DBNA Miri “Valentine’s Day” Dinner

Tabi basa and greetings everyone, 

Yesterday was a great evening for some of us at Miri, because it was Valentine’s Day, a universally acceptable day for lovers, save for some that do not acknowledge it for various reasons. For us, it was a day of merry and to appreciate one another. In this occassion, DBNA’s Appreciation Dinner was coincident with Valentine’s Day. Before I go further, I would like to write about Valentine’s Day.

Angela – Dayung Bi-Pichin

Valentine’s Day

14th February is Valentine’s Day, but did you know the actual story behind Valentine’s Day? There are few legends behind the lover’s day itself, all which originates from the early Christian days under ancient Roman Empire.

Uncle Joseph Jorah leads the prayer

First story behind Valentine’s Day is Saint Valentine or Valentinus is a priest of Rome or former Bishop of Terni in Italy who was actively evangelizing peoples there. Bear in mind that Christian was not the official religion of Roman Empire that time. Valentinus did a miracle where he restores a vision of a blind girl, of course with God’s grace. However, this act of miracle did not please the authority, where he was captured and was brought upon the emperor of that time, Emperor Claudius II. St Valentine tried to convince him to embrace Christianity. The emperor was displeased and commanding Valentinus to denounce his faith or be executed. As expected, he refuses and the on Claudius’ command, he was executed on 14 Feb 269 A.D.

The second story is that Valentine, a priest, defied the order of the emperor and secretly performed Christian wedding, thus allowing husbands to escape consription. During that time, soldiers were sparse, and they need single men to join military services. This act of defiance displeases the emperor, Claudius II, as it is a big inconvenience to him and the empire. The legend also mentions that in order “to remind these men of their vows and God’s love, Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment”, giving them to these soldiers and persecuted Christians, a possible origin of the widespread use of hearts on St. Valentine’s Day, and now it was extended into various uses..

The third story is that Valentine refused to sacrifice to pagan gods, though not sure which one it is. Due to his defiance, he being imprisoned. While he is in prison, Valentine gave his testimony of his undying Christian faith in prison and through his prayers healed the jailer’s daughter who was suffering from blindness. On the day of his execution on 14 Feb, he left her a note that was signed, “Your Valentine”, which leads to the popular term nowadays. 

If it is a Christian holiday, why it is commercialised?

This is something that keeps on lingering in my mind. If it is really a Christian holiday, why does it is extended and being commercialised? The answer is simple – money. There are 8 billions people in the world. If you can just get 10% of them to spend a dollar, you can easily make 80 million dollar. Now translate that into the local popularions, you can easily make money by simply selling “love”. You can buy lots of “love”-related stuff, ranging from food, beverages, rent breathing flesh for as little as RM50 or even carnal-related items, but that will simply make the hole in your soul bigger. Nothing can fills it, for the world is not enough for the greed and the lustful.  

Some would call those love first sight as love, I would call it lust though because:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

This is not Disney fairy tale story, where you get married and live happily ever after. That is on the screen. Behind the scene, there is a lot of human-elements related to it. 14 Feb / Valentine’s Day should not be a day for corporations to fill their pockets. Instead, it should be a day to stress togetherness and true love. Therefore, don’t be sad if you don’t have any Valentine, because the most important thing is you celebrate it with the one who appreciates you. I think that is more important that just getting bragging rights.

DBNA Appreciation Dinner

Welcoming Speech by Capt Benard Idit, DBNA Miri Chairman

Back to the dinner, it is simply an appreciation dinner. Nothing much to say about that because some of the information is confidential and DBNA only. I will just leave it on the surface level. Suffice to say, the night was wonderful. I tried my best, along with Simon Dawit to entertain the crowd.

Mr Simon Dawit

Exco’s Appreciation Ceremony

Dinner Goes On

The night itself was filled with games too, where the first game was Tic-Tac-Toe of Men vs Women. I find this game to be amusing. I didn’t know we can do human tic-tac-toe. However, there were few rounds they did not have any winner at all because of the formation of the line is not permitted, thus leaving a draw.

The second game is quite challenging than the first, where it requires everyone to drink Malta from the cup. It is like a relay race, except you have to drink. The fastest drinker group wins.

The third game is more challenging, where it requires couples to chew the cookie stick until it become as short as they possibly can. The winner in this competition is the ladies’ couple.

The story behind the lady’s couple is to fill the quote. Don’t worry, they are normal. Below are the romantic pictures that I have captures last night.

Gaga amai kaban ku siku tok.
Romantik nyeee. Actually they are eating the cookies, but it’s too short already.

There was one segment where I requested the couples to dance, slow dance. Captain Benard and his sporting wife, Uncle Martin and his wife also slow-danced.

Poco-poco is a must. I was one of the dancers there.

Following to the event, the drink and dance goes on until it’s late in the evening. Broadway Grand Palace only allows us to dance until 11pm, where some of the peoples continued elsewhere for the night is still young.

About DBNA Miri

DBNA Miri is a place where Bidayuhs at Miri gathers and create an umbrella for the Bidayuhs who came to Miri, most of the time, due to work commitment. Some stays on like Uncle Joseph Pitos from Bau, and created a stable life in Miri. Uncle Willie, the founding father of DBNA Miri also joined last night. He keeps on telling us that DBNA Miri is a good society that can be made better if more and more younger generations joined as we need to adapt to ever-changing challenges of the community.

DBNA Miri was made into fruition thanks to the sacrifices of the elders. Most of Bidayuhs identifies ourselves as Bidayuh, though it is well-known that we have different regions or dialects, primarily from Bau-Jagoi, Bukar-Sadong, Padawan-Siburan and even Salako-Lara. But when it comes to coming together, that is where we have no issue. Just like during Shell Harvest Festival Celebration 2019, with the help of DBNA Miri, the event is a success, and it is even remembered until today by both Simon and Liz Durkin, where Liz rememberes Aunty Rijeg as the pounding lady, for she did the demonstration of rice-pounding during the event.

One thing for certain, the success that we had yesterday did not guarantee the success tomorrow. It just means we have the upper hand to win based on our track record. I urge all of the young ones, regardless of your race to keep on working smart to improve your lifestyle. Even if you come from a poor or difficult background like me, that means you have more reason to be successful in the future. Don’t hesitate to make sacrifices today if that means you can secure your future. Don’t be afraid to break the egg to make the omelette. Go for your dreams. I am branding myself as Tukang Rantek because I want to remember my origin in my art. You can do it too. God bless.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius Weson a.k.a Del

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Note: Claudius Weson is a “tukang rantek” (photographer in Bidayuh Pichin) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.

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