THE Sarawak government is determined to lift the standards of the arts and culture in the state to international levels, including the possibility of producing a local version of “Winter Sonata”, the Korean hit drama that catapulted the country to global cultural fame.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said among the efforts being undertaken now include turning the old state legislative assembly building into a performing arts centre with an investment of over RM160 million.
“This will become the avenue to train and nurture our youths in performing arts including film, drama, music and so on which we must inculcate.
“Now that we have our own TV station, the first state in the country to do so, we can start our our drama (production) too. If Korea has ‘Winter Sonata’, maybe Sarawak has ‘Asajaya (Sonata)’,” he said during a Youth Day celebration at Asajaya Sports Complex here today, Dayak Daily reported.
Through dramas that present and portray Sarawak’s culture, he said they can be a culture tool to promote Sarawak’s uniqueness and diversity around the world.
Abang Johari noted there were many successful Sarawak-born artistes in Malaysia and globally like singer Hafiz who performed in the celebration today and sape musician Alena Murang who recently won an international award for her ‘Midang Midang’ music video at the Bueno Aires Music Video Festival in Argentina as well as diving queen Pandelela Rinong in the sports sector.
“From Datuk Sabanun Merikan to singers like Hafiz, Bob and Nurfaizah. Even ministers can sing well like who doesn’t know our late Tok Nan (Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) is the Elvis Presley of Sarawak.
“So we see we have the talents and creative people. So that’s why I develop the performing arts centre for the youths and adopted technology in stage designs. We also need to create jobs in this industry for the future graduates,” he added.
In sports development, Abang Johari pointed out that a sports academy for Sarawak is in the pipeline as the state government wants to train and produce excellent athletes.
“Like in New Zealand, a country with small population but with advanced trainings and state-of-the-art facilities, they produce champion athletes in the Olympics,” he said.
With policies targeted at youth development and as Sarawak strives to become an advanced and developed state by 2030, Abang Johari said he foresees Sarawakian youths will be taking leading roles in moving the state further ahead.
“My job and that of the past generation since Tun (Abdul) Taib (Mahmud) who developed Samarahan followed by Tok Nan and me, we had and are preparing the platforms for our youth to continue the leadership roles and excel towards 2030.
The state government, Abang Johari said would continue to prepare new platforms to nurture and develop youths with strong leadership.
At the event, Abang Johari also presented State Youth Awards to Husseine Tuah (Men category), Dr Sim Wen Sann (Female category) and Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia’s Awg Syazuan Shafiq Awang Jaya (Association category).