Online ‘Sugandoi’ to Enliven Kaamatan festival under new normal

KOTA KINABALU: Typically, the ‘Sugandoi’, or singing competition in conjunction with the state-level Kaamatan Festival is held in a grand manner at the Hongkod Koisaan Hall of the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) in Penampang near here.

Participants from all over Sabah who are shortlisted for the finals will gather at the hall to showcase their singing prowess.

However, this year’s finals will be a little different following the COVID-19 pandemic, as it will be organised using the ‘Zoom’ application and broadcast live via the official Facebook pages of the KDCA and Sabah Era.

Sugandoi Sabah 2020 online competition organising committee chairman Evaristus Gungkit said the finals, slated to begin at 8 pm tonight comprised 10 candidates in the open category and seven in the ‘Dazanak’ or junior stars category.

“All the finalists will perform from their homes. The jury will also evaluate the performances of the participants from their respective homes,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Evaristus said the competition which was being held online for the very first time, aimed to continue the tradition in conjunction with the Kaamatan festival while embracing the new normal based on the current circumstances.

He said about 500 participants had submitted their entries before the screening process began on May 26 to select the best participants for the finals.

The opening ceremony of Sugandoi Kaamatan 2020, organised by the KDCA in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, will also be held online and officiated by the Huguan Siou (Kadazandusun paramount leader) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan as KDCA president, he added.

Meanwhile, one of the competition’s finalists, Sheldon Elev, 29, from Tambunan said that although the competition was being held online, the excitement was still there as other participants would be competing with their own respective techniques.

“I am also preparing my traditional costume and audio system for tonight,” said Sheldon, who has at last reached the finals of the competition in his fourth time participating.

Another finalist, Gretchene Quirina Salipa, 23, from Inanam said she had been preparing herself both mentally and physically while taking care of her health to perform her best in tonight’s competition.

The winner of the open category will receive RM6,000 cash plus a trophy and certificate, while the runner-up and second runner-up will each take home RM4,000 and RM3,000 in cash along with a trophy and certificate.

For the junior category, the winner will receive RM1,500 along with a trophy and certificate, while the runner-up and second runner-up will respectively bring home RM1,000 and RM800 along with the trophy and certificate.

There will also be consolation prizes for all the other finalists.