SPEECH BY THE CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG YAB TUAN CHOW KON YEOW FOR THE GEORGE TOWN FESTIVAL 2019 OPENING CEREMONY
13 JULY 2019
Welcome to the George Town Festival 2019. First and foremost, thank you for inviting me to join all of you today and to share this joyous moment of the opening ceremony. It is indeed a great honour for me to be here tonight.
As we are all aware of, the GTF 2019 returns for its tenth edition this year, from 13 to 28 July 2019. Inaugurated in 2010 to celebrate the city’s newly obtained UNESCO Heritage Site status, the Festival has drawn thousands of visitors each year to Penang and is quickly becoming one of Asia’s leading arts events.
Tonight, we are gathered here to see the areas surrounding the Esplanade being transformed into a glowing playground with showcases of lights and rays as well as projection mapping inWhen Night Falls. We hope these vibrant performances combining cutting-edge technology with sensational acrobatic feats will keep you entertained, enthralled and amused.
But these lights have also shone the spotlight on the state government’s Penang2030 vision and the value the arts bring to the vision. Tonight, not only we’re bringing along our families and friends to spend some much-needed quality time, but we are also meeting others with almost the same level of restlessness. We come together for a reason – to find enjoyment and excitement in all kinds of amazing arts.
Arts is an essential component in family-building, which is one of the primary policies of thePenang2030 vision. To be Family-focused means that apart from being people-centric, the state government is aware that our family is central to our daily lives. Through the means of arts, there is a common and binding element for people to share with their families, friends and loved ones.
In line with Penang2030 vision of building ‘A Family-focused Green and Smart State to Inspire the Nation’, this year’s George Town Festival has a unique line-up that embodies the theme ‘A Festival for Everyone’. Its focus on family-centric performances is ideal for all ages in a bid to bring families together, from the little ones to the senior members of our community! This way, there is something for everyone to enjoy!
Penang2030 is also meant to INSPIRE. A government that inspires its people makes achieving a common goal easier and with much greater impact. While we cannot plan for what an inspired population will achieve, we do know that an inspired population is a happy one – and a creative one as well. That’s why GTF 2019 will also be taking the Festival out from traditional venues and into other community spaces through our community engagement programmes such as Macam Macam Macallum and Macam Macam Berapit. Not only are we encouraging residents to take part in the festivities and to be inspired but also inviting our tourists to discover a living urban neighbourhood and soak in its sights and sounds. Hopefully, we will see more community engagement programmes such as this in future.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the organising committee, volunteers and artists for making GTF 2019 accessible to people from all walks of life – from festival-goers to the arts communities and the general public.
On behalf of the state government, I welcome you to GTF 2019 that promises to be anything but dull. Enjoy the Festival to your hearts’ content and immerse yourselves in what this city has to offer.