Sunday, November 8, 2009

Women’s club members in Taipei experience evening of Malaysian cultural entertainment

By Nancy T. Lu

Authentic cuisine spiced to delight, a fashion parade of brightly-colored pareos and sarongs designed to dazzle as well as a kaleidoscope of entertaining songs and dances from a truly Asian nation boasting Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnicity contributed to an unforgettable Malaysian evening for the ladies from the Taipei International Women’s Club (TIWC) last November 6.

Connie Pong, the indefatigable TIWC president, had rounded up her club members and friends for the special Malaysian cultural treat and experience in the lobby of the Grand Hotel in Taipei. This was actually her third or fourth day in a row at the ongoing festival featuring facets of her fascinating homeland, Malaysia. She hails from Ipoh in Perak state.

Abdullah Mohd Salleh, president of the Malaysian Friendship and Trade Center in Taipei, and his wife, Zawiah Ahmad, rushed back from Taichung in time to join the TIWC officers and members at the party.

Swaziland Ambassador Njabuliso B. Gwebu, St. Kitts and Nevis Charge d’Affaires Jasmine Elise Huggins and Ann Keke, wife of Nauru Ambassador Ludwig Dowong Keke, were among the guests who watched up close the Malaysian chef from Kuala Lumpur making a flatbread called roti canai. The dough had to be twirled around in the air with showmanship. This popular food item rather similar to the Indian Kerala porotta was enjoyed later with an appetizing curry or rending dish.

The Malaysian food fare also included chicken and beef satay with a mix of cucumber, onion and peanut for sauce. The wonderful aroma and taste of coconut milk found their way to the truly tempting desserts.

Feasting with the eyes did not end at the buffet table. Malaysian fashion designer Munir Yahya collaborated with batik designer Elda Lembang to create a fashion collection exploding with bright colors on the catwalk. Designs worn by instant models recruited from the staff at the Malaysian Friendship and Trade Center in Taipei demonstrated how pareos and sarongs could be conveniently transformed from casual to formal wear. The hemlines rose and dropped at whim, too.

Diners at the Malaysian event were able to have a look and try on ready-to-wear items on a corner rack. Swaziland Ambassador Njabuliso B.Gwebu and St. Kitts and Nevis Charge d’Affaires Jasmine Elise Huggins spent a few minutes inspecting and admiring some of the designs.

At one point the stage in the Grand Hotel’s lobby really came alive with brightly-costumed Malaysian performers from Pahang state presenting Malay, Chinese, Indian and Kadazan dance highlights of a truly Malaysian cultural program to the rhythmic beat of festive Malaysian music. The dancers were flown to Taipei by Malaysian Airlines.

Audience participation in the Malaysian-style dancing capped a beautiful evening of entertainment to be long remembered for its richness in genuinely Malaysian flavor.

All the pictures were taken by Nancy T. Lu.

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