THE Buddhist lunar new year celebration at Phor Tay Private High School in Jalan Bagan Jermal, Penang, reflected the contributions of the Chinese community in education.
Organised by various Buddhist organisations in the northern region, the celebration started with a colourful lion dance.
Than Hsiang Temple abbot Venerable Wei Wu, accompanied by monks and nuns, then performed a blessing service before enlightening the crowd during his sharing session.
“We have been holding Chinese New Year events at the government-assisted SMJK Phor Tay in Jalan Sungai Dua, Bayan Lepas.
“This year, we decided to hold the event here as it is the first Phor Tay school in the state.
“Let us learn from the pioneers of the Bodhi Nunnery and schools and support Buddhist education to produce more educated Buddhists.
“If we do not invest in Buddhist education, Buddhism may become irrelevant,” he said.
Ven Wei Wu added that the school was applying for a piece of land from the state government so it could relocate to the southwest district.
Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying said she was impressed by the Chinese pioneers in Malaysia who built private schools and Chinese primary schools.
“They left behind a history of great achievements.
“The unity government will continue to support Chinese education which has contributed to the country.
“If multiracial Malaysians can respect each other, our background will be a unique advantage that will open doors to more opportunities,” she said.
Penang social development and non-Islamic religious committee chairman Chong Eng said the state had always emphasised education by giving funds to the Penang Future Foundation, top scorers and poor students.
“The Penang government has also given land for the building and development of schools.
“Phor Tay Private High School is planning to move to the southwest district as there are only a handful of private schools there.
“Earlier, the school had a discussion with the Chief Minister and me. We will follow up on this matter from time to time,” she said.
Also present were Bukit Bendera MP Syerleena Abdul Rashid, Pulau Tikus assemblyman Chris Lee, Ayer Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng, Penang Gerakan chairman Oh Tong Keong and Malaysian Buddhist Association honorary life president Datuk Seri Steven Ooi.