Monday, October 20, 2014

Behind Malaysian Night 2014

A 6-month project concluded last week. When people asked, how am I feeling? I paused and struggled for an answer, because I felt blank. For 6 months, from nothing to something, something to everything, Malaysian Night was all I can think of. I messed up my priorities, diet, and lifestyle for a trade of old experiences and test of new ideas. Since it was started, I measured the worthiness with both process and outcome. Both generally received pleasing reviews, and to see it grow and to see it end, it wasn't the best and I think I had tried my best. 

Probably the biggest but best mistake I made was putting too much personal emotions into the project. Each performance was inspired by past experiences. On n a personal note, I wanted to reminisce my memories. Each performance was created to test new ideas on old memories. On a selfish note, I took the risk with trying out new things.

Picture stolen from Aleeza Zaki (Facebook)

The opening act was a 5-songs performance. I pursued piano since I was 5. But I didn't enjoy or appreciate the expensive weekly lessons. I remembered crying, rushing my theory homework 30 minutes before my piano teacher comes and having my fingers hit for playing the wrong notes. I don't have a distinctive taste in music but after awhile, playing the piano is an escape from reality. I picked up violin for a year in college, tried out guitar and ukulele as leisure. The band for Malaysian Night progressed from a 6-minute act to a 20-minutes act, I was glad to be a small part of the 2 cover songs they performed, for I will never have the courage to produce my own singing covers or playing the violin again.

Credits to Jun Hong and ANU Malaysian Students' Organisation

Back in 2006, I participated in Dikir Barat performance in my secondary school. We were crowned as the champion and the whole process united our classmates as a whole. We were the noisiest and most annoying, but the best. I joined as a Awak-Awak (clappers) once during the Dikir Barat rehearsals for Malaysian Night. It was reminiscing and the songs are still echoing in my head. 

Credits to Jun Hong and ANU Malaysian Students' Organisation

Not many know that I pursue ballet for a short while when I was 6. I quitted, and regretted. Dance is probably an area I didn't get to pursue or master. There are so much meaning behind the storyline and the moves. There are so much work needed to perfect a 8-count move. The dance team was one of the most diverse and fused crew of all performances. I was glad to see the internationals coming together to perform a dance related to Malaysian culture, but I guess I will need to learn how to convey meaning in dance.

I regretted my poor performance this year in MASCA ACT, for I have done literally nothing for my portfolio. There were plans but it died down after a couple of rejections. Perhaps the Malaysian Heroes video is one of the very little things I can do to educate both crew and the guests on our heroes. I was pleased to hear when the crew mentioned 'I have never heard of XXX' until he/she was featured in the video. At least now they know and now I learn, and there are surprisingly a lot of unsung Malaysian Heroes.

Credits to Jun Hong and ANU Malaysian Students' Organisation

The most controversial and scrutinised of all, the Runway Show. I was both amazed and dumbfounded of how the response on this fashion show, right from the start till the very end. This is my 4th fashion show and my first designed show. I was a Black Rose in 2007, a Polka Dot girl in 2008 and a American/Indian-fused model in 2009, and now 2014, it was all about fusing a Malaysian element and an external element. Victoria Secret-inspired, never been done, I tried my luck on art and creativity, to feature as many Malaysian elements as I can, as a brand new image to Malaysians and non-Malaysians. Behind each costume, hides my interpretation of Malaysia which will be told in a Facebook album. The Runway team was the best team I had ever worked with, I was truly moved by their dedication and commitment. Credits to the amazing team, this Runway dream would not be possible without each and everyone of you.

Trying on managing the team wasn't something I wanted to sign up. I've always enjoy observing organization and people, slightly more critical after studying Sociology and the Sociology of Organization. I missed my volunteer team terribly. The level of physical and mental commitment were so heavy but we never fail to see each other every weekend and be on standby each night. The team stayed as a family with a passion to serve the nation. I was surprised to experience that once again, seeing different 'families' were formed and be part of the 'families'. I was glad I got a chance to be involved in management, and grew closer with the fellow crew. 

This Malaysian Night was a project with blood, sweat and tears. Friendships were jeopardised, priorities were abandoned, two separate weeks of emotional turbulences and my life is still a mess. But it was exchanged with bonding of teams, creating new friendships within and out of the crew, testing new ideas, pushing to the current limit, accomplishing a few hobbies and learning new things. It was worth it after all, as long as I don't screw up my semester result.

A week had passed, and I haven't recovered physically and mentally. A friend stated that I didn't want to recover. Perhaps it's true, how to let it go when it has been like nurturing a baby. I longed for hugs and shoulders, but probably all I want is to sleep through the day and night. After this Friday, I will officially put Malaysian Night behind and a new chapter is ahead. And I will be better prepared this time.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all the crew for making this Malaysian Night dream come true. I thank the friends who have been so supportive. I thank the friends who have been opposing the ideas. I thank the team who work on this project on a daily or weekly basis. I thank you for your persistence, creativity and support. 

Thank you.

YouTube playlist of all the performances:

Wen Xin