Residents gather for anniversary celebration during Chinese New Year

Auspicious: Guests with couplets bearing Chinese New Year wishes at the Pekan Gurney New Village’s 60th anniversary celebration.

FAMILY reunion dinner is the highlight of Chinese New Year celebrations.

For Pekan Gurney New Village folks, their celebration was made more significant when over 3,000 people gathered to celebrate the village’s 60th anniversary on the first day of the Lunar New Year.

The majority of the guests were either the villagers or those who work or do business out of town and returned to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The Seah family, for instance, saw three generations attending the village’s anniversary dinner.

Christina Seah, 35, who was there with her grandmother, parents and siblings, said it was heart-warming to see the huge turnout.

“The mood was upbeat,” she said, adding that the event was well organised.

Seah reckoned that it was also an occasion for the villagers to rediscover their ties dating back several generations.

Pekan Gurney New Village was named after former British High Commissioner Sir Henry Gurney.

Gurney was killed on Feb 7, 1952 after he visited the village which was then known as Simpang Tiga Village.

Gurney had gone to the village to take a closer look at a row of shophouses there that were said to be burnt down by communists.

He also promised the villagers to turn the village into a town.

But it was never meant to be.

Nonetheless, the village has evolved over the decades - thanks to the villagers who persevered and the government for upgrading the infrastructure.

The villagers are mostly farmers and rubber and oil palm small holders who continue to enjoy the rustic lifestyle in the village.

Seah said many from the younger generation who had moved to bigger cities for work would return for the holidays and festive seasons.

“The village is a peaceful and relaxing place,” she said.

Lumut MCA chairman Tan Sri Kong Cho Ha reminded the villagers to consciously safeguard and treasure the peace and stability in the village in particular and country in general.

While it was clear that the majority of Malaysians were moderates, peace-loving and wanted a safe and progressive nation, he pointed out that the extremists who made up a small minority were the ones who posed the biggest danger.

“The moderates remain the silent majority while the extremists know how to capitalise on all avenues to exert and extend their influence,” Kong cautioned.

He said the moderates should take note of how the extremists made inroads and find ways to counter them.

Also present at the event were Perak executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, event organising committee chairman Datuk Ding Chong Chow, the working committee chairman Datuk Seri Wong Hea Ngun and village chief Kong Chok King.

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