The publication of Sarawak's folktales has long been a personal aspiration of mine. Over the years, I have had the privilege of encountering storytellers from various countries and participating in their captivating storytelling events. Each time I witness storytellers from different nations proudly recounting their local folktales on stage, a profound yearning arises within me. Why is it that our Sarawakian storytellers cannot bring our own rich tapestry of folktales to the international stage? Sarawak boasts an extraordinary wealth of cultural diversity. The scarcity lies not in the tales themselves but
in the avenues through which they can be promoted. Therefore, I have made the resolute decision to showcase
our Sarawak folktales on the global platform, utilizing the medium of children's picture books. Folktales have traversed generations, perpetuated through oral tradition and meticulously preserved to this day. As time has elapsed, intermarriage among ethnic groups and the evolving eras have inevitably given rise
to diverse versions of these stories, rendering their true origins somewhat elusive.
This series of stories is presented across five volumes, featuring narratives from five distinct ethnic groups: the Iban, Bidayuh, Malay, Chinese, and the minority Punan community. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Elena Gregoria Chai for providing four of the folktales she meticulously gathered, as well as to Jukie anak Ahad, who contributed an Iban folk story to this anthology.
Given that these picture books primarily cater to children, I have taken great care in adapting the five folktales from the perspective of young readers. The content has been thoughtfully adjusted to ensure its suitability for their consumption.
Furthermore, these five stories will profoundly enrich Sarawak's tourism industry, as this book series effectively transforms specific regions and attractions within our state into narrative landscapes. For instance, the enigmatic transformation of the stone longhouse in Simunjan - Batu Kudi - and the origins of the Datuk Kong Temple in Sebauh are elucidated within these pages.
I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry & Performing Arts Sarawak for their unwavering support throughout this endeavor, fostering the promotion of our cultural heritage through this series of captivating folktales.
Tay Yit Ping 2023