As long as there shall be stones, the seeds of fire will not die……

Sebastian Ting


 Heartiest congratulation to the Sarawak Constellation Poetical  Society for launching a new memorial book in conjunction with its 50th anniversary, and at the same time successfully holding a literature forum,  in particular, inviting Dr. Fan Pik Wah, the President of the Malaysia Chinese Writers Association who is also the head of the Department of Chinese Studies of the University of Malaya, and the Deputy Executive editor-in-chief of “Sin Chew Daily” Mr. Chen Yoke Lim who came all the way from KL to Kuching for their presentations.


I am very pleased to be told that many of the guests who present here are authoritative figures on Chinese literature in Sarawak and Malaysia, as well as senior leaders in the cultural and educational spheres. Many of the attendees are teachers and students who teach, learn and inherit Chinese education and culture.



As stated, “as long as there shall be stones, the seeds of fire will not die.” Where the original aspiration remains true to heart, the warmness of the soul and blood will be there, and the noble mission for culture and education will continue to live on, so as to preserve the ethnic identity and self-esteem of the Chinese in Malaysia.


Literature is an important combination of the upper layer of cultural architecture, it is art, and it is also a way of life, and thought. No matter how materially sufficient the people are, when spiritual life becomes a desert, literature serves as an oasis, and it is the source of living water.


In recent years, Sarawak has stepped up its efforts to claim its rights from the Federal Government, including the resources entitled, aiming to improve the economy and to enable more physical developments, we should at the same time be alerted that we need to pay more attention to the needs of Sarawakians for the immaterial aspect of spiritual life, so as to strengthen the Sarawakians’ identity which consolidates our beloved society with goodwill, consistency, and ethnic harmony.



It would be a regret if the Sarawakians’ identity is purely treated as a political slogan for the purpose of propaganda without being instilled in life and thought. Such an inherited asset is invaluable and should be recognized as the original aspiration and belief of Anak Sarawak. The characteristics of Sarawakians’ identity are alike the rivers in Sarawak, they confluent and become bigger, then flow into the South China Sea. Hospitality, generousness, and tolerance with mutual respect are the fundamental compositions of Sarawak tradition, its cultural identity can be served as a model of the multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-religious society of our whole nation.


I wish to take the occasion and forum today to express one point: I sincerely hope that through our Sarawak writers, intellectuals, and scholars, we should try to explore deeper into the spiritual and cultural heritage of our beloved motherland, it is a need, and perhaps a mission to accomplish, to advocate, promote and carry forward the original aspiration of harmonious coexistence.   


In my opinion, this can also be a subject matter or theme for writers and scholars in West Malaysia to focus on, and even for the organizations of literature culture to explore, it is definitely worthy of attention. For the land of hornbills, in addition to the tropical rainforest, there are also big rivers and riverine, nourishing the water, soil, and people who are on the frontline to preserve and protect the harmonious society of Malaysia.


In fact, when the racial and religious differences in Malaysia are manipulated by certain irresponsible elements, we can proudly say that Sarawak has the constellation star link to find the direction of social harmony, Sarawak is an oasis and a source of living water to explore.


The rift in society must be repaired, the lives of our people must be improved as soon as possible, and the acceleration of economic recovery must also become the top agenda of the new federal government. The current top priority for Malaysia is to overcome these challenges, to converge and unite so that the country can move forward.


The Sarawak Constellation Poetical Society’s series of activities to celebrate its 50th anniversary reached its peak today with the launching of a commemorative special collection and the literature forum of “Stars Twinkle, And So the Original Aspiration” and therefore ended in a perfect turn.


I remember that on August 8, 2019, on behalf of the then Minister of Local Government and Housing of Sarawak, our current Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr. Sim Kui Hian, I presided over the opening of the “Taiwan and Sarawak Literary Encounter Symposium” of the Poetical Society, which marked the beginning of the celebration. In the past three years, as we have faced the severe blow of the Covid 19 pandemic, the Poetical Society has turned to develop new platforms online for activities, and it has received good responses visually.


On behalf of my ministry, besides giving our support, I wish to applaud the outstanding efforts taken by the current leadership team of the Poetical Society, at the same time we are also here to pay tribute to their past leaders. We all know that the road of literature and art is not only narrow and long but also very lonely. These predecessors should feel proud by witnessing the series of activities celebrating the Poetical Society’s 50th anniversary is now coming to a perfect ending; they can expect a new start of the journey with confidence. This is a historic moment for carrying forward the past and ushering in the future.


To the Sarawak Constellation Poetical Society, I am full of expectations!



  • Speech of YB Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew, Honorable Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak to officiate the Launching of the commemorative book and Opening Ceremony of Literature Forum organized by the Sarawak Poetical Society held at the Grand Riverine Ballroom, Level 3, Riverine Diamond, Jalan Petanak, Kuching on Sunday, 11 December 2022 at 10:00 am.