Last Friday, 7th February, the Charis International Day held the Lunar New Year celebration to welcome the Year of the Rat. It is the first zodiac sign in the Chinese astrology; therefore, we should begin discarding the old ways and learning the new ones and, if all goes well, develop the ability of overcoming obstacles with visible zest.
We kicked off our celebration programme with a calligraphy class led by Mr Chong, a distinguished calligrapher in Tawau. He demonstrated a writing technique of several Chinese glyphs and our students simply had to follow the instruction. Most pupils were eager to try their hand at writing with a brush. Half an hour later, I witnessed a few masterpieces reading ‘Happy New Year’ and ‘Good luck’. Writing beautifully in Chinese is considered a visual art and held in high esteem in China.
We officially opened our celebration with the principal’s speech. Ms Debra Sim devoted her talk to tricky cultural differences and emphasized the importance of embracing them all with respect and sensitivity.
A week before, Ms Koh had conducted a drawing and colouring competition. The theme was ‘Chinese New Year’ – dragons, lanterns, rats and lions. All Charis pupils took part in the competition. During the celebration, the award winners in each category were announced.
Next on our programme was the best Chinese costume contest. The catwalk dazzled with festive colours and eye-catching designs. Some pupils even had elaborate head decorations. It was wonderful to see that the majority made the effort to dress up and look their glamorous. Not only the students but also several teachers participated in the fashion show, with Ms Rodina and Mr Kevin taking first prizes for their costumes and modelling. Ms Debra Sim, Ms Caroline, Mr Lim and Mr Mark were on the panel of judges.
We continued with the paper lantern competition in which all pupils took part. They had to bring their own materials and were encouraged to be as imaginative as possible in order for their lantern to stand out. Fortunately, I had a chance to walk about watching them create some fascinating shapes. Year 1-3 and Year 11 were awarded grand prizes. Their artistry certainly impressed the judges, with Pastor Teh and Debra Sim on the panel.
Last but not least, the secondary and kindergarten pupils surprised us with the Chinese dancing performances, which were a fusion of traditional and contemporary moves. The secondary pupils used vibrantly coloured ribbons throughout their performance to create a visually appealing dance. The dancers received a well-deserved roar of applause from the audience.
On the closing note, I would like to wish you a Happy Lunar New Year once again. May the Year of the Rat help you turn unlucky events into fortune and develop the necessary skills to achieve success!
Ms Galina Fryshko.