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Last week, the Hiichiikok Foundation Home for Children Care held a simple Hari Raya gathering at its premises in Kuala Lumpur. This has been an annual ritual in the Home, which hosts gatherings for major festivals like Chinese New Year and Deepavali.

These gatherings are not elaborate and in fact, some of the Home’s supporters and volunteers chip in to make such events more meaningful. The Home’s manager, Diana Ooi takes the extra effort to organise such events because it allows the children to have a better appreciation of the country’s diverse cultures.

Lee Kok Cheng (in chequered shirt), Executive Committee member of the Hiichiikok Foundation joining the children for lunch during the Raya do.

Despite being away from their families, the Home makes sure the children learn about their own cultural heritage and those of other communities. In this fast-paced society, we sometimes forget about our own customs and rituals.

Learning about our own past and heritage help us to stay grounded. This is especially useful for children who come from troubled families. And by learning about the cultures and practices of others, we become more appreciative and respectful of them.

In a society which is becoming more divided, learning about our own and others’ cultural heritage helps promote unity. It helps to peel away the layers of mistrusts or prejudice built up due to ignorance.