Kechara’s second annual Grand Setrap & Dzambala Puja (GSDP) over the weekend of 30th and 31st January was an astounding success, surpassing our inaugural event last year in décor, energy and atmosphere.
The theme of the event was A Garden of Wealth and Protection and it was brought to life by our incomparable celebrity designer and Apprentice Liaison Bill Keith – who had barely slept all week to ensure that the hall looked spectacular – and spectacular it was!
Bill achieved this by bringing lots of green plants and orchids, which were strategically placed throughout the hall. A large floor-to-ceiling ‘rock’ and water feature was created amidst rich greenery with a gleaming golden Dzambala statue within. At the press of a button, a shower of water would bathe Dzambala and enthralled all visitors who requested for Dzambala’s blessings!
Beautifully put together with Himalayan touches of traditional thangkas, skirtings and victory banners, the entire KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall was transformed into an ethereal atmosphere of bright colours and lights – truly Kechara Paradise on earth. Flickering candles adorned every corner, from the entrance of the hall to the balustrade of the upper balcony.
Each of Kechara’s departments had its own area, decorated with its individual and unique style. Kechara Media & Publications (KMP) had a turquoise carpet, in line with the colour of its logo. Bill had brought in his personal antique furniture from his home and recreated a living room concept for the KMP corner. Kechara House and Tsem Kachö Ling shared an area which was transformed into a garden with racks of orchids and large buntings of architectural impressions of our future retreat land. Kechara Soup Kitchen had a rich reddish brown carpet, with large, stark black and white photos of the homeless on easels. Kechara InMotion screened Dharma programmes in a mini theatre, while creatively offering photos of visitors superimposed next to Setrap and Dzambala.
There was a steady stream of visitors throughout the two days – from the moment the doors opened at 11am, it was all a hub of activity. The event was officially launched when we invited an image of the previous life of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche, the spiritual guide of Kechara organisation, in to the puja, which was placed on the main altar. Liaison Datuk May Phng, representing Tsem Ladrang and the Liaisons’ Council, gave a welcome speech followed by Liaison Paul Yap, chairman of the GSDP organising committee.
All Kechara volunteers and staff kept talking, talking, talking about our spiritual guide, our departments and our organisation. Distinguished guests like Dato’ and Datin Pua (main sponsors of the GSDP), Ling and Ein Tan (international models from New York), Datin Jennifer Khoo (patron of Kechara Media & Publications), and many others were seen walking around and enjoying the activities at the event.
In between, there were lovely pujas in English and Chinese to clear obstacles for the New Year and invite inner and outer wealth. For the hungry, there was a bountiful buffet provided by Kechara Oasis (vegetarian of course!) and for the children, the Manjushri Kids’ Class had many arts and crafts activities to keep the kids busy while the parents wandered around the venue.
Next to the Kids’ section was the Kechara Paradise outlet, which offered beautiful statues and Himalayan arts and crafts with special promotions. Kechara Care was in full force, with a special contest called Kechara in One Day. Visitors were given a contest form which required them to visit all the departments and answer a question at each station. Successful completions of the contest won the visitors a free pendant. Needless to say, this contest was a great hit and many visitors were seen running around collecting answers and stamps to complete the contest!
It was like Amazing Race – Kechara style!
Kechara Discovery‘s display of glamorous and glittering pendants was one of the most popular stands of the weekend, which pleased Liaison Paul Yap, Head of Kechara Discovery who was also the chairman of the GSDP organising committee. Paul and his team had worked extremely hard for months to bring this event from concept to reality.
Candle offering coupons also entitled the sponsors to a ‘gift draw’ where a variety of donated gifts were up for grabs – from Swatch watches to a fridge to a trip to Bangkok, with the grand prize being a Shakyamuni statue worth over RM14,000. The grand prize was won by none other than Datin Ng Wee Chin, President of Kechara House and Tsem Kachö Ling executive committee member!
Many visitors came on both Saturday and Sunday, because there was just so much to see and do that it was impossible to finish in one day. We even had guests coming from Klang, Melaka, Singapore and Penang just to attend the event!
The weekend ended too quickly, and volunteers and visitors alike were rather sad at closing time. As we made our dedicational prayers at the end, we were all very grateful to Rinpoche, without whose kindness and teachings we would not have been able to have these wonderful practices of Lord Setrap and Lord Dzambala. With Rinpoche’s blessings, we hope this event touched the lives of many who came and that they will be inspired to explore their spiritual journeys further.