Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

1001 Malaysian Night

The other night I attended an event at Drake University celebrating the Malay culture. It was put on by the Malay Student Association at the University. What intrigued me was the advert I saw said that, amongst the other activities, a Silat demonstration would be presented.
The evening was emceed by three students from DU and their banter was fun and it reminded me what college was!
The description in the program of Silat describes it as a martial art of the region with similar styles throughout the surrounding countries. It even said that most aliran were based on the movement of animals.
The demonstration of Silat was done by Wei Hao Tan “Frederick” and was described as being Harimau. The audience was very into it and enjoyed what they saw. What they witnessed was some interesting stances followed by one-steps and then a grand melee of multiple attackers setup as a robbery scene. There were some interesting moves in that scenario.

I spoke with Frederick afterward and he said that he mostly studies Tae Kwon Do and he was only ever shown a small amount of Harimau. I suggested he try to get involved with the annual CelebrAsian event to tell more about Malaysian culture. At the time I didn’t know the deadline was April 1st! Bummer.
Since Malaysia is a hodgepodge of cultures, they highlighted the majority of them at this event. We watched a cool performance of Dikir Barat led by Frederick initially. From the program: Dikir Barat is a form of singing that came from Kelantan, as state of Malaysia. It is a ritual of celebration for various occasions such as rice harvest season. Traditionally the Dikir Barat is performed by an all male group, but modern arrangements include women.

Another presentation was a Malay dance which was mostly women. Two guys were in and out throughout the performance as well. It was reminiscent of Hindi style dancing. Very entertaining.
Following that was a Bamboo dance where the participants step in and out of and across a pair of bamboo sticks that are being bounced and slapped together. It’s all about the timing.

There was also a Chinese Lion Dance to open the ceremony. Those guys are certainly in shape! The local performers are Iowa State students and they do a lot of shows for various Asian celebrations around town.

The organizers also had a fashion show highlighting the various clothing types of the country. These ranged from the always comfortable sarong to lush silk outfits of Chinese and Indian design.
After a meal of a variety of foods representing the cultures of Malaysia, I had to leave early for another commitment. We missed the other main cultures represented in Malaysia: Chinese and Indian. There was gung fu and Indian dancing.
I hope they do this again as there was a good turn out and would like to be able to see the whole show as well as hang out with the people.

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