Tom Roelens Of Four Seasons KL: Why This Chinese New Year Symbolises A First Of Many
Last July, the Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur was visited by a troupe of lion dancers for their opening ceremony. On the 9th day of the 2019 lunar new year, another set of lions graced the porte cochere, in a ritual showering luck, abundance and fortune upon staff and guests. Its general manager Tom Roelens was among the cheerful welcome committee, receiving a prosperity plate symbolising all the blessings from the year of the boar.
In the spirit of the hotel’s first Chinese New Year, Tom recounts how this milestone has left an impression on him as an expat and why it will remain an unforgettable one at Four Seasons Hotel KL.
1/3 Prior to Malaysia, what was Chinese New Year associated with?
I have been fortunate to be introduced to the Chinese culture and Chinese New Year celebrations by my wife Sara, a native of Beijing who grew up there and in Hong Kong. As we have travelled the world together now since the mid 90s and have lived in multiple destinations, we have celebrated Chinese New Year in different parts of the world, from China to Indonesia, California, Hawaii, and now, Malaysia.
2/3 How is the festival different in Malaysia, and how does Four Seasons Hotel KL embody that?
Yee Sang is new to both my wife and I: It is specific to Malaysia and Singapore. We have embraced the Yee Sang celebrations wholeheartedly and enjoyed it with our team here at Four Seasons as well as with hotel guests and friends. Festive celebrations in Kuala Lumpur are always special because of the diversity in Malaysia. During all festivals, we see a unity of the different races and this always amazes me. In Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, we embrace diversity and celebrate all festivals. We enjoy being part of the local culture and celebrating the way locals do!
3/3 The lion dance is a symbolic Chinese ritual that has graced Four Seasons KL. What do you appreciate most about this custom?
The lion dance is a true form of art! The performers’ energy and positivity always bring us all together. We celebrated our first Chinese New Year this year and it was true delight to see all our team members, guests and the public enjoying the performances together.
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