Sunday, May 25, 2003

King and Queen grace Citrawarna celebrations


KUALA LUMPUR: The month-long Citrawarna Malaysia (Colours of Malaysia) 2003 celebrations kicked off with a royal touch of pomp and pageantry when the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Fauziah Tengku Abdul Rashid led the parade on a specially-designed royal float.
The float depicting the royal throne room (Balai Rong Seri) in Istana Negara was escorted by 1,350 participants dressed in traditional Malay costumes worn by royal court workers of the 15th century Malay Sultanate.
ROYAL GUESTS: Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin and Tuanku Fauziah leading the parade on a specially-designed royal float for the month-long celebrations which kicked off with pomp and pageantry.
Among them were men wearing Malay warrior costumes, dayangs (maidens) carrying tepak sirih, bunga mas, bunga manggar and royal ceremonial umbrellas.
The float made its way through the 1.5km parade route from the City Hall building through Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Esfahan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and ended at the Sultan Abdul Samad building, where the King declared open the fifth Citrawarna celebration themed “Rhythm and Movement.” The crowd of people who lined the road waved flags as the royalties passed by.
Tens of thousands of local and foreign spectators watched, cheered and swayed to the music as dancers and performers from different states and ethnic groups nationwide displayed their talents.
The 6,000 performers, who donned colourful costumes and had interesting props, also kept local and foreign journalists busy snapping photos and filming.
Among the 1,400 invited foreign journalists and tour operators were 34 TV stations' crews including from BBC, CNBC, AXN and CNN.
Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, Information Minister Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob and Datuk Bandar Datuk Mohamad Shaid Mohd Taufik were also ferried on the float procession.
Performances were divided into six zones, comprising Group 1: Kedah, Perlis and Penang (north zone); Group 2: Perak, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur (central zone); Group 3: Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor (south zone); Group 4: Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang (east zone); Group 5: Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan; and Group 6: Chinese, Indian, Orang Asli and Siamese communities.
Scores of travel writers and foreign tour operators who witnessed the dazzling display of costumes, cultures and local entertainment, said they were impressed with Malaysia’s hospitality, the various food and multi-racial society.
Abdul Kadir said the month-long national celebration known throughout the world as “Colours of Malaysia Parade,” would end on June 27 in Kedah.
He said the launch was historic and nostalgic as each year, the King never failed to launch and witness the country’s biggest cultural and tourism event.
Dancers performing at the glittering Citrawarna 2003 celebration held at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur Saturday night.
Abdul Kadir said such programmes would help speed up the development process of the cultures in Malaysia, which would further strengthen the ties among the people of various races.
Louise Hockaday from Hays Travel Newcastle, United Kingdom, said she loved the people, food and weather.
“I have been in Malaysia for nine days and have travelled to Langkawi and Penang. I like satay and fish head curry and people here are so warm and friendly, Malaysia is so vibrant and colourful,” said the tour agent who attended the Citrawarna celebrations.
Big screens set up facing the crowd at the royal dais displayed tourist spots in each state as the dancers performed the cultural dances of the states shown.
Many people who could not get close enough to watch the performance sat on the grass at the Merdeka Square and listened to the music from behind the spectators' platform.
The event culminated with spectacular fireworks.