PERAK folk arrived in the thousands for the state-level Chinese New Year celebration.
Held at Bandar Seri Botani Eco Park 1 in Ipoh, it was graced by Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Zara Salim, Raja Muda Perak Raja Jaafar Raja Muda Musa, Raja Di-Hilir Perak Raja Iskandar Dzulkarnain, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu and state tourism, arts and culture chairman Tan Kar Hing.
Tan said the theme — “Sama-Sama Gong Xi” — denotes equality, fairness and the importance of reinforcing the spirit of unity among the races.
“The agenda is to form a solid and united society regardless of race and religion based on fair and just principles because only then can we build a sovereign independent nation, ” he said in his opening speech.
Tan added that it was important to have an open mind, appreciate diversity and curb any hostility between races and those of different faiths that may threaten unity.
“Therefore, this multiracial celebration features traditional performances as well as arts and cultural workshops that feature elements of the various races.
“For example, the ‘Orang-Orang Drum Theatre’ features drums from different origins.
“Then there are workshops on gold embroidery, batik artwork, kolam and cherry blossom drawings, a feature shared by various races, ” he added.
Tan said with Visit Malaysia 2020, there are five main focus areas this year including tourism products, infrastructure development, human capital training, rebranding of high impact events, promotional equipment, and conservation and research.
Among the works to be carried out soon, he said, was upgrading of the Unsesco World Heritage site at Lenggong Valley.
“Besides, that there are plans to create the Ipoh Padang Light and Sound Show, digital library, beautification of the Sungai Kinta riverbank, a brand new jetty at Kuala Sepetang and more developments in Pangkor, ” he added.
The carnival-like celebrations saw several performances held on main, floating and mini stages at the park.
Among the attractions was the “Pangkor Fish Flag” dance, accompanied by a multiracial drum performance at the floating stage, upon the arrival of Sultan Nazrin.
At the main stage area, guests were mesmerised by lion dance acrobatics on stilts, and angklung and Chinese opera performances.
The Sultan and other members of the royal family later tossed yee sang.