Perth’s Chinese New Year celebrations have been scrapped, a year after the impending coronavirus pandemic was discussed with a leading Chinese representative in the city.
Perth and Kinross Provost Dennis Melloy said “never in his wildest dreams” did he expect the world would still be fighting Covid-19 a year after he discussed the virus with the Chinese Consul General in Perth at last year’s celebrations.
Perth’s Chinese New Year celebrations, which were hoped would have once again be the biggest in Scotland, have been cancelled, including the usual parade and a planned light show.
Last year, Mr Melloy welcomed the newly appointed Consul General Ma Qiang to Perth at a civic reception marking the Chinese New Year while coronavirus had taken a stranglehold over the city of Wuhan but had yet to spread throughout the UK.
He said: “I asked [Ma Qiang] to send our prayers and good wishes to the people of China who were fighting this dreadful coronavirus.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that we would also be fighting this dreadful virus with the rest of the world. A year later we are still fighting.
“But out of this darkness there has been a ray of light shining throughout all of our communities, as volunteers of all nationalities have gathered together throughout Perth and Kinross to give of their time and ask for no reward tirelessly distributing vital supplies to people’s homes.
“The Chinese New Year celebrations here in Perth is recognised as the best in Scotland.
“Unfortunately, this year we will miss or famous dragon and lion dance winding its way through the streets of Perth to the Norrie Millar lights along the River Tay.”
The Year of the Ox will quietly arrive on Friday, and Perth Chinese Association chairman Andy Chan hopes it will mark the beginning of brighter days to come.
He said: “We leave the Year of the Rat and move into the Year of the Ox, which symbolises strength and determination, which is hopeful news as we should come out of this pandemic together a stronger and more cohesive community.
“I think that in Perth the Chinese community is part of all our lives. I was born here, my brothers, sisters, cousins and most other Chinese-Scots my age all consider themselves to be equal parts of both cultures.
“We really have grown up with the best of both worlds.
“As a boy growing up in Perth in a Chinese family, I remember Chinese New Year as a magical time where Chinese family and friends came together to celebrate at organised private events.
“Through the years, because of the efforts of Perth Chinese Association and Perth and Kinross Council, I have been delighted to see the Chinese New Year celebrations in Perth grow and grow to be an event where all the diverse communities of our area can share in the joy and appreciate the Chinese culture and celebrations.”