ONCE again, as we send off the fearless tiger and welcome the tender and shy rabbit, we welcome a new lunar year.
Our society places importance on the family reunion which is an integral part of the new spring season. Parents and grandparents long to be with their children and grandchildren. Young children look forward to a jovial season of sumptuous meals, lion dances and angpows. This new year of the rabbit is no different.
In this season, like last year, let us spare a few moments to remind ourselves of the many Sabahan youths who are unable to be home with their families. We can feel anxiety and emptiness of the some families whose children are far away in less fortunate circumstances.
The countless young people who left Sabah’s shores in search of a better future, many of whom are still stranded in Peninsula Malaysia and other overseas places, should not be forgotten.
Here in Sabah, with little employment opportunities, the fate of many young people remains uncertain. Nobody can deny that the rising costs of living have made life more difficult for ordinary people.
Everything from food and clothing, medical and children’s schooling expenses, transport and fuel have taken up most of the earnings of an average family. This hardship is shown in the lack of festival atmosphere and in shopping centres.
But, we Sabahans are a resilient lot. We shall continue to strive and be able to overcome today’s challenges. The song, ‘Sunshine comes after the thunder storm’ most aptly fits our situation today. With this optimism, I wish everybody a happy and prosperous Chinese new year.
DATUK YONG TECK LEE