Oknha Yum Sui Sang (L) and Chinese Ambassador Pan Guang Xue (R) give a lucky draw prize to a winner at saturday night's Mid-Autumn festival at Diamond island.
It was about 6:30 at Diamond Island on Saturday evening when the Chinese Ambassador arrived. The crowd of photographers and others clustered near the door as Ambassador Pan, flanked by Yum Sui Sang of Union Commercial Bank walked down the red carpet to the main table. Everyone stood at attention for the Chinese National Anthem, followed by toasting, songs, dinner and lucky draws for iPhones, air conditioners and other prizes.
The big annual gathering of Chinese and Khmer people at Diamond Island is a way to celebrate Chinese traditions for a lot of people to make them feel at home, said Tom Kimson, Vice Chairman of the China, Hong Kong and Macau Expatriate Business Association of Cambodia.
One of the most influential overseas Chinese personalities in Phnom Penh, Kimson is also the chairman of the Dynamic group of companies which do business in pharmaceuticals, medical and scientific equipment, as well as herbicides and insecticides for the agricultural industry and animal nutrition.
Kimson sat at the head table Saturday night with Chinese Ambassador Pan Guang Xue, and Oknha Yum Sui Sang who serves as chairman of the association as well as chairman and CEO of the Union Commercial Bank.
As one of three major festivals in the Chinese calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival came this year on Saturday night’s full moon, with China’s national day following just two days later, today. The other festivals are Chinese New Year and the Dragon Boat Racing Festival in May each year.
Kimson said the meaning of the festival is the gathering of families in the spirit of a reunion.
“The full moon symbolises the reunion,” Kimson said, “with a full circle of getting together with family and loved ones each year on this occasion. Bearing that in mind, the members of our association and their families, some from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, can be together for one special night, even though we may be far from our families.”
He said the association wanted to create the chance for people to come together, families and friends, to feel that even though they might be far from their homeland, they could feel that they were part of a family.
It is out of respect for these Chinese traditions, and the feeling of Chinese solidarity, that the Chinese Ambassador Pan Guang Xue and others from the Chinese Embassy joined the celebration, Kimson said.
“This occasion is a reunion and the Chinese ambassador is far away from family. We invite Ambassador Pan and his colleagues because we want to make him feel at home. He honours us with his presence and graces the opening by giving us a well-wishing speech.”
Kimson said the Association wanted to create an atmosphere of fun and friendliness each year with games and singing and dancing, as well as raffling gifts and prizes in an effort to make everyone excited.
When Oknha Yum Sui Sang gave his speech to the crowd of about 1,200 people, he said: “The evening belongs to us so everyone should enjoy it.”
Kimson said Oknha Yung Sui Sang had been the driving force behind the association.
“He selflessly contributes to the association and running of it. He encourages the members to work together and to gather together, share experiences, and exchange information for the well being of every member.”
The China, Hong Kong and Macau Expatriate Business Association of Cambodia has 70 corporate members, mostly garment factories including shoe manufacturers as well as interior decoration, medical, health care and others.
“The key point is to get the members to integrate into Cambodian society,” Kimson said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Alan Becker at [email protected]