February 25, 2011 0 By melakatour

MALACCA: Having spent the last few Christmases by their daughter’s bedside in hospital, the De Mello family is looking forward to celebrating it at home this year.

They have also decided to add to the festive cheer by having a 1Malaysia theme.

Augustine De Mello, 39, and his wife Lisa Carmel De Costa, 29, have been looking after their nine-year-old daughter, Luisa Doreen, who was then battling cancer.

Christmas sparkle: The Mello’s home gleaming with festive lights and decorations at dusk in Malacca.

“This year’s celebration is very special for us. We have never had the chance of celebrating Christmas properly as a family at home but instead did it by my daughter’s side in the hospital.

“We are thankful to God that she has recovered and can now enjoy Christmas with the family,” he said when met at the Portuguese Settlement here yesterday.

De Mello, a fishermen, said the family spent five months sourcing for Christmas decorations and lights and decided to go with the 1Malaysia theme.

“We may be from a humble background and money may be tight but Christmas must be celebrated joyously. It is a time for family bonding,” he added.

He said he chose the 1Malaysia theme for the decorations as it captured the festive spirit that Malaysians share and enjoy together irrespective of racial backgrounds.

“Besides the usual Christmas decorations, I used the traditional Chinese lanterns, peacocks and ketupat motifs as part of the trimmings,” he said, adding his wife even made a large 1Malaysia decorative sign.

The 1.5m-tall sign complete with festive greetings of the various communities in Malaysia were strung up in front of his house at Daranjo Street here.

Meanwhile, Deputy Information, Communication and Culture Minis­ter Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum said that this year’s national-level Christmas celebrations would be held here on the night of Dec 26.

He said that Malacca Governor Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob would attend as guest-of-honour with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Information, Commu­nications, Culture and Arts Ministry Datuk Seri Rais Yatim in attendance.

Some 10,000 visitors are expected to turn up during the celebration with many local artistes performing, he told reporters after chairing a meeting on the finalisation of the national-level Christmas celebration here yesterday.

One of the highlights of the night, he added, would be a 1Malaysia Joget with more than 2,000 participants that would be listed in the Malaysia Book of Records.

Regedor (village headman) Peter Thomas Gomes said some 1,500 car parks would be provided at two vacant compounds near Taman Kampung Atap from early evening.

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