WHAT the rain tried to dampen, the little surprises along the walk more than made up for it.
As 4,000 people of all creeds took a symbolic stroll for unity in this year’s #AnakAnakMalaysia campaign in Penang, they ran into a mini obstacle course along the picturesque Eco Horizon Show Village in Bandar Cassia, Batu Kawan.
The trail took walkers through a heavenly expanse of perfectly manicured lawns, a rippling pond with a water fountain in the middle, and meticulously built show houses.
But the fun part was a mini obstacle course.
Organisers Eco World Development Group Bhd and Star Media Group Berhad readied for them an artificial blizzard, a multicoloured dust storm, a tyre obstacle course and a passageway riddled with crisscrossing yarnthat they tried to negotiate without touching the strings.
Many walkers found themselves grinning at the unexpected surprises along the walk on Malaysia Day, held for the second time in Penang.
Then came the lucky draw, and participants walked away with microwave ovens, washing machine and holiday packages.
Two participants were all smiles after winning a Samsung Note 9 each, worth RM3,699 apiece.
Retired executive Hor Ah Siew, 69, was shocked by his win because he almost did not join the walk on account of the rain.
“My brother persuaded me to come along. This is such a pleasant surprise.
“I once won a motorcycle at Starwalk many years ago. I’ve joined Starwalk since it started and this is my first time taking part in #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk.
“I will definitely join again. It is important to bring everyone together like this and mingle.
“This Malaysia Day, my hope is that we always live together inharmony,” he said.
Hor said he would give the phone to his wife or son.
Air freight director Alan Ng, 42, was shocked by his win, saying that “luck was usually not on his side”.
“I do not win in competitions and lucky draws, so this is apleasant surprise. I will definitely use this phone,” he said.
Ng hopes #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk will be held every year.
“I believe many know the significance of National Day but not Malaysia Day. I hope this helps the younger generation to learn what makes us special,” he said.
Earlier, a Zumba session kicked off the event, followed by performances from EcoWorld Choir and dancers singing the #AnakAnakMalaysia song while EcoWorld Symphony Drummers showcased their extraordinarytalent.
Participants also had a wide array of snacks from numerous food trucks and stalls.
Eco World Foundation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the walk had a simple messageand purpose: to see Malaysians come together.
“There is unity in diversity and this is what a multicultural country should be like,” said Lee, who is also the organising chairman of the campaign.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow flagged off the walk and thanked EcoWorld and Star Media Group Berhad for organising #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk.
#AnakAnakMalaysia is a four-year-old national unity campaign by EcoWorld and Star Media Group. It began in 2015 as a simple gesture of wearing red wristbands marked with the Jalur Gemilang.
Since 2016, the campaign included symbolic unity walks in the Klang Valley, Johor Baru and Penang, while the trademark wristband evolved creatively and became a fashion accessory this year with the chance to affix pins onto the bands.
The pins, among others, depict nasi lemak bungkus, Mount Kinabalu, Sarawak’s hornbill and the wau kite of the East Coast.
Also present at the event were Eco World Development Group chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, Eco World Development Group chief operating officer Datuk S. Rajoo, Penang Island City Council mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang and Penang police chief Comm Datuk Seri A. Thaiveegan.