As Diaspora Chins Celebrate Cultural Event, Uncertainty Looms for those living inside Burma
05 October 2011: The Chin diaspora organised a series of community-related events in recent months in an effort to maintain their traditional and cultural values in their respective countries of residence.
On Monday, more than 1,200 Chin refugees flocked to Klang Lama in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia celebrating their traditional festival that marks the end of harvest
The event, also known as Chin New Year celebration, had a variety of programmes such as fashion show in Chin traditional dresses, beauty contest, singing and cultural dances as well as short speeches on the history and importance of the festival in Chin culture.
One of the Chin community leaders said: “In Burma, we don’t have freedom of movement and are not allowed or restricted to do what we want to do in our own land. Living in a foreign country gives us an opportunity to freely maintain our tradition and culture. We must make use of it to protect and promote our unique cultural treasure.”
A harvest festival celebration, locally called Tho or Kumthar, is planned for 20 October 2011 in Hakha, the capital of Chin State although it is not yet known whether organizers will be able to obtain official authorisation from local officials. Any social or religious events need special permission from the authorities ahead of time.
In Tedim town of Chin State, a community-wide celebration of Khuado festival is not likely to happen this year as the local authorities have reportedly refused to process authorization request submitted by the local organisers.
Chin communities across Europe and North America also held chains of events in the month of July in a bid to forge closer relationship and mutual understanding aimed at strengthening the diaspora Chin communities.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang