WOU students offer a potpourri of Malaysian cultures

Staff of WOU were feted to a 60-minute cultural entertainment by the full-time, on-campus learning (OCL) students that offered a taste of the diverse cultures in Malaysia and the harmonious relationship between people of different faiths.

The umbrella dance by four full-time students, three ladies and a guy.

The umbrella dance by four full-time students, three ladies and a guy.

In his opening remarks at the ‘OCL Cultural Evening: A Malaysian Potpourri’ held at the main campus today, Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye praised the hands-on participation by the 39 OCL students taking the Comparative Religions course in the September semester. The lecturer is School of Humanities & Social Sciences Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel.

“Especially in a country like Malaysia where diversity is our hallmark, this course would promote our understanding of diversity from the perspective of religions, in terms of central concepts, beliefs and practices, cultural focus and so on,” said Prof Ho.

The kolattam or sticks dance.

The kolattam or sticks dance.

Kicking off the evening was a solo Indian classical dance, bharatanatyam, after which followed dance performances of the different ethnicities, namely the fan dance, umbrella dance, Indian folk dance, ‘kolattam’, dikir barat, and kung fu.

The fan dance.

The fan dance.

The students also presented two skits that afforded insights into the Chinese and Hindu traditions. The first titled ‘Butterfly Lovers’ is a tragic Chinese romantic folktale, reminiscent of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and the other was ‘Ram and Sita’ from the famous ancient Indian epic of Ramayana.

The skit on Ram and Sita.

The skit on Ram and Sita.

Guest performer was OCL student Muhammad Farid Arsyad Foad, 22, from the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management programme, who rendered a Chinese song, the evergreen ‘What a Wonderful World’  and Jingle Bells while strumming his guitar.

The cultural evening closed with a fashion show showcasing the different traditional outfits of Malaysians, like salwar kameez, saree, kebaya, cheongsam, baju melayu and sherwani suits.

Farid woos the audience with his renditions.

Farid woos the audience with his renditions.

The event was part of the coursework assessment component for the Comparative Religions course. Among those present were Deputy Vice Chancellors Prof Zoraini Wati Abas and Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, HR Director Surrayya Shuib, academics and students.

The performers pose with Prof Ho (centre) and a few staff of WOU.

The performers pose with Prof Ho (centre) and a few staff of WOU.

Jasmine highlighted, “This was a hands-on learning experience of each other’s cultures and religions. The project also exposed the students to a broader and deeper set of skills, knowledge and habits of success than those they develop through the traditional focus on academic content knowledge. This will serve to enhance graduate employability and prepare them for the challenges of work life.