS
2.1 Description of Monsopiad Cultural Village
Again from the brief interview with Miss Jennifer, Monsopiad Cultural Village is categorized as a Culture based tourism. Monsopiad Cultural Village can be described as a site where the Kadazans preserve their ancestors' traditional cultures, history and natural heritage. According to her, this village is actually run by the direct descendants of Monsopiad. This village is actually aims at becoming a centre of research and dissemination of information for the cultural, historical and also natural heritage of the Kadazans and its objectives are to record the wisdom of the Bobohizan and to write down the old stories and legends, documents and keep alive traditional crafts and perform the traditional music and dances.
At the site we were guided by two tour guides. They were of course experienced and they helped us a lot with our assignment. From what we can analyze, these tour guides are categorized as on-site tour guide as they only specialized at guiding particular site only. This village can also be said as a living museum; where it offers many interesting insight into the daily life of the biggest ethnic entity in Sabah, which were the Kadazans. More than being a museum, the concept of the Monsopiad Cultural Village is to document, revive, and keep alive the culture and traditions, as well as the believes of the Kadazan community.
Through informal educational ways, the village aims at assisting in creating a cultured and knowledgeable society, and instilling pride amongst the many ethnic entities in Sabah. The Kadazan culture has a long history and is now amongst the countless colourful and exciting traditional heritages that make the charm of Malaysia and lure every year thousands of international tourists.
Lastly, at Monsopiad Cultural Village, every visitor contributes directly to the conservation of one of Malaysia's ever so rich cultural heritages. Thus, our patronage and support is very much needed and appreciated.
2.2 Various types of services and product offers
Monsopiad Cultural Village is actually offering their products which are their traditional custom, culture and historical values.
Monsopiad Cultural Village also provide food and beverage service; where they said they also cater traditional lunch and dinner with a unique interactive cross-cultural experience as well as Hi-tea packages. Aside than that, for the visitors who visits Monsopiad Cultural Village, they will provide drinks such as orange juice and also traditional drink such as lihing. Speaking about lihing, it is actually a brewed drink; to be exact, it is a traditionally brewed drink made up from rice. Thus, lihing can also be addressed as a rice wine. According to our guide in Monsopiad, lihing contains 30%-40% alcohol while the distilled lihing contains approximately up to 50% alcohol. Since we have Fakhrie in our group; which is a muslim, we professionally asked our guide not to serve the drink to respect our colleague.
Other than that, Monsopiad Cultural Village also caters recreational service. They have a place where we can actually play the traditional games such as; 'sumpit', 'tampanau', 'sopuk', 'lastik' and so much more. We can also enjoy the traditional musical instruments such as; 'kulintangan', 'tagung', 'tongkungon' and 'sompoton'. They also provide traditional cooking lesson. From sampling the exotic flavor of the local markets to actually cooking and tasting indigenous specialties. A guide tour of the village and cultural dance will complete this intimate insight into the culture of the kadazan people.
There were also personal services where Monsopiad Cultural Village caters tattooing service for their visitors. Visitors can chose from different colors to different shapes.
2.3 Type of customers
There are many types of customer who visit Monsopiad Cultural Village; they can be inbound tourists, outbound tourists, internal tourists, businessmen, the locals and so many more. Inbound tourists were those who are residents from another country visit a particular country while outbound tourists are those who are residents of a given country visit another country.
According to Miss Jennifer, most of their customers are inbound and outbound tourists as well as internal tourists. Most of the overseas tourists who visited this center came from Australia and England. Not to forget, other country as well as our own internal tourists who came from the peninsular and our neighbor state; Sarawak. Most of them came to this center for leisure time purpose, in cultural-related tourism.
Business-related tourists also pay some visit to this cultural village as they might want to open a business on traditional handicrafts, traditional foods, traditional drinks, learn to traditional stuffs, or even to invest some amount of cash to this organization. But according to Miss Jennifer, business-related tourists were the type of customer who visits this cultural village the least among the other.
Another type of customer who visited this cultural village is internal tourists. Tourists who came all the way from the West-Malaysia peninsular and Sarawak were those who are called these so-called internal tourists. Actually, those who are from Sabah but travels 170 kilometers away from their home to visit Monsopiad Cultural Village is also categorized as internal tourists.
