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KUCHING, Sept 22: Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah both believe that the harmonious relationship prevailing between the different races in the state must be nurtured and strengthened through events like the 17th Intercultural Mooncake Festival.
Dr Sim represented Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the festival on Thursday (Sept 20) evening, while Abdul Karim represented the Head of State Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud last night (Sept 21).
Acknowledging that unity was something fragile and could easily be disrupted or severed, Dr Sim said he was glad unity in the state was “real and natural”.
“However, we must not take it for granted. We, as responsible citizens, should all play our part and work towards greater unity and understanding among the races,” said Dr Sim.
Meanwhile, Abdul Karim noted that the festival started 17 years ago when Taib suggested to the late Dato Sim Swee Yong that The Old Market Community Association host an intercultural mooncake festival to foster relations between the Bumiputera Malays across the river and the predominantly Chinese residents and businesses in the Old Market area.
“Today, 17 years later, he (Taib) is pleased to see that the festival is not only a success but has grown exponentially in terms of size and content, especially compared to last year.
“With an international flair to the event this year, we have seen 70,000 visitors to the event in the last four days. We hope with the great encouragement given by Mother Nature, we will probably break our previous attendance record of 98,000 in seven days,” said Abdul Karim.
Other dignitaries who have attended the event included Consul of Brunei in Kuching Tuan Mohammad Kamaluddin and Alexandri Legawa, the Assistant Consul of Indonesia.
Co-organiser of the event Sim Kiang Chiok said all the dignitaries were treated to a delightful evening, and they were happy that their traders that came over to participate in this year’s festivities were doing brisk business.
“There was an obvious admiration for the treatment to the event with its sights, sounds and tastes captivating them for the entire evening. Both consuls conveyed their intention to participate again next year and expressed their plans to emulate this event in their respective homelands,” he said.
Sim added that the organising committee would be planning for a bigger international participation next year as the positive response from both the consuls was definitely a booster to the organising committee.
The Kuching Inter-Cultural Mooncake Festival, the longest street festival, started on Sept 17 and will end on Sept 24. It is open from 6.30 pm to 11 pm at the renowned Carpenter Street and Ewe Hai Street in downtown Kuching. — DayakDaily