By: Akhilesh Narayan
Photos: Cao Ying and Zhou Shuo
Nine cultural groups, one night and an escape into the world of diverse cultures present in King Edward VII Hall. The 22nd of October 2009 was a night filled with a variety of dances and songs, a drama, a movie and a very gripping display of martial arts, all of which gave shape to KE’s Internal Cultural Night. The emcees for the night were Asher and Lisa, who had a small skit of their own before every performance. They did not allow the audience to feel dull at any moment, while the stage crew propped the stage up for the next cultural group. The night was inaugurated by F Block Resident Fellow, Dr. Seow Teck Keong who announced to the audience that there was something extra special about this particular ICN.
There was a small opening ceremony which consisted of dancers, colourful curtains and very sensual and soothing music. It was just the right thing to calm everyone down before the burst of energy that would grip the entire Hall in the next few hours. And just as the calm music subsided and the dancers faded away, the KE Titans burst into the Comm Hall from what seemed to be literally every entrance. The cheerleaders in red and black brought along with them a thunderous applause and an immense amount of KE spirit as they charged towards the front of the Hall. This was the first ever performance by the KE Titans (Cheerleading Squad of KE) and boy, did they lift everyone’s spirits.
This was followed by five songs that were composed by KEVIIANs themselves from Xinyao. The first song ‘Broken’ was in English, while the others ‘Shi Shu’, ‘Que Shui De Xln Qing’, ‘Zui Ling ‘Long’ and You ‘Zi Yin’ were in Chinese. Xinyao’s performance contained a variety of music ranging from archaic tunes to modern ones. Their compositions were very delicate and contained a lot of heart in them. This was followed by a tale of love in the form of some very different dancing styles in the first dance performance titled ‘Love Affair’. There were graceful and elegant moves happening on stage, behind stage and along the sides of the stage in this performance and they all received deafening appreciation from the audience.
The next performance was by Chinese Drama- ‘An Unexpected Valentine’s Day’. How bad can your Valentine’s Day be? Well the answer to that was provided by the very simple yet deep play. The protagonist gets thrown out of a bus because he gives up his seat to an apparently pregnant lady, he nearly gets beaten up by a hooligan for trying to look after the hooligan’s bicycle, he loses his girlfriend when he runs behind a woman to get his money back and he gets yelled at by a mother when he tries to lift a little girl’s (Dr. Seow Teck Keong’s daughter) spirits. Pretty bad, right? But the silver lining for the protagonist was when then little girl came running back and gave him her balloon. A small gesture of gratefulness can mean a lot. That was the moral of this story.
A Cappella has always given a very tranquil and blissful performance. There are no fancy gimmicks, just good old fashion beautiful music. They performed two songs which were very contrasting in nature showing the versatility of the group. ‘If’ and ‘Fire’, the two performances, displayed how music can in fact change the entire mood of a place. The most mesmerising fact about their performance was that they made it look effortless. Pop music has always been very peppy and dance inducing. The audience snapped their fingers and tapped their feet along with the dancers in their second performance of the night titled, ‘Those Pop Songs’. There was a praiseworthy moonwalk from either side of the stage that looked perfect. There was again a lot of energy in the dancers as they danced to these old, but popular numbers.
A short break for light refreshments and then we had the lucky draw prize winners announced. Then the KE band was welcomed with a thunderous applause. Six songs later the crowd was left begging for more. ‘Free Loop’, ‘Careless Whisper’ (by Seether), ‘Paralyser’, ‘Geek in the Pink’, ‘September’ and ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ was the selection the band went with to turn the Comm Hall into a concert ground. There were mobile phones being raised in the air, people singing along and a lot of cheering, solos on the drums and guitar and loud rock music in everyone’s ears. There were no drugs and no sex, but the band rocked and rolled their way into the night.
The hooting after the band’s performance subsided, as the lights went off and the theme of Mission Impossible paved the way for ELnD’s movie ‘Camp KE’. The recession, Jack Sparrow, Super-man and Harry Potter brought themselves onto the screen along with NS. This was supposed to be an intense comedy, but due to the lack of subtitles, many of the funnier parts remained unnoticed. Despite this there was a roar of laughter from the audience when Gavin’s ahem… ‘R-rated’ scene came. Wonder what was so funny about that?
The third dance performance called ‘Haunting Dreams’ was a very unique one. As the name suggests, it had a very eerie feel to it. The music, the dancers, the costumes and the lighting all contributed to the effect of the song. The abstractness in this dance contrasted with the next dance performance called ‘Crazy Little Thing’. There were hats, girls in colourful clothes, guys in white shirts and jeans, glitter, light and a lot of colour that highlighted the excellence of the dancers. It was a fitting finale to the DansDemonz performance.
Men in black and women in white, but the music was perfected to a point beyond perfection. The KE Choir sung three songs- ‘Solerum’, ‘Lux Aurumque’ and ‘Pasigin’. While the first two songs were slow and soothing, the third was full of life and jumpy. There were a number of loud cheers from the audience, as the choir got ready to perform.
The final performance for ICN 2009 was by Wushu. The Wushu team put up a very well choreographed display of the martial art. The thunderous beats in the background, the war cries, the clanging of swords, the acrobatics of the Wushu team, the different coloured costumes, all lead to one ultimate thing- the end of KE’s ICN. The fight which involved the girl in a purple costume and a hat definitely stole the show.
Thus, ICN 2009 came to an end. It was a month of hard work put in by all the cultural groups, no doubt, but many people tend to ignore the enormous amount of work put in by the people behind the curtains. The people handling the lights, the sounds, the stage, the decorations, the marketing, the publicity and the logistics would have spent many sleepless nights trying to co-ordinate with the different culture groups. The Culture Comm did a splendid job in making ICN a success and they deserve a huge round of applause…