A RELATIONSHIP of 50 years is a significant one and usually warrants some kind of celebration.
This year is indeed a significant one for both Malaysia and Germany as they celebrate 50 years of relations in a ceremony of music, art and literature, specifically the launch of a coffee table book entitled “Celebrating 50 Years of Malaysian-German Relations. Portraits of a Friendship - Then and Now''.
Dr Andreas Radtke, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany's first secretary, is chief editor of the publication.
Work on the book began some time in May, and cost about RM160,000 to produce. It covers three topics, namely political and economic relations and “Societies Interlinked'' from the perspectives of Malaysian and German individuals and companies in Malaysia.
Only 5,000 copies of the 256-page, full colour book were published.
“In the last 10 years, Germany has been the number three investor in Malaysia, after the United States,” said ambassador Herbert D. Jess during the launch at his residence recently.
“Establishing diplomatic relations was the start of it all 50 years ago. The close working relationship between my embassy and the Malaysian Foreign Ministry facilitated the establishment of many of the links that exist today between our two countries. I look forward to the next 50 years.”
In his speech, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Foreign Affairs ministry parliamentary secretary, said the book was a noble initiative as it symbolised the bond of friendship that both countries had developed over half a century.
Remarking on trade relations between the two countries, Ahmad said: “Total trade between the countries have expanded by 10.8% to RM33.83bil in 2006 from RM30.52bil in 2005, making Germany the largest trading partner for Malaysia within the European Union.”
On educational ties, he said to date, there were 679 registered Malaysian students in the 14 different states in Germany.
Guests were treated to a series of German Lieder or songs by famous German composers of the Romantic period such as Schumann and Brahms, performed by the members of the Cantus Musicus.
Also on display that evening was an art exhibition themed “A Bouquet of Emotions'' by Gisela Rademacher.
The exhibition will be open to the public from 10am to 12.30pm on Dec 3 at the German ambassador's residence at 16, Jalan Kia Peng, KL.
Meanwhile, “Celebrating 50 Years of Malaysian-German Relations. Portraits of a Friendship - Then and Now'' will be on display at the German School of Kuala Lumpur, Goethe Institute Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysian-German Society in Penang.