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Thursday September 22, 2011
Story and photos by FOO SWEE LEE firstname.lastname@example.org
MALACCA: The famous Jonker Street podium was surrounded by hundreds of locals and tourists recently, as they witnessed and appreciated the colourful and cultural performances of the Baba Nyonya people.
Many Nyonyas came in intricately embroided kebayas, batik sarong and beaded sandals while the Babas arrived in colourful batik shirts and neatly pressed trousers to the event.
The Nyonyas also had their hair swept up in buns, decorated with flowers and gold pins.
The vibrant night started with the singing of Negara Ku and patriotic songs.
Some mini flags were distributed to the spectators in-conjunction with the Malaysia Day celebration.
Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam who officiated the event, urged locals to be proud of the Peranakan culture and to embrace its uniqueness as their custom was part of Malacca’s heritage as it reflected elements of the Malay and Chinese assimilation.
He also said there would be an international Baba Nyonya festival in Dec where many competitions would be held at the UnescoWorld Heritage site.
A melodious evergreen Dondang Sayang number, performed by septuagenarian Nyonya Tan and Baba Boon kept the audience mesmerized throughout the event.
The duet also exchanged impromptu pantuns in a humourous style. Sri Lankan tourist, Philip Gunaraenam considered himself lucky to witness the 600-year cultural heritage performances on his second day of visit to the state.
Another performance which caught the crowds attention was the Joget Baba Nyonya which was performed by 12 gorgeously-dressed Nyonyas.
The performance showcased the Joget Bimpoh (handkerchief dance) and Joget Bakul Siah (traditional Baba Nyonya basket dance).
They swayed harmoniously to the classical Peranakan tunes.
Steve Stephens, 40, from Finland said the night was an eye-opener in understanding Malaysia’s multiculturalism.
“I will return and discover more cultures of this wonderful country, especially the Peranakan community,” he added.
A Catwalk and Umbrella Dance performed by the SJFM group was also a highlight of the event as they sang and danced to Malay, Chinese and Indian tunes.
This eventful night was organised by the Baba Nyonya Unit in the Chief Minister’s Department, in conjunction with the Merdeka celebration.
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