Location : Kampung Sumangkap, Matunggong, Kudat Division, Sabah, Malaysia.
A gong is a gong….. but a 20footer gong definitely is no ordinary gong. It deserves every Malaysian’s attention. In the village of Sumangkap in the district of Matunggong stands this gargantuan icon of the Rungus’ music, a project initiated by Kraftangan Malaysia. It weighs 980kg and took 4 craftsmen and 5weeks to finish the job from 16Sep to 20 Sep in 2008. Sumangkap lies 100km north of Kota Kinabalu and 40km south of Kudat. The history of gong making here goes back to 1968 pioneered by a certain Mr Majabab. Since then 28 families have joined in the bandwagon and transformed Sumangkap into the biggest communal gong factory not only in Sabah but the whole of Malaysia.
When we arrived at the village, several houses near the entrance were busy at work. It was a noisy welcoming with some ladies banging away zinc and copper sheets to slowly form them into nipples while the guys were welding cut out sheets onto circular discs. Modern equipment has made their life so much easier unlike in the olden days where gongs were beaten into shape purely by continuous heating and hammering.
Sumangkap gongs are not only sold in Sabah and Sarawak but in Kalimantan as well. I believe the whole of Borneo keeps this village busy and happy. Business looked good and the shinny cars parked at their porches confirmed our observation. Good for the Rungus.
Just for your information, the annual Matunggong Gong festival is usually held on the last week of October.