Foreigners and Locals Praise Brunei's Tolerance for Ethnic Diversity

Some of the visitors present at the Teng Yun Temple in Bandar Seri Begawan, during the chinese new year celeberation yesterday. BT/Yusri Adanan

Rabiatul Kamit

Friday, February 20, 2015

THE start of the Chinese New Year brought worshippers and the public together to enjoy the celebration yesterday at the Teng Yun Temple in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Among the festive crowd was Victor A Seleznev, the outgoing Russian Ambassador to Brunei, who has attended the event every year throughout his five-year posting in support of the country’s tolerance for ethnic diversity.

“The respect shown by Bruneians is a great demonstration of tolerance in friendship among the people,” he said, praising the peaceful state of the nation.

Like many visitors to the Chinese temple during the morning of the Lunar New Year, Seleznev was looking forward to the animated lion dance. Describing the dance as “charming and interesting”, he said he was awed by the acrobatic skills of the performing troupe.

Shutterbugs, both professional and amateur, also thronged the celebration to capture the sights and sounds of the biggest holiday celebration in the Chinese calendar.

Amri HMS, a veteran member of the Brunei Photography Society, said he has been taking photographs of the Lunar New Year celebration at the Teng Yun Temple since 2007 with the aim of contributing to the collection of historical images of the Sultanate.

“The main attraction for photographers is the lion dance, but the celebration is also a great way to illustrate the ethnic diversity of our country,” he said.

With a different Chinese zodiac observed every year based on the 12-year cycle, Amri said the celebration was challenging and fascinating to capture. This year ushered in the Year of the Goat, taking over from the Year of the Horse.

Meanwhile, expatriate teachers Simon and Charlotte Baird said the Chinese New Year celebration has become an annual outing for their family.

“Our daughter, Aliyah, likes the lion dance, so we bring her here during the Chinese New Year celebration. It is nice to see all the different celebrations in Brunei, where the community comes together and respects each other,” said the mother.

KP Dato Chua Thian Jin, temple director, said he was “very happy” to see hundreds of people join the celebration.

Wishing everyone with good health, prosperity and peace, the Temple director hoped that the Year of the Goat will bring a positive change in luck. He also wished for lasting peace among the people of Brunei.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times


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