KUCHING — Despite a weather forecast of possible rain, an estimated 1000 plus Sarawakians turned up at the crack of dawn at the Association of Churches (ACS) car park on 29 September, for the annual Harmony Walk, which was initiated last year.
Jointly organised by the Association of Churches in Sarawak, the Islamic Information Centre (IIC), the Baha’i and the Kuching Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh Associations, the event is aimed at expressing the people of Sarawak’s desire for unity, and to live in harmony with each other. It seeks to demonstrate that religions can unite, rather than, divide us.
With the theme ‘Unity is Our Calling’, the spirit of religious freedom and harmonious co-existence was very much alive on that day.
This year’s event was organised by the Kuching Buddhist Society (KBS). Representatives from the various participating faith-based associations were present, including our Catholic Archbishop Simon Poh, and Blessed Sacrament Church’s rector, Fr Felix Au.
Participants to the Harmony Walk were entertained with a colourful welcome dance routine, as well as a Zumba session to warm up, before the flag-off, which had been delayed for about one and half hours due to heavy rain.
The 5-km walk took participants past the many houses of worship. From the ACS car park, the route covered the BEM Kuching Evangelical Church, Tong Kak Kuang Temple, Malaysian Hindu Sangam Sarawak Council, IIC, Sarawak Sikh Temple and Assembly of the Baha’is of Sarawak, and ended at the KBS building.
Some participants were happy to share what they experienced at the Harmony Walk.
I really love our country, as it portrays true racial harmony and religious tolerance. Because of the heavy downpour early in the morning, I was able to be acquainted with Dr Shahrul and his family from Kota Samarahan. I was amazed to see a Malay couple with 5 kids, aged 12 years old and below, participating in the Harmony Walk. Dr Shahrul, walking with an umbrella, was carrying a one-year-old baby on his back all the way. The rest of his adorable children were walking in the rain without any cover. It touched me so much that I offered to share my big umbrella with them, and we became friends. This is what we call ‘Racial Harmony’ and ‘Religious Tolerance’. — Thomas Ting
It was a wet morning for the Harmony Walk. But we enjoyed the walk as we were able to meet up with some friends from different religions. — Julian Chan
I’m grateful to God for the opportunity to reconnect with old friends of other faiths during the Harmony Walk. The rain was an obstacle, but it didn’t dampen the spirit of many of us on that day. May Malaysians of goodwill, truly strive to build our nation to be one of greater harmony, love and respect, between all peoples. — Fr Felix Au
Nothing is more beautiful than witnessing all religions gathering at a Christian premise and partaking a simple meal at a Buddhist Temple. — Edwina Tham
I see that the objective of this walk is truly achieved through peace, love and respect. There were different group of races playing among themselves, and some youths were having fun. Overall, the atmosphere was one of harmony. This was my first walk and I enjoyed the fresh air and cooling rain. — Wendy Lam
For more photos, go to: Blessed Sacrament Church