Francisca slams social media influencer “Duriankimchi” for mocking Ngepan Iban

By Emma Victoria

MISS Universe Malaysia Francisca Luhong James has slammed a social media influencer for mocking the traditional Iban costume – the ‘Ngepan Iban’ publicly in a video, posted in social media platforms.

“From what I see based on his Instagram, he did something wrong and then apologised as he wants people to talk about him and ‘promote’ his name to gain followers. Don’t give him the attention he thirsts for… Some people are completely ignorant and selfish,” she posted on her Instagram.

“Don’t tag him (on social media) as he doesn’t deserve the attention. Don’t let such negative energy put us down and wear our traditional costume proudly and post it during the upcoming Gawai Festival. Be proud of who we are and our roots, culture and heritage,” she wrote.

Francisca wearing the traditional Ngepan Iban from the Dayak Cultural Foundation. Pix from ISe RaZak.

The 25-year-old Kayan-Kenyah-Iban native from Kuching is still in the United State, after representing Malaysia in the Miss Universe 2020. She also shared that she would be returning to the country soon and will be celebrating Gawai Festival in a hotel room next week while under quarantine.

Although she did not mention any name, the beauty queen was referring to Ryzal Ibrahim, who married a Korean and the couple is popularly known as Duriankimchi.

Ryzal has apologised and deleted the video of himself mocking the traditional Iban costume after it drew backlash from the public, especially those from Sarawak.

In Sarawak, the unique and beautiful costumes were worn during important ceremonies and festivals like the Gawai Dayak and weddings.

However, in the video, Ryzal was heard laughing at the traditional costume and describing the ‘kain kebat’ (traditional woven skirt) as ‘kain buruk’ and the chest adornment ‘marik empang’ as ‘kain alas TV’, ‘langsir’, and ‘pinggan pengakap’.

He even went on to make fun of the other silver ornaments, including the coin belt; asking ‘why put the coins here? Coins should be kept in the pocket.”

Another beauty queen from Sarawak, Larissa Ping, Miss World Malaysia 2018, posted: “Bottom line is, please learn to respect each other’s culture.”

“If you can’t appreciate someone else’s culture, then at least keep your opinions to yourself. The world doesn’t revolve around you.

When will people stop looking down on Sarawak natives and their culture?”