The restored Rex Cinema in Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur, proved its worth in bringing back buzz to the area by hosting its second “flower market” as a lead-up to the Chinese New Year.
Organised together with AirAsia Foundation, the venue — rebranded as RexKL — played its part in welcoming the Year of the Rat with a host of fun-filled activities.
The flower market is founded on the basis of “bringing back Petaling Street’s glory days”, and is presented as a place where everyone is welcome to learn about the culture of Malaysia, from food to literature and performing arts.
The two-day event featured a host of Chinese New Year-related food and craft stands, along with craft-making workshops and even a Chinese opera performance.
Naturally, there was the usual host of plants and flower vendors, in keeping with the theme of flower market.
Worthy of mention is the workshop on the art of paper cutting (jianzhi), which has became one of the most important types of Chinese folk art now found all over the world.
Sometimes referred to as chuang hua, window flowers or window paper-cuts, these cut-outs are usually used to decorate walls, windows and doors.
Chinese New Year is also synonymous with lion dances, and here, the owner of the premises creatively adapted the dance for the tight confines of RexKL by having a mini lion.
The mini lion created immediate rapport with the crowd, eliciting squeals of delight from the younger segment of the audience.
There were also nian gao-making demonstrations, with immediate sampling of the still-gooey mix right out of the pot.
In between, students from the nearby Confucian private secondary school brought down their massive drums to bring some heart-pounding buzz to the place.
Other highlights included