The much-awaited and first-ever Pinji Fest 2015, with its line-up of exciting events, kicked into gear on Friday, May 1 at Fu Jor Seah, Pasir Pinji. Running on the theme ‘self-sustainability’, the event was packed with activities aimed at rebranding Pasir Pinji, enamouring Pinjians and stimulating the local economy.
The opening ceremony, with its auspicious lion dance, festive drums and ocarina performances and an overwhelming response from the public, got the festival off to a cheery start. At the three-day festival which showcased Pasir Pinji’s assets and community spirit, Ipoh Echo met two unique individuals who are the living proof of a quote by poet C.S. Lewis, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
One of them was Ipoh-born Miss Tung, 57, a former teacher from one of the stalls at the festival’s Art and Craft Market. Tung who grew up in Pasir Pinji, wrote a book on origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures entitled, “Simple Creative Origami Paper Dolls”.
This is no ordinary book as it is a labour of love which reflects her life. A chapter in her book features origami dancers which were inspired by her sister who dances well. “She is a good dancer since primary school years and I am so envious of her, as I am not a good dancer at all!” she recalled nostalgically, as she pointed out the Chinese dance steps illustrated in the form of origami in her book.
She turned her life-long hobby of folding origami into a business idea in 2006 when all her children had grown up. “Sometimes when you’re down, you just take up a hobby and you’ll forget all the unhappy things. I spent my whole childhood here. All my bittersweet memories are here. Because of this, my heart and root are always here at Pasir Pinji,” she added heart-warmingly.
At a corner inside the Fu Jor Seah hall, one particular booth was always brimming with visitors. It was manned by an equally talented yet humble Mr Wee Ong Chin, 61, a retired headmaster from Pangkor Island who makes a wide array of traditional toys, not for sale but to be given away free. He guided visitors patiently to disentangle the seemingly unsolvable wire puzzles! “Have a good try!” he advised every puzzled but determined first-timer.
Retired last year, he has done research on traditional toys for 20 years. Looking at the toys, curiosity was piqued among the younger attendees while nostalgia was evoked among the older ones. “Traditional toys can also promote systematic thinking among children,” he told Ipoh Echo when asked about the purpose of his admirable effort.
The festival line-up provided something for everyone, from toddlers to pensioners with its pottery workshop, Cantonese opera performances, outdoor village rustic games (think clog race and five stones!), classic cinema experience, “Decorate a Reusable Bag” competition and a sharing session of childhood folklores, rhymes, riddles as well as folksongs.
Throughout all these activities, Howard Lee Chuan How, the Adun for Pasir Pinji could be seen relentlessly working behind the scene as well as joining in the fun. His efforts and dedication in leading the festival were indeed admirable.
However, all good things must come to an end. During the performance-packed closing ceremony, Howard thanked his team members for their blood, sweat and toil in the last 7 months in ensuring the success of the festival.
Be it artistic, cultural, social, historical or economic rationale, there was something about the Pinji Fest which was intrinsically different from other festivals. I patiently await the next one.