December 13, 2009

Miri Christmas Parade 12.12.2009

More than 5000 Christians participated in the annual City Christmas Parade on the evening of 12.12.2009.  A few hundred well wishers stood by the roadside to cheer them on. This annual parade has been going on since 2005 when Miri first attained city status. Religious Parades of this nature are very much part of Miri's rich culture starting with Muslim's celebrating the Birthday of Prophet Mohammad which already has a long history  since the 1950's. A brilliant idea indeed for the multi racial city!

Brass bands are important in a parade. They provide the sounds  and glamour and inspire the bystanders. Several brass bands have been formed in Miri and they provide good music. If only they have a chance to play more often for the public. The Methodist Church of Miri provided the Boys' and Girls' Brigade Brass Band for the procession.




Before the procession started the various groups of Christians gathered at the City Fan to prepare themselves and to join together for a very spirited thanksgiving service. It was a wonderful sight to see the whole amphitheatre filling up with colourfully dressed people and young people wearing santa claus inspired costumes. The most obvious was the Santa Claus cap on the heads of thousands.  But it was the brilliant smiles on the faces which lit up the arena.

Here two great members of the GMC : Lay Pek and Francis helping to add the final touches...High tech is necessary.

 
Pastor Diong and her church member : "This gold cross is going to light up."



Dr. Lau Mee (KTS) carrying a Torch for the procession!


Iban children from the Tudan Preaching Centre getting ready for the evening service and then later the City Parade.



Below is Pastor Chan the youthful Shepherd of the Tudan Preaching Centre







The Riam Methodist Church group with their Pastor.



The great smiles of Christian youths (on right Simon Su) who have joy in their heart.
"Joy to the World the Lord has come....."



My cousin Lau Kiing Meu originally from Ah Nang Chong (Sg. Maaw)
"Oh Come All Ye Faithful...joyful and triumphant...."




Bible and Cross lantern to be carried later in the parade.


This is the Sign Language Team - Mr. and Mrs. Victor Hii and their children. This sign of Love is for You .
There is a sign language ministry in the Grace Methodist Church . Happy Birthday to the oldest boy too. It was his birthday and they celebrated it by taking part in the parade!!



The Grace Methodist Church led by the District Lay Leader Ting Kong Yu and Pastor Law Hui Seng took to the roads of  Miri to spread the joy of the Birth of the New King. They joined more than 5000 Mirians who are Christians in the Christmas parade. The young and the old and especially the teenagers came out in full force . The procession around the town ended at about 8.30 with impressive children making a great impact on the by standers.


Pastor Law waiting for the service to start. Methodist pastors wear a "red" uniform when they take part in public functions. They sometimes wear this red uniform with a black robe when they preach also. (Photo : Courtesy of James Wong)



The evening started at 5.30 p.m. with a public service with Praise and Worship and a message for Christmas. Presentations were also made by the Methodist Children's Home and Hope Centre.  The Combined Choir  made a deep impression on those who were gathered for the public service. Dressed in flowing white dresses with a red sash the ladies were remarkable to look at. But their strong and well trained voices were even better. Christmas carols had not rang out clearer.











The Mayor of Miri and VIPS and the opening ceremony of the function.

At 6.30  the VIPs arrived with the city Mayor Lawrence Lai who officiated the parade. The national flag was raised by the Methodist Boys' Brigade followed a speech from the combined parade's organising chairperson from the Anglican Church. At the end of the official opening the Mayor announced the MMC's donation of RM5000 to the Kidney Dialysis Centre and his own equivalent donation to the KDC. The offering collected from the whole congregation that evening amounted to RM11000 which was donated to the PDK and Methodist Children's Home of Miri. God's spirit was really moving the people !


At 7.00 p.m. the St. Columba Brass Band led out the parade from City Fan. The parade marched through Jalan Sylvia, Jalan Brooke, Jalan Kingsway, Jalan Cina, Jalan Bendahara, Jalan North Yu Seng , Jalan South Yu Seng , Jalan Merpati and finally back to City Fan again.Marching bands from the various schools and churches helped to make the parade very exciting. Like welcoming the heroes back from war the marching bands helped to lift up the spirits of the public to welcome the birth of the Prince of Peace and Son of God. Hallelujah sang the angelic participants. The trumpets and the drums sounded the great news!Children jumped and danced and some of the youngest were in their baby trolleys pushed by their happy parents who wished to bring the Great News to the city.

