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A Chinatown in Kuantan

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Monday July 13, 2009

From Kevin Kam

KUANTAN: The Chinatown at Putra Square here immediately set a record on its opening by constructing a giant dragon from recycled materials.

The opening was officiated by state Culture, Arts, Heritage and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Shafik Fauzan Sharif. Also present were the state Federation of Chinese Assemblies president Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah and otherlocal VIP guests.

A lion dance, the performers of whom consisted of various races, welcomed the guests with a superb display of skills as they bravely executed amazing moves on tall standing polls to the roar of deafening drums. This Chinatown follows the launch of the Malay Town earlier.

In his speech, Shafik Fauzan said Malaysians should be proud of their unique and diverse cultures which could not be found anywhere else in the world.

“The opening of Chinatown today is a very good example where cultural intercourse takes place between Malay Town, China Town and Indian Town.

“The state government sees the potential of the cultural towns to be a tourist destination and as a dissemination of information on the cultures of the three main races of the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jasa Imani managing director Datuk Seri Tew Kim Thin said that an affluent society had to be rich not only economically but also culturally.

“Therefore, the unique cultural theme under the cultural streets of Malay, China and Indian Towns is designed to promote cultural diversity and understanding and ultimately harmony and racial unity,” he said.

Throughout the day, visitors were treated to cultural dances, songs and musical performances.

Children, some dressed in traditional and ancient costumes, sang tunes from Chinese folklore and legends.

There were also performances by martial arts exponents and Chinese “yoyo” enthusiasts.

Booths were set up for the people to view Chinese paintings, pottery, musical instruments and bonsai trees. The highlight of the opening was the launching of the 300ft “dragon” made from more than 60,000 empty aluminium cans.

Its general project manager Albert Liew, 37, said the dragon was selected as the icon of Chinatown because it was a very recognisable symbol of Chinese culture.

“Apart from promoting Chinese culture, we also hope to inculcate and promote the habit of recycling not just among schoolchildren but adults alike.

“Children from several primary schools in Kuantan, Gambang and Pekan together with their parents contributed empty aluminium cans and helped assemble the structure,” he said, adding that the dragon was made entirely from recycled materials including empty plastic bottles.

Liew said the icon had also carved its name in the Malaysia Book of Records as the “Longest dragon made of recycled cans.”

Later, Tew also gave out financial aid and certificates of appreciation to Chinese schools in Kuantan, Pekan and Gambang as recognition of their tireless efforts.

Liew said to-date, 24 shoplots had opened its doors for business on the ground floor and another five on the first floor ofChinatown.

He said most of these were boutiques, apparrel and women’s accessories, hair and beauty-related centres. Opening hours at China Town are from 10am to 10pm daily.

Source: The Star

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