“Nepal is a safe country to visit”, Parliament of South Australia hears

jing-lee-1By Jing Lee MLC, Parliament of South Australia
2 November 2016

Jing Lee, a member of South Australia’s Legislative Council, wanted to tell the world that Nepal needed tourists to be back in the country so that it could rise again and carry on with the process of rebuilding. In order just to do that, she led a twelve-member South Australian delegation to Nepal where she met with the Prime Minister as well as with many other government officials and business leaders.

The MLC and her team members from different age brackets and socio-cultural backgrounds made up a perfect representation of Australia’s celebrated multiculturalism as they arrived in Nepal on 23 October for an eight-day long visit.

Now back home, she addressed the South Australian parliament today to tell her fellow Members of Legislative Council that Nepal is back in business.

And that it is safe as.

The full text of Ms Lee’s address to the parliament Wednesday afternoon:

It is a great privilege I rise today to speak about the South Australian delegation to Nepal.

I was incredibly honoured and humbled to be the first South Australian Member of Parliament to lead such a delegation to Nepal.

The Nepalese community in South Australia informed me that the economic and social conditions of Nepal have not fully recovered after the devastating earthquake in April 2015. Many travellers are still concerned about the safety and uncertainty in the affected areas of Nepal.

Jing Lee with Nepalese PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda, ex-MP Lucky Sherpa, Eddie Liew and Nepal's Hon Consulate General for South Australia Dipak Dhamala I Photo:
Nepal’s ex-MP Lucky Sherpa, Nepalese PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda, Jing Lee MLC, Eddie Liew and Nepal’s Hon Consul General in South Australia Dipak Dhamala I Photo: Facebook

I asked them what I can do to best help the communities in need. They said if I can make a personal trip to Nepal, then it will mean a lot to Nepal and the Nepalese community residing in South Australia.

With the valuable advice from the community, I made a decision to embark on a study tour with the aim to help rebuild Nepal by visiting Nepal.

I was very grateful that 12 delegates from various business and professional backgrounds were able to join me on the mission.

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Happy South Australians: Jing Lee and husband Eddie Liew in Nepal I Photo: Facebook

The passionate team consisted of the Hon. Consul of Nepal in SA, Dipak Dhamala; the Nepalese Youth Leader, Nabin Panth; Eddie Liew; Yean-nee Shortland; Rita Coleman; David and Roz Chow; Craig Swingler; Renee Figallo; Carissa McCarthy; together with my two lovely staff Haley Welch and Grace Patterson.

With an age range that spans across 6 generations with diverse backgrounds and interests – Everyone embraced the wonderful diversity – ‘Unity in Diversity’ stood out as a brand to describe our team.

In just 8 days, our itinerary was jam-packed and we certainly covered lots of grounds across Kathmandu, the Nation’s capital; Chitwan, known as the ‘Heart of the Jungle’ and Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal, arguably the prettiest tourist attraction.

Being the very first trip for everyone, we honestly didn’t know what to expect.  We discovered Nepal in a rather unique way that combined official meetings with political and business leaders, government officials; humanitarian visits to orphanage and disadvantaged school by way of donating books, stationeries and gifts to children; blankets to the homeless and also tourism exploration in Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara.

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Unity in Diversity: The multicultural fabric of Australia at full display in Nepal as members of the South Australian delegation don Dhaka Topi and pose for a picture I Photo: Supplied

Being in Nepal allowed us to experience first-hand how naturally beautiful the country is. A country that is full of friendly people, with rich history and culture; remarkable and magnificent heritage sites; breathtaking sceneries throughout the country; including the spectacular natural wonders of the world – the Himalayan Mountains including Mt Everest – the highest peak of the world and much much more.

I would like to highlight some official meetings we had in Nepal.

On the eve of Diwali, it was a Saturday night, never in a millions years anyone would expect a high level meeting like this to be arranged! Through the great efforts by Ms Lucky Sherpa, an influential former MP, we were given the special privilege to have an up-close and personal encounter with the highest ranking official in the country. It was truly a great honour to meet the Prime Minister of Nepal, The Right Honourable Mr Pushpa Kamal Dahal. I placed my sincere appreciation to the Prime Minister for welcoming all of us in such an honourable way.

Special thanks to the Hon. Rajeev Bikram Shah, a distinguished Member of Nepali Parliament for welcoming us at the Kathmandu airport. We also met his beautiful wife and family; his wonderful mother, who is the District Governor of Rotary Club, when he generously hosted a magnificent dinner at his historical homestead.

The Hon. Rajeev also invited a number of MPs for the dinner, including the Minister of Commerce – Hon. Romi Gauchan Thakali. Our delegation was delighted to have the opportunity to meet and network with many members of parliament and government officials.

I would like to acknowledge Dave Gordge, SA State Director, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for his interest in my Nepal delegation. Thank you to our Australian Ambassador Glenn White for his insightful country briefing about Nepal and took time out to meet with us. Special thanks also to Mr Gahendra Rajbhandari, Joint Secretary from Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nepal for his kind and generous assistance.

The Nepal Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, the Hon Mr. Jeeban Bahadur Shahi is a knowledgeable and delightful MP – he had kindly hosted a wonderful cultural and dinner program for us. He even danced with us on stage! The whole Nepal Tourism Board was fantastic. It was such a pleasure to have met with Mr Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO and Mr Sunil Sharma, Publicity Director of Nepal Tourism Board together with their team.

It was truly a great honour and generous hospitality that has been bestowed upon us beyond our expectation.

South Australian delegation at Press Conference in Kathmandu I Photo: Facebook
South Australian delegation at Press Conference in Kathmandu I Photo: Facebook

A huge THANK YOU to Dipak Dhamala, Honorary Consul of Nepal in South Australia and Nabin Panth, an active Nepalese Youth Leader in South Australia, for working closely with me; congratulations to their outstanding planning and connections in Nepal that ensure everyone had the best, the most memorable and fascinating experience ever!

I am proud to report in Parliament of South Australia that the South Australian Delegation to Nepal was an amazing, rewarding, meaningful and successful initiative.

The visit to Nepal provided us all with a deeper appreciation of the beautiful places, the rich culture and traditions of Nepal. It created a platform for life-long friendships and bilateral relationships between South Australia and Nepal.

For those who are thinking about travelling to Nepal – I can reassure you that Nepal is a safe country to visit.

There is an old saying my parents used to say – it goes something like this – “if you never never go, you will never never know” – with that in mind, go forth, honourable members…. Nepal is waiting for you!

2 thoughts on ““Nepal is a safe country to visit”, Parliament of South Australia hears

  1. Nice effort to introduce Nepal after the deadly earthquake 2015, It really helps to grow the tourism of Nepal in the South Australia and others.

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