KUALA LUMPUR: The city's busy and lively entertainment enclave, in the heart of the Golden Triangle, was in festive mood as thousands of Malaysians and tourists gathered for the Lantern Festival 2003.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was the guest of honour at the event, where the creators of a mooncake replica of Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Twin Towers were also vying to have their masterpiece to be recorded as the world's “Tallest Twin Towers Moon Cake”.
Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, highly impressed with the huge turnout and the splendid show, declared that it would be included in the national calendar of events from next year.
For the organisers, the Bukit Bintang Barisan Nasional division, it marked the start of their Mendakap Langit (Embracing the Sky) campaign to win the constituency for the party in the next general election.
The wet weather had eased up by early evening for the crowd to enjoy the glittering show of colours and harmony, themed Unity Towards Nation Building.
The procession started at about 7pm from KL Plaza in Jalan Bukit Bintang and made its way through Jalan Alor, arriving about an hour later at the VIP station in front of the Federal Hotel.
The excited crowd was thrilled by the prowess of a chingay team, which balanced giant flags on their heads and shoulders, as they waited for the first batch of walkers to arrive.
A dragon dance troupe slithered to the pounding of drums to keep up with the upbeat mood of the evening as the organisers give out lanterns and balloons.
At about 9.30pm, accompanied by Abdul Kadir and other VIPs including Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting led the procession to Sungei Wang Plaza in Jalan Sultan Ismail.
Abdullah, who joined the procession at about 10pm, led the dignitaries in cutting the giant twin cakes at the main stage in front of the lantern-decked Sungei Wang Plaza.
Cheers burst out from the crowd and balloons floated into the clear night sky after he sliced the 6.16m-high cake.
The 3,083kg pastry, which cost RM60,000 and was prepared by a 50-member team headed by master chef Kong Tong Wah, was endorsed by the Malaysia Book of Records as the tallest twin moon cakes in the country.
Malaysia Book of Records president Datuk Danny Ooi handed the achievement certificate for the feat to Abdullah after the Deputy Prime Minister addressed the crowd and officially launched the event.
Abdullah marked the launching by staking two flags – the Jalur Gemilang and the Barisan flag – in the middle of the stage to trigger off several rockets, sparklers and balloons amid cheers from the large audience.
More than 200 local artistes enthralled the thousands of people who turned up, entertaining them with songs and dances, ranging from the traditional to the modern.
World Harmonica Champion 1989 Chong Ching Chee and his quartet then rendered four classical Chinese songs. This was followed by New Southern Records’ artistes and dancers who sang and gyrated on stage to the screams of the crowd.
The VIPs and performers led the crowd to a sing-along of the popular Rasa Sayang to wind up the night.
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