KOTA KINABALU: The sacred torch of the 28th National Chinese Cultural Festival 2011 successfully reached the peak of South East Asia’s highest mountain, Mount Kinabalu, on Monday which coincidentally was the mid-Autumn festival.
Organising chairperson of the National Cultural Festival, Datuk Susan Wong Siew Guen who brought the sacred torch up to the peak together with youth members of the host, The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS), said:
“It was the most prestigious moment when we reached the top of Mount Kinabalu and I am so excited and delighted that we have successfully brought the sacred torch to the peak.”
This reflected the words of Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun during the Ranau Torch Run on September 10 that legend has it that a representative of the then Emperor of China actually went up the mountain to find a diamond said to be kept in the mouth of a dragon on the peak, and this belief has since become part of Chinese culture.
With the Chinese culture torch reaching the peak of Mount Kinabalu, it was indeed a glory for the Chinese community in Sabah and this has set a new historical record.
Masidi said these when presenting the torch to Susan and her team members after lighting the cauldron at the Pai Wen Primary School compound in Ranau.
The Ranau Torch Run, which was the sixth in the series of runs across the state, started at the school compound and then around Ranau town on September 10. The run was to promote Chinese culture to the people and to bring to them an awareness of this heritage cultural festival.
More than 300 participants consisting of students and the community took part in the run which was jointly organised by the Ranau Hakka Association headed by Datuk Jimmy Tham Yuk Leong, the Ranau Hokkien Association led by Tee Geok Moi and Ranau Sino-Native Association headed by Alldem Chia.
Susan in her speech after the run said she was very grateful to Masidi for giving his fullest support and participation in the run.
“We are very honoured to have the minister light the cauldron at the finishing point and this is symbolic of his close rapport with the people under the 1Malaysia concept,” she said.
She further added that Masidi’s contributions to the Chinese community, especially to Chinese education, were very much appreciated by FCAS and the people.
Masidi, who is also Karanaan assemblyman, in his speech congratulated Susan and said these activities had the support of his ministry.
He also said it was high time for the federal government to re-look at the position of Chinese stream schools, especially those in Sabah under the 1Malaysia concept.
The Chinese medium schools, with an increasing enrollment of non-Chinese students, needed federal assistance to enable them to be run more efficiently and effectively.
Masidi said Ranau is a good example of 1Malaysia as the issue of race or religion never arose in the district.
The minister together with Kundasang assemblyman Dr Joachim Gunsalam also witnessed a handing over of RM5,000, being personal donation from Susan to the chairman of Pai Wen Primary School Management Board, Alldem Chia.
Meanwhile, the 28th National Chinese Cultural Festival organised by the Malaysian Chinese Association and hosted by FCAS will be held at the Likas Sports Stadium in Kota Kinabalu on November 11. This will be the second time Sabah is hosting this annual event which is rotated among the states, after 16 years.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak together with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman have been invited to grace the opening ceremony.
The programmes include a cultural village and food court, cultural singing and dancing performances. A spectacular fireworks display will also brighten up the evening.
Local Kota Belud-born international singer Gary Chaw who is now residing in Taiwan, will also perform during the evening.
Admission to the cultural festival on November 11 is free of charge and all are welcome to join in this grand event.