It was a gloomy day, and again, I found out about an interesting event happening here in Perth: Malaysia Merdeka Festival. It was organized by the Malaysian Students society here in Perth, and it was an open-field event full of activities and performaces displaying the colourful cultures and traditions of Malaysia, which comprised of different races. When my friend informed me of the event, the first thought that came into mind was... FOOD. I thought it would have been a food festival with plenty of Malaysian yummy local delicacies such as Satays, curries, roti canai, teh tarik, etc etc. Nevertheless, there was no such luck for me, it was more centralized on culture and tradition in general (stage performaces) rather than food itself.
The Malaysia Merdeka Festival started at early 1030am and ended some time in late afternoon. I only arrived after mid-day, and the place was already occupied with people, and the activity running on was lion dance. Just when I was about to take some pictures, the lion dance has ended. The follow up was martial art performance, by Wushu (I think) community. They basically did some floor exercises, and some very daringly dangerous stunts to show their level of skills.
Kids, do not try this, unless you want to be gay or something.
CHINESE MARTIAL ART
BENDING SPEARS BY THE NECK
I gotta say the martial art performnce gripped the crowd tightly, especially the stunts where they attempted something quite risky. The audeince was deeply awed and impressed. To me, it was not like anyting out of the usual, coming from the Chinese community, from time to time I got the chance to witness such feats back in Malaysia.
It did feel weird being there after observing the crowd for some time. Most of the people present were Malaysians, mostly students. Somehow, I just have the idea that the event should have been promoted to a wider crowd, grabbing in more of the local Aussies, rather than just us Malaysians. After all, the festival is open to anyone, and best of all, free. If you just tell around, and had a proper announcement, poeople will definitely show up. I find the people here are rather curious and intrigue by cultures from other lands, and Malaysia fits in the category just perfect. I guess I was just expecting more non-Malaysians to turn up for the event.
Right after the Chinese Martial art performance, came along the Malay cultural dance by the UWA students. They have a mixture of a few dance stringed together in one long show, and they were engaging the crowd along to dance with them on the field !! The dance itself was very culturally based, and the Malays were in their full traditional costume during the dance.
THE CULTURAL DANCE
Of course, like usual, to get better shots, I would have to move in closer to the performers. And I just keep pushing and pushing till I was almost at the front row !! Here, a superbly close look on some of the dancers.
The best part about all this dance, was because my friend Farhan was in it !! Boy was I surprised to find out he is involved, and was dancing right in front of me !!! LOL... ok that sounds wrong, but yeah... I just could not help it but snap snap snap all his pictures. Here comes...
FARHAN aka POJOE OVERLOAD !!
CLOSER AND CLOSER TO FARHAN
CAMWHORING WITH FARHAN
There was food served of course, and it was prepared by this Malay food restaurant called mahsuri satay. With a 5 bucks coupon, we can have an array of dishes (4-5 dishes with savoury rice) served plus a glass of flavoured drink. It was not exactly filling, but the food was considered quite good. If only they had included food festival, the event would have been perfect. Alas, no satay, or roti canai !! Oh man, how I crave for these food nowadays.
KHEE HWA @ JALAN PETALING, PERTH
Unfortunetely, we all had something going on later in the afternoon and could not stay on to watch the rest of the show. From what I have gathered while I was there, the following performances were sepak raga, dikir barat, tarik tali, congkak games, and some other culturally based displays. On the whole, it did feel good to be there, being reminded of where I was from, my precious home country and how beautiful and ecstatic the culture and traditions are. Malaysia has been "merdeka" (independent) for 50 years now since 1957, and though the country still has a long way to go and plenty of rough edges to smooth out, we have come this far, and I am sure no matter how ridiculously slow we are progressing as a nation, I believe we will get there someday, somehow. To fellow Malaysians, MERDEKA !!