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The UW Malaysian Student Association’s Rojak 2017

Malaysian Student Association members showing how Malaysians celebrate Chinese New Year. Pictured left to right: Anas Shafawi, Yin Yin Low, Hui Jie Koh, Bing Yu Lee, Marissa Chong, and Farhanah Faizal. (Photo cred. MASA Media Team)

May 9, 2017

This week we are featuring an article written by Malaysian Student Association member and Malaysian international student Farhanah Faizal about their latest event.

Since the spring of last year, the Malaysian Student Association at UW (MASA UW) holds an annual cultural night – also famously known as Malaysian Night among Malaysian students all over the USA – in the hopes of sharing bits of Malaysia’s rich history and diversity to locals and making other Malaysians feel like home in a foreign land.  For last year’s Malaysian Night, MASA UW hosted a legendary theatrical play, presenting historical legends in the most dramatic time-traveling adventure. This year, we decided to showcase another part of Malaysia that we Malaysians take pride in – the beauty of diversity (and all the perks that come with it!). With ROJAK 2017 as its theme, MASA UW showcased the many festivals and holidays that are annually celebrated in Malaysia through live performances such as dancing, singing and short sketches!

So what is ROJAK anyway?

In Malaysia, we adopted the Malay word rojak, which represents the rich diversity of our race and ethnicity, language, lifestyle and of course, our wide range of mouthwatering food! Rojak, as a noun, is a type of food made of a conglomeration of different ingredients (mainly fruits, fritters and vegetables!) and garnished with a plethora of sauce and flavors … yummy! Rojak has also become a wordplay that usually describes the variation of languages with which Malaysians use. If you listen carefully, Malaysians would usually add and mix different languages when speaking to one another (and this is not limited to only English and Malay!).

On April 15, with over 200 ticket-buyers, the Intellectual House was packed with UW students, faculty, as well as other students who came all the way from all over the state (there were even students from Oregon!). Guests were served with the ever-famous Nasi Lemak, Rojak, and teh tarik which were all made by MASA UW’s own amazing cooking team – yeap, they were all hand-made to give the guests the authentic taste of Malaysia. The event kicked off with an opening speech by the ROJAK 2017’s event director, Sarah Roslan, and were led by two awesome emcees, Xin Ray and Fairuz Aisyah (who was also the event’s co-director).

The biggest highlight of the event was the dancing performances that came to life right after each movie clip which featured two UW students and with one of them sharing his one-year experience in Malaysia. Each dancing performance represents the celebration of each major religious/cultural holiday in Malaysia and the flow of the performances was arranged in accordance to the dates of these festivities on the calendar (starting with Chinese New Year celebration and followed by Hari Gawai, Eid, and Deepavali). In between these outstanding dances was an action-packed Silat performance and a spectacular tarian sumpit (or blowgun dance) that kept everyone unsettled in their seats!

Peter Camacho performing tarian sumpit (or blowgun dance). (Photo cred. MASA Media Team)

The event ended with singing performances by MASA UW’s own talented members as well as a riveting bamboo dance by the famous Tanak Borneo! The 2-hour event was short and sweet and we hope everybody enjoyed ROJAK 2017 from start to finish. MASA UW thanks all the sponsors, hard-working committee members, performers and all those who helped behind the scene – not forgetting all of you who came for ROJAK 2017!

P.S. Be on the lookout for next year’s Malaysian Night! 😉