Pandelela mambawa nama dan kebanggaan kepada masyarakat Bidayuh
Pandelela lifts her community’s profile
by Joana Yap,
KUCHING: Pandelela Rinong’s bronze medal success at the London 2012 Olympics has elevated the profile of the 200,000-strong Bidayuh community into the national map and onto the national consciousness.
Bung Bratak Heritage Association (BBHA) president Datuk Peter Minos said this when commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s presentation of RM300,000 in cash and shares incentives and a full university scholarship to the national diver yesterday.
Pandelela is the country’s first-ever female Olympic medallist.
“We are definitely very happy that the PM has honoured our heroine in this manner. As Pandelela is from the Bidayuh community, we [the Bidayuh] also feel greatly honoured,” said Minos, who could hardly contain his joy over the news when contacted by The Borneo Post yesterday.
“It is not often to have the PM bestow this on a person this way. This is a very, very good gesture and we are deeply appreciative.
“Pandelela has put the Bidayuh minority on the map. We are eternally grateful to her.”
He said that BBHA will be organising a grand dinner on Aug 25 at Bau Civic Centre to celebrate her achievement.
“We will give her a truly Bidayuh Bratak honour which will be different from a normal dinner. We want to show our appreciation not just with words, but also in the little things. We want to make Pandelela our ‘Wirawati Bung Bratak’ (Heroine of Bung Bratak),” said Minos.
On a lighter note, he revealed that during his conversation with the national diver yesterday before her meeting with the PM, she specially requested to have sambal petai for the celebratory dinner as well as for k-pop songs made popular by South Korean boyband Big Bang to be included as part of the entertainment.
He believes that the lass has the potential to contribute even more to the country’s sporting glory as she is only 19 years old.
“Hopefully, we pray that Pandelela becomes a source of inspiration for all youngsters. She has proven with grit, determination and great form, we can achieve wonders and do great things for our country,” said Minos.
On the question as to whether Pandelela should be given a Datuk-ship for her accomplishment, Minos said the BBHA would be “extremely happy” if she is given the honour.
“Such a move would not be out of place if we consider the precedent set by world squash champion Datuk Nicol David and also (Olympic silver medallist) Datuk Lee Chong Wei,” he observed, adding that the honorary title should be given based on accomplishment regardless of the person’s age.
Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) president Datu Ik Pahon Joyik said the country’s recognition of Pandelela’s achievement will encourage Sarawakians and young sportsmen and women to take sports seriously as a career.
He thanked the federal government for their recognition of Sarawakians and also for giving Pandelela the means to further her education and build a successful post-competition career.
“With this award, the federal government is giving her a fishing rod, not a fish,” he said, alluding to a popular English saying.
“It is also a good morale booster for other youth who are contemplating about their future life after their competitive sport career is over.”
Ik Pahon expressed hope that the state government will also reciprocate in kind.
Meanwhile, DBNA chief advisor and Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong welcomed the news but refused to speculate on what the chief minister has promised to give.
“Of course we are very happy but Pandelela was not just representing the community but the whole nation during the London Olympics. And as far as DBNA is concerned, we will be organising an appreciation dinner for her on Aug 22 to be held at DBNA hall at Jalan Ong Tiang Swee,” he said.