Mixed-race actor Keith Foo enjoys multicultural celebrations with family


Foo knows Tamil, Mandarin, English and Malay. — Filepic

Growing up in a family of Chinese and Indian heritage, actor Keith Foo counts himself lucky as he gets to celebrate not only Chinese New Year and Deepavali but also Christmas and Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Keith, 41, said he and his siblings would gather in Gemas, Negri Sembilan, every year to celebrate the Lunar New Year with their parents, Foo Kia Suan, 79, and Anita Foo, 70.

“Chinese New Year is a tradition. We are Christians and celebrate Christmas.

“Apart from that, our family celebrates Deepavali because my mother is Indian.

“Hari Raya Aidilfitiri is also celebrated because my sister and brother converted to Islam.

“I think it is all about living in harmony among us as we grow up with the freedom of each other’s beliefs.

“The most important thing for me is respecting each other,” he told Bernama.

He said the long-lasting marriage of his parents, which had exceeded 30 years, was the best example that needed to be emulated, especially in applying values such as tolerance, trust and mutual respect.

Keith said one of the advantages of being born into a mixed-race family was that he could master Tamil, Mandarin, English and Malay.

Asked about dishes for the CNY reunion dinner, the celebrity said they had steamed chicken, mixed vegetables, sambal udang (prawn in chilli paste) and petai (stink beans) among others.

Meanwhile, single mother Lew Yen Fun or Nur Atiqah Lew does not see religious differences as obstacles to reuniting with her four children to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The Malay-language tuition teacher said it had become a routine for her to prepare salad, steamed fish and mixed vegetables for her family’s reunion dinner in Bahau, Negri Sembilan.

“We get to celebrate Chinese New Year every year.

“The children are very respectful of my choices. My relationship with my ex-husband is also good.

“The children’s big feast with me was held earlier, which was at noon. At night, it was their turn to have a feast with my ex-husband.

“I am grateful that my relationship with my children and my ex-husband is still close, and I always pray for this happiness to last forever,” she said, adding that she embraced Islam in 2018.

Despite their different faiths, Lew described Chinese New Year as a celebration that could strengthen family ties, adding that it would continue to be a meaningful memory for her family.

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