The Wawasan Open University community came together at the main campus today to celebrate the lunar Year of the Red Fire Monkey.
The Homestead hall was transformed with paintings and decorations created by a group of full-time students, led by Robin Cheah, president of the student body. The front backdrop comprised two huge paintings of monkeys separated by a panel with the Chinese character for Spring, to signify new beginnings and a renewal of spirit. A giant monkey made from box art stood majestically at the back of the hall.
The festivity commenced with the lighting of firecrackers outside the Homestead by WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye. The crowd in the hall burst into laughter as student Chow Bai Quan, his face made up to resemble a monkey, proceeded to furtively move around, getting close and chummy with guests.
Prof Ho, in his welcoming remarks, said that according to predictions, 2016 remains a challenging year. “As the monkey is a mnemonic symbol associated with intelligence, creativity, perseverance and flexibility, we should therefore take the cue from the monkey and brave through this challenging year by applying some of its traits. We will continue to build greater resilience and perseverance in weathering the storm during such challenging and uncertain times.”
He added, “We need to continue to be prudent in spending, to think out of the box to come out with new strategies and plans. With the support of management and staff, I am confident that we can meet the challenges, remain competitive and look forward to a bright outlook.”
More fun followed as everyone was treated to songs and dances by the full-time students. There was also a Chinese fan dance performance by five staff from WOU’s Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) unit, led by Robin.
After the customary prosperity toss of the yee sang, guests feasted on servings of rice with lamb, chicken, fish, mixed vegetables, and vegetarian dishes, along with cake and fruit desserts.
More than 100 people attended, including Datin Seri Irene Yeap and daughter Janice Yeap, members of WOU Board of Governors namely Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng, Chia Loong Thye, Loo Choo Teng and Prof Emeritus Dato’ Dr Wong Tat Meng, who was accompanied by his wife and son, and WOU Honorary Graduate Dato’ Sharom Ahmat.
Earlier upon arrival, guests were greeted with ‘huat kuih’ – prosperity in Hokkien - to munch on, as well as origami and calligraphy handiworks and a kuih kapit making demonstration outside the hall.
Our appreciation to the organiser, in particular QA & External Relations Director Dr Andy Liew and the full-time students involved, for making the event a success.