KOTA KINABALU: What started as an act of appreciation for his Chinese friends and customers 19 years ago in a commercial area of Lintas near here has become an annual event for Muslim restaurateur Salim Khan Kabur.
Salim, who owns several restaurants named after himself, has organised lion dances with free meals for customers on the second day of Chinese New Year every year and is not planning to stop anytime soon.
In fact, the 49-year-old has bigger plans for the event next year, which will mark his 20th anniversary organising it.
“When I first organised the lion dances and free meals at my restaurant here 19 years ago, it was just a simple even meant to show my appreciation to my Chinese friends and customers,” he said when contacted.
For next year, Salim said he wants to do a grander event, where more people can join in the happiness.
“Who knows, I might get myself into the Malaysia World Book of Records for the being the only Muslim person who have continuously organised such an event,” he said.
He said he found the event a joyous one, which brings him closer to the community and his friends, while at the same time allowing people of various races and religions to come and celebrate together.
“When I see my friends and customers happy, I feel happy,” Salim said.
He said the Chinese New Year programme this year, on Wednesday (Feb 6), had attracted some 500 people.
“As usual, I also gave out red packets or ang pow to the children who came to the event,” he said.
Salim said the meals were prepared by his employees with assistance from his wife and children.
“Besides, we live in Malaysia, a country known for its diverse cultures and celebrations, more so in Sabah where we have been celebrating each other’s festivals together without any problems for so long,” Salim said.
The father of six children said his wife, who is Dusun, and their family are also made up of relatives of various races and religions.
He hopes to create more awareness and unity among Malaysians through this annual programme of his
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