A Chewong community in Malaysia has a new building designed to display village crafts for tourists, according to a news story last week. Kampung Kuala Gandah, near Temerloh, has used a poorly made building as a store for many years, but the new facility, costing RM200,000 (US$62,000) will significantly boost the ability of the villagers to market their handicrafts.

The new building has been built with funding provided by the Malaysian resort company Genting Malaysia Berhad. It will help about 200 Chewong sell the jewelry, baskets, pouches, boxes, and other craft products that they make from local plant materials.

A member of the State Tourism Executive Council told the people at the dedication of the new building that visitors to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary nearby could now visit the village as well and see the crafts. They could also watch cultural shows that the Chewong perform.

Bak Raja Tek, the 72 year old headman of the village, said that the new building would allow villagers to put on cultural shows to entertain their visitors, as well as display their wares. “People can now come to the complex to watch the dancers performing Sewang, our traditional dance. The villagers will also have the opportunity to mingle with visitors,” he said. He really appreciates the construction of the new facility.

Sabariah Kupang seconded what the headman said. A weaver of mengkuang baskets and mats, Sabariah felt that the smooth new floor in the building will be much more comfortable for the performers than the rough one in the old building. She hoped that more tourists would come into the village now.