Joan's life as a Kumang

Life as a Kumang

by Joan John on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 12:27am

2005 Competing in Kumang Bung Bratak

2005, at Bung Bratak, First Prize

2009, Redeem, Dayung Sikora

With the winner, I got second :)

2010, Kumang Bidayuh Hornbill Festival, First prize

With previous winner

Kumang Hornbill 2009, i didn't win but it was alright.

Life as Kumang is what I want to share with those who intend to join the ethnic pageant. Kumang means Ratu/Queen and this tittle usually being competed during Harvest Festival in search of the most beautiful maiden (that's what usually being viewed by others but I have different idea viewing Kumang).

I started to join this Kumang pageant since 2003 while pursuing my diploma in Civil Engineering. Since small, my mom loved to parade her kids in Bidayuh costume and we all have our own set of costume. My mom also taught me how to dance the traditional dance (but I have forgetten it since..). In 2003, I was selected as one of finalist for state kumang competition together with another 4 other girls (Bidayuh category). I was young and naive. The main reason I joined at the first place was to get cash and my mom pursued me to join as this was her interest. We competed to get to semi-final in Kuching and the final was held in Sibu. During that time, I was the youngest and the rest of the contestant, they were around 20-22 years old. I didn't really know what to expect. It was tough that I had to put on my own make up and made sure I had to dress up properly each time I step out from my hotel room. I didn't know what make up suited me and I trusted others to decide it. I even didn't know how to do catwalk till the big day itself. Yes, I didn't win any tittle and I was devastated. I felt rejected for not being beautiful enough (remember, I was naive and young ok).

The following year, 2004, I joined Kumang Bung Bratak and won first place and later I joined state kumang again but only managed to get to semi final (maybe the judges tired seen me joining??? I don't know). After that, I rested to pursue my degree. In 2009, after finishing my degree, I made a come back, pursued by my mother. This time for Redeem celebration (Dayung Sikora) and I got second place. I didn't stop, the following month, I flew to KL to join Hornbill Festival (Kumang) but I guess luck doesn't strike twice, I didn't win any tittle but it was alright, I learned to accept defeat. Last year 2010, I joined once again Hornbill Festival (Kumang) although I was quite reluctant to join as I had work commitment but I was pursued by good friend. No harm trying, I got first place.

So, being in this pageant for the past 7 years, what had I learned? A lot! But let's me share with you the dos' and don'ts.

a) Be nice, humble, friendly
b)Smile, smile, smile, smile and smile (remembering good moments will help u to smile)
c)Get a reliable assistant to help you during the competition (you will have a lot of thoughts in your mind and a good assistant will be able to calm you and remember what you going to forget)
d)Know what make up suit you and have your make up artist to bring out the best feature you have
e)Know your costume as you are parading your culture (not knowing your costume is like -Kera dapat bunga-)
f)Be confident
g) Follow the instruction, when organiser says white shirt, it means WHITE SHIRT (not red and white etc)
h)Bring your perfume (to refresh you), lipstick, small mirror, blusher (for touch up), chewgum (for bad breath and anything stuck in between your teeth) and tissue. I usually put this in my "tambuak"/small basket
i) Wear comfortable heels to prevent unwanted incident and to make you feel confident
j)Bring extra safety pin and hairpin, u will need them! (TRUST ME!)

a) Be late
b) Be arrogant
c) Be "Kiasu"
d) Mumble or keep silence when the judges ask you question. Please answer clearly.
e) Get too emotional in front of audience, they can tell and they will remember
f) Get your supporters to "Boo" your competitor, it's so not nice (put yourself in their shoes!)
g) Bring your boyfriend in the changing room when everyone is busy putting on their costume (imagine strangers staring at u when you are struggling to put on your sarong, NOT COOL!)
h)Starve yourself on competition day (I had experience Kumang collapsed when she received her prize because she starved herself)
i) Talk bad  about others and try to create colony (SO NOT COOL!)

Personally, I have my own veiws to call someone a Kumang. Yes, look does matter (I can't deny that) but that's insufficient to crown  a Kumang. Below is the criteria that I hope to be crowned as Kumang:

1) Knows her culture ( speak her mother tongue or at least understand as language mirror your root and know your community well)
2) With brain ( this is a must as Kumang need to represnt her community, Kumang isn't a BIMBO)
3)Confidence (must, must,must have)
4)Attitude (postive one for sure)

My advice is try your best but remember, at the end of the day, beauty is in the hand of beholder. We might see others pretty but judges might see different thing. There are reasons why they are called judges and ask to judge. Accept defeat with dignity as it is not the end of the world. Continue trying and have faith in yourself. You won't really taste the sweeteness of winning until u taste the bitterness of defeat first. As I'm coming to the end of my journey in competing in Kumang pageant, I wish you good luck and all the best