The Bhutanese Australians in Adelaide observed the third year of their settlement in Australia with cultural presentations and Bhutanese-Nepali cuisines on May 13 at the Olympuc Centre in the heart of Adelaide city.
The celebration formally began in traditional manner with guest of honour, Governor of South Australia Hieu Van Le and the chief guest Michael Atkinson, the Member of Parliament for Cryodon and representative of the minister for multicultural affairs, jointly lighting candle. Other guests included Tony Japia, the Federal Member of Makin. The organizers received each participant and guest with khada.
In his welcome speech, chairperson of the Bhutanese Association in South Australia (BASA) Jogen Gazmere highlighted the progress made by the Bhutanese Australians towards integration and adaptation into the new home.
He said, “Many are still facing difficulties in adjusting in their new country, while some are settling down well. Being entrenched in tradition, the Bhutanese community is sometime seen to face dilemmas and difficulties in adjusting to the new multicultural environment.”
According to Gazmere, the difference in the outlook of older and younger generation is possibly going to generate rift in the future, where reconciliation would be the only recourse to resolution.
“The gender issue and the issue of cohesion and harmony will equally demand attention in the days to come which needs to be addressed sensitively, but firmly.”
He also claimed that as a community, the BASA has strength and weaknesses as well as virtues and vices.
He was of the opinion that the vision of creating a productive and purposeful community would demand to premise endeavor on collective strengths and virtues.
Meanwhile, the Governor appreciated the progress the Bhutanese community has been making to settle down in Australia.
“Since becoming the member of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission, I have seen many communities established themselves in this state including my own community – the Vietnamese community,” said the Governor.
“But I have to say, I can recall very few, however, that have made such excellent progress in short period. And you the Bhutanese community.”
He also appreciated the five-year plan charted out by BASA in its efforts to build a strong and vibrant Bhutanese community.
The Governor further said that he was sure that the members of the local Bhutanese community have the ability to adapt to maintain social harmony and most important of all to succeed in their new home.
Similarly, the next speaker Atkinson highlighted that the Bhutanese community in South Australia is characterized by energy and mission, and their outstanding organization to establish a cohesive and strong identity.
He mentioned that Bhutanese settlement is the one of the success stories of the state.
The choir sang the song that carried a message about the progress, strength and integration of the Bhutanese community in wider Australian society symbolized as a ‘colorful’ drop in the ocean. The crowd cheered when they sang together, ‘We love Australia’.
The dances that followed hit the ground, which depicted the Bhutanese-Nepali culture and tradition of entertainment for the community.
The volunteers worked the whole day in the kitchen preparing typical Bhutanese-Nepali cuisines including Datshi. Special chefs from Sagarmatha Nepali Restaurant mentored the Bhutanese volunteers prepare the traditional dishes.
The Bhutanese costumes, musical instruments including madal (tom-tom) and other cultural stuffs were stalled for exhibition that mostly attracted visitors and guests.
“With grants from some service providers and the money collected from community members, the BASA was able to organize yet another big event most successfully”, said Sushil Niraula, coordinator of the third annual day function.
Bendigo Bank, Refugee Services Department of Families and Communities and Multicultural of South Australia supported the event.
The day marked the arrival of two Bhutanese families in Australia under the third country resettlement program in 2008.
Reported by Ichha Poudel for BNS from Adelaide