Community spirit shines through in Belait’s Lunar New Year celebration
IT'S as early as 6am along Kuala Belait’s coastline when visitors decked out in floral patterns and bright red begin to arrive at the Pai Ee Thang Chinese Temple to solemnly pay their respects to their ancestors to mark the first day of the Lunar New Year yesterday.
The initial atmosphere of the quiet, slow burning of joss paper and incense doesn’t last too long as the sound of thundering drums and clashing cymbals arrive shortly before 8am with lion dance troupes from five different schools and associations making their first stop of the day before embarking on a packed schedule to the homes of prominent members of Belait’s Chinese community.
While the deft and life-like movements of the lions seen at open houses drew deserving praise, it was the community spirit that shone throughout the district as hosts took the time to strengthen family ties, renew old friendships and form new relationships with guests.
As tradition, Vice President of Belait’s Chinese Chamber of Commerce Loo Soon Nin opened the doors to his house in Seria town in the late morning, receiving visitors who travelled from both far and near.
“It’s a time to celebrate and look forward to another year ahead of us, while also remembering our culture of respect and appreciation for the elderly and ethnic diversity,” said Loo.
Further down south in Lumut, guests visiting the home of the President of Belait section of the Wushu Association of Brunei Wong Ming Ching, were treated to lion dance performance by Chung Ching Middle School followed by a Silat performance by Seri Warisan Pelangi. Wong said that welcoming the year of the monkey must come with the Chinese community’s “dedication and tireless work ethic” to help the financial situation of individuals and the wider society of the sultanate.
“Let us not as the Chinese community, that is steadfastly loyal to the nation, split amongst ourselves but instead strive to have a purposeful focus towards achieving individual and national excellence,” said Wong.
Meanwhile Canang Citra Event Management Services led a group of over 50 special needs children from Pusat Ehsan Kuala Belait and Pusat Bahagia Eric Goh together with 20 orphans and 30 from underprivileged backgrounds to visit the home of Belait businessman Lim Thian Ming.
Hamimah Hj Sapar, the branch manager for Pusat Ehsan Kuala Belait said the house visits on Chinese New Year were a highlight on the childrens’ calendar.
“They (the children) look forward to it so much. It’s a beautiful occasion to be welcomed into the homes of others and enjoy each others’ company,” she said.
The Brunei Times