After months of practising a jaunty dance routine to the Malay folk tune Rasa Sayang, the catchy ditty is now stuck in Kazakhstani student Azamat Ainakulov's head.
"This is a song I learnt in Singapore that will stay with me all my life," says the 18-year-old with a laugh.
Mr Ainakulov, who is pursuing a diploma in engineering, is among 59 international students from the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) who have signed up for the Chingay parade this year.
Hailing from 11 countries, including Russia, Myanmar, China and South Korea, they will be wearing red-and-white cheerleader outfits and will end their Rasa Sayang performance with a bang in an upbeat cheerleading dance.
The annual Chinese New Year parade will take place tonight and tomorrow evening at the F1 Pit Building.
This is the third year MDIS is participating in Chingay, says Ms Jesline Wong, the institution's director of corporate and student development, as it is one way for international students to "integrate into the local community and to encourage their participation in events and activities within and outside of MDIS".
Indonesian student Evelyn Frances, 19, heard about the opportunity from her seniors and decided to seize the "once-in-a-lifetime experience".
"This is my first time joining such a big event and it is a rare opportunity for me to be part of something in Singapore," says the diploma in business management student.
Her coursemate, Russian student Anastasiia Butova, 18, says joining the parade is a good chance for her to make friends and learn about the local culture.
Mr Ainakulov concurs and adds that despite the language barrier at times, he is able to bond with his peers through the "language of dance".
"And I get to be on TV in Singapore. That's cool too," he quips.
BOOK IT / CHINGAY
- WHERE: F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard
- WHEN: Tonight and tomorrow, 8pm
- ADMISSION: $28.50 to $60 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)
This article was first published on February 10, 2017.
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