Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Historic Wesak Celebration in Selangor

History was created on Sunday 5th June when more than 1,200 people gathered at the Auditorium Dewan Jubli Perak, Bangunan Sultan Abdul Aziz, Shah Alam to attend the first ever Selangor State Level Wesak Celebration.

The historic moment began when the mostly Buddhists audience rise to sing the Song of the Triple Gem. It signify a breakthru for the state and the nation as the Wesak event was the first time any state or federal government had ever organized and hosted an official Wesak celebration in conjunction with Wesak Day since independence.

When the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) Tan Sri Dato' Seri Abdul Khalid bin Ibrahim, who is a Muslim arrived to launch the event together with his wife,  he was given a rousing welcome by the audience. Accompanying him was Selangor State Assembly Speaker Dato' Teng Chang Khim, Exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah and  organizing chairman Loka Ng Sai Kai, who is also the Buddhist representative to the Selangor State non-Muslims Committee.

Others who were present during that memorable night includes senior monks from all Buddhist traditions namely Venerable Jue Cheng of Fo Guang San Malaysia, Ven. Datuk Dhammaratana Maha Thera of Buddhist Maha Vihara and Ven. Yango Rinpoche of Vajrayana Buddhist Council Malaysia, leaders from more than 45 Buddhist organization based in Selangor and president of the Malaysia Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism Rev Dr. Phillips Thomas. A group of international students from nearby universities also attended the celebration.

The crowd roared with claps of approval when organizing chairman Loka Ng Sai Kai  congratulated the Selangor State Government for listening to the voices of the Buddhist community by organizing an official state celebration in honour of Wesak Day. He also urged other state governments to follow the Selangor footstep in organizing official Wesak celebration in their respective states.

Tan Sri Abdul Khalid bin Ibrahim in his speech praises the Buddhist community for their contribution through welfare, social and educational programs carried out by various Buddhist groups in the state. Khalid also shared his concern on the need of more land to build Buddhist temples to cater to the increasing number of Buddhist devotees especially in urban areas. He also proposed from next year onwards the Wesak floats procession organized by Buddhist groups in Petaling Jaya and Seri Kembangan which attracts thousands of local and foreign visitors will be inserted in the annual calendar of Tourism Selangor.

The celebration was injected with performances by some of the popular Buddhist performing groups in the country which includes Messengers of Dharma, i.gemz, Bodhi Group, One Voice One Melody and Mahindarama Sunday Pali School. Dances were presented by the internationally acclaimed Dua Space and the Temple of Fine Arts. The Fo Guang San 24 Seasons Drum Troupe also gave a splendid performance.

At the end of the celebration, Khalid and all the religious leaders joined the performers on stage to sing the Happy Wesak song. The event on Sunday night will be etched in the memory of not only the audiences present that night but also the Buddhist community as the breakthru event in the annals Buddhism in Malaysia. - Loka SK Ng