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Malayali Christmas fails to impress

Auckland Malayali Samajam celebrated Christmas at Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall on November 23, 2013.

Australia and New Zealand Patriarchal Vicar Bishop Mor Irenious Paulose delivered the Christmas Message and blessed families and friends of the Samajam.

The programme included the traditional Christmas song performed by a Filipino choir, carol songs and a skit by St Peters Orthodox Church group and a Kuchipudi dance number by Dr Dhanya Sreekanth.

Although Auckland accounts for at least five Malayali Church groups, their absence at the Christmas gathering was a surprise.

A number of parents complained to me of poor communication and the lack of opportunities for youngsters to showcase their talents.

“We remember how well organised these functions were a few years ago. Those were the golden days of the Samajam, which enlisted the participation of various Church groups, Malayali clubs and other organisations,” they said.

Among the highlights of the programme was the presence of popular Malayalam film director Anil Kumar, who was in New Zealand to select locations for a new Tamil film being produced by former Samajam President Sasi Nambissan under his ‘Aiswarya Entertainments Limited’ banner.

Mr Kumar said, “I am delighted to see so many Malayalis coming together to commemorate festivals such as Onam and Christmas,” he said.

Delicious food

A number of food items, prepared by Siva Prasad and his team were delicious, but the venue was too small to accommodate 250 people, forcing many members and guests to watch proceedings on their feet. Dinner time was chaotic, with a long queue of men, women and children waiting to be served.

Former Executive Committee member Dr Rita Sasidharan said that the programme had variety and the Christmas feast, prepared by volunteers, was superb.

She was however critical that the event was not ‘inclusive’ and that it did not do justice for a community organisation.

“I was disappointed that all announcements were made in English language. One of the objectives of our Samajam is to encourage Malayalam as the language of communication at our functions. There are many youngsters who are fluent in Malayalam and hence I was disappointed that their services were not utilised to conduct the programme in Malayalam,” she said.

Aneesh David, a former member of the Executive Committee, also questioned the choice of the venue and the resultant delay in service.

Siju Jacob is a former President of the Auckland Malayali Samajam. We invite officials and members of the Samajam to respond to the above by email to editor@indiannewslink.co.nz

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