MBKS celebrates Deepavali with the community

By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
@sendouringgit
[email protected]

Since Kuching was declared the world’s first ‘City of Unity’ in August last year, Kuching City South Council (MBKS) has committed itself to prove that unity is a priority among its people, and what better way to do it than celebrating the variety of cultures that we have?

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MBKS Mayor Datuk James Chan lighting up the ‘kuthuvilaku’, the traditional oil lamps during MBKS Deepavali celebration

In a gesture to enhance on Kuching as a city of Unity, MBKS celebrated ‘Deepavali with the Community’ with the members of the Indian community on November 3rd.

“Celebrating of Deepavali is not merely a celebration, it is as important as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Dayak festival and Christmas, they are all the same,” said MBKS Mayor Datuk James Chan in his speech yesterday (Nov 3).

Even though Deepavali might not be widely celebrated in Sarawak, it doesn’t make it less important than other celebrations in this part of the region. Chan said that the Indian community in Kuching was no less significant in contributing to the growth of the city.

The MBKS lobby was meticulously decorated with a beautiful kolam, artfully created by the council’s Indian staff who helped organise the open house under its organising chairperson, S Partiben, who is also MBKS landscaping officer.

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Meticulously decorated Kolam were visible upon entering the MBKS building

Despite the differences in culture, Chan added that peace and harmony can be achieved if there is unity among our multi-cultural community.

“These are the celebrations that pull us together and we need this cohesion especially for Kuching city to make it the best place for everyone,” he said hoping that community would continue to live in harmony and peace with each other.

Also present at the event was Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

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Fifth from the right: Chan, Taib and his wife Toh Puan Dato’ Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib during the officiating ceremony of ‘Deepavali with the Community’

“If there is anything that I remember well about the message from our first prime minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, it is that ‘I want to see a happy Malaysia’,” he said.

As the head of the state and after long years serving as the state’s chief minister before retiring, Taib said that he hopes to see the people in Sarawak united and thriving.

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Two dancers donning traditional Indian outfits performing a dance during event

“That is very important. I can tell you the measure of which we can judge our people is to see whether they are happy or not. You can be prosperous, yet be unhappy. You can be very progressive but yet you are unhappy,” he said, explaining that happiness was a balance of all things.

Taib added that it can come about when the unity of the people had reached an emotional level where they are constantly engaged and contributing to each other.

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Traditional Indian music playing in the MBKS lobby as the people were ready to celebrate Deepavali

“I am happy to say to you that Sarawak is moving in that direction all the way, steadily but surely as our people of many races have never been more dedicated to be one regardless whether they are Chinese, Malays, Iban, Bidayuh , Orang Ulu, Tamil and Sikh, where they can feel secure and happy in their home call Malaysia,” said Taib.

“I want you all to know that we ought to make sure this keeps on becoming a secure, safe and united Malaysia, as the Tunku said to me, ‘I want to see a happy Malaysia’,” he added.

Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib, Kuching Indian Association president R Nadison, Penghulu T Komurasamy, Sarawak Sikh Temple Association president Dr Kalwinder Singh Khaira, Temenggong Tan Joo Phoi, Nanning Municipal People’s government vice mayor Sui Guohua, deputy mayor Hilmi Othman, MBKS staff and community leaders were also present at the celebration.

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