Discover love of Malay culture at month-long fest

Discover love of Malay culture at month-long fest
Three Malay language ambassadors will take part in performances and activities during next month's Malay Language Month. Seen here are organising committee chairman Zaqy Mohamad (second from left) with ambassadors Zaibaktian Abu Bakar, Asnida Daud and Elly Sabrina Ismail.

Singer Asnida Daud will get to fulfil one of her life wishes during Bulan Bahasa - or Malay Language Month.

The 40-year-old sings Malay poems in the syair style, which she first learnt as a child.

"This is how my mother used to impart values to me," she said. "She would sing Malay poems to us when she was cooking or at home and this is how I came to love the Malay language.

"I asked myself: 'How would I fill her shoes and impart this love of Malay culture to others?'"

Throughout next month, Ms Asnida will be one of three Malay language ambassadors who will take part in performances and activities for the young and old at the Malay Language Month.

The main part of the festival will take place at the Asian Civilisations Museum on the weekend of Sept 6 and 7, when student guides will show the public an exhibition of artefacts such as ceremonial bracelets.

The tours will be held in both English and Malay.

There will also be Malay poetry and storytelling sessions, craft workshops for children, traditional Malay martial arts performances and music from Art Fazil, Rahimah Rahim and Sufie Rashid.

Chairman of the organising committee Zaqy Mohamad said: "Many might think that language festivals are organised by older people or the elite, but we have youthful participants who have approached us to take part."

The event will also go to the heartland, with Tampines and Taman Jurong community clubs organising their own activities.

At Tampines West CC, students will learn more about the Malay culture through traditional games, food and musical instruments.

Visitors to Taman Jurong CC can sit in a mock Malay living room and listen to the story of Madam Afsah, a long-time resident who has watched the community change over the years.

Explaining the poem she sang, Ms Asnida said: "If you really love something, it will come back to you even in a thousand years.

"If the love of the Malay culture is embedded in you, you will rediscover it - but don't take too long."

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This article was first published on August 26, 2014.
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