Art teacher in Miri celebrates National Day with her students of all ages

MIRI: A group of young children, teenagers and adults celebrated National Day in Miri with enthusiasm and pride, led by their art teacher Mary Anne Vaz.

On Monday (Aug 31) morning, Vaz and her art students ushered in National Day in a cheerful, colourful but modest celebration.

They gathered in a small group at her art studio in a housing estate in the outskirts of Miri city.

They observed social distancing and wore face-masks in compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the recovery movement control order (MCO) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vaz and her students raised the Malaysia and Sarawak flags and proudly adorned them in the studio.

They sang the national and state anthems and also some patriotic songs.

Vaz was born in Penang, but married a local Sarawakian here in Miri and has since settled in the city with her family.

She is a prominent teacher and artist and has won numerous local and international awards for her artworks.

She told The Star that the spirit of patriotism must be nurtured from a young age.

"In our group, we have children as young as five. We also have pre-teens, teenagers, youths, working adults and senior citizens too. All of us place equal loyalty to both state and country.

"We proudly celebrate National Day on Aug 31 and Malaysia Day on Sept 16 every year," she said.

Vaz said she makes it a point to encourage her students to learn about the history of both state and country.

"This will teach them to love state and country equally when they are still young," she said.

Teenage students Sim Zhi Yang and Ava Sophia Jipiu are among the students here who were happy to participate in the celebration.

"Even though there are no big public events (due to health precautions), our studio is in a happy mood.

"We displayed colourful flags and we sang lively songs," said Ava.

In Miri, there were no public gatherings for National Day or any major celebrations as Sarawak is still battling the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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