Gotong-royong Angkat Rumah

Illustration by Ammi

Long time ago, in Kedah, there is a common custom called gotong-royong angkat rumah among local villagers. The rationale behind this event is to save money in buying a new house and to save more time, as they are always busy working on the field. Besides, most of them find it hard to part away from their wooden, crafty homes that they cherish over the years.

Can you imagine how do villagers move a house? Actually in the process of moving a house, the villagers habitually give a lending hand to alleviate the weighty task. This earnest endeavour is indeed a showcase of working in unity among villagers.

In the urban city, the diverse lifestyle of different city dwellers is so cold and distant that you will not expect to see much of these gotong-royong activities within the community. From the news, we often watch how political parties submerge in conflict and battle over disunity. Most of the political parties actually struggle in promoting unification among the community. In fact, city people are so engrossed with themselves that I would say; it is not easy to unify the city dwellers in specific community works. Somehow, it becomes very strange to look back and to see how people from the olden days with simple lifestyle to live together in such unity.

Illustration by Ammi

Thus, this simple event of gotong-royong angkat rumah could actually deliver a denotation to unite people from all walks of life into a more caring community while igniting awareness of the existence of people around us and establishing mutual respect for each other's way of life.

How does this event carry the unity message across to urban dwellers? What can LAB participating artists do in fostering unity among city people? What is the implication of the event that can change the perception of city residents? How does the gotong-royong angkat rumah actually nurture them to save time and not waste their hard-earned money?

All in all, this momentous event will cross paths in LAB 2014.