By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Sept 10: Sarawak Unity Foundation (Yayasan Perpaduan Sarawak or YPS)’s Sarawak’s Pride project has been officially recognised as the ‘Most Number of Unity Short Stories’ by Malaysia Book of Records.
A total of 1,118 stories from Sarawakians, non-Sarawakians and foreigners throughout and beyond Sarawak made it into the project.
Head of State Pehin Sri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, who is also chairman of the YPS Board of Trustees received the award from Malaysia Book of Records chief operating officer (COO) Christopher Wong here today.
In his address at the simple ceremony, Taib emphasised that this award is good for Malaysia to see how Sarawak’s diverse people have found a way to live harmoniously and peacefully together, which will drive Sarawak and her people to greater heights.
“Despite our differences, we are still not much different from each other. So let us keep our unity together. Let us learn to respect one another and continue to inculcate the desire to do good for others.
“Because all of us know (this way), life could be better for us all as well as our relationships with each other in spite of our differences in interests, opinions, religions and even beliefs.
Malaysia and Sarawak in particular, he continued, is this kind of society as long as the people do not abandon the common vision for a great and harmonious society.
“No matter whatever changes had and will take place, we have survived well.
“So let us renew our desire to build a better society, to do good for everybody, avoid the bad or try to change it for the better,” he urged.
Meanwhile, YPS chief executive Datu Aloysius J. Dris pointed out that this award by Malaysia Book of Records for ‘Most Number of Unity Short Stories’ was a true recognition of Sarawak as the land of multicultural and multiethnic communities living in peace and harmony.
“We have always been hailed as the model state of unity in Malaysia, and this record has truly proven it.
“YPS is very happy to bring this glory to the state with the support of the people of Sarawak. It is their stories and their acts of bravery and selflessness to share their life experiences that made this success possible,” he said.
YPS attributed this success to the legacies of Taib’s ‘Confluence of Cultures’ narrative, to the bold approaches taken by late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem to protect and recognise Sarawakians’ rights regardless of religion and backgrounds, and to the present leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Aloysius added: “In Sarawak, we eat together, play together and work together. These are evident in the stories submitted. This essence of unity and social harmony shines as a beacon of hope in the current situation where hardships and challenges abound.”
The grand prize winner for Sarawak’s Pride Project went to Alo Maru from Bintulu with a story titled ‘Diversity with Love for Humanity’.
Sibu’s Suziana Saiddin who wrote a story titled ‘Negeriku: Sarawak’ took the second prize while Stanley Gona from Kuching who wrote ‘Unity in Challenging Times’ won third prize.
Two consolation prizes were each won by Isabelle Sim from Sibu on ‘Unity Runs In Our Blood’ and Jennie Soh from Miri on ‘Seek and You Will Find’.
The Sarawak’s Pride Project began in February 2019 with the objective of collecting short stories on unity from members of the public, with a total of 450 of these stories displayed in a maze launched at Kuching Waterfront in August 2019.
The display was later brought to different parts of Sarawak to be exhibited, namely Sarikei, Sibu and Miri.
YPS and Sarawak Development Institute (SDI) then continued to appeal for more stories throughout 2019 till the end of May 2020.
The project managed to collect additional stories to carry on the project until qualifying for setting the record in July 2020.
State Secretary Datuk Jaul Samion, former state secretary Tan Sri Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani and former deputy chief minister Datuk Patinggi Dr George Chan were among those present at the ceremony today. — DayakDaily