National unity in vibrant colour
DRESSED in colourful traditional wear, a group of secondary school students impressed their guests, teachers and peers with a dikir barat performance.
Armed with gong and kompang and led by four main singers – called tukang karut – the group was greeted with loud applause from the floor.
This was the scene at the Unity Day celebration at Wesley Methodist School Kuala Lumpur (International).
The event also featured other cultural performances including an angklung ensemble and traditional dances from Sabah and Sarawak.
There was also a choral speaking performance while a troupe from the National Culture and Arts Department wowed the audience with their dance.
School principal Wong Chee Kheon said these activities were meant to impart a spirit of patriotism among the students.
“These are our regular extracurricular activities. Students have shown much interest and are eager to take part.
“We hope they will gain valuable experience through these activities,” he said.
‘Dikir barat’ and ‘angklung’ performances creating a buzz among the audience.‘Dikir barat’ and ‘angklung’ performances creating a buzz among the audience.
The event also featured talks about national unity by public figures.
Star Media Group advisor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai reminded the youths to focus on commonalities among the various Malaysian communities.
“Let our differences be our assets and not a liability,” he said, adding that this was important to ensure unity among the races.
Veteran journalist Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar said Malaysian youths were key to resetting the political culture to become more inclusive.
He pointed to politicians whom he said were mired in past baggage, using divisive rhetoric to gain mileage.
“Where politicians fail, we, ordinary Malaysians, especially the youths, must show the way forward,” he said.
Johan highlighted that Malaysia had not had major conflicts since the May 13, 1969 incident.
“We are not perfect, but we have managed considerably better than other countries,” he said.
Other guests of honour were Senator Prof Datuk Seri Dr Awang Sariyan and Tan Sri Dr Syed Hamid Albar.
Prof Awang said adults, especially politicians, must serve as an example to the youth.
“Avoid using inflammatory language as this will cause disharmony,” he added.