The 2018 National Day of China and Mid-Autumn Festival.
September 23, 2018 Yat Sen Hall, Flagstaff, Suva.
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Fiji, His Excellency Qian Bo;
The President of the Chinese Association in Fiji, Mrs. Jenny Seeto;
The Members of the Chinese community in Fiji;
Members of the Chinese Youth Social and Cultural Association;
Distinguished Guests; and
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Ni hao, ni sa bula vinaka, and a very good morning to you all.
It gives me great pleasure to address you on this joyful occasion of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and the commemoration of the People’s Republic of China’s National Day.
Ladies and gentlemen, I deem it a great honour and pleasure to be invited by the Chinese Association to officiate again as Chief Guest in today’s celebration of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival which is also commonly known as the Moon Festival, and at the same time, commemorate the People’s Republic of China’s National Day.
Thank you for kindly inviting me to join you in celebrating this important Chinese Cultural Holiday and the commemoration of the 69th Anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, because for your information, it is also my first major social official engagement since Government’s extension of my term as President/Head of State of our beloved country for another three more years.
On behalf of the Fijian Government and all Fijians, I congratulate the Government and the citizens of the People’s Republic of China on this historical and milestone achievement.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Mid-Autumn Festival, (Moon Festival) is synonymous with family reunions, feasting and general merry making. It is a time of appreciation and reflections upon national, community and family aspirations and achievements. It is also a time for thanksgiving and renewed hope for a peaceful and prosperous future for all. The Festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese lunar calendar and it celebrates the time of the year when the moon is at its fullest. Historically and culturally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest, a celebration of bountiful gifts from the land.
Traditionally, the Moon Festival is always celebrated with much fanfare in China, and it is so good to note that it is equally marked and revered here in Fiji, where Fijians of Chinese ethnicity has made major and significant contributions over the years to Fiji’s foundation and fabric of the unique diversity in our multicultural society.
Ladies and gentlemen, our beloved nation has continued to pride itself with our long and shared history with Motherland China (now the People’s Republic of China) following the arrival of the first Chinese migrants onto our shores some 170 years ago. Successive generations of those who arrived since then and in recent years have continued on with the proud legacy of their forebearers who have continued to work hard and assimilated very well within Fijian society.
In fact, the collective contribution of the Chinese community to Fiji’s overall national development has been remarkably significant and although only consisting of about 4.5% of Fiji’s total population of about 900,000, it is quite an impressive, important and commendable contribution to Fiji’s global status today as a truly Democratic, Peaceful and Progressive Developing Nation.
Some prominent members of the Chinese society have prospered to become very successful and influential business men and women, some have excelled in the Sporting arenas and others in the Legal and Medical Professions to name a few. Individually and collectively their achievements and contributions to Fiji’s national life has been, and continues to be quite remarkable to nation building and progress. A most significant contribution that is welcomed and appreciated by all Fijians.
As a multicultural society, we should take advantage of every opportunity to commemorate and celebrate events such as today’s Moon Festival to showcase our diversity as a nation and more importantly, provide our youth and children the ability to learn and appreciate the fact that it is our diversity which makes us stronger.
Ladies and gentlemen, festivals such as this provides us with the ideal opportunity to also learn and appreciate more about our roots and culture, for such important knowledge and experiences often shape and mould us into better citizens for a better and brighter future for Fiji, a place and homeland which all Fijians would always be proud to call home. As synonymous with all Chinese Festivals, food and feasting is always an integral component of such festivities. The Moon Festival involves the sharing and eating of moon cakes to signify the love, compassion and unity of families.
In this regard, I would like to acknowledge and thank His Excellency the People’s Republic of China Ambassador, Mr Qian Bo for providing my staff and I with our moon cakes, which we have shared amongst the staff.
Ladies and gentlemen, at this juncture, I also deem it prudential to commend and thank His Excellency the Ambassador and his staff for their support and acknowledge and congratulate the Chinese Association, Families and Friends for organizing today’s celebrations.
I also wish to thank the Chinese Cultural Centre, the Confucius Institute of the University of the South Pacific, and the Chinese Youth Social and Cultural Association for supporting the Organising Committee in organizing today’s successful event.
I am very pleased to see a sizable number of Chinese youth present here today and I would like to commend and congratulate the lion dancers for their colourful costumes and athleticism in performing the Chinese cultural Lion dance.
As Fiji’s Lead Advocate and Champion in our collective fight against the prevalence of Non Communicable Disease related ailments within society, I would like to once again make a plea and remind everyone present today, that I consider it most important that we endeavour to emulate these lion dancers by keeping fit and active.
On behalf of Government and all Fijians, I thank you and wish you well and every success as you continue on with today’s celebrations.
Have a happy Mid-Autumn Festival.
Xie xie, vinaka vakalevu and thank you. May Almighty God continue to bless you and bless our beloved nation – Fiji.