BCF sinks or swims with Visionary Team

Posted on April 29, 2011


The recent saga over the fate of Sibu’s BCF (Borneo Cultural Fest) has been quite amusing for me.

Everyone in Sibu knows that the Sibu BN “Visionary Team” (which was nearly wiped out in the State Election save for the member for Bawang Assan) was the real force behind the event.

Everyone also knows that the success and/or failure of such a grand project was solely on the shoulders of the members of this “Visionary Team”…so if it went well, they could take the credit…and if it sucked, they could take whatever was coming to them.

So it was no surprise to learn recently that the BCF has been scrapped, because essentially the majority of voters in Sibu decided to scrap the “Visionary Team”, which I’ve mentioned was the real force behind the event.

The amusing part is that now DAP wants to organise BCF.

For all its calls for change, it is now saying it wants to retain something that the SUPP has been working hard for, for nearly a decade!

The announcement is made to scrap BCF and before you know it, DAP is saying BCF is good and needs to be retained!

For all the exciting ceramahs that DAP has organised, can’t they be more creative or original.

By wanting to retain BCF, DAP has shown that it is both hypocritical and bereft of new ideas.

At least think of something fresh and new to replace BCF…because by wanting to retain it DAP’s actually acknowledging the good work done by SUPP all these years (although DAP will never publicly admit it, of course).

And please stop pointing the finger at SMC (Sibu Municipal Council) because everyone knows that it was the “Visionary Team”  that was the real force behind the event.

Anyway, Malaya-based DAP’s Sarawak leader has expressed confidence that he will be able to successfully organise the next BCF, so we’ll all wait and see how he does.

I hope that whatever the outcome, the people of Sibu will be happy.

For those people of Sibu who voted for UBAH, remember you voted for things to change…not stay the same.

If there was a vision for Sibu, please do remember that THAT vision is gone (or nearly gone) now because you voted for things to change…not for the vision to stay.

And for all this talk of punishment, please-lah!

“Punishment” is just a word that the opposition uses to replace the word UBAH after they win the election.

Accept that and move on.

How The Borneo Post saw it:

SMC decides to scrap Borneo Cultural Fest

by Philip Wong. Posted on April 28, 2011, Thursday

HARD DECISION: The annual Borneo Cultural Festival, with its theme “Beauty in Ethnic Diversity”, portrays the colours of harmony as the people of Sarawak share their diverse culture in the Land of the Hornbills. With 25 ethnic groups, there is much to offer in Sarawak tourism. This was what the BCF had tried to tell. For nine years, the people of Sibu participated enthusiastically with host Sibu Muncipal Council as thousands came together for the nightly cultural celebration.

SIBU: The Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) has decided to scrap the Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) this year, a decision municipal chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King said was made with a heavy heart.

He said, “This had been a hard decision and it was done with a heavy heart. Since the majority of the people in Sibu did not appreciate the work of the Sibu BN Visionary Team, we are therefore forced to cancel the BCF.”

Tiong said at the council’s monthly meeting yesterday that Sibu had managed to carve a niche for itself through BCF over the past 10 years.

He acknowledged that Sibu had been handicapped by the lack of tourism products.

With this handicap in mind, he said, the Sibu BN Visionary Team captained by Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh had come up with an initiative for Sibu – the BCF.

“Since then, BCF has become one of the signature events which could help draw on the assistance and support of the Sibu communities,” he recalled.

This community-based project had also become a public avenue to showcase the rich local cultural heritage, he said.

About two years ago, Tiong recalled, BCF was even listed as one of the events in the Sarawak Tourism Calendar.

He said the Sibu BN Visionary Team had continued to play a key role in the running and management of BCF.

“The BN Visionary Team engaged professional input for the festival, taking steps to source for financial assistance and making various attempts to promote BCF both locally and abroad, with the primary intention to help carve a name for Sibu through the BCF and also to generate some business opportunities for the local people.”

However, Tiong said the recent state election results was evident that the urban people had chosen to reject the Sibu BN Visionary Team’s efforts.

“The majority of the Sibu public has sent out a strong signal that they did not appreciate the work of the Sibu BN Visionary Team. It is therefore with deep regret as well as with a sense of dejection that we are forced to respond to this latest political climate,” he said.

Tiong admitted the current political message was simply too clear to be ignored.

At the same time, he said there was also a strong reaction from many BN supporters who wanted SMC to re-look at the BCF and some other projects.

“Against this background and after consulting all the relevant quarters, I wish to inform that we would not proceed with BCF, at least for this year.”

Tiong appreciated those who had given moral support to the council on such a drastic decision.

Later, debating on the issue, councillor Tengku Gruna said the cancellation of the BCF would be a loss to the Dayak community as they had all the while remained a strong supporter of the BN government.

“Nevertheless, we do hope that it will be organised on a biennial basis as was the original proposal.”

Another councillor feared the decision to scrap the BCF could backfire as the opposition parties might capitalise on the issue and politicise the matter, saying the council was taking such drastic action in order to punish the people for not supporting the BN candidates.

SMC deputy chairman Daniel Ngieng said the decision was final as it was taken after several brainstorming sessions with those concerned.

He said the people should look at the matter with a wider perspective.

“In politics, one just cannot be a fence-sitter. It’s either for or against,” he said.

How STAR Sarawak saw it:

We can do it, says DAP


Friday April 29, 2011

SIBU: The Sarawak DAP hopes to be given the task of organising the Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) since the Sibu Municipal Council has decided to abandon it.

“I have full confidence that DAP has the ability to successfully organise the 10th BCF if SMC authorises us to do it,” said the party’s chairman Wong Ho Leng.

He said it was not a wise decision on the council’s part to scrap the event as it not only affected the tourism industry in Sibu but also the economy of the town in general.

“BCF is a cultural event. It has nothing to do with politics. SMC should be neutral as it does not belong to any political party,” said Wong.

SMC chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King announced on Wednesday that BCF, one of the biggest draws for the state’s central region in the Sarawak tourism calendar of events, would not be organised anymore in an apparent fall out following the defeat of Barisan Nasional here in the April 16 state polls.

Tiong had said the decision was made since voters had rejected the Sibu Visionary Team, which comprised Barisan elected representatives here.

BCF, usually held in the first week of July, was initiated by the team while SMC was tasked with organising it for the past nine years.

Past BCFs have showcased cultural performances from the Malay-Melanau, Chinese and Dayak communities and have included troupes from China, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand.

BCF usually runs for 10 days and is a real money-spinner for locals who set up stalls ranging from food and drinks to other products.

Meanwhile, a prominent local lawyer, Joseph Tang, said it was inappropriate for SMC to cancel the event just because of the coalition’s losses here.

He felt that the council would make the election meaningless if the people’s decision was not respected.

“We have been penalised for not supporting them,” he said.

He said SMC had been organising the BCF for the past nine years and they had even put up a billboard at the end of last year’s BCF stating “See You in 2011”.

“They had broken their promise to the people of Sibu.”

SMC is not a political party, he said, adding that its revenue came from assessment rates paid by the people every year.

“They are our public servants and we are their masters. They should resign from public duties if they cannot look after the welfare of the people,” said Tang