Taman Melawati’s festive vibrance

Some 50 pelita buluh have been placed along Sungai Klang, which runs through Taman Melawati.

VISITORS to Taman Melawati in Ampang, Selangor, are sure to be captivated by the luminous pelita buluh (oil lamps in bamboo) put up by its riverine community for this year’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.

Some 50 traditional lamps have been placed along both sides of the bridge over Sungai Klang at the Taman Melawati River Three Park (TMR3 Park) along Jalan Melawati 5, as well as at the entrances of the Riverview Kemansah and Masjid trails.

The initiative was by Friends of Sungai Klang Taman Melawati River Three (FoSK TMR3), whose members took turns to light the pelita daily during Ramadan.

They will continue to do so every Saturday throughout Syawal.

FoSK TMR3 founder Kennedy Michael, who lives in Taman Melawati, said the community decided to do something special this Ramadan and Hari Raya to inject new life into the celebration after two years of Covid-19 restrictions.

Festive lights decorating the gazebo at the Taman Melawati River Three Park.Festive lights decorating the gazebo at the Taman Melawati River Three Park.

Michael said this was the second year they were doing this, with more lamps placed by the river trail.

“To bring back the kampung feel, this year we used kerosene to light up the pelita buluh.

“Granted that it ate into our carbon budget, but we do not feel too bad about it as we have just planted 1,000 riverine and native forest trees in which we collaborated with the Tropical Rainforest Conservation and Research Centre.

“We also cared for a few thousand existing trees, composted approximately 1,000kg of food waste and cleared up 3,000kg of rubbish from the drains, roadsides and river.

“Initially, we wanted to use solar-powered pelita but we did not have enough money for those.”

Residents making eco-friendly hanging ornaments that resemble ketupat.Residents making eco-friendly hanging ornaments that resemble ketupat.

Michael said several residents had contributed more pelita and kerosene while others made eco-friendly decorations in the form of ketupat as hanging ornaments, supplemented by solar-powered fairy lights.

FoSK TMR3 co-founder Syuen Toh said the pelita initiative was part of the River Three – River CPR Programme’s Local Agenda 21 (LA 21) platform to build harmony and resilient communities through the celebration of cultural festivals, with the aim of fostering community engagement, cultural understanding as well as appreciation and conservation of traditional practices and heritage.

“We wish to thank all those who joined us in this month-long celebration,” she said, adding that they would be organising a Hari Raya celebration this month to show their appreciation to the community.

Visitors to the TMR3 Park will find a scenic sight in the decorated Minangkabau gazebo located at the entrance of the Biodiversity Trail.

Those who post their photos and tag “Friends Of Sungai Klang Taman Melawati River Three” or “FoSK TMR3” on Facebook and Instagram before May 31 stand a chance to win a gift for “the most captivating Hari Raya message at the Minangkabau Gazebo”.

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