Written by Dr Yit Seng YOW
The Hakka Association of Western Australia Inc. celebrated its 4th anniversary at Serai Dining in North Lake Road, Bibra Lake on 1st December.
The occasion was attended by the Deputy Consul-General of PRC in Perth, as well as community leaders and dignitaries. The Yarn Yee Tong 仁义堂School of martial arts entertained guests with lion dance as well as martial arts, headed by master Quyen LUONG.
The Hakka Association of WA, despite its recent history, is undoubtedly one of the most visible, active and well run ethnic Chinese associations.
The members come from a wide spectrum of countries including Australia, Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore and Taiwan. In spite of diversity of the country of origin, the cohesion amongst members is remarkable. The cohesion is reflected by the fact that some of the activities are often organised in members’ homes.
What is more remarkable is that some of the events are conducted in Hakka dialect itself, rather than in English or Mandarin. Action speaks louder than words; the ability to collectively conduct events in one’s dialect is a manifestation of their language capability, as well as the will to perpetuate this aspect of the culture. Social gatherings are held quite regularly, reinforcing the bonds between members.
The Hakka Association of Western Australia was the brainchild of Dato’Tet K Yong in 2009 杨德强, a community leader from the state of Sabah (Malaysia). Remarkably Dato’ Yong was also the founder president of the Hakka Association in Lahad Datu, one of the major towns in the State of Sabah, some thirty years ago. He certainly had the passion, the zeal and the energy to galvanise the collective intelligence, imagination and energies of the Hakka people in both Lahad Datu and Perth.
Two years ago the presidency was passed to his son, Keith Yong. Both father and son provide strong and stable leadership. They have a good understanding of the dynamics of running an organisation, and have provided immeasurable secretarial and other resources for the association. Their generosity in allocation of personal resources is critical.
In the past twelve months, notable events included:
- November 2013: President Keith Yong attended the 2013 Global Hakka Conference, Taipei 19-22 November 2013
- September 2013: Fifteen delegates from the Association attended the 26th World Hakka Conference in Jakarta
- July 2013: Hakka Lui Cha (擂茶) making demonstration and A group of ten members attended the Dongguan Lychee + Guangzhou Tour
- June 2013: Eighteen members attended the Penang Durian 2.0 + Southern Thailand Tour and Mandurah day trip
- May 2013: Mothers Day members gathering
- April 2013: Ten members attended the Hakka Guangdong Ancestral Villages Tour
- February 2013: Lunar New Year Celebrations 2013
- Perth Chinese New Year Fair 珀斯中华新年文化节
Undoubtedly this is one of the most active associations in Western Australia, whose presence is felt not only in Perth but also at international gatherings.
An Australian wide Hakka Association has also been formed by the branch. This would serve as a platform to galvanise the energies of the Hakka Diaspora within Australia. It would further bring the community closer through a whole spectrum of cultural and other programs.