One of the biggest events in UCD so far this year, Mina Dawood takes a closer look at Malaysian Society’s Malaysia Night.
One of UCD’s largest societies, the Malaysian Society, staged one of the biggest events of the 2015 calendar on Wednesday 6th February in the Astra Hall. Every year the society presents a mixture of traditional and modern performances through Malaysian folklore. Malaysian night this year entertained attandess with a beautifully arranged production, by producer Si Ming Chin, of The Little Duyung, better known to Disney lovers as The Little Mermaid. The subtitle ‘Rediscover the Tale’ was very fitting for the production and as auditor Ahmad Mujahid Husni Salim explained, “We’ve decided to take a bold approach in Malaysian-ising the story.”
The night started with a warm reception and some light refreshments which included traditional Malaysian snacks such as Seri Muke and Kaswi. Once the Malaysian ambassador, Dato’ Syed Sultan Idris, and the many other guests arrived the production began. The sold out Astra hall had a real sense of excitement in the air and once the lights dimmed guests were immediately fascinated by a stunning display of shadow play. Next came Ariel, played by the graceful Elisha, and her Father King Trition surrounded by a cast dressed in ‘under the sea’ themed costumes and traditional Malaysian dress.
The acting was superb and the storyline was made witty and engaging. In particular, the singing of Ariel and Ursula, played by Athirah, were breath-taking and stirring. What surprised many was was the comical side to the production. The two MC’s and the flawless actors continuously surprised the audience with their charm and humour providing entertainment for the whole night. There was even a touch of Irish influence and traditions during the night with a rendition of ‘An Irish Pub Song’ by the Rumjacks.
For many the most touching part of the night was the Dikir Barat performance. Executed with impeccable timing and precision using drums, cups, hands and feet to build a lifting sound the Dikir Barat was staged to show ‘unity’. 2014 was a difficult year for many around the world, but especially for the Malaysian nation. A year containing two Malaysian Air disasters and devastating December floods that claimed many lives, Malaysian Night 2015 was very much a show of unity and remembrance. Ambassador Dato’ Syed Sultan Idris, touching on the toughness of the past year, spoke emotionally and honestly saying, “…we have still stayed strong and we can see this from the unity and solidarity we have here today. Keep up this unity so we can build a Malaysia where we do not see each other as different.” On the performances displayed throughout the night, he congratulated the whole team and added that he hoped none of them sang and danced like that around the operating theatre.
One member of the audience, Gill Framzmann, who is a former UCD student had flown all the way from Germany to come and be part of the night. She had enjoyed last year’s production of ‘Enter the Woods’ so much that she simply could not miss this year’s show. This dedication shows the enjoyment attendees experience during Malaysia Night in UCD.
With over 120 dedicated performers and production crew involved on the night and taking nearly a year of planning, practicing, choreographing and rehearsing, Malaysian Night 2015 was a huge success and an event to watch out for next year.