HAKKA associations in Malaysia have grown from a few community-based bodies to a strong 79 affiliations nationwide under the Federation of Hakka Associations Malaysia.
This goes to show that the guild is still relevant and plays an important role in uniting the clansmen while assisting them in community-related issues.
However, it is time for the associations to transform to meet the changing world, said its president Datuk Steve Chong Yoon during the 38th Federation of Hakka Associations Malaysia convention recently.
He urged the affiliations to gather funds to open stores selling exclusively local products to help promote Malaysian goods as the Hakkas are spread over every continent.
“There’s this saying, where there is the Sun, there are Hakkas,” he said.
Chong proposed that profits from the stores be used to set up a foundation to help young and promising clansmen venture into business.
The two-day event was attended by 650 members from throughout Malaysia.
Among the clansmen who attended the convention were MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and members from overseas.
Others included the federation’s honorary presidents and chairman Tan Sri Ng Teck Fong, Puan Sri Susan Cheah, Datuk Yong Ah Pwi and Tan Sri Koo Yuen Kim; Chinese Embassy to Malaysia consular affairs counsellor Gong Chunsen, the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia president Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah as well as the Federation of Malaysian Clans and Guilds Youth Association president Datuk Seri Dr King Lim Chin Fui.
A crew from the Guangdong Radio and TV Station recorded the proceedings of the convention and related activities.
The station was here to make a documentary about the Hakka community in Malaysia; featuring the life of the people when they came to Malaysia centuries ago and how they worked hard and became successful.
“This is an effort to recognise the contributions of the Hakkas in nationbuilding, from our forefathers such as the founding father of Kuala Lumpur, Yap Ah Loy, to us and our future generations,” said Chong.
He also announced that Malaysia beat four other countries to win the hosting rights for the 30th World Hakka Convention in 2019.
Liow, who graced a reunion gathering later, said that his parents and elders had taught him from young to be industrious, hard working and not give up easily.
“This is the Hakka spirit, to have the energy and courage to advance in difficulty and fight till the end,” he added.
A Hakka troupe from China was also invited to perform several authentic Hakka songs, dance and the unique Hakka qilin dance to entertain the guests.