Bhutanese Australians in Adelaide observed the third year of their settlement in Australia with cultural presentations and Bhutanese-Nepali cuisines on May 13.
The participants and guests began arriving about 6pm at the Olympic Centre in the heart of Adelaide city and each guest was welcome with Khada.
The celebration formally began in traditional manner with Guest of Honour, Lt Governor of South Australia Hieu Van Le, AO and the Chief Guest Hon. Michael Atkinson, the MP representing Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Hon Grace Portolesi, jointly lighting candle. Other guests included Mr. Tony Japia, the Federal Member of Makin.
In his welcome speech, chairperson of the Bhutanese Association in South Australia (BASA) Jogen Gazmere highlighted the progress made by the Bhutanese Australians towards integration and adaptation into the new home. He said, “Many are still facing difficulties in adjusting in their new country, while some are settling down well. Being entrenched in tradition, the Bhutanese community is sometime seen to face dilemmas and difficulties in adjusting to the new multicultural environment. The difference in the outlook of older and younger generation is possibly going to generate rift in the future, where reconciliation will be the only recourse to resolution. The gender issue and the issue of cohesion and harmony will equally demand attention in the days to come which needs to be addressed sensitively, but firmly.”
He added, “As a community we have the strengths and weaknesses as well as virtues and vices. However, the vision of creating a productive and purposeful community will demand us to premise our endeavor on our collective strengths and virtues”.
Lt Governer appreciated the progress being made by the Bhutanese community members to settle down in Australia. “Since becoming the member of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission, I have seen many communities established themselves in this state including my own community – the Vietnamese community. But I have to say, I can recall very few, however, that have made such excellent progress in short period. And you the Bhutanese community.”
He also appreciated the five year plan charted out by BASA in their efforts to build a strong and vibrant Bhutanese community. “I am sure that the members of the local Bhutanese community have the ability to adapt to maintain social harmony and most important of all to succeed in your new home,” he further said.
Similarly, Mr Atkinson said, “Bhutanese community in South Australia is characterised by energy and mission and their outstanding organization to establish a cohesive and strong identity.” He mentioned that Bhutanese settlement is the one of the success stories of the state.
The choir sang the song that carried a message about the progress, strength and integration of the Bhutanese community in wider Australian society symbolized as a colourful drop in the ocean. The crowd cheered when they sang together, ‘We love Australia’. The dances that followed hit the ground which depicted the Bhutanese-Nepali culture and tradition of entertainment for the community.
The volunteers worked the whole day in the kitchen preparing typical Bhutanese-Nepali cuisines including Datshi. Special chefs from Sagarmatha Nepali Restaurant mentored the Bhutanese volunteers prepare the traditional dishes. The Bhutanese costumes, musical instruments including madal (tom-tom) and other cultural stuffs were stalled for exhibition which mostly attracted visitors and guests.
“With partial grants from some service providers and the money collected from community members, BASA was able to organise yet another big event most successfully”, said Sushil Niraula, Cultural Desk Coordinator of BASA and coordinator of the Third Annual Day function. Bendigo Bank, Refugee services of Department of Families and Communities and Multicultural SA supported the event.
The Bhutanese Annual Day in South Australia marks the arrival of two Bhutanese families in Australia under Third Country Resettlement programme in 2008.