Searching for "U Star" by Lapdiang Syiem
We were looking to find u star for a new performance we were working on and our first instinct was to look for it in Ïewduh. The lady who was supposed to get it for us told us that there weren't anymore star available that were made from bamboo/ cane/ the natural twine da u thri..ngi ïa wad ïa u star ba thaiñ da u siej ne da u thri. The ones that were available were now mostly made of plastic. We also looked for it in a village called Nongpiur but again what was available was only made of plastic.
Finally an aunt of mine told us you could still find u star siej in Smit. When I shared the story to more people, Junisha Khongwir told me that they still used it in her shnong (village) and she had used it that week itself to carry water. Careen Langstieh also informed me that recently she also found it in Ïew Mawngap.
I wonder if in the future the plastic one will slowly replace the natural one. It would be unfortunate if that will be the case. U star siej can be polished with ka umphñiang bam (mustard oil) to keep it supple. It is used as a type of sling or a holder around ka khoh (conical basket) so that it can be easily slung across the back.
I finally found this old star I needed for the performance from Mei Mei (my aunt) who, after hearing that it was not easy to find u star siej resolved to preserve the one she had lest it was lost…And my mother has also been on the lookout since recently letting me know that she found one in Mawtawar.
"U Star" is the cane head strap that is wound around ka khoh, the conical cane basket, to carry an array of things. It is tragic that the production of cane star is diminishing in the face of the plastic one which probably lasts longer. Khublei Shibun @lapdiangsyiem for sending us something about your experience. Khublei Shibun for also using traditional Khasi utilities for your powerful performances! 😀🙏