Preserve racial harmony: Mayor

KUCHING: Racial harmony must be preserved for the prosperity of the country, said Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Datuk James Chan Khay Syn.

“Racial harmony is important, especially in a multi-racial, culture and religious society like ours here in Sarawak,” he added when officiating at the Kuching Festival Oriental Chinese Traditional Music 2019 held in MBKS auditorium here yesterday.

Citing an example of racial harmony, Chan said, “For example, in Kuching during the Chinese New Year, don’t be surprised to see the number of Iban and Malay boys in the lion dance groups. Some of them are as good as their Chinese friends not only on the drums or gongs but has the skill to climb the pole to get the ‘angpows’ (red envelope).”

On the orchestra for the Oriental Chinese Traditional Music event, the mayor explained that it was performing for free.

Chan (centre) hits a gong to officiate at the Kuching Festival Oriental Chinese Traditional Music 2019. Looking on are Yong (left) and Bong.

“It is organised for the general public. We want not only the Chinese communities but also the other communities such as the Malays, Ibans and Bidayuhs to attend it.

“The other beneficial outcome of such a performance lies in the fact that it acts as a healthy avenue for the youths to develop and express their skills and talents instead of wasting their time with trivial pursuits that could lead to social ills and misbehaviours.”

An Otok performance at the event.

About 450 guests attended the orchestra performance by the Oriental Traditional Orchestra Kuching (Otok) led by its president Bong Fung Luan.

Meanwhile, the event’s organising chairwoman Cr Yong Li Na voiced out her challenge to Otok to work together with the orchestras of other races.

“For next year, I hope Otok can work together with the orchestras of other races in producing something like a contemporary performance that reflects the racial harmony of Sarawak,” she added.

“This is in line with Otok’s goal in building partnerships with other local musicians as well as enable it to reach a wider audience.”

An Otok performance at the event.