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Brunei
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
26.5 C
Brunei
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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    Hopping into a merrier CNY

    James Kon

    After more than two years of uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the local Chinese community will be ushering in the Year of the Rabbit for the Chinese New Year celebration on January 22 with the easing of restrictions.

    This year’s Chinese New Year celebration will be the first after the country entered the Endemic Phase and began life in the new norm.

    Although the Sultanate has continued to record new cases of COVID-19, hospitalisation remains low thanks to the high vaccination rate. In fact, Brunei Darussalam has one of the highest rates of two doses of vaccination for its population.

    In light of the positive development, the Chinese community is looking forward to celebrating the Lunar New Year.

    A prominent figure in the Chinese community Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin said in an interview, “This year, we are very blessed to be able to celebrate Chinese New Year without any restrictions as the country already entered the Endemic Phase in the middle of last year and is living in the new norm.

    ABOVE & BELOW: Members of the public shop for Chinese New Year decorations; and miniature lions on display at a shop. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR & JAMES KON

    FROM LEFT: Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin and President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Bandar Seri Begawan Malcolm Lim
    Children witness a lion dance performance

    “We managed to overcome a pandemic with minimal restrictions and without full lockdown in the country. This is thanks to the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and the whole-of-nation approach.”

    Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin noted that the daily press conference – which now has gone weekly – has been providing accurate and updated information on COVID-19 for citizens and residents.

    He added, “The local Chinese community is very grateful for His Majesty’s care and concern. The Chinese community fully supports the national philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB).”

    Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin also highlighted that “one of the valuable lessons learnt from the pandemic is that we need to cherish one another and the Chinese New Year is a great opportunity for family members to gather and spend some quality time together”.

    Meanwhile, in enlivening the celebrative atmosphere, major supermarkets in the country have put up Chinese New Year decorations for sale.

    Prominent Chinese businessmen are also expected to host Chinese New Year open houses this year, with lion dances adding to the festivities for the first three days of the celebrations.

    Chinese Chamber of Commerce Bandar Seri Begawan President Malcolm Lim shared, “We are very happy to be able to celebrate this year’s Chinese New Year in full swing with a lively festive atmosphere.”

    In the past three years, he said, “COVID-19 had caused uncertainties affecting our travel plans and our normal way of celebrating events.

    “This year is different. Everyone can travel. Everyone can go shopping and have dinner without restrictions. Many foreigners, including my staff, are able to travel back home for Chinese New Year.”

    Lim highlighted that lion dance performances from several organisations will enliven the celebrations while having the confidence that this year will be better than previous ones.

    Lim thanked the government of His Majesty for a job well done in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

    “The government has always been very vigilant. In this region, the COVID-19 pandemic has been put under control. Although new cases are still being recorded, the hospitalisation numbers are still low thanks to the high vaccination rate in the population.”

    Sharing Chinese New Year greetings, he said “I hope everyone will have a prosperous year, and a continued good health.”

    As a precautionary step, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar on numerous occasions has reminded the public to isolate themselves when experiencing fever, carry out antigen rapid test (ART), and to stay home when infected with COVID-19.

    “If an individual is aware that he is positive for the virus, he should stay indoors. When having fever but testing negative for COVID-19, please wear a face mask when venturing outside of the home,” the minister said.

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