PUTRAJAYA: For nine days, the beauty of Malaysia is paraded in a festival of blossoms and lights.
Embracing the concept of a garden city, Putrajaya takes on a cheerful facade that is not seen everyday at just any country's administrative capital.
One may even be forgiven to think that spring has arrived in tropical Malaysia.
For sitting on a specially set aside 15-acre site along the serene Putrajaya waterfront are flowers of various species, set in full bloom and thoughtfully laid out by landscape and garden specialists.
The Putrajaya Flower and Garden Festival (Floria Putrajaya 2012), now in its fifth installment, takes Malaysians and tourists up-close to some 400,000 tropical, sub-tropical and temperate flowers and plants.
Taking centrestage this year is the delicate but vibrant bunga kertas, otherwise known as the bougainvillea, which the festival organisers have hailed in its event theme as a species of “Enduring Beauty”.
The flower, according to some, embodies the spirit of unity upheld in multicultural Malaysia.
“The bougainvillea is a rare find in cold countries and this floral fest is an exhibition that meets international standards.
“We would like tourists to come back to Malaysia repeatedly through new tourism products (such as this) and at the same time, to encourage Malaysians to develop a passion for gardening and to respond to the call for a greener and cleaner Malaysia,” Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said with a smile after taking a leisurely stroll among the flowers with her family here recently.
Indeed, such is the attraction of the flower, that government agencies, corporations, and floral associations made little hesitation in supporting the festival by organising some 100 bougainvillea cultivars at 80 garden designs here.
Some one million visitors are expected to throng not only the floral and garden festival but also the nine-day 1Malaysia International Tourism Night Floral Parade themed “Magic of the Night”, which was launched on June 30 by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah.
Other dignitaries who were spotted in the first few days of the floral parade included Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, international shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo and Datuk Ooi Chean See, the first woman conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.
Definitely, the floral parade has more to offer to its visitors.
By nightfall, visitors to the “Magic of the Night” event will be enchanted by a parade of decorated flotillas, which gracefully cruises along a 3km stretch of the Putrajaya waterfront.
And at the end of each night, a colourful burst of fireworks will dominate the skyline of Putrajaya, another highlight of the festival which is not to be missed.
The “Magic of the Night”, clearly manifests itself against the architectural beauty of the administrative capital.
Dr Ng herself has likened the sight to as if being in “a city of fairy lights”.
In case one has not already noticed, Putrajaya is home to many bridges and at Precinct Two where the Putrajaya waterfront is located, there lay the majestic and futuristic 240m Jambatan Seri Wawasan, which forms a scenic backdrop as the lights dance in the dark sky, leaving the beholders of the eyes both bedazzled and mesmerised.
The flotilla parade in itself is best appreciated in the stories the vessels tell through the cleverly designed motifs that each carries to showcase their state or country of origin.
Apart from one each from Suzhou (China) and Kenya, the other flotillas come from various states of Malaysia including Langkawi (Kedah), Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu and, of course, the host city of Putrajaya.
Except for two others put up in the name of good sport by the Tourism Ministry and Tourism Malaysia, the rest of the flotillas participating in the 1Malaysia International Tourism Night Floral Parade 2012 will vie for various prizes, including the best decorated boat and the most popular boat.
Winners will be announced at the final leg of the flotilla parade on Sunday.
The “Magic of the Night” event started last Saturday and will continue until July 8. The flotillas will make an appearance from 8.30pm onwards.
The Floria Putrajaya is open to the public from 9am to 10pm (Monday to Thursday) and 9am to midnight (Friday to Sunday).
Admission is free.
> The “Magic of the Night” event is organised by the Tourism Ministry while the Floria Putrajaya 2012 is organised by the Putrajaya Corporation. - theStarOnline