After his children shared photos of his product of passion online, 86-year-old Mongijal Majipal’s handwoven traditional Rungus baskets known as “barazit” and “saging” became the talk of social media.
Mongijal started to produce the bamboo-woven baskets at the beginning of the first movement control order last year, now he has a small collection of over 30 baskets at his home in Matunggong, Sabah.
His daughter Nancy promoted her father’s small business on her Facebook and it caught the attention of netizens with over 1.6k shares as of time of writing.
Mongijal’s other daughter, 29-year-old Celia Mongikal said that they did not expect the response they are receiving from netizens since her father only started making the baskets to fill in his free time.
“We did not expect my sister’s post to go viral, now we have so many people asking if they can order from my father,” she told The Star.
Celia also added that because Mongijal is ageing, he is unable to deliver to some of the requests as the bamboo he uses known as Poring or Tivung in Rungus has to be obtain from a nearby forest and takes at least two to three days for a basket to complete.
Mongijal himself said that he was surprised that the post had also received attention in Germany and Japan where some of his children live.
Since he’s the only one making the baskets, Mongijal said he will try his best to do as much as he can.
“I didn’t know so many people would be interested in these baskets, I will do as much as I can.”
Locals from his village have also dropped by his stall to purchase baskets while some would place advanced orders.
His 42-year-old grandson, Hilarius Joe Jamari said that Mongijal waited for customers at his stall before 6am on Sunday out of excitement.
The 86-year-old also said that the dying art of weaving the bamboo baskets should be reintroduced to younger generations as it is part of their native culture.
“I can’t make them and now at this age, am not really interested to learn anymore but I think this is part of our native culture and traditions that should be preserved,” he said.