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Media Center > Speeches > HON. PM BAINIMARAMA'S REMARKS AT THE CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS

HON. PM BAINIMARAMA'S REMARKS AT THE CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS

2/3/2019
Your Excellency Mr Qian Bo, Ambassador of the People’s
Republic of China;
The New Zealand High Commissioner, His Excellency
Mr Jonathan Curr and Mrs Curr;
President of the Chinese Association of Fiji and Chair of the Organising Committee, Ms Jenny Seeto;
Distinguished Guests;
Leaders of the Various Chinese Organizations and Groups;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Boys and Girls.

Bula vinaka, and a very good morning to you all.

I’d like to thank our Chinese-Fijian community for warmly extending their hospitality to myself and my wife, Mary –– we always enjoy coming to your Chinese New Year celebrations, as you certainly know how to put on a show.

Seeing our young people participate in rich cultural traditions like the wonderful lion and dragon dances we just witnessed always brings joy to my heart; these displays make it clear that the tapestry of many ethnicities, faiths, and backgrounds –– the collective heritage that makes our country what it is today –– will continue to grow with the next generation. And I’m incredibly proud that, as they grow into adulthood and have families of their own, Fiji is growing alongside them. The opportunities for higher education, for employment in new and innovative industries and career paths, and for achieving the Fijian dream of personal success and fulfillment, have never been greater.
As we lay this solid foundation of prosperity and stability, I can’t wait to see what our young people build upon it.

Friends, we’ve come together today to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year –– the Year of the Pig. These celebrations stand out on the Chinese calendar as the largest and most energetic festivities of the year, and you can feel that excitement, and that energy, in the room here today.

This is the final year of the zodiac cycle before we begin again, and I’m told that, as the story goes, the pig holds this position on the calendar because he, of all the animals, arrived last when travelling to the dinner table –– it seems that he, like so many of our friends and neighbours, lost track of the clock and was traveling on “Fiji time”.

But at whatever pace, it’s brought us here today, at the end of the cycle –– and the last time that Fiji ushered in a Year of the Pig, our nation was a very different place indeed. I had become Prime Minister only a few weeks prior, and I knew we had quite a task ahead of us to take our nation forward. We’ve witnessed incredible things together since then, having achieved a record-breaking streak of economic growth, taken a position of regional and global prominence once unthinkable, and brought new opportunities and prosperity to our people.

We’ve seen the implementation of a revolutionary constitution that has guaranteed equality for every Fijian, regardless of who they are or where they come from. And we’ve held our nation’s first two elections that were truly free and fair, where one person equals one vote –– cementing this legacy for generations to come.

And as we’ve moved forward, the Chinese-Fijian community has been an invaluable partner in our nation’s development. Over the course of 165 years your community has truly proven to be an integral part of our society.

So to all of you, have a very happy Chinese New Year, and may it be one of great fortune for each of you, and for all of Fiji.

Vinaka vakalevu. Xie Xie. Thank you.

 
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