A sea of pink and red – from the décor to the outfits – greeted staff and guests during the WOU Chinese New Year luncheon to celebrate the Year of the Earth Dog held at the main campus today.
It was the first lunar year celebration hosted by Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, and she initiated the gesture of presenting a token ang pow to all staff and guests. Everyone was also greeted with offerings of kuih bakul and huat kuih, since both these goodies symbolise good luck and posterity.
Among the guests at the event were Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Chairman of WOU’s Board of Governors, and Members, Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and Mr Ooi Teng Chew, former Vice Chancellors Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye and Prof Emeritus Dato’ Dr Wong Tat Meng, WOU Sdn Bhd Director Janice Yeap, former CEO of Wawasan Education Foundation Dato’ Dr Sharom Ahmat, and representatives from DISTED College, Luxoft and Tricor.
In his opening message, event organising chairman, Dr Andy Liew, who is WOU’s Registrar and Director of Quality Assurance, elaborated that in one of the versions for the origin of the Chinese New Year festivity, people would don red clothing and light firecrackers to ward off a Chinese mythical beast known as ‘Nian’.
Prof Zoraini, in her informal welcoming speech, spoke about growing up in a multi-racial environment in Kuala Lumpur, recounting that she had a Chinese, an Indian and a Eurasian playmate during those good old days. “It’s interesting we had this diversity yet a sense of harmony.”
She remarked that this is the Year of the Dog, adding that the dog is often referred to as a man’s true friend because of its qualities like loyalty, friendship and affection. “Those qualities should also be reflected in us, being loyal and true to ourselves, our colleagues and friends at WOU, and to the University.”
The crowd were then treated to a few Chinese melodies by a guest quartet of beautiful ladies garbed in traditional costumes.
Tan Sri Dr Koh and Dato’ Seri Stephen lit the firecrackers at the porch of the Homestead and this was followed by the lion dance to bestow blessings on WOU. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Outreach) Prof David Ngo Chek Ling gamely received the spit out mandarin oranges while Prof Zoraini accepted the scrolled message of good luck unfolded from the lion’s mouth.
The lion troupe also blessed the offices of Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, Dr Liew, Regional Operations & Marcom Director K H Chong, and the Penang Regional Centre.
WOU staff and guests were treated to a sumptuous lunch of briyani rice with mutton kurma, gravy chicken, curried fish, mix vegetables and cucumber-pineapple pickle, that was complemented with beverages and sliced papaya and water melon fruits.