KOTA KINABALU – It’s the time of the year for us to be jolly. Christmas celebrations bring together people from all walks of life. In Sabah, the celebrations is more than just a festivity. Despite being diverse in terms of faith and culture, Sabahans are able to bridge the differences through common values and love for peace and harmony.
The Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Seri Musa Aman in his Christmas message said Christmas is an occasion for friends and relatives to visit one another to exchange greetings and strengthen bonds.
Musa said Sabah can be proud of the fact that over the decades, it has risen beyond differences that come with diversity instead of focusing on the similarities.
“Together, we must continue to strive to bring Sabah to new and greater heights. We can only achieve this if we remain united.
“If we allow hatred and suspicions to seep into what we have built, I fear we will be in the losing end. We need Malaysians in Sabah to be resilient and strong so that we can build this state together and generate a better standard of living for all,” he said.
Musa stressed that the government under the leadership of the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak has continuously pushed for not just tolerance but acceptance of diversity in race and religions.
“The interest of every Malaysian must be taken care of and we must respect each other despite holding different beliefs, cultures and traditions,” he said.
Today, Christians celebrate Christmas but if you take a closer look especially in Sabah; you will see that the celebrations is also celebrated by everyone. Christmas decorations and lights are hanging in every corner of the city and cheers of Christmas songs can be heard.
For Oliver Brandon the celebrations is somewhat a tradition to bring together friends and family.
“We hardly have time to meet, so every year my friends and I will have a Christmas dinner together. It’s a tradition for us; all we do is just catching up and have fun. The highlight of the dinner is our Christmas gifts exchange,” he said.
He shared with SayangSabah that his friends come from various background and religions.
“We learn from one another and build trust to solidify our friendship. I believe most of us see each other more than just friends but family,” he said.
For Scholastica Gidion or now known as Nur Atiqa Aulia despite differences in religion her relationships in the family remain good.
“Christmas is a celebration for all, not only for the Christians. It is a chance for people of other religion to understand the celebration. There is nothing wrong if you want to celebrate to close the ties between people.
“I don’t have a problem communicating with my family despite our different religions. I feel so grateful and blessed to be a Malaysian and enjoy diversity as a way of life,” she said. – By Fizah Yusof/SayangSabah