| Faza Suraj |
THE Hainan Association Kuala Belait yesterday celebrated its 75th anniversary with the officiation of the ‘Wisma Hainan’ building in Kuala Belait.
The event was attended by Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports as the guest of honour.
The event began with the cutting of a ribbon to officiate the opening of the building and a tour of level seven where the Hainan Association offices are situated.
On level eight, the event continued with Han Min Yuen, the association’s chairperson presenting his welcoming remark. He said, “The Hainan Association in Brunei Darussalam was established in 1939 and has now reached its 75th year and we can say that it is one of the oldest associations in the Sultanate.”
He talked about the history of the association and said its first building, which was built in 1941, was destroyed during World War II. With the restructuring of the new Kuala Belait town in 1950 the government allowed the association to build a new two-storey building at the same location which has persevered for 50 years.
“Due to the age and condition of the building, it was demolished and redeveloped into the nine-storey building it is today.”
The minister also gave a speech congratulating the association for their new building and its 75th anniversary. He said, “In brief, I understand that the Hainan Association have organised a lot of activities and social welfare programmes, not only for the members and families of the association, but also for the welfare of the local community, especially the children, elderly and the less fortunate.
“Those efforts are very much appreciated as they greatly support His Majesty’s Government’s efforts through the Community Development Department as well as other government agencies in helping communities, specifically those who are less fortunate and are in need of assistance.
“The government and the people of Brunei also recognises the Tiong Hua community’s contributions including the Hainan Association in Brunei Darussalam for their input to the nation’s economic growth through trade and businesses and in carrying out their social responsibilities towards promoting harmony and peace in the country.
“To achieve Vision 2035, the Sultanate needs the participation and involvement of people from all levels of society. The Tiong Hua community including the Hainan Association are also stakeholders and strategic partners towards realising this goal.”
With regards to the Bruneian identity, the minister explained that generally, the Tiong Hua communities, whether they are citizens or permanent residents, have their own identity that can be seen. “The identity of the Tiong Hua community also can be seen in everyday life through their appreciation and adaptation of language, culture and traditions.
“It is hoped that the spirit of patriotism and the Bruneian identity of the Tiong Hua community will continue to be strengthened and inherited by the following generations.
The minister concluded his speech by once again congratulating the association on this auspicious occasion, which also saw him signing a plaque.
Present at the event was Haji Haris bin Haji Othman, the Belait District Officer; Zheng Xianglin, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam, and members of the Tiong Hua community.
According to Han Min Yuen, who has been the association’s chairman for over 22 years, “Currently there are 27 members in the Hainan Association of Kuala Belait and we will use level seven and eight for the association. Level nine is a coffee shop exclusively for the residents who will be staying at the hotel which occupies the ground floor up to level six.”