Traditional way of welcoming Lunar New Year

Students from 5678 Dance Studio holding up gold ingot decorations at the Penang Chinese Town Hall Chinese New Year open house. — Photos: MUSTAFA AHMAD/The Star

IT was a ‘sea of red’ at the open house of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng with the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (PCCC) on the first day of Chinese New Year.

The event at Setia SPICE Convention Hall in Bayan Lepas, Penang, saw the public joining a string of dignitaries, Pakatan Harapan MPs, deputy ministers, assemblymen and state officials enjoying the colourful display of music, dance and singing.

Guest-of-honour Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, his consort Toh Puan Majimor Shariff and Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow were greeted by Lim, his wife Betty Chew, PCCC president Datuk Seri Hong Yeah Wah and committee members with a lion dance performance.

Abdul Rahman later joined Lim, VIPs and PCCC committee members on stage for the tossing of yee sang before mingling with the crowd over brunch.

The guests were entertained with a dance by Euphoria, Chinese war drums, an erhu musical performance as well as cultural dances by SMJK Heng Ee students.

Among those present were Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim, Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Sim Tze Tzin and Deputy Foreign Minister Senator Datuk Wira Marzuki Yahaya.

Speaking at a press conference later, Lim said he felt heartened by the large crowd present at the open house.

“It shows unity and harmony of the people under the present government, which is focusing on the rakyat’s economic progress, ” he said.

On Sunday, Abdul Rahman and Chow were among the VIPs at the Penang Chinese Town Hall (PCTH) Chinese New Year open house at Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling.

Some 1,000 people of all walks of life also attended the event.

A traditional lion dance and chingay performance greeted Abdul Rahman and Chow outside the building when they arrived.

The guests were treated to rice, chicken, mutton, fish and vegetable dishes while being entertained by dance and song items.

In his speech, PCTH chairman Datuk Seri Khor Teng How called upon the people in the country, especially the Chinese community, to jointly create a trustworthy society.

“This is to promote the unity of the nation and the mutual respect for one another, ” he said.

Khor also said during times of uncertainties in the global economy, people should live in harmony and maintain peace, which is vital for national economic development.

“A good policy and good governance will ensure sound development of the country, which is a common expectation of the people in the new year, ” he added.

Chow said the gathering offered an opportunity for people of all races to celebrate the festival.

“The organisation should be commended for holding the open house every year without fail to bring unity and harmony among the people during the celebration, ” he said.

Also present were State Assembly Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang, Tze Tzin, China’s consul general to Penang Lu Shiwei, state executive councillors and state assemblymen.

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