‘Qiang Gu’ ceremony not allowed during Hungry Ghost Festival this year

Wee (second left), Lon (second right), Wee (first right), and Tan (first left) at the press conference on the revelation of general guidelines for organising the Hungry Ghost Festival earlier today (Aug 17, 2020).

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Aug 17: Only the ‘Qiang Gu’ ceremony is prohibited during this year’s ‘Por Tor’ (Hungry Ghost) Festival while other related activities are allowed after making the event known to the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor).

“The only thing that is not allowed is the ‘Qiang Gu’ ceremony, because that, in actual fact, involves physical contact,” said Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng during a press conference here this morning to reveal general guidelines for organising Hungry Ghost Festival events in the state.

‘Qiang Gu’ is a traditional event during the festival where the organising committee would toss numbered tickets into the air for participants to grab. The tickets can be redeemed for gifts such as hampers with various food items.

As an alternative, Wee suggested lucky draws or any other form of activities to give out the said items to the participants that allows for safe physical distancing between people.

Besides strictly following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) approved by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), he said that all organisers of Hungry Ghost Festival events in Sarawak are to inform Unifor before any activities are carried out effective tomorrow (August 18).

With the Hungry Ghost Festival starting on August 19 this year, any event held in conjunction with it in temples, premises or outdoor locations will need to be make known to Unifor using the Borang PP.03/2020 form.

“The organisers just need to inform Unifor before their event using the form; no approval will be given.

“The event is also not restricted to only in July, it depends on the organisers. It might be in August or later, we just need to be informed,” said Wee.

Borang PP.03/2020 to notify the state government in advance of any Hungry Ghost Festival event in Sarawak.

The form will be available at any MBKS counter or the various districts’ Resident’s Office starting tomorrow.

Also present at the press conference at MBKS office this morning were Unifor director Richard Lon, Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations president Datuk Richard Wee and Persatuan Penjaja Kuching Selatan chairman Tan Choon Yong. — DayakDaily