On the day of our visit, there were actually some visitors who came all the way from West-Malaysia peninsular to visit Monsopiad Cultural Village. Other than that, there were also an Australian couple and a Pilipino family. Lastly, of course we part one students of Diploma in Tourism management UiTM Sabah. We actually consider ourselves as excursionist instead of tourist because we actually travel to the particular site which is Monsopiad Cultural Village and return home at the same day.
2.4 The Uniqueness of Monsopiad Cultural Village
Based on Miss Jennifer, the uniqueness of this Cultural Village is that this place is hundred percent made up of traditional tools from the olden days. It is said that this place were never been modified to respect their ancestors traditions and history. From what we saw through our group observation, this cultural village can be said unique because the management is still applying traditional way of handling customers, preparing foods and etc.
Another uniqueness of this center is the existence of a legendary warrior. Where he was said to grew up in a village called Kampung Kuai, Monsopiad which now is the actual site for this cultural village. The name of the warrior is actually Monsopiad; which is now used of the name of the site.
Another thing is that, within the village stands the sacred monolith a stone weighing over 2 tones and standing 4 meters tall. This massive stone was blessed in its original position by the villagers after being commanded by Monsopiad to build a monument in his honour with the help of Bobohizan; a pagan priestess and the unknown summoned by the later from the spirit world. This thing we can also consider as a uniqueness of this particular place.
Designs of the place can also be considered unique because they made the site using traditional tools. The buildings were made out of bamboos and most of the crafting was made out of traditional stuffs such as palm leaves, bamboos, straws and so many more.
The preservation of culture can also be considered as a uniqueness of the place as it actually maintains the tradition of the Kadazan culture keeps the history alive and keeps the Kadazan alive.
3.0 THE IMPORTANCE OF DEVELOPING MONSOPIAD CULTURAL VILLAGE
3.1 For Tourism Purposes
Monsopiad Cultural Village is important for our Tourism industry as it actually gives our country an image for other country to recognize our tourism products. This is also important to let others to know Kadazan through the eyes of the world. This can also makes our country unique in the eyes of tourist and eventually makes them want to know deep and more about our country.
With that, they would go back to their country and gives good impressions towards our unique culture and promote our tourism image to others and this will attract more tourists from overseas to our country and of course will increase our economic rate.
The objective of creating a living museum is that tourist can take part in the different activities and thus acquire first hand experience. This will eventually makes the tourists feels like they were in the atmosphere where no one would experience in the world.
Other than that, it is important to develop Monsopiad Cultural Village as it can contribute many things such as economic stability of our country as well as attracting more tourist to our country.
3.2 For the Community
Importance of developing Monsopiad Cultural Village for the community is to keep the tradition alive as well as educating our community on how important it is to keep it alive and not letting our own culture buried under our own ignorance
The objectives of the village as research centre are to record the wisdom of the Bobohizan, to write down the old stories and legends, and document and keep alive traditional crafts. Equally, traditional musk; and dances are being taught and performed in the village so that even our community knows the tradition.
The concept of the Monsopiad Cultural village is to document, revive and keep alive the culture and traditions, as well as the beliefs of the Kadazan people is to keep people awake and realize that they actually need to preserve this precious tradition.
The concept includes local people, attired in traditional gear, who pursue the different daily activities of the Kadazan and Dusun people, as a showcase of the rich traditional heritage. A guided visit gives you a unique insight into the Kadazan Culture as it was, with the possibility of taking part in it.
Again through informal educational ways, the village also aims at assisting in creating a cultured and knowledgeable society, and instilling pride amongst the many ethnic entities in Sabah, particularly amongst the Kadazandusun. This will also create greater awareness of the importance of Sabah's cultures amongst Sabahans themselves, and enhance their cultural identity.
BILBLIORAPHY AND REFERENCES
Chon, Kye-Sung (Kaye) and Sparrowe, Raymond T. (2000). Welcome to Hospitality. An Introduction. New York: Delmar. ISBN 0-7668-050-5 (TEXT)
Walker, John R. (2005). Introduction to Hospitality, 4th Edition. Prentice Hall. ISBN: 0-1311-9101-2
http://www.monsopiad.com (Monsopiad Cultural Village Official Site)
Diploma in Tourism Management UiTM KK Campus Lecturers 2010
Diploma in Tourism Management UiTM KK Campus Seniors 2010
Tour Guiders in Monsopiad Cultural Village
Miss Jennifer from Monsopiad Cultural Village
Madam Cindy Johnny, HTM120, Introduction in Hospitality Lecturer