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The 2003 Christmas Open House became an event organized for the sake of wooing Christian voters rather than to celebrate the true meaning and spirit  of Christmas
 

Press Statement
by
Teresa Kok

(Kuala Lumpur, Monday): It is regrettable that the 2003 Christmas Open House organized by the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism and the Sabah State Government on 27th December 2003 is unfortunately an event organized by the BN government for the sake of wooing the Christian voters and not to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, which ought to have been, in the first place.

Being an invited guest and audience of the Christmas Open House, I am most
disappointed with the program for that night. Principally because Christmas is a day where the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ the Savior, instead it was ridiculously turned into an ordinary performance of songs and dances only. Never was there even one mention of the name of Jesus or the message and spirit of Christmas in the speeches of the honorary guests like our Prime Minister who officiated the opening of the event nor was such mention as well in the speeches of the Masters of Ceremony.

Besides, the basic symbols of Christmas, i.e. the Cross, the statues of baby Jesus, His earthly parents like Mary and Joseph and the 3 wise men who sought to worship the infant Jesus has not been mentioned in the program at all, but ironically, the organizers has put up Christmas trees and Santa Claus as the focus point and icons of the event. This is absolutely against the true meaning of the celebration of Christmas and an affront to the Christian Community.

Another unacceptable part of the program which is considered insulting is that the organizers had arranged an obscene batik wear show involving 30 scantily clad young women on stage under the guise of promoting a Miss Tourism event. The intention of the organizers to promote batik wear is wholly misplaced in respect of this programme as it had No relevance to the celebration of Christmas, which is a celebration of a HOLY Christian Day.

Being a Christian elected representative, I applaud the efforts made by the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism and the Sabah State Government on organizing the Christmas Open House because such events do promote understanding and interaction among different races and people of different beliefs, which will forge and contribute to social harmony in our plural society. However, it is most regrettable that the program of this Christmas celebration did not achieve these noble objectives but instead it has reduced a holy celebration to utter disappointing and insipid entertainment. 

In this regard I will be writing officially to the Minister of Culture Tourism & Arts Malaysia and to the Chief Minister of Sabah to ensure that future celebrations of Christmasí are organized with such Christian sensitivities in mind.

(29/12/2003)


* YB Teresa Kok, MP for Seputeh and DAP Sabah Affairs Liaison Chief