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Sunday, December 16, 2007

47. Kuching City’s first giant Christmas tree officially lighted up

WHAT A SIGHT: Revellers gather around the awesome Christmas tree (a gift from Celcom) looking up at the night sky over Padungan which erupts in a riot of multi-coloured fireworks
Kuchingnites marvelled at the sight of ’snow’ in the form of white foam and bubbles falling gracefully over a beautifully lighted gigantic Christmas tree – the city’s first - set up at Kuching Travillion.
Christmas is a week away, but the spirit of it came early here, made possible by Celcom (Malaysia) Berhad.

A political secretary to the Chief Minister, Alan Sim, who switched on the lights on the 50-foot-tall tree, talked about a culture of tolerance in his speech.

“It’s a special thing that a community must have,” he said, adding that if this was the norm, then everything and everyone would flourish as tolerance begets trust and trust is the foundation of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Multi-racial Malaysia has practised this culture and excelled tremendously in maintaining racial harmony that has paved the way for us to live in peace,” he said.

He said not once must this be broken and this called for the people to not be overwhelmed by racial sentiments. He said letting racial sentiments get the better of them would only bring about failure to maintain racial harmony which would not bring them any good.

“Just recently it was reported that racial strife broke out in Pontianak all because of a minor road accident. Several lives were lost and a few people injured,” he said.

Sim stressed that this incident should serve as a reminder that the people must not destroy the racial harmony which they had been enjoying for many years. He said Malaysia was very fortunate not to be plagued by conflicts like certain other countries and the people enjoyed political and socio-economic stability, adding that this was what captivated many from abroad.

He hoped the people’s unity would continue as it was essential for the maintenance of harmony in the country.

In connection with this, he lauded Celcom for being socially responsible as shown yesterday when they showered Christmas cheer on the people of Kuching, and at the same time helped some less fortunate children from various charity homes.

He hoped that more corporate bodies would do more charitable activities and fulfill their social obligations.

Earlier on, Celcom regional general manager, Choo Meng Chung, said as the company always strove to make a difference in whatever it did, it came up with the idea that the people should have a giant Christmas tree, snow flakes and Santa Claus all in one location - the Travillion.

“We imagined what Christmas would be like without a Christmas tree, without Santa Claus, without snow. Then we imagined what it would be like for people of Kuching to have something they have not had before. I hope many prayers and wishes are answered by Celcom this evening as you await a truly eventful Christmas with a giant tree,” he said.

He pointed out that Celcom had been in Sarawak for many years and this holiday season the company would reach out to its many supporters and users, and what better way to say thanks than to give them and the people of Kuching and Sarawak in general a giant Christmas tree.

He said Celcom was very much a part of Sarawak and tried to give back to society what it had earned through the community’s support.
This time, he said, Celcom would create an exciting cityscape filled with Christmas ambience and music and motorists who drove past would have a good view of the skyline.

Celcom also wished to spread this excitement to the special people especially children from the various charity homes in the city, he said.
“Nothing can be more joyful than to see them having fun and enjoying themselves around the Christmas tree and making a wish. Nothing can compare to the feeling of compassion and love for our special children,” he said.

Choo said they had set up Sarawak Children Cancer Society’s ‘wishing well’ for well-wishers to place their donations in.
The Salvation Army’s Children’s Home, Cheshire Home, and School for Mentally Retarded Children (Perkata) are the other charity organisations who were part of last night’s Christmas event.
The one-month-long event which will run till Jan 15 will be filled with many exciting activities. Among them is a contest called ‘Guess the Number of Xpax Ornaments’ on the tree.
borneopost 16/12/07

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