Looking for unique gift ideas? Visit Retail@Gallery, located along Robinson Road in Singapore, to gift a piece of Sarawak, Malaysia to a loved one this Christmas! Choose from an array of souvenirs, including traditional handicraft – jewellery, bags and mask chains – and even Sarawak’s popular black pepper. Profits from purchases will go towards supporting local SMEs and social enterprises in Sarawak.
Christmas gifts from Sarawak for fashionistas
Handwoven bags and baskets by Penan Women Project
These handwoven souvenirs are functional and help support local communities in Sarawak. Penan Women Project is a Sarawak-based social enterprise with the mission to empower Penan women and their families to improve their lives through weaving skills. They innovate and develop traditional designs to cater to a wider urban market. This helps the Penan women in Sarawak to create new designs while still preserving their traditional handicraft skills. The Penan are one of the indigenous tribes in Borneo. They’re believed to be the last nomadic hunter-gatherers in Malaysia who call the rainforest their home.
If you’re looking for unique accessories, this is for you! Choose from an array of beaded handicraft, including bracelets, necklaces, mask chains and more, all made in Sarawak. The indigenous people of this region of Malaysia have long been associated with beadwork for adornment as well as for ceremonial purposes. In Sarawak, traditions around beads go back to the very remote past. The variety of beads, the materials from which they’re made, their colours and the values attributed to them all make for interesting conversations and discussions.
Christmas gifts from Sarawak for foodies
Rajaborneo Sarawak Acacia Mangium Honey
This Acacia Mangium honey comes from a bee farm located deep in the tropical rainforest of Sarawak. The pure, 100 percent natural honey is brewed from honeydews and diligently processed to meet the stringent requirements of the Halal, MeSTI and Intertek (HACCP & GMP) standards. It’s a great choice for diabetics because of its low sucrose content. It also cleanses the liver, regulates the intestine and has anti-inflammatory properties that can aid the respiratory system.
GWS Foodchains Sarawak Steam Sterilized Black and White Pepper
Foodies that love to cook will rejoice over this souvenir from Sarawak. GWS Foodchains cooperates with the Malaysia Pepper Board (MPB) to achieve the highest quality standards of the popular spice. The black and white pepper is selected from 100 percent pure, premium grade Sarawak pepper, and processed with a modern, hygienic and chemical-free steam treatment technology to destroy pathogens and ensure the product is absolutely safe for consumption and meets international food safety standards.
Kenyalang Sarawak Highland Heirloom Rice
Sarawak is well known for its incredible rainforest, culture, flora and fauna, and is home to many tribes and indigenous people who have been hunting and farming for centuries. Rice is a staple food for the locals, and one of the traditions practiced for generations is paddy planting. Sarawak boasts a myriad of authentic indigenous rice, in different colours, aromas, tastes and shapes. Varieties available in Singapore include Bario brown rice, Bali Keladi purple rice, Etem black rice and Sia red rice.
Christmas in Sarawak – Catch the action!
You might not expect it, but Christmas celebrations in Sarawak are a big deal! While less than 10 percent of the Malaysian population are Christians, they make up more than half of the population in Sarawak – it’s the only state in Malaysia with a Christian majority.
Unlike in most places, Christmas celebrations in Sarawak take place during the first two weeks of December as many locals head back to their respective hometowns and longhouses during the last week of December.
There’s no better gift from Sarawak than experiencing the Christmas festivities for yourself! If you’re keen to catch the action this year, make the dash across to Sarawak for the Bau Christmas Parade on 17 December. Or why not plan ahead to join in the Christmas parades next year, either with your family or your work team. Several churches also organise their own Christmas events during this period too.
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This article first appeared in the December 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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