DULI YANG TERAMAT MULIA
RAJA MUDA PERAK DARUL RIDZUAN
RAJA NAZRIN SHAH IBNI SULTAN AZLAN MUHIBBUDDIN SHAH
OFFICIAL OPENING OF
ART FOR NATURE 2009
DATE: 16 MAY 2009 TIME: 8.00 PM
VENUE: RIMBUN DAHAN, KUANG, SELANGOR DARUL EHSAN
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Beta bersyukur ke hadrat Ilahi kerana dengan izin dari Nya juga Beta dan Raja Puan Besar dapat berangkat ke pelancaran Art for Nature 2009.
- I am delighted to be here in this fine gallery on the occasion of the opening of Art for Nature 2009. I congratulate the organiser, WWF-Malaysia and sponsor, Hijjas Kasturi Associates for their thirteenth consecutive year of promoting the conservation of Malaysia’s natural heritage through the unifying language of art.
- This year’s exhibition is aptly themed Tanah Air. Two important elements crucial for the survival of all living beings; and two elements that are also under threat of destruction due to the growing demands made by man upon nature. It is estimated that man is expending approximately 30 percent more natural resources than the earth can replenish. The planet’s balance of nature, which has evolved over a period of approximately 350 million years, has been severely harmed in a matter of decades. Our activities are drastically changing the climate, diminishing the quality of drinking water, destroying our forests and polluting our seas – all to the detriment of our biodiversity.
- In Malaysia, the term “tanah air” strikes a deeper chord. It means homeland, the country of our birth, the land we inherited – from where we derive our identity. Malaysia is a country blessed with a great biodiversity. It is one of only two countries in the world that is home to the orang-utan. We have the second largest population of tigers in the world. The Borneo pygmy elephant can only be found in Sabah. The world’s tallest tropical tree, the tualang, and the smallest hoofed mammal, the kancil, are both exclusively native to Malaysia. Our warm tropical waters are home to one of the world’s largest populations of endangered green sea turtles and other vulnerable marine species. Should we lose what nature has endowed us with, we will not only lose resources and wildlife. The livelihood of our communities, the potential for human nourishment and medicine, our quality of life and our very identity will erode also.
- Sadly, we have been gradually heading along this course. The development this country has witnessed over the years has had its consequences on our natural surroundings. I believe that in our race towards economic progress, most Malaysians have, to a large extent, also trivialised environmental concerns, deferring thoughts about or efforts towards tackling such issues.
- The lack of urgency can be partly attributed to the lack of awareness. How many are aware that the poaching of wildlife is a major problem in our rainforests, or that the survival of our turtles is at risk due to continuous illegal fishing, poorly-protected nesting sites and consumption of turtle eggs? The incessant clearing of land, indiscriminate construction, irresponsible fishing and fragmentation of coral reefs are putting in jeopardy the continued existence of some of our precious species and sites. They will eventually disappear unless there is intervention to better protect and more effectively manage our forests, rivers and oceans; and the animal and plant species that inhabit them.
- The challenge lies first in creating awareness. It is for this reason that I find the Art for Nature exhibition a very praiseworthy effort. Art is a powerful communicative medium. While science informs the mind, art connects with the human spirit.
- That is why this exhibition is so significant. I believe it will do far more than raise funds. It will prompt much reflection and persuade us to consider these urgent environmental issues. The artists themselves play a very important role in educating the public. If, for example, a group of Malaysian children are made to understand the benefits of recycling or the hazards of littering, their cumulative future actions can make an immense difference to their surroundings and their lives.
- I hope that many Malaysians will have the opportunity to see the works on display here and, in doing so, reflect upon what they as individuals can do to protect our natural environment.
- My commendation to WWF-Malaysia and Hijjas Kasturi Associates on your clear philosophy and your vision of a better ecological future for our country. I wish you all an enjoyable evening.
- I now have great pleasure in declaring Art for Nature 2009 officially open.
Wabillahi taufik walhidayah
Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.