KOTA KINABALU: Promote your culture as a tourism product, the United Sabah Chinese Communities Association Kota Kinabalu (USCCAKK) was told.
With better understanding of the culture, guests will be attracted to thereby making it an attraction by itself, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, said adding that this in turn will help the State’s economy.
This would also be a contribution to the government’s effort in the implementation of the 1Malaysia concept, he said.
Pairin who is also Infrastructure Development Minister speaking at the launch of the Chinese Cultural Village exhibition at the Likas Sports Complex indoor stadium yesterday also said the exhibition is a new programme added to the annual Chinese New Year Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Festival which is also held at the same venue.
The exhibition has provided an opportunity for the USCCAKK members to showcase their respective culture to the public particularly non-Chinese and tourists, he said.
“Chinese culture has long existed, as an indigenous, I was very impressed with the splendour of the Chinese culture which we all have to learn a little,” Pairin said.
He described Chinese culture is like a thousand years old tree that has strong roots and bearing fruit worldwide.
With the development and rise of China, he noted studying Chinese culture and writing had become a trend for the Westerners hence the Chinese youth here should also follow suit to increase their own knowledge.
Meanwhile, the information and technology (IT) age has given the association a challenging task to hand down the Chinese traditional culture to the younger generation.
USCCAKK president John Lim Yu Sin, speaking during the event said nowadays the modern youth uninterested to learn culture because they are more incline to surfing the internet.
“We need to study this matter and explain to the youth how the Chinese culture was preserved so long and the purpose behind it,” said John.
He said each members in USCCAKK has the responsibility to hand down their respective culture to the future generation.
Today learning Chinese is also accepted by the bumiputeras as many parents have sent their children to Chinese schools, he noted.
The State government was also helpful as shown by Pairin when he was the Chief Minister, he allocated annual grants for the Chinese schools and associations, recalled John.
“This shows that Pairin was a farsighted leader as the example set by him was later emulated by his successors who continues to provide the allocation for the benefit of the Chinese community in the State,” added John.
John also thanked Pairin as during his tenure as Chief Minister he had approved a piece of land in Tanjung Aru for the association.
USCCAKK deputy president cum organising chairwoman Datuk Susan Wong Siew Guen, in her welcoming address said the exhibition features the traditions and customs of the different Chinese clans, such as costumes, cuisine, tea tasting, dances and musical play, cultural entertainment, Chinese calligraphy and many more.
“We are certainly excited to organise the Chinese Cultural Village exhibition for the first time. Many years ago, our ancestor have travelled across the ocean from China to Sabah.
“Despite the struggles and challenges faced by our ancestors, they continue their determination to preserve and promote the Chinese culture,” said Susan.
This event allows more people especially the younger generation to learn and understand about the traditions, customs and celebrations of the various Chinese clans, she said.
For example, she said the Sze Yip clan produced many famous actors and singers including Andy Lau, Jacky Chung, Chow Yun Fat as well as Sabah born singer Gary Chow.
USCCAKK comprised of 15 members namely San Chiang Association, Tai Poo Community Association of Sabah, Sabah West Coast Sze Yi Association, Kota Kinabalu Hakka Association, Kota Kinabalu Hokkien Association, Sabah West Coast Kwong Siew Association, Kota Kinabalu Hainan Association, Kota Kinabalu Lung Yen Association, Kota Kinabalu Teo Chew Association, Sabah Northern Chinese Association, Kota Kinabalu Foo Chow Association, Ann Koai Association Sabah, Eng Choon Association Sabah, Hin Ann Association Kota Kinabalu and Nan Ann Association Sabah.-Sayang Sabah.