Food does not lie: Malaysia Festival 2016

11:30 20/09/2016

Nurafiqah Yusof

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Malaysians and various locals attended the annual Malaysia Festival at Tumbalong Park on September 4th this year. The Malaysia Festival is an annual cultural not-for-profit festival organized by Malaysian Student Committee of Sydney with the support of Ministry of Agriculture, Tourism Malaysia, and Education Malaysia. The organizing committee is made up of Malaysian students in universities all across Sydney and they affiliate with the Malaysian student associations in those universities. The Festival is a great way to connect with locals and educate them about the peninsula of Malaysia.

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Credit: Malaysia Festival Facebook page

It was a sunny day, merging into the beginning of spring. The park was filled with people, particularly in the food stalls. The Festival was larger this year but just as popular. The various stalls formed a U around the main stage with scores of people lining up, especially at the juice stands.

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The sugar cane thirst quencher

Some of the notable food stalls were Papparich and Mamak, both of which had never-ending visits by hungry Sydney-siders and Malaysians alike.

(Credit: Malaysia Festival Facebook page)

(Credit: Malaysia Festival Facebook page)

Some of the delicious food sold at the stalls at Malaysia Festival (Credit: Malaysia Festival Facebook page)

Besides food, there were some cultural stalls as well. The Ministry of Agriculture dedicated a booth for people to experience durian, the thorny and strong smelling fruit that’s become representative of Malaysia.

A cultural booth stood between food stalls. Inside, Malaysian student volunteers manned the booth with cultural games, cultural artefacts, traditional clothes, and traditional processions like a traditional Indian wedding.

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Harimau and Monyet, the Festival’s mascots wandered around the venue, taking photos with kids and adults alike. The atmosphere was jovial and carefree, with laughter and conversations buzzing all around.

Harimau posing with Malaysian students on the eve of the Festival (Credit: Malaysia Festival Facebook page)

All the while, there were various performances up on stage. There were performances by famous Malaysian artists, instrumental performances, cultural performances, and contests. Young children from the MAAN Malay school performed dikir barat, which is a traditional musical form popular in the state of Kelantan. Malaysian students from Sydney universities also performed the bamboo dance, which is traditional in Sabah.

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The MAAN Malay school performing a medley of famous dikir barat songs for the attentive crowd

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Malaysian students performing the bamboo dance, a traditional dance from Sabah

The notable and much-awaited performer was by Amy Search, a famous Malaysian rockstar. But before the legend, an equally amazing artist took the stage: Cassidy Anderson (a.k.a. CassidyBoleh). She’s an Australian singer who makes Malay covers of various songs. She first rose to fame through her Malay rendition of Let It Go by Idina Menzel. Cassidy was super popular with the crowd, with young and older men gifting her flowers (and one even gave her satay, now that’s #goals).

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The only way to profess your love is through food

Visitors didn’t some coming until the very end of the Festival. Every year, the reception has been positive and just as festive as the last year. MFest will be back next year, so don’t forget to check out their Facebook page or website to receive updates! Hope to see you next year to enjoy the delicacies that Malaysia offers.

If you would like to see the goings-on at MFest this year, check out this video montage by Cassidy. (You’ll also get to see her receive the satay mini-bouquet at 5:56.)

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