BY Ian McIntyre
THE distance between Ukraine and Penang is over 8,000 km but on Friday, the graphic details of war were brought here to mark the 1st anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war.
The details came in the form of several photographs, which were being exhibited at the Art Room in Straits Quay until Sunday evening here.
Reportedly, eight million Ukraines have been displaced while the United Nations data showed that in 12 months, more than 7,199 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and 11,756 wounded.
The person instrumental in generating awareness about this anniversary, is Penang-based Ukraine honorary consul Datuk Seri Chuah Kim Seah.
The RGB International Bhd's managing director brought in friends and fellow honorary consuls to help generate awareness earlier this week
Among them was the former Yang di-Pertua Negri of Penang, Tun Dr Abdul Rahman Abbas, who despite his frail condition, made the journey to help promote the cause that there is no substitute for peace in this world.
Using the slogan 'Be Brave Like Ukraine' Chuah said that he had the opportunity to visit the country in 2019 just before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
"I fell in love instantly with the beauty of the country. It's unbelievable landscape, amazing infrastructure and marvellous hospitality."
"Sad to say, this scenario has changed in a blink of an eye. Ukraine's beauty is destroyed, and their people are living in fear constantly."
He said the least the people in Penang can do is to provide aid and offer solidarity to the civilians there, as war has no place in any country if possible.
He hopes that the photographs can bring attention to the need for peace over conflict.
Among those present were the Japanese Consul-General Kawaguchi Yoshiyasu, Penang deputy legislative speaker Datuk Dr Amar Pritpal Abdullah, Thai Consul-General Pinduan Nagavirol, Indonesian Consul-General Aryadi Ramadhan, Bangladeshi honorary consul Datuk Shaik Ismail Shaik Allaudin and South African honorary consul Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Maidin.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian here has urged the authorities to allow for the entry of a small number of Ukraine refugees, particularly those whose relatives are already studying or working in the country.
The Ukrainian, who preferred not to share his name due to the sensivities of the conflict, said that the Malaysian government should also allow the refugees to work temporary so they can contribute to their hosts here.
"This is because Malaysia is facing an acute shortage of workers, particularly in the service-orientated industry such as tourism, so the Ukrainians can fill in the gap temporary until the global economy recovers," he said. – The Vibes, February 26, 2023