- Cleansing the Sacred Mountain in the Aftermath of the 2015 Mount Kinabalu Earthquake
- Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Volume 89, Part 1, No. 310, June 2016
- pp. 61-78
- View Citation
On 5 June 2015, an earthquake of 6.0 magnitude rattled Malaysia’s Sabah state. The epicentre was near Mount Kinabalu, and shockwaves spread across a wide area. Serious rockfalls on the mountain, one of Southeast Asia’s highest peaks and a popular climbing spot, killed 18 climbers. A few days earlier, a group of Western male and female tourists had appeared on social media posing nude on the mountain. Local residents consider Mount Kinabalu sacred, and many of them believed the earthquake was caused by the actions of these tourists, who had angered the mountain’s guardian spirits. In this article we examine the Monolibabou and Tumabur rituals conducted by the Lotud people, a Dusunic ethnic group living in Tuaran District, to appease the guardians of Mount Kinabalu.