KUCHING: As Kuching will be celebrating its 31st anniversary as a city and its 4th year as a City of Unity this Aug 1, Sarawak Unity Foundation (Yayasan Perpaduan Sarawak or YPS) and Sarawak Development Institute (SDI) intend to showcase Sarawak’s pride by collecting short stories of unity from members of the public all over Sarawak.
State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani said the Sarawak’s Pride Project (SPP) is the first of its kind being organised and is supported by the Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development, Champions Kuching, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd (FMM).
“The people of Sarawak are no strangers to diversity in their daily life – in their neighbourhood, schools, workplaces, social gatherings and even places of worship.
“The spirit of unity in diversity has existed since any Sarawakian can recall and thus harmony among the people is still going strong today,” said Morshidi at a press conference at his office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia here yesterday.
The collection of these short stories and messages of unity will be showcased in a walk-in maze experience and is expected to be launched on Aug 1 in conjunction with Kuching City Day at the Kuching Waterfront, he said.
He added, as this project is a maiden feat, the organisers are also entering this project as a record-attempt in the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) for the title of Most Number of Unity Short Stories. The minimum requirement by MBR is a total of 1,000 stories to achieve the record.
For the criteria of submission of short stories and messages, the committees have decided that a story should be no less than 50 and no more than 200 words; must be in English or Bahasa Melayu although other preferred languages are also encouraged; short stories should stay as truest possible (non-fiction and not made up).
Messages may include creative writings (e.g. poems) and must include credits or acknowledgements to the original author (if applicable).
“Preferable in English or Bahasa Melayu, but can be written in any other language. Feel free to do so, because we are talking about unity. However, if it is written in any other language, there must be a translation below it,” he said.
Apart from that, other criteria include short stories and messages must express elements/experiences of unity, harmony, understanding, tolerance, solidarity, goodwill, and acceptance in Sarawak; submissions must include author’s name, MyKad or passport number (for verification by MBR), and contact details (phone number or e-mail addresses); submissions can be composed by persons of any nationality, ethnicity, and belief – as long as they adhere to elements/experiences of unity, harmony, understanding, tolerance, solidarity, goodwill, and acceptance in Sarawak; must not include vulgarities, hate speech or any forms of harassment.
“For the numbers of submissions that you would like to send, you can send as many as you like and they are open to all Sarawakians,” Morshidi said.
Closing deadline for submissions is June 15, 2019.
On channels or methods for submissions, they can be e-mailed to [email protected]
Link to online forms will be made available on the YPS website (www.yps.org.my) and the SDI website (www.sdi.com.my) and messages can be sent direct to Sarawak’s Pride Facebook Event Page or Instagram Event Profile.
Upon submission, the organisers reserve the right to select, choose, edit, approve, and publish the short stories or messages in any form or style deemed suitable as the organisers also need to comply with the criteria given by MBR for the record-attempt, he said.
Morshidi, who is also SDI chairman, further elaborated that authors of the selected submissions will be informed and notified via the given contact details and a certificate of appreciation will also be awarded to them.
“There will also be special prizes awarded for best submissions from the different divisions in Sarawak,” he added.
He also said there are plans to showcase the unity stories maze in four locations throughout Sarawak – Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.
The organisers encourage submissions from cultural and ethnic organisations, faith-based and religious institutions, civil society and NGOs, primary and secondary schools and tertiary institutions, government agencies and departments, state assemblypersons and members of Parliament.
“We are also seeking support from agencies/organisations such as the Kuching North City Commission (DBKU), Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Sarawak Tourism Board (STB). We also plan to place this project in the 2019 Calendar of Events for the state,” he said.
Among those present at the press conference were state legal advisor and Board of Trustees of YPS member Dato Sri JC Fong, YPS chief executive Datu Aloysius Dris, Deputy State Secretary (Rural Transformation) who is also SDI director Datu Jaul Samion, SDI chief executive officer Sim Ah Hua, chairman of the Board of Curtin (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and YPS member Datu Ose Murang and other dignitaries.