Mid-Autumn Festival began centuries ago as a solemn occasion for the people in China. Today, it is a joyous celebration for the Chinese all over the world. DHARMENDER SINGH, YIP YOKE TENG, K.W. MAK and SHAHRUL ILYAS SHUKOR discover that it is the children who have all the fun during Lantern Festival.
TAMAN Connaught night market traders are a generous lot. In conjunction with the Mid-Autumn Festival, they played host to 62 residents of Yayasan Sunbeams Home recently.
While the night market was bustling like it usually is, many of the traders left their stalls to their workers and stationed themselves in front of Restoran BB where the little guests gathered.
The traders contributed whatever they could. Most of them brought food, hence there was an array of pasar malam fare for the children to indulge in. Some traders even cooked and fried dishes on the spot to replenish the spread.
With their stomachs full, the Sunbeams Home residents, aged between five and 20, checked out their presents - sports shoes - sponsored by one of the traders.
Then came the most exciting segment of the evening. They were taken to selected stalls to choose anything they wanted.
After about half-an-hour of browsing, the children returned to the restaurant with watches, bags, clothes and toys before they moved on to play with candles and lanterns.
“The idea for the special treat was mooted when the traders met recently, and they made it a reality within eight days,” said Khong Chee Seng, advisor to Taman Connaught night market pro tem committee.
“All of them were excited and enthusiastic about the event. I hope traders at other night markets will follow suit,” he added.
“Such efforts can change the public’s mindset towards petty traders,'' said Khong. “We are a sincere and caring lot.”
The home's Pastor Alvin Tan said the event was meaningful to the children who were orphaned from young or were from broken or abusive families.
“They appreciate that someone cares for them, and will do the same to others when they grow up,” he said. “Many of them did not get such love and attention from their parents; the traders' effort can help them regain their confidence.”
Tan said the home’s monthly expenses amounted to RM28,000.
It is fully funded by the public and is currently in need of a piece of land in Ampang because the home, which also runs a youth centre, is renting its premises.
It is located at 54 Jalan Bunga Melor 16A, Taman Mawar, Kuala Lumpur. To help, call 03-4295 3949.