Sunday, November 19, 2006
iuj's open day
When they first announced that we were going to have the IUJ Open Day after our midterms, I was not really looking forward to it. But as preparations went under way, the hype built up. We thought about what food to cook (something which was typically Malaysian and easy to cook at the same time), and what kind of performances we could present (since most of us had no former cultural training of any sort!).
We teamed up with Indonesia and Singapore as there were only 3 Malaysians in our batch. Given the limited time to cook (since there were also other country groups putting up their stalls), we managed to come up with Soto chicken soup, Opor chicken curry, prawn crackers and red bean soup.
We also did the poco-poco dance, with much help and guidance from our Indonesian counterparts. It was quite fun practicing with them as I had never done anything so cultural before. Most of the people I know do not have this kind of education before, especially if they live in the cities. So much so that I wonder if I'm losing my heritage. But then again, there is no opportunity/need to do anything cultural of this sort so only those who have a genuine interest would pursue them.
During the 2nd part of the song, we managed to cajole the audience to join us in the dance. It was quite a simple 4-direction dance with variations in each round and could be mastered within a day. The Indonesians even got an invitation to perform this dance in some of the local schools.
As I began to myself in the activities surrounding the Open Day, I started to appreciate the diversity of the student body that we have here. As many as 80% are international students from various countries, mostly from Asia.
It was just a pity that I did not have much time to go around the stalls and try the many delicious delicacy that were on offer. Our neighbours, the Mongols had obviously cooked up really good fried stuff, as seen from the reviews from others. Curry from the Bangladesh and Thai tomyam soup were also clear favourites, since it was pretty chilly outside. Most of us had to wear double layer coz silk can be quite "cold"!
It really was a colourful affair, with flags of different nations hung across the gym, babes in vibrant costumes and guys looking dashing in their smart suits. Even the variety of performances was an eye-opener - sizzling Latin American dance, Spanish candle dance from the Filipinos, slapstick comedy by our Thai neighbours, mini drama by the host country, kungfu-like performance by the Chinese, Charlie Chaplin impersonation from the Europeans, solo song by Bangladesh, among many others.
Very tiring at the end of it, but really fruitful and immensely enjoyable. I even got compliments on my baju kebaya and shawl ensemble :) The irony is that I was wearing it for the first time in Japan!