By Banya Hongsar Canberra – The celebration of the 64 Mon National Day was a joyful moment for the Mon people in Australia and around the world, with the hopes of preserving Mon identity, culture, and bringing a cohesiveness to the Mon community. The Australian Mon community hosted the celebration of Mon National Day in Canberra to over 300 guests including local Australian people. The event was fully packed with red and white Mon national dress and Mon food and dance.
Speakers at the event were highly regarded senior politicians from Canberra, the capital of Australia. Two local senators and one member of the Legislative Assembly were among the official speakers, as well as one representative from the Overseas Mon Coordinating Committee.
The event formally opened with the singing of both the Mon and Australian national anthem’s. Following this, there was a salutation and remembrance of Mon leaders and people who have sacrificed themselves for national discourse in Burma.
“Mon people deserve independence and the write to govern themselves,” spoke the Honorable Senator Gary Humphries, a Canberra senior politician, to the audience. Senator Humphries has attended at least six of the Mon National Day events since 2001, acting as Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government and Senator of Canberra.
He went on to say that Mon National Day was meant to celebrate the identity and social and political aspirations of the Mon people. Mr Humphries is a representative of the Federal Opposition in the Australian Parliament and has been a close supporter of the Burma Campaign Australia for many years.
The Honorable Kate Lundy was also present at the event, representing the Australian Government as Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Citizenship. She expressed pleasure at seeing the unity of the Mon Community in Canberra and throughout Australia.
To the audience, the Hon. Kate Lundy said, “I am proud to be serving this position and I am committed to promoting the Australian multicultural society’, she said to the audience. The Australian government launched a new ‘Multicultural Policy” a week prior to the event and she gave two copies of the policy to the Board Members of the Australian Mon Association.
The Mon National Day event held Mon cultural and classical dance performed by a Mon women’s group, and young Mon children from Canberra.
Local politician, Mr. John Hargreaves, membor of the Legislative Assembly and representative of the ACT government said, “I am proud to be a friend of the Mon community and people. My wife and I will be coming to your event each year.”
Mr. Hargreaves granted office space to the Australia Mon Association Incorporated in 2005, at the heart of the city with the government concession rental fee.
Nai Tin Aye (aka) Nai Min Min, a former member of New Mon State Party (NMSP) spoke in Mon to the Mon community. He urged the Mon people to create “unity and respect” among the Mon people wherever they live in Australia and beyond.
Mon traditional food was prepared by Nai Min Aung and Nai Aung Naing, serving seven different courses to all guests present.
The Mon National Day Committee was chaired by Nai Pe Thein Zar and in cooperation with the Board Members of the Australia Mon Association Incorporated.
There are an 300 Mon people in Australia, with the majority residing in Canberra. The Australia Mon Association Inc. was formed in early 1996 and officially registered with the ACT government.
The Mon community contributed over $6000 for the event. The ACT government also provided funds for the event.