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Consulate Chinese New Year ‘do’ sets the mood
Published on: Sunday, February 04, 2024
By: Kan Yaw Chong
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Lions provided a head start to scripted new year wishes and blessings to the China Consulate KK’s Lunar New Year Reception.
THE Chinese New Year reception hosted by the China Consulate Kota Kinabalu on Jan 22 was a night to remember.

The vibrant stage performances set the mood to say goodbye to old year 2023 as chief host Consul General Dr Huang Shifang delivered her spirited optimism about a New Year 2024 to forge better days ahead.    

Safe to say everyone felt the aura of the occasion with a double-barrelled presence of highest State officials, Head of State Tun Juhar Haji Mahirudin and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, among others. 



Juhar, Hajiji and Dr Huang at the CNY reception.

Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is China’s most important festival and certainly the most important family event, the history of which can be traced back to about 3,500 years ago.

Magic country, unbroken culture

A magic country with special unbroken culture, traditions and an ancient civilisation aged almost 5,000 years old, China’s first written record dated back IV millennia BC.

However, the origins of Chinese New Year is obscure, steeped in legends and mythology. 

One legend is that thousands of years ago, a monster named “Nian” (Year) would attack villagers at the beginning of each new year. 

But the monster had its weak, pusillanimous side – afraid of noises, bright lights and the colour red.

So those things were used to chase the beast away. 

Core Chinese identity 

Whether Nian is fact or fiction, everybody would notice Chinese New Year is celebrated with explosive fire crackers, hung red lanterns, brightly adorned lion. unicorn, dragon dances performed to pounding drums and clashing cymbals, and the famed practice – hong bao (meaning red packet in Mandarin)  – money packed into a bright ornate red packet given as token of blessing for children, good wishes for the unmarried,  good will and prosperity to all in general.

These traditions, maintained as a core Chinese identity, probably is one of several reasons why Chinese civilisation continued uninterrupted for thousands of years, whatever the periods of instability and conflicts.               

Family rendezvous for most important meal   

As Dr Huang noted in her speech: “Chinese New Year is a traditional holiday featuring family reunion.”



Dr Huang

Particularly clung to tenaciously is the New Year Eve dinner – considered the most important meal of the entire year, where every family member makes extraordinary effort to travel far and wide to rendezvous on this night to stay real close as one family eating together!

National holiday in 20 countries

So what started as a traditional family holiday to stay close knit becomes a springboard to national holiday in united celebration, of course in China but as Dr Huang noted, “it is also listed as a national holiday in many countries (about 20), like Malaysia.”

What is a core national cultural identity has become a global culture. 

Statistically, about one-fifth of humanity celebrates Chinese New Year around the world, she noted.

Latest – CNY listed UN floating holiday 

“More over, this festival (CNY) has been officially listed as a UN floating holiday in its calendar of conferences and meetings as from 2024.”

The unanimous decision was made in a resolution at the UN General Assembly on Sept 19-26, 2023.



Chinese citizens in KK celebrate a jolly night of spirited entertainment.

The decision marks CNY as UN’s 8th floating holiday, joining the ranks of Christmas, Good Friday, Wesak Day, Yom Kippur, Diwali etc.   

What this means is given this latest global recognition of the importance and significance of the Lunar New Year, UN entities in New York or other offices should not schedule meetings on this day.                      

China Consul praises Sabah’s famed harmony in diversity  

An otherwise ethnic-centric Chinese New Year festival “has become a global cultural event”, noted Dr Huang who lauded Sabah’s “well-known harmony among the people from diverse ethnic groups” while the various spirited ways in which the Chinese community in the State celebrate their new year “in friendly gatherings provides a joyful cultural experience for the local people.”

“This reflects the values of diversity and inclusiveness promoted by the State government,” Dr Huang observed.



Musician from Xian on famous Chinese string instrument Guzhieng.



Powerful vocals from Chinese citizens in KK

She said despite the international challenges to world peace and development posed by “old year 2023”, the Chinese and Malaysian people continued to forge ahead with “plenty of real achievements”.

In Malaysia’s case, implementation of the core values of the “Malaysia Madani” concept (Sustainability, Prosperity, Innovation, Respect, Trust, Compassion) and the “Sabah Maju Jaya” development plan has made remarkable progress, Dr Huang asserted.

Consul shares China’s pursuit of high-quality development

In China’s case, transition and recovery from Covid-19 was smooth, steady progress has been made in pursuing high-quality development, with a GDP growth of 5.2pc in 2023, she said. 

“Everywhere in China, new creations and new innovations are emerging every day, a number of advanced, smart and green industries are rapidly emerging as new pillars of the economy, such as the C919 large passenger airliner which had entered commercial service, the Chinese-built cruise ship which had completed it’s trial voyage, the ongoing Shenzhou spaceships missions in space, the deep-sea manned submersible Fendouzhe (Striver) which had reached the deepest ocean trench (8,047m Diamantina Trench, Indian Ocean),” Dr Huang elaborated.  

‘Due responsibility’ to the world – bring stability    

Pursuit of China’s own development is one thing, embracing the world and fulfilling its responsibility there as a major country is another, Dr Huang touched on this.    

She cited the “many diplomatic events” in 2023, like the China-Central Asia Summit, the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation, brokering the historic reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Beijing,” which are testimony of shouldering “due responsibility” and “relentless work” to “bring stability and positive energy to an uncertain world with its own certainty.”            

Vision: Prosperity for all in multipolar world   

She said 2023 also marked the 10th anniversary of vision of building a world community with a shared value for mankind expounded by President Xi Jinping, forging an equal and orderly multipolar world which benefit all through inclusive economic globalisation and bringing countries together to meet challenges and achieve prosperity for all.

 



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