Chinese New Year Celebration

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On Sunday, 5 February 2006, the Multi-Purpose Hall started to fill with people attending the Chinese New Year Celebrations. Just before 2.00pm, Venerable Wei Wu greeted the Gun Teng Men lion dance troupe at the Temple's main entrance and led the pair of lions to the Great Compassion Hall (Dai Bei Dian) where the lions paid their respects to Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and then distributed mandarin oranges to Venerable Wei Wu, Dato' Dr. Teng Hock Nam, Dato' and Datin Steven Ooi, Bro. Foo Kee Jean, Assistant Secretary of Than Hsiang Buddhist Welfare Association . The lions also distributed mandarin oranges to the children before they left.

Venerable Wei Wu then led the VIPs to the Multi-Purpose Hall for the start of the Chinese New Year Celebration. By now the Multi-Purpose Hall was filled to the brim with people in their New Year clothes; patiently waiting for the event to start. Venerable Wei Wu conducted the blessing service while Venerable Chuan Chao chanted the blessing verses. Venerable Wei Wu then gave a dharma talk. He said that in the wish for ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai', the true prosperity one should look for were the Seven Noble Attributes of:

1. Pragmatic confidence in the Dharma,
2. Morality,
3. & 4. Sense of self-shame and avoidance of evil,
5. Listen to the dharma,
6. Dharma reflection and contemplation, and
7. Wisdom.

Dato' Dr. Teng Hock Nam, Penang State Executive Councillor, then took to the podium. In his speech, Dato' Dr. Teng said that a similar celebration was held in Than Hsiang Temple the previous year and he hoped such Chinese New Year programmes would continue to be held annually. He said that in the present IT age, people were getting impersonal and it was good for people to get together in such activities. He also praised Venerable Wei Wu for the many activities organised by Than Hsiang Temple.

Later, Dato' Dr. Teng Hock Nam gave out prizes for the drawing competition opened to all primary Chinese schools. This competition was jointly organised by Than Hsiang Temple, Kwong Wah Yit Poh Press, Bunga Raya Student's Magazine, and Sangsuria Children's Magazine.

The programme for the afternoon started with a dance number performed by the children of Than Hsiang's kindergarten. The children looked cute in their colourful costumes. Next was Bro. Ooi Khee Seng, who played masterfully on his Chinese zither, Guzheng (箏 ). Bro. Ooi had spent seven years studying under three masters to perfect his technique of playing the Guzheng. The programme continued with two performances of songs and hand sign from the youths of Butterworth Lay Buddhist Society. Ms Jasmin Tai of Chakora Music Enterprise was resplendent in her red dress and she rendered a couple of songs.

The Butterworth Buddhist Association presented two numbers; one was a fan dance by their senior citizen group and the other was a line dance. A lantern dance by the Kulim Buddhist Association was the highlight of the afternoon. The dancers' costumes were beautiful and the dance was a splendid and vibrant choreography. Ten year old Tan Yun Hun (Jingle) next rendered a song titled ‘Teacher's Eye'. This was followed by Than Hsiang's Choir singing two songs and for the finale, the Choir was joined by Ms Jasmin Tai and two of the Chakora singers. The curtain closed to a rousing rendition of ‘Kong Si Kong Si'.
At the end of the afternoon, many of the people lined up to give ‘ang-pows' to Venerable Wei Wu and the other bhikshus and bhikshunis.