Sarawak’s biggest annual temple parade cancelled due to Covid-19

Datuk Richard Wee

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, March 14: The annual parade hosted by Hong San Si Temple to celebrate the birth of Kong Teck Choon Ong, scheduled to take place tomorrow (March 15) in the city centre, has been cancelled due to evolving circumstances around Covid-19.

Event organiser, Kuching Hokkien Association president, Datuk Richard Wee, said they have decided to make the difficult but important decision to call off the parade following increased and overwhelming concerns on Covid-19.

“We cannot ignore the fact that Covid-19 is here and the number of positive cases has increased. Preparations have gone for months with the organising committee and workers having put in a lot of time and effort,” he told DayakDaily when contacted.

Full of regret that the parade, which was one of the biggest celebrations of Chinese deities in Sarawak, had to be cancelled, Wee however said that the decision was in respect to the call from the state government and State Disaster Management Community.

“The committee acknowledged that the Covid-19, which has been declared a pandemic, is too large a problem to be ignored and taken lightly.

“Nevertheless, worshippers can still go to the temple in the evening as several activities such as Chinese opera performance and worship ceremony to honour the birth of Kong Teck Choon Ong will be carried out as usual.

“Hand sanitisers and face mask will be provided to worshippers and visitors,” he continued.

This celebration falls on the 22nd day of the second month of the lunar calendar and originated with the building of the Hong San Si Temple back in 1848.

Meanwhile, Wee who is also the Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions president, revealed that they have distributed some 550 bottles of sanitiser to primary schools located in Kuching, Samarahan and Serian divisions.

“It is gesture to raise awareness about the importance of observing good hygiene practices amid Covid-19 concerns,” he said.

Wee added that the federation is ready to render assistance and work with the state government in helping to control and contain the Covid-19.

“We will continue to monitor the development of the Covid-19 situation in our state and we are willing to work with the government when needed,” he said.

He urged the public, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), associations and schools to heed the instructions, guideline and advice from the state government during this crucial period.

“As school holidays have started, I hope parents and children can avoid participating in any big gathering and take this opportunity to bond and rest at home,” he advised.

Meanwhile, State Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, yesterday (March 13), urged all government and public gatherings involving more than 250 participants to be postponed and that all non-essential travel to Brunei, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia were advised to be postponed or deferred. — DayakDaily