Chinese culture was on display in a big way in Barbados last weekend. The staging of the 6th annual Fish and Dragon Festival by the People’s Republic of China saw an Opening Gala on Friday night and the Festival being held on Saturday. Both events were held at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium.
Patrons were exposed to entertainment by a Chinese contingent where the acts featured mostly singing and dancing. The festivities Saturday night focused more on showcasing items on display.
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados Yan Xiusheng told the media that over the years “more and more people are coming to enjoy the festival and to learn about Chinese culture.
“The world is colourful because we have different cultures. The world is colourful because each culture has its original value and original beauty. So we respect each other’s culture and civilisation. The world can be more peaceful and more stable with mutual respect and equality.”
Xiusheng said that the festival was a collaborative effort between the embassy and the Central Bank.
“Six years ago, the embassy of the People’s Republic of China initiated this Fish and Dragon Festival with the Central Bank of Barbados. We have had good collaboration with the Central Bank. Through our joint effort, we have made this festival into one of the most popular events in Barbados.”
He continued: “We display Chinese culture to Barbadians and to make this a platform for Chinese people and Barbados people to exchange their culture and to exchange ideas. Culture is colourful because of communication. Culture is enriched by mutual learning and that was said by His Excellency President Xi Jinping last year.”
The envoy added that although Barbados and China are far away, the two countries are close in friendship.
“Forty-three years ago, we set up diplomatic relations between our two countries and since then we enjoy political exchange… in the field of agriculture, culture, medical [and] sports, the relations are moving forward steadily. I hope we can work together with Government to make our best effort to promote the relations to an even higher level. I hope that we can have cooperation in many areas…”
Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sport John King echoed his sentiments.
“The Ambassador and myself, in our own way, apart from the political side of things, have had these discussions for just about two years… About how do we bring our people closer together as members of a global family. This festival is a fantastic idea. If you look outside, you will see a huge amount of people, all colours, classes, races together in harmony. This is the power of culture.”
The minister continued: “At man’s core we [share] common values regardless of where you are. Those are the things we want to highlight, those are the things we want the ministry responsible for culture to bring to the front of the table. So that there are agreements based on mutual friendship, based on mutual respect, cooperation and also based on us being a human family. I see this as an initiative to break down any barriers you may have. We want to build bridges, not walls.”
Elson Gaskin, secretary of the Central Bank, said the institution has been associated with this festival almost from the beginning.
“Economically, there are a number of parallels between the People’s Republic of China and Barbados… and as an institution, we believe that there is much mutual benefit. [It’s] the platform for the exchange of economic and financial ideas and hence this continued cooperation which we hope would continue in the unforeseeable future…” (IMC)