The theme for the TET Festival is pioneer.
A person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area.
An apt description to describe the very first Vietnamese-Australian refugees who set foot in a place that was completely alien to them, but soon became their home.
It is also equally fitting to describe the cunning Rat, whose legends is as amusing as it is clever.
It was said that the Heavenly Emperor was hosting a party, and as such invited 12 animals to determine their place in the order of all things. The Rat, in its infinite wisdom, feigned fatigue and asked the Ox to carry him to the feast. The Ox obliged, but at the precipice of the entry, the Rat leapt from the Ox's back and landed first, thus securing its place as the very first animal to be celebrated in the Lunar calendar.
An inverse of the hare and the tortoise story. If only the tortoise could ask the hare for a lift.
Maybe its a bit more like the scorpion and the frog.
But I digress.
Pioneering spirit is a reflection on all the work that our predecessors have done for us, to help integrate, incorporate and align ourselves with Australian values without losing Vietnamese outlooks.
They have done it so successfully, that now pho is part of the national cuisine, a cure for hangovers and is enjoyed by all, not just Vietnamese people.
Generations have been bought up here in Australia, without any real fear of persecution, and it is thanks to the generosity of Australians that we can enjoy the same freedoms as they do.
We are forever grateful, and thankful to the very first settlers who arrived here 45 years ago, for all their sacrifices and choices they've made to allow us to hold such an incredible event for all in the Dandenong region.
How does the theme relate to the festival though?
Well, without spoiling anything, there are several exciting new additions to the festival this year.
Every year, the TET team loves to push themselves further and develop new activities and prospects for all our attendees.
I can reveal 2 out of the 5 new innovations that will be making a debut at our festival this year.
The very first is Minus Twelve, a dessert stall that will be serving refreshing and delicious shaved ice confections.
It will be the very first time that TET volunteers shall be venturing into making food.
As much experience we have in organising and encouraging food stalls, this will be a new challenge for us. However, we can boast of many years of tasting and trying festival years, so we hope all that experience will result in a dessert that will please even the most cynical festival goers.
All proceeds will go back to the festival, its volunteers and community, so please support us!
The second pioneering element is Nemesis, an all new way to experience Nerf blasters in an arena combat shooter. Using rare and upgraded Nerf Rival blasters, these guns are more accurate, hit harder and promises to be like paintball just without the mess.
This too is a brand new volunteer initiative, meant to complement the Kids Zone inside the exhibition hall. With netting, turf, bunkers and 7 different type of game modes, Nemesis is all about team-work under fire and having a blast!
There are plenty more innovative festival elements that will be discovered during the first weekend of February and there will be many hints in future blog posts from other members of the team.
Pioneering is all about the first to do something. At TET we pride ourselves on organising many firsts, such as the Iron Stomach competition, the incorporation of cultural exhibits and one of the few Lunar New Year festivals that actually run for 2 days.
To put it simply, we love being creative in how people can enjoy and experience our festival, and with such a meaningful theme this year, we hope all our new innovations will create an experience that will be talked about for years to come.
Lead Co-Ordinator TET 2020 Vietnamese Community of Australia - VIC Chapter