Midweek Reflections #9: Rose Belarek

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“Midweek Reflections” is a space for team members and cultural practitioners of The Tuyang Initiative to share their thoughts, fears and dreams. For feedback, please email hello@thetuyang.com.

Hello everyone. 

First and foremost, and I am glad to see that we are now recovering from a very long period of Movement Control Order (MCO).

I am sure everyone has their own version of stories about it, so I would like to share a bit about mine too.

In the beginning of it all, it was quite a shock for me. This was something that I had never expected to happen in my lifetime. I had so much to go on with, so I had a lot to think about how my craftwork would survive this pandemic.

As it went on, I felt ill for quite some time. It was maybe from being flustered by the situation, but thank God, I got my health back. 

I couldn’t do much work since I couldn’t go out to get my materials, rattans, bamboos and bemban and all other kinds. As a craft maker, this is a big frustration as my hands are always looking for something to do!

So, all that I could do to get my mind off things apart from cooking was getting myself spiritual relief. When I felt calmer, I told myself I had to change my mindset about the whole thing and adapt to the situation as best as I could. 

When the lockdown was relaxed, my husband persuaded me to go out with him. But I was a little reluctant as somehow I got used to staying at home. When he managed, he brought me out for a drive, and it was something that I felt I definitely needed! 

He on the other hand has been busy distributing “bantuan” or aid for the needy. I decided then, I would go and help him out. Before, when he came home he had to shower as many times as he went out. 

But I was so happy that we are rebounding slowly from the pandemic. And in recent weeks, we are allowed to travel between districts. Which means I could go back to my longhouse! I was so excited to go back than ever. It was good to see everyone there again, although I had to keep my distance. 

So now, I finally get to go back to do my craftwork again, although I do realise that business is slow because of the situation right now. Nevertheless, I think the craftwork that I do is still relevant and practical to the city folks who might appreciate it, and I know most are still using our craft as much as we do in the longhouse. 

I hope for the best for everyone in whatever they do, I pray that we are blessed in our daily lives at home and at work. Stay safe and may God bless us always. 

Tiga Tawai! (Thank you!)

Rose Awing Belarek

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