By Teju Chouhan/Australia
March 26, 2010: Bhutanese Community in Australia Inc (BCA) participated in a series of functions to celebrate the Cultural Diversity Week and Harmony Day, March 21.
Victoria celebrates and promotes the rich cultural values and traditions on Harmony Day by organizing series of functions across the State. Amongst many of those events, annual Premier’s Gala Dinner is celebrated in a grand fashion, personally hosted by Victorian premier. This year’s host is John Brumby, MP.
The Opposition Leader of Victoria, Ted Baillieu, MP, ministers, politicians, and senior government and non government representatives, and the community leaders from across the State attended the function.
The BCA was offered this rare opportunity to perform Bhutanese dance in this year’s Premier’s Gala Dinner by the VMC Chairman, George Lekakis in the Bhutanese community consultation in Albury in April 2009.
The dancers rehearsed Dzongkha and Nepali dances for months under the direction of choreographer, Tanka Maya Sharma Luital. The BCA, with funding support, had bought the complete set of Bhutanese costumes from Bhutan in January 2010. Nepali costumes were outsourced from Nepalese community in Victoria, Sydney and Queensland.
“This is a very rare opportunity for a small community like ours to come on such stage and perform confidently”, said BCA president Parsu Luital, adding, “The Premier told me personally, how beautiful the performance was and he was very delighted to see the professional presentation from such a new and small community which added richness to Victoria’s rich cultural diversity.”
The Opposition Leader appreciated the Bhutanese community for wonderful performance. Bhutanese delegation of 22 people had the opportunity to interact with senior members and ministers among others and exposure for BCA to wider Australian communities.
In the series of events to celebrate the Harmony Day, BCA performed at the Victoria Police function hosted by Commander Ashley Dickinson of the Victoria Police in Collingwood Town Hall. The BCA artists and members interacted with the Chief Police Commissioner Simon Overland. Many other refugee communities and senior government officials were present at the function.
BCA members also participated in the Harmony Day function on March 19 in Migrant Resource Centre North West at Broadmeadows, Melbourne where it received the 2010 Harmony Day Award from chairperson of the MRC for actively contributing and promoting Bhutanese community to the wider Australian community.
In the last event of week, the BCA artists traveled to perform in the annual Yackandandah Folk Festival next morning, after a late night performance in Melbourne on March 20. Difference to this performance was, along with the professional cultural dancers, the new live band from BAC members thrilled the crowd with the traditional Nepali song by Guna Majhi, supported by the sound of traditional Madal by Tara Dahal.
About 100 Bhutanese community members living in Albury and Wodonga traveled to Yackandandah to enjoy the festival. They were excited to greet and cheer their fellow artists perform at the event venue. In this rare opportunity, Bhutanese community performed wit international bands such as, Big Low-Netherlands, Emily Smith-Scotland, White Top Mountaineers-USA, The Beez-Germany and Ann Vriend-Canada.
In the span of a week, the Bhutanese community has also raised $2250.00 appearance fees for the community.
In a separate function, the Bhutanese Food Project known by the name “The Bhutanese Kitchen” has raised $1913.00 by selling traditional Bhutanese food at the Wodonga Carnival. Five members (Tara Gautam, Phurba Sherpa, Krishna Chauhan, Hari Sapkota and Ganga Basnet) from Albury and Wodonga were trained on food handling course by the service providers. The event was supported by Bhutanese community volunteers, City of Wodonga and Gateway Community Health and funded by Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
“More than the money raised, the social capital we have gained and promotion of our culture at such different platforms have exposed the Bhutanese community to the bigger audience, and we cannot put any cost to this”, said Parsu, BCA president.