Most churches distributed handouts to the by- standers. Some even took a delight in shaking hands with them.

One most touching scene was two little girls came out of the procession to give a Traffic Policeman a little pamphlet. The procession was well controlled with the help of Traffic Policemen. Furthermore the Miri Red Crescent Ambulance was on hand to help in case of any emergency. Miri City has good and kind government personnel who ensure the safety and security of its city folks whenever there is a celebration like this. How wonderful it is to  see them being so helpful and caring.

And it was a good Saturday night turn out with so many people lining up the streets and waiting for them to pass by. Each group had their own technology to help with the singing of carols and proclaiming the love of God and promising Peace and Eternal Life.

"Hark the Herald angels sing...glory to the new born king......"


Malaysia is a beautiful country with such a harmonious combination of religions and cultures. The parade was colourful with many Christians turning out in their costumes and great looking headgears which their ancestors have won for generations! Truly a display of lMalaysia (attributed to Prime Minister Najib)

The Christmas parade ended with a performance from the Operafest Children's choir from Kuala Lumpur and several dances depicting the culture of Miri in particular and Sarawak in general.


A tourist said "I have never seen anything like this before - so many different races and so many lovely and small children looking happy and excited! This city is wonderful!"

"Oh Holy Night......"




It was an evening worth coming out for! I went home with the lyrics of the carols ringing in my ears...
I have captured this pose of Rev. Esther (the Miri District Superintendent) in a joyous mood! She seems to be saying :

"Peace on Earth"

"Goodwill to mankind."

This is the Nativity Scene brought to us in a carriage by the Melanau Prayer Group of Miri. Two cute boys posed for me and wished me Selamat Hari Krismas!


"And God so loved the world that he gave his only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life."

"The Virgin will give birth to a son ....They will call him Immanuel which means, 'God with us'." (Matthew 1:22)

Hallelujah.






12 comments:

Ann said...

God is great, you had great weather, we had great weather. Even last night, a quarter million celebrated coco cola Christmas in the park. The weather was good when it rain in the afternoon.

I remember the first Boys brugade band, Many of my male friends were in it.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann
Nice to hear from you. Yes we were blessed by a wonderful and brilliant evening and the sun took longer to set as they participants got ready. Iwas there to cover for Connection (Methodist Message English sub magazine). I had a wonderful evening. Because I cannot reallywalk for a long time at a stretch I would not march along withthe rest.

At the moment I can walk for about half an hour and then have to sit down to let the ligament and muscles rest. Some days I am good.

I remember Cameron Kuek and Yao Shi Reng and some of those great Boys...and Yah Hwa too....Miss Mona Pengelley who helped start the GB will come back to Sibu for the anniversary celebration...it will be a great day! Wasn't Charles in BB? I might be wrong. I know Hii Mee Chiong was in it and my brother did not join.

Bengbeng said...

You made the parade seem so real even though we were not there. the pics helped a lot too.

wenn said...

lovely..

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks Bengbeng.

What is it like in Sibu? The Christmas spirit etc?

Peace.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks Wenn for Visiting.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

guachalet said...

Thanks for put up the pictures. This year I missed this event...we were in Balingian for mission trip.

By the way, they were Lay Pek and Francis.

William said...

oppp.. guachalet is williamting!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

hAHAHAHAZH...

I guessed as much.....we go blog walking and now you go blog working/constructing....Business so good for you!!

I always spell Leh Pek...now I have to change the spelling again....thanks.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Hi

Nice to see the good turn out...my brothers and sisters would have loved to be there. Now they are back in the kampong. The traditional costumes are great! Good idea from the church....Thanks.

Justin....

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Justin
Thanks for visiting....you and your siblings would have enjoyed the procession I must say. I met many former students too. Even some very senior citizens participated with enthusiasm...But I really liked the young parents who brought out their small children and their baby trollies....

Ann said...

Hi CY,

A few of my classmates were in the BB, my bro Charles was in the scouts. He was a king scout by the time he left school for NZ.