KUCHING: The Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Chap Goh Mei open house received a steady flow of visitors despite the gloomy weather on Saturday morning.
Pouring since early in the morning, the event started slowly with just a handful of early birds strolling casually around the booths and filling in the stage area. However, by 10am, the Dewan Masyarakat was already streaming with families and other visitors who eagerly enjoyed the lion and dragon dances.
Visitors huddled at the Nescafe and Milo trucks to warm themselves in the drizzling rain with the hot beverages whereas the Maggi truck filled their stomachs with the new Mee Kolo flavour.
The 60 stalls that occupied the community hall were filled with hungry patrons, receiving complimentary food and drinks from the various contributors, including corporate bodies, non-governmental organisations and hotels.
Developers, such as Lee Onn group, Ibraco Berhad and KTS group, had their hands full with the long line of visitors waiting to receive goodies and red packets. Balloons were distributed to all children during the open house.
Besides food and entertainment, Sarawak Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also held an adoption drive for several hopeful puppies.
The rain did not deter the mood as visitors sought shelter in the booths or stood in line with their colourful umbrellas. Every visitor did not leave without a goody bag consisting of dry or fresh food.
Performances from various groups and associations also kept the festive event lively till well past noon.
Unbeknownst to many, Masterchef Asia 2015 third place winner Sarawakian Jasbir Kaur was invited to show her cooking skills to 150 VIPs. She hails from Singapore but has been living with her family in Kuching for over 30 years, giving her enough experience in Sarawakian cuisines in addition to her Punjabi delights.
Hamibah Bohan, a visitor, said she came with her family after reading about it in the newspaper.
“I enjoyed the event, it was very lively and really encouraging to see people from all religions and races coming to the open house. But without the rain, it could be better,” she said.
The event drew in crowds consisting of diverse races to enjoy the open house together, fulfilling MBKS’ aim for the event.
Mayor Datuk James Chan Khay Syn said although Chap Goh Mei was very much a Chinese festive event, it was, in essence, a Malaysian event for all people.
“This is our way of celebration in Kuching, a way to foster friendship, understanding and unity among people to be one true Malaysian. What better way than this type of function to reflect our Kuching City known as a City of Unity,” he said during the launch of the open house.
Chan said the special community event was only possible with the stability and cohesion of the people.
“We must stay united for our nation as united, we stand, divided, we fall. We must always maintain peace and stability for not only today but for our generations to come,” said the mayor.
Also present at the open house were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Sarawak Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh and Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar James Masing.
“Our heartfelt appreciation to the corporate bodies, non-governmental organisations, community leaders and, most importantly, the people for coming to share this festive togetherness in the spirit of one true Malaysia,” said Chan.