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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.