Petaling Jaya residents turned out in droves to celebrate the Chinese New Year 2012 celebration hosted by Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) at the open car park of Petaling Jaya Civic Centre recently.
The multi-racial crowd, many with families in tow, at the ‘Majlis Mesra Gong Xi Fa Cai 2012’ enjoyed the festive fare and cultural performances in mutual respect, harmony and unity.
Organising chairperson Tiew Way Keng said: “The event is aimed at cultivating close camaraderie among the different races and cultures in the country and by understanding of each other’s culture and traditions would help to strengthen the relations and augurs well for unity in the country.
“We are also promoting the green concept for sustainable development in line with Local Agenda 21 Petaling Jaya,” added Tiew who is also MBPJ councillor.
Petaling Jaya city mayor Datuk Bandar Dato’ Haji Mohamad Roslan Sakiman said that in line with MBPJ’s vision of making Petaling Jaya a green and low–carbon emission city, the council was, for the first time, using bio–degradable and compostable packaging materials for food distributed to visitors at the event.
Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim officiated the event, which was also attended by his wife Puan Sri Salbiah Tunut.
Also present were Petaling Jaya city mayor Datuk Bandar Dato’ Haji Mohamad Roslan Sakiman, state assembly deputy speaker Haniza Mohamed Talha, state exco for Local Government, Study and Research Ronnie Liu, Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian, Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah, Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo-Burne and MBPJ councillors including Tony Cheong, Cynthia Manonmani A/P Michael Gabriel and Terence Tan Teck Seng.
The celebration presented the people with Chinese cultural performances and traditions showcased at the event which was jointly organised by MBPJ, city councillors and the various resident associations, Rukun Tetangga and NGOs in the city.
Among the highlights of the event which started from 7.00 pm were a calligraphy writing contest, puzzle contest, lucky draws, green exhibition, dragon dance, lion dance, 24
season drums, Cantonese opera and choir performance by elderly folks of SECITA, an NGO for senior citizens.
The Malay artistes from MBPJ cultural troupe stole the show with their rendition of popular Chinese songs much to the cheers and applause from the audience.
The parade around the main streets in Section 52 town centre drew enormous crowd lining both side of the parade routes. Leading the parade was the dragon dance which weaved its way through the main streets, followed by the lion dance, stilt walkers, electric bicycles, colourful trishaw ride and the disabled on wheelchairs.
In extending Gong Xi Fa Cai greetings to the Chinese community, Khalid, in his speech, said this year being the Year of the Water Dragon entailed strength which means if the people work hard, they would reap more gains.
“You got to earn your profits, you don’t expect in the Dragon year somebody will reward you. You got to earn it. The idea is in the Dragon year we got to change so that we will get what we want.
“We will have the prosperity together and we will have the change together because we want it.”
On efforts to make Petaling Jaya a livable city, Khalid said the government had allocated RM50 million for upkeep of cleanliness and hope the money would be wisely used.
“You are the owner of this city. You determine what is best for this city,” said Khalid in urging the residents to be part of the implementation and making cleanliness of the city a way of life.
Khalid later presented the first prize of a Samsung Galaxy Tab, an Android-based tablet computer, to a lucky 62-year old housewife, Loke Lai Ming in the Lucky Draw Contest which offered 100 prizes including television and free parking coupons.
A visitor Ravindaran, 48, TNB said he found out about the event from his wife who worked in MBPJ and also from the various banners and notices around the PJ town area.
“This is our third time here enjoying the atmosphere and merriment of Gong Xi Fa Cai and we are happy to see the various races mixing around and enjoying themselves. It’s a very good event, very friendly and we get to know and understand the Chinese culture better.
“This event should go on every year and the same for other festivals like Hari Raya and Deepavali where people from of all walks of life come together to celebrate each other’s festival. Unity can only be achieved by mutually respecting and getting to know each other’s culture,” added the TNB clerk who came with his wife Ammakkannu, their two children and two close friends.