Report by Mia Hassan
IMU’s annual Malay Cultural Week this year witnessed a unique blend of heritage and fusion of vibrant Malay culture with introductions to Malay music, fashion, dance, arts, crafts and of course, food. The 3-days festival showcase organized by the Malay Cultural Society was launched on Wednesday, November 11th at the IMU’s driveway, allowed us to immerse ourselves in the length and depth of Malay culture, both traditional and contemporary!
The festival kicked off on the first day with Silat performance, which is a type of Malay martial arts, demonstrated by Baharom Mohamed from MP0114. Silat is a combined word for a class of homegrown martial arts from a geo-cultural area of Southeast Asia encircling most of the Nusantara, the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Archipelago. Muhammad Marsaid, from ME214, the President for Malay Cultural Society, said, “Silat needs to be developed while the practitioners of this martial art must enhance their expertise to educate the coming generations about Malay heritage and preventing it from being forgotten.” “I am very passionate when it comes to my heritage, considering that I came from a very traditional Malay family. I am very determined to preserve and retain whatever that has been passed down to me and I want to further educate the society about it,” he added. A parade of Malay cuisines was also on display at the IMU’s driveway.
The second day witnessed one of the main highlights of the cultural week, where students and staffs of the IMU were given a glimpse of a Malay wedding held in the IMU’s atrium. Shawn Peh and Nikol Goh, both from ME214, played the role of the bride and groom for this mock wedding, which made it more unique with the involvement of non-Malay students in Malay cultural events. Silat pengantin performance, demonstrated by Muhamad Fitri bin Abu Bakar from BM113 wowed the audience. “I want the whole society to know and to learn more about the Malay culture, to educate them on how did the Malay culture start as well as to erase all the stereotypes that the society had when it comes to the Malay culture,” said Marsaid. “To work with others, we have to understand others. We’re going to constantly meet new people, coming from all walks of life and races. It is essential for us to understand their backgrounds to make it easier for us to cooperate with them one day, and this is one of the ways for us to reach out to people and understand the Malay culture better,” He added. Marsaid and the whole team were very moved and they also expressed their utmost appreciations to all non-Malays students who took part in this cultural week.
“To work with others, we have to understand others. We’re going to constantly meet new people, coming from all walks of life and races. It is essential for us to understand their backgrounds to make it easier for us to cooperate with them one day, and this is one of the ways for us to reach out to people and understand the Malay culture better,”
On the third day, all were welcomed to experience themselves the enjoyment and amusement in playing the Malay traditional games such as ‘batu seremban’, ‘congkak’ and ‘guli’ at the IMU’s driveway. The most awaited event for the cultural week, which was the theatre, was performed later that night at the IMU’s lecture hall. The theatre performance, which roughly told a story about a forbidden marriage involving two lovers from distinct races, had touched the crowds and the officials. Marsaid emphasized,
“The purpose of having such storyline for this theatre was that we want the community to understand and to know how we deal with such problems in the proper Malay cultural way.” He also added, “There are a lot of youngsters took our heritage for granted nowadays, sometimes they have no interest at all in learning their own culture. This is our identity, this is where we come from and it is our responsibility in retaining what has been passed down to us from our ancestors. It would be such a waste and a huge disappointment if the future generation don’t know how did it all begin.”
The closing ceremony was officiated by Dr Ahmad Fadhlil, a medical doctor, a writer and Poem Advisor for Grup Karyawan Luar Negara (GLKN). In his closing speech, he highlighted on the hard work and the effort of the Malay Cultural Society of IMU in preserving the Malay culture. “Talking about culture, it is something that we need to preserve in order to maintain the harmony between people. I am very proud and I truly appreciate the work that has been done by all of you for the purpose of educating the community on the Malay culture.”