BATU PAHAT: Every year, the Chinese New Year open house organised by the Batu Pahat MCA attracts a large number of visitors locally and from neighbouring towns.
Some visitors come early not just to savour the local delicacies but also to meet up with old friends or even highlight their problems to politicians including MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and Penggaram assemblyman Datuk Koh Chee Chai.
Businessman Lim Tee Siong, 36, travelled more than 30 km from Ayer Hitam with his family, to attend the open house.
“I feel that Dr Chua has done a lot for the community regardless of race or religion.
“I have called him about 50 times over the years to inform him about the poor, their problems or even handicapped people who need help in Ayer Hitam and he has always helped out.
“In fact, he personally answers the phone or calls back to find out details of these cases,” he said, adding that politicians should walk the talk and be ready to serve the people all the time.
Public Works Department retiree Ibrahim Harun, 75, and his wife have been attending Dr Chua’s open house for more than a decade.
“We have know him when he was a doctor in Batu Pahat and he used to give away free medication to the less fortunate.
“When he became a politician, he solved our flood problems in Batu Pahat in the 1990s,” he said, adding that Dr Chua also helped get allocations for infrastructure and mosqueprojects.
Another visitor M.S Nathan, 42, said such events brought the people from various races, together.
“This has become an annual family event and we get to meet our friends here,” he said.
Penggaram assemblyman Datuk Koh Chee Chai said the turnout this year was the best ever with more than 4,000 people.
The crowd was entertained with performances from the MCA choir and Batu Pahat Kuan Yin Association.
Ang pows were also distributed to the children.
At his open house in Pontian, MCA national organising secretary Datuk Tee Siew Keong, shared a couple of tips for the Year of The Dragon, which included listening to soothing music, wearing bright coloured clothes and to avoid attending opposition talks.
“All this will bring in good and positive energy for the people.
“The dragon is the strongest and considered the best, among the 12 animals in the Chinese astrology and hopefully it will be a good year for everyone,” he said.
At the Tiong Hua Association open house in Johor Baru, many were dressed in beautiful cheongsam and samfu.
Nancy Tan Guat Hong, 52, always made it a point to wear a cheongsam especially for Chinese New Year as it was part of her heritage.
“The cheongsam is a beautiful piece of traditional Chinese clothing that is not always used by the younger people nowadays.
“I however think that it is important to wear them to ensure our tradition is not lost,” she said adding that she journeys up to Penang to purchase the beautifully hand stitched dress.
For See Kooi Kuen, 59, spending time looking for the perfect cheongsam was an important part of celebrating Chinese New Year.
“Of course, it is wonderful to meet friends and family especially when attending open houses but I believe that it is also important to dress according to the occasion,” she said.
See, who donned a gold coloured lace cheongsam said that picking the right colour was also important when celebrating the new year and the most prosperous colours to pick were gold or red.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, who officiated the event said the Year of the Dragon would bring many new changes to the state.
“We have many major projects including the opening of several universities, the opening of Legoland and other new exciting projects within Iskandar Malaysia which we hope will boost the local economy,” he said before announcing an allocation of RM500,000 to the Tiong Hua Association.