KUCHING, 23 June 2018 In celebration of the annual Gawai Dayak festival, AEON CO. (M). BHD. hosted an inaugural event with 500 members of the local community at Kampung Benuk, as part of its community engagement programme to foster relations and strengthen bonds with the locals.
The community engagement programme is AEON’s way of promoting a more tightly-knit society through communal events. This year’s programme coincided with the Gawai Dayak celebration, which presented a platform for AEON to bolster unity among Malaysians; at the same time, enabled it to continue to give back to the community.
This time around and in light of the recent opening of AEON MALL Kuching Central, AEON’s motivation to host today’s Gawai Dayak celebration in Kampung Benuk was off the back of the importance of the harvest festival for the Sarawakian community. An integral part of Sarawak’s Dayak community, the festival’s mark of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest echoes AEON’s sentiment to acknowledge the contributions and hard work of the locals, and usher a more abundant farming season for many more years to come.
The inaugural celebration began in the Benuk Longhouse in Kampung Benuk, which was home to the first Bidayuh longhouse in Sarawak. Since the 1950s, Kampung Benuk has played host to royalties, heads of governments, ministers and tourists from around the globe. Today, one of Borneo’s last remaining long houses calls Kampung Benuk home.
Executive Director of AEON CO. (M) BHD., Hiroyuki Kotera said: “Sarawak plays a role in contributing to the rich history of Malaysia and today, in conjunction with the Gawai Dayak celebration, we are honoured to integrate ourselves into the local culture and build more meaningful relationships with the community. AEON’s aspires to continuously build communities as commitment because in line with today’s festival, we strive to work alongside the locals to preserve their traditions and culture, and contribute stronger to the grassroot community.”
During the event, various activities were held, including a colouring contest for 30 pre-school children to encourage, identify and display the artistic talents of the younger members of Kampung Benuk. In addition to that, residents of the kampung also took part in a Miring ceremony, a ritual conducted to appease the Sempulang Gana and seek blessings for a fruitful harvest for the year ahead. After the Miring ceremony, AEON representatives and members of the community were treated to three traditional performances, namely the Serindang Purung, Jekau and Mimik Gawai.
Head of Kampung Benuk, Bundu Ak Suwap shared: “We are grateful that AEON chose Kampong Benuk to host this Gawai celebration for our community. As it is, Gawai represents a major celebration for us, and it’s a pleasure to be able to share this with AEON. AEON’s presence in Kuching has enabled our community to experience a new way of shopping and the opening of AEON MALL Kuching Central has opened many job opportunities for our younger generations. As the representative from Kampung Benuk, I would like to thank AEON for their support during this festival and I hope that our guests enjoyed many culturally-rich activities that were prepared for them.”
The festivities continued with a series of contests for the local community to showcase traditional music and clothing. In total, seven groups participated in the AEON Bergong challenge; 20 children took part in a traditional costume showcase; while 10 individuals showed off their beauty and skill in the Dayung Remus contest.
At the same time, the Malaysian AEON Foundation (MAF) also took the opportunity to hand over donations worth RM200 and one grocery bag to ten single mothers present at the Rumah Adat (Panggah). Kotera explained: “The MAF aims to always gives back to the community because we believe that it is our mission to encourage and build the communities we reside in. In this way, we are able to support those in need to the best of our abilities. Our motivations come from the desire to improve overall communal livelihood and to collectively ease the burdens of the people around us.”
About AEON CO. (M) BHD
AEON CO. (M) BHD. is a leading General Merchandise Stores (GMS) cum supermarket chain in Malaysia, with 26 AEON Malls, 34 AEON Outlets, 2 MaxValu and 3 MaxValu Prime Supermarkets across the country. In the spirit of the name AEON, which means eternity in Latin, AEON’s goal is to work together endlessly with its customers, suppliers, business partners, shareholders and the community to create a future of limitless promises. Incorporated in 1984 in response to the Malaysian Government’s invitation to help modernize the country’s retailing industry, AEON’s chain of stores strive to satisfy the ever changing needs and desires of consumers. Guided by its “Customer First” philosophy, the company’s acute understanding of the target market needs, aided by optimal product-mix, AEON surpasses consumer expectations and enhances their experience every time they shop. All this is encapsulated in the tagline “AEON Enriching Your Lifestyle”.
AEON also strongly supports environmental sustainability by championing various recycling, energy conservation and tree planting causes, by engaging and encouraging various parties, including staff, customers, NGOs, government agencies and the community at large to participate.
In 2015, AEON introduced the 'Do Mall' initiative as part of its rebranding exercise to rebrand AEON Shopping Centres to AEON Mall. The initiative marks a next step in product innovation whilst maintaining customers' favourites, a yearlong activities to enhance shopping experience and a new refreshed AEON Mall with more offerings from food, to entertainment, to fashion and to community events.
AEON has been awarded the Gold in Retail category by Putra Brand Award for 7 consecutive years since 2011. AEON was also awarded Green Leadership by Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards in 2010 and 2011. In recognition’s of AEON’s CSR initiative, the Federation of Asia-Pacific Retailers Associations (FAPRA) awarded AEON the Regional Award for “Best Efforts in Social Responsibility” in 2017. To date, AEON has planted more than 500,000 trees within Malaysia and the Malaysian AEON Foundation (MAF) has donated more than RM9 million to charity causes
For more information, please visit: www.aeonretail.com.my or www.facebook.com/aeonretail.my
Almaiyah Abd Aziz
Public Relations and CSR, AEON CO. (M) BHD.
Cohn & Wolfe
Isaiah Augustin / Bryan Chan
014-675 2407 / 012-613 5223