KUCHING – An 84-year-old breaks the record of last year’s 80-year-old, as the oldest virtual runner at the Run for the Wild 2019 jointly organized by Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Program (WCS Malaysia), Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak Campus, and in partnership with Sarawak Biodiversity Centre. The 84-year-old former Forest Department Sarawak staff walked as a virtual runner at Kuching’s Jubilee Ground.
The Run was a resounding success, with the participation of nine other welfare organizations and youth-run NGOs from Kuching. Among them were the Sarawak Society for the Deaf (SSD), Community-Based Rehabilitation Centre (PDK), Hope Place, Heart Treasures, Tzu Chi, Keep Green Movement (KGM), Kuching Beach Cleaners, Sarawak Eco Warriors and the Swinburne Sarawak Green Club. About 50 participants from these NGOs took part and showcased their activities during the ‘environment bazaar’.
Seventy-four volunteers consisting of students and staff from Swinburne Sarawak made up most of the work force to manage over 317 registered runners on the day of the event. Volunteers from Swinburne Sarawak’s Green Club were also present to assist in the day’s event while promoting their club’s activities.
“The support for conservation seen in Kuching is extremely heart-warming,” remarked Dr Melvin Gumal, Director of WCS Malaysia. “In a way, the event was also a celebration of life as the NGOs highlighted simple solutions that participants can take to help alleviate the serious environmental problems faced by humanity. Such conservation optimism and hope are important because we humans often feel overwhelmed by dark environmental issues”.
Aside from the large art piece which was on display for the public to doodle on and a conservation talk on orang-utans, sharks and rays and the roles of humans to help these wildlife by Dr Melvin Gumal, the event was made even more happening with performances by the KGM Band. The crowd was serenaded by the hypnotizing tunes on a traditional, 2-string lute, known to the Orang Ulu community as the tapi’. Tzu Chi’s Rice Bag House which imitated the greenhouse effect was a hit with the runners as was the massive hammerhead shark photo backdrop and the Swinburne Sarawak Green Club’s creation of “Trash Art”.
In addition, winners of the Wildlife Conservation Swinburne Sarawak English Microfiction Challenge, Ashley Jong Yi Ying, Chamath Kalanaka Vithanawasam, Ephraim Hii Xin En, Lancelan Pegan anak Roland Sagah and Shin Ho In, were present to receive their awards. The winning entries for their respective categories can be viewed at the official Wildlife Conservation Swinburne Sarawak English Microfiction Challenge website (http://wildlifemicrofiction.com/).
Swinburne Sarawak Green Club Advisor Christina Yin spoke up for the event’s conservation appeal. “Swinburne is delighted to host the Run for the Wild once again and to be part of this important conservation work, conserving the orang-utans, sharks and rays - unique wildlife in Sarawak. Together with WCS staff and their partners, the students and staff who volunteered and who participated in the Run are trying to do their best to raise awareness of conservation issues and the plight of our endangered species. We believe that our individual contributions, no matter how small, make a difference and hope that members of the public will also strive to live more sustainably by refusing, reducing, reusing, repurposing and recycling.”
Run for the Wild Malaysia is supported by Hilton Kuching, Sarawak Energy Berhad, Hock Seng Lee, Hypergear Malaysia, John’s Pie, Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, Neudimenxion and iPrint.
The public is invited to continue supporting the conservation of orang-utans, sharks and rays by joining the 520 other virtual runners from 19 countries by registering at the Run for the Wild Malaysia website: http://www.runforthewildmalaysia.com/. Registration is free and track logs may be submitted until 31 December 2019, which will then be published on WCS Malaysia’s Facebook page.
Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Program is headquartered in Kuching, Sarawak, with offices in Kuala Lumpur, Kahang, Johor and Kuala Rompin in Peninsular Malaysia. Currently, WCS Malaysia works to preserve four priority species – orang-utans, sharks and rays, elephants and tigers. Go to https://malaysia.wcs.org/ for more information on WCS Malaysia and visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WCS.Malaysia/ for updates.