A volunteer manoeuvres the swing during a test-run of the ‘itut’ at Dataran Tun Tuanku Bujang in Sibu. — Photo by Peter Boon
SIBU (July 10): Works on erecting the 43-foot high ‘itut’ (Melanau traditional giant swing) at Dataran Tun Tuanku Bujang here have finally reached completion, with test-run being carried out daily before the Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) 2023 kicks off this July 14.
According to the ‘itut’ lead coordinator Councillor Abang Carrol Abang Dris, the swing’s daily operation time is from 6pm to 10pm throughout the festival, happening from July 14 to 23.
“We want to ensure that it is safe and that the rattan (strips to secure the swing loop) is tight,” he told The Borneo Post when met at the festival site yesterday.
Abang Carrol, also chairman of the Melanau Welfare Association of Kampung Nangka, said it would be prerequisite for the ‘itut’ operators to ask any visitors wanting to play the swing if they had any height phobia or history of high blood pressure.
“This is among the safety precautions being put in place. On rainy days, the swing would be off limits to all.”
On the structure itself, Abang Carrol regarded the rattan as the key component of the swing.
“Well, you can say that without the rattan, there will be no ‘itut’. That said, it’s quite difficult to source for the rattan; we had to enter the secondary jungle in Tanjung Latap to find some,” he said.
The Melanau Welfare Association of Kampung Nangka has been appointed by the Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) to handle the construction of the giant swing, of which the construction commenced on June 28 and the work involved some 20 volunteers from the association.
Also known as the ‘tibau’ in the Mukah Melanau dialect, the ‘itut’ will be one of the highlights during BCF 2023.