GEORGE TOWN: Many of the annual Chinese New Year events and celebrations in Penang, which are sought after by tourists, will be cancelled while some will be carried out virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Every year, tourists as well as Penangites, would flock to the state to witness and participate in such events held to usher in the Lunar New Year.
The annual Miao Hui, Penang’s popular Chinese New Year celebration, will go fully virtual this year due to the pandemic.
Event main planner Choo Boon Chiang said the online event, which was the first of its kind, will be a colourful display of tradition, featuring a virtual tour of some 20 clan houses.
“We have been organising Miao Hui for the past 22 years.
“We insist on organising the event every year to preserve the unique heritage and culture of every clan, ” he said on Tuesday.
Themed “Cultural Gems”, the digital event will be held from Feb 12 to Feb 20, which is the first to the ninth day of Chinese New Year.
“During the nine days, there will be a line-up of live programmes on our social media platforms to complement our theme.
“We have 20 videos, each three-minute long, that will be released over nine days.
“The videos will be made in multiple Chinese dialects with English and Mandarin subtitles for our multiracial audience, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Penang Chinese Town Hall (PCTH) vice-chairman Datuk Teh Eng Hin said it was the first time in more than 30 years that PCTH had to cancel its festive events.
“We have decided to cancel our annual Chinese New Year open house and Chap Goh Meh (the 15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar) celebration.
“Every year, we will organise a Chinese New Year open house for the public as well as association members.
“Our Chap Goh Meh celebration featured lion and dragon dances, casting of oranges and stage performances.
“We would also give out red packets to hundreds of senior citizens as a token of appreciation for their contributions towards society and country.
“However, we will have to cancel all these events which usually draws a large crowd to prevent the spread of the virus, ” he said.
Penang Kwangtung and Tengchow Association chairman Datuk Lee Wing Kong said the association has also decided to cancel all Chinese New Year activities this year.
Koo Soo Kwong Choon Tong Restaurant and Teahouse Association chairman Vinah Yee said many companies decided to call off their corporate year-end dinners this year due to MCO 2.0.
“Most of our customers have opted for takeaways for their year-end banquets and have it small-scale at their offices.
“Some of them have decided to order set meals for employees to bring home and share with their loved ones.
“Only 10% of our regular customers have decided to wait until Feb 4 to see if they can dine in, if the MCO is not extended.
“However, we have also received some orders from those working out of town or overseas who cannot make it home to have us deliver reunion dinners for their family here during Chinese New Year, ” she said.
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