Tuesday January 1, 2013
Ball of a time at Xmas do
By RAHIMY RAHIM
KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign exchange student Isabella Tan had been hesitant about joining the massive crowd numbering in the thousands for the national-level Christmas celebration at Dataran Merdeka.
However, within minutes of turning up for the occasion with her friends yesterday, Tan, from Yunnan, China, said she had no regrets.
“At first, we were not sure whether we wanted to come because we heard that there would be a huge crowd. But I do not regret attending.
“We are really enjoying the Christmas celebration here, especially in the company of friendly people. The best part is that we get to try various local delicacies for free,” she said.
Among the thousands who joined in the festivity were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim and Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam.
Besides being entertained by cultural performances, revellers were treated to a delectable spread of local staples like satay, kuih and other perennial favourites.
Another student, who only wanted to be known as Yasmin, said she enjoyed the performances during the celebration.
“I'm definitely looking forward to going to another open house with my friends,” said the 22-year-old.
M. Muthumanickam, 55, described the event as the “perfect time” to bring his family on an outing before the start of school.
“It shows that all Malaysians can celebrate together peacefully. I also enjoyed the delicious food,” he said.
In his speech, Muhyiddin pledged that the Government would continue to uphold the principle of inclusiveness in all its policies as well as safeguard the interests of all Malaysians.
“Our policies and plans, tailored carefully and implemented by the Barisan Nasional Government, take full consideration of the interests of all the people from various backgrounds, which have been the key aspect to our peaceful country.”
He also urged all Malaysians to seek for similiarities among themselves by understanding and respecting one another.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, also advised them to strengthen their understanding as this was the main key to racial harmony in the country.
“I believe that the freedom to practise one's religion in harmony, as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution, must be upheld and protected. We are thankful that we live in peace and harmony, without any fear of war or chaos that can threaten our lives or economic stability.”