Soka Gakkai Malaysia Hosts Charity Culture Festival Commemorating 50th Anniversary of Independence
On August 18 and 19, 2007, Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) members in the state of Negeri Sembilan organized a charity culture festival at Stadium Tertutup Nilai, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Malaysia's independence, Visit Malaysia Year 2007 and the 50th anniversary of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda's declaration calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Titled "Celebrating 50 Years of Independence--Towards My Glorious Malaysia," the event aimed to foster closer ties of friendship and understanding among Malaysia's diverse ethnic groups.
The charity event, cosponsored by SGM and Negeri Sembilan's Department of Culture, Arts and Heritage, drew proceeds of RM320,0000 (approx. US$11,700), which benefited some 28 educational and medical institutions and charity organizations in the state.
A total of 7,000 people viewed the festival over the two days. Among the guests were Chief Minister Y.A.B. Dato' Seri Utama Haji Mohamad Bin Haji Hassan, who officiated at the August 19 event; Acting State Secretary YB Dato' Hj. Norzam bin Mohd Nor; Encik Mohamad Razy bin Mohd. Noor, principal assistant director of the National Culture and Arts Department; and Tan Sri Prof. Emeritus Dato' (Dr.) Hj. Ismail Hussein, president of the Federation of National Writers Associations of Malaysia (GAPENA). SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a congratulatory message.
Comprising four themes of "Hope," "Unity," "Vision" and "Gemilang (Brilliance)," the festival beautifully expressed the heart of the Malaysian people, reflecting the harmonious and dynamic coexistence of the country's diverse cultures. Besides traditional folk and modern dances, gymnastic feats and choral performances by 1,300 local members, the charity show included several guest appearances. Students from Pendeta Za'aba State National High School presented the Tarian Endang, a traditional Minangkabau dance; students from Chung Hua High School Seremban performed "24 Seasons Drum"; and SGI-Korea presented a dynamic drum dance. SGM members from Melaka, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur put on a Portuguese dance, an Indian dance and a combined musical and modern dance, respectively. The show symbolized the SGM members' pledge to work for the betterment of their society and local communities, together with other citizens.
Chief Minister Mohamad remarked that SGM, which continues to contribute to the country through its cultural activities that foster responsible youth, is a good example of social service and national unity.
[Adapted from an SGM report and an article in the September 6, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of SGM]