Abdul Karim (fourth left), Hii (sixth left) and others guests pose with dancers who performed during the opening ceremony. — Photos by Roystein Emmor
KUCHING: The Sarawak government fully supports the organising of inter-cultural events as they serve as a great avenue to showcase the uniqueness of different cultures, traditions and practices among people from different countries and backgrounds.
State Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said events such as the 2nd BIMP-EAGA Budayaw Festival is one example where local cultural advocates, artisans and craftsmen gather with their peers from other countries for sharing sessions as well as discussions on relevant topics, ideas and issues that are related to them.
Abdul Karim (second left) is serenaded by a choir from Indonesia during the opening of Budayaw Festival. On his left is Hii.
“BIMP-EAGA was established with the objective of accelerating economic development in four countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
“We believe by organising joint programmes and collaborations with our counterparts in BIMP-EAGA, such initiatives can help to increase better understanding and mutual respect while at the same time, promote regional tourism industries within and out of the sub-region together with support from both the government and private sector,” he said when officiating the festival at Plaza Merdeka, here yesterday.
In view of this, Abdul Karim called on those from the private sector to join the ministry in future BIMP-EAGA programmes as well as community engagement activities such as the Budayaw Festival, which can also serve as good corporate social responsibility undertakings.
Meanwhile, festival chairman Hii Chang Kee said the its theme ‘Beauty in Cultural Diversity’ marks a celebration of the diverse culture of the BIMP-EAGA region.
“With more than 100 ethnicities in this whole region, the Budayaw Festival is a great platform for one to showcase our culture, tradition and creativity in our arts,” said Hii, who is also state Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry permanent secretary.
He said 360 delegates from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines as well as Northern Territory of Australia are here for the second edition of the festival, which kicked off yesterday and ends on Nov 23.
The biennial festival was first held in General Santos, Philippines in 2017.