In what could be taken as a truce over the recent controversy surrounding the teaching of Jawi script in national type schools, the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) Chinese New Year open house today featured a special display of several ancient calligraphies.

From one end of the stage to the other, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, alongside other Pakatan Harapan leaders, held a stretch of white paper with “Selamat Tahun Baru Cina” written in Jawi characters, khat, and the Tamil script.

When contacted later, KLSCAH CEO Lee Shok Jing said the display also featured an ancient Chinese “seal script”, stating “The spring (season has) returned to earth”.

“KLSCAH has been displaying khat and Chinese calligraphy since its Chinese cultural event in 2016,” she told Malaysiakini.

“But for the first time, Jawi, khat and the Tamil script were displayed during our Chinese New Year open house.”

The Harapan leaders on stage were Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong and Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari.

Also on stage was heritage activist Ishak Surin, while MCA president Wee Ka Siong were among the other prominent personalities seen in attendance.

At the event, several tables were also set-up along one side of the main hall.

In one corner, guests were seen queuing up to have their names written in Jawi and khat calligraphy by a veteran in the trade who also displayed his other works.

Other tables were occupied by a demonstration of Chinese calligraphy.

Hundreds of guests who packed the main hall were also treated to the customary lion dance performance and a lou sang session to usher in good luck in the Year of the Metal Rat.

Critics of the government’s move to introduce Jawi writing lessons in vernacular schools had previously suggested for it to be taught as part of art lessons rather than Malay language studies.

The Jawi lessons are currently incorporated in three pages of the Year 4 Bahasa Malaysia textbooks being used for vernacular schools this year.

At present, the Education Ministry’s policy is that this section is optional for vernacular school students, subject to approval from parents and parent-teacher associations.

Retrieved from Malaysiakini

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