As the Chinese community ushers in the Year of the Rabbit, celebrants are delighted with the return to festivities after successive years of COVID-19 dampening what otherwise would have been joyous occasions.
His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman visited the Registrar of Chinese Marriage Lim Han Chiong on Sunday.
Accompanying Their Royal Highnesses were Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda ‘Abdul Muntaqim, Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda Muhammad Aiman; and Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Anak Faathimah Az-Zahraa’ Raihaanul Bolkiah.
Lim expressed gratitude to the government, especially the Ministry of Health for their work to manage the COVID-19 outbreak.
He said that it was due to a successful vaccination programme that celebrations were able to “return to normal”, and they were able to enjoy festivities, including performances of the traditional lion dance. The lion dance is performed to drive away evil spirits and bring in good luck. The performances are favoured by the Chinese, including those in the business community.
At the home of Lee Kok Tiong, the festive atmosphere is in full swing with family and friends enjoying holiday treats and catching up with one another.
Lee said the family was most excited leading up to the day of the celebration, preparing weeks ahead. They made sure snacks and decorations were prepared, and everyone would be able to mingle and enjoy the food.
Lee’s nephew Desmond Au said his family has been looking forward to the return of “normal celebrations”. The past two years were “very low key” and celebrated only with close family members, he said.
“Personally, I think the old feelings, the vibes and the atmosphere are back,” he said.
“Without restrictions and people being mask free, we can communicate better. I also get to meet old friends and catch up after a few years of not being able to meet them,” he said.
Desmond credited the government for the work they have done in managing the COVID-19 outbreak, noting that the return to normal was possible thanks to a successful vaccination programme.