CABRAMATTA MOON FESTIVAL
(Cabramatta) [6.10 p.m.]: I bring to the attention of the House an important cultural and social event that will take place in my electorate on the weekend. On Sunday Cabramatta will come alive with colour and movement when the community celebrates the Chinese-Vietnamese Moon Festival. A full day of activities has been planned to mark the occasion. Entertainment will include children’s rides, music and dancing performances, lantern-making workshops, face painting, free giveaways for children, and a street party complete with lion dancing.
The Moon Festival falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar and is said to be the date when the moon shines brightest and wields its most charitable influences on earth. All over Asia people celebrate by making lanterns, eating moon cakes - which are pastries made with lotus seeds and eggs - performing traditional dances and passing down legends associated with the festival. These legends date back thousands of years. I would like to inform honourable members about the Vietnamese legend of the Moon Festival, which is sometimes known as the Trung Thu Festival.
The legend is that many years ago in Vietnam there was man named Chu Cai. He was very lucky and found a tree that could cure any kind of sickness. However, a rule forbade urinating at the foot of this tree. Bad things would happen if someone forgot this rule. Unfortunately, Chu Cai’s wife, Chi Hang, forgot that rule and urinated on the tree. The tree started to go up, and kept on flying into the sky with Chu Cai and his spouse hanging onto it, until it hit the moon and settled there. As honourable members will see, it is a rich festival with a diverse array of legends attached to it.
This is an important event organised by the Cabramatta Business Association in conjunction with Fairfield City Council. I note particularly the efforts of the President of the Cabramatta Business Association, Mr Thomas Diep, and two of the more active members, Adam and Gianna Temple, who do much of the footwork to get these events up and running. It is an important event because it is an opportunity to demonstrate that Cabramatta has a lot more than the negative reputation one often sees in the tabloid media.
The marketing of the Moon Festival has been particularly vigorous on this occasion because it has now come under the auspices of the Cabramatta place management program, in particular its tourism action component. The Cabramatta place management program is a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach to deal with issues that confront the Cabramatta community. We have seen at first instance a high level of high-profile policing to restore community confidence in public space.
There has been concerted effort through the Department of Health to deal with many challenges facing the local community. The next big step is to attract visitors back to Cabramatta so we can promote our culturally diverse and rich community. For example, I refer to foodstuffs, fabrics, and the strong and diverse religious culture - there are many temples and places of worship in the local community. Cabramatta has a lot to market. We say to regional day trippers: come and have a look at us; spend an interesting day in Cabramatta.
This festival does more than just generate economic buoyancy for the local community; it also turns around the reputation of the community, which has been much maligned by the tabloid media. We are saying to the people of New South Wales: we are proud of who we are and what we have to offer, which they should come to see first-hand. It is with that practical method of attracting people to the town centre that we are able to change the negative image that has particularly affected the Asian community that resides in my electorate.
Fairfield council recently worked very closely with Carol Selvarajah, a well-known Asian cooking expert, to run food tours to Cabramatta. There is now a waiting list of 600 people who wish to participate in the next round of tours. This is very important for the local community. It has been a combined effort. The local community has come in behind the project. It has been led by the Premier’s Department, and the Fairfield council is right on board. The Moon Festival is another great example of the success of that whole-of-government approach in restoring Cabramatta’s reputation as an honest and hardworking suburb.
Motion, by leave, by Mr Whelan agreed to:
That standing and sessional orders be suspended to allow up to 10 additional members to make private members' statements at this sitting.