Staff-student fun engagement at Indian cultural event

The fast-tempo folk music into the night soothed fears and broke inhibitions as many of the senior management staff joined the full-time students to dance carefree, letting their hair down for some energetic fun during the ‘Namaste WOU!’ event.

 What a pulsating start to the event.

What a pulsating start to the event.

The activity held at the main campus today was organised by students from the Comparative Religions course and the Full-time Student Council.

More than 130 people turned up, including Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi, School of Humanities & Social Sciences Dean Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan and Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel, School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash V Arumugam, and Educational Technology & Publishing Director Grace Lau.

 Staff and students enjoying a performance.

Staff and students enjoying a performance.

Many of the students and staff of all races came decked in kurtas and salwar kameez with a few even donning sarees.

The night was officially declared open by Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, after which she was garlanded, as per the norm in the Indian culture for bestowing respect.

 Jasmine garlands Prof Zoraini. At right is Full-Time Student Council president Muhammad Farid Arsyad Foad.

Jasmine garlands Prof Zoraini. At right is Full-Time Student Council president Muhammad Farid Arsyad Foad.

With the official part completed, the event then really picked up in decibels as the Penang Dhol Blasters kicked off the performance with the pulsating beats of the dhol drums. On hand to keep the momentum going and the crowd excited was DJ Sunny from Pdbevents.

 Vesti (far right), lengha (centre) and other Indian outfits at the fashion show.

Vesti (far right), lengha (centre) and other Indian outfits at the fashion show.

Among the thrilling items of the night was a student fashion show showcasing 12 outfits worn by the gentlemen and ladies from various parts of India. For instance, the dhoti/vesti, the men’s garment wrapped around the waist, was modelled by Yeoh Kai Yeng while the ankle-length women’s skirt, lengha, by Yeoh Nien Hin.

 Entertaining the audience with a medley of popular Tamil songs.

Entertaining the audience with a medley of popular Tamil songs.

The guests were entertained by various performances like the semi-classical contemporary dance, the rendition of a medley of popular Tamil movie songs, the kolattam stick dance, and a Bollywood dance.

 A unifying touch as non-Indian students perform the kolattam dance.

A unifying touch as non-Indian students perform the kolattam dance.

The climactic highlight of the evening was the student Bhangra dancers and the open dance floor that drew everyone from their seats and onto the floor to sway exuberantly to the rhythmic music of the Penang Dhol Blasters. The expressive bhangra dance has powerful kicks, jumps and twists, along with sharp movements of the shoulders and hips, stamping feet, and waving arms.

 Prakash (centre) and other academics join the students for the Bhangra dance.

Prakash (centre) and other academics join the students for the Bhangra dance.

Fifty lucky draw prizes were given away, with hampers and a coffee maker machine as the top three prizes. The crowd feasted on a buffet spread that featured rice with dishes, tosai, vadai, murukku and other foods and drinks.