Malaysia Night 2011, an Insider’s View

Written by Dean Liaw Yih Hang

Edited by Ong Hui Shan

Malaysia Night, an annual event in King Edward VII Hall, was started in 2005 by KE7 Malaysians with the aim of fostering bonds among Malaysians and to showcase Malaysian culture to non-Malaysians. The leadership baton is being religiously passed on to Malaysian freshmen every year, and they would take on the organization of the event.

The theme this year was Pasar Malam KElaysia, which translates to KElaysian Night Market. Night markets are common in Malaysia, with almost every urban area in the country boasting its own regular night markets. The night market scene in Malaysia is a vibrant one, usually littered with hawkers and vendors selling cheap food and wares to eager customers who willingly jostle with a boisterous crowd to get their hands on the best bargains. With this rich culture as its backdrop, Malaysia Night did an impression of a typical Malaysian night market – a bazaar-style setting with booths representing the Malaysian states, each with their unique offers. Unlike a stage-based event, this creative setup allowed the crowd to move around freely, maximising mingling opportunities.

Food, Fun and Friends: the three cardinal things to make an event successful. These 3Fs were incorporated into the planning of Malaysia Night. Not only does food bring people together, it is also a cornerstone of any culture – food was thus the main focus of this year’s Malaysia Night, showcasing the signature dishes of each of the 13 Malaysian states.

To augment the event, performances that were uniquely Malaysian were put up. With only 10 Malaysian freshmen admitted into KE7 this year, complicated traditional dances or dramas which require choreographing and tedious practice, like those done in the preceding Malaysia Nights, were out of the question. Instead, the performers this year put up a simple Kompang performance and a traditional costume fashion show. In addition to the revamping of the nature of performances, a bold move to improvise one of the on-stage attractions was made: KE7’s ex-resident and Malaysian senior Lee Chun Keat sang downstage to portray an impromptu street performance, in line with the theme. To round it off, a game session and lucky draw were also held to add to the sizzle of the event.

The night started off rocky, with many slip-ups prior to the opening ceremony, which had to be delayed. Nevertheless, things began running smoothly after the problems were tended to. As anticipated, the food was the main attraction of the event, with food booths boasting long queues. The informal setting of the event allowed the attendees to move about freely and encouraged more interaction. The event ended with a Malay song brought by Xing Ying, a Malaysian senior, who sang the popular patriotic song “Satu Malaysia”. All the other KE7 Malaysians were also invited on stage to join in.

The event was definitely a rousing success. The essence of Malaysia Night can be summed up simply: come for the food, stay for the fun, and leave with new friends. We are all definitely eager to see what is in store for Malaysia Night 2012.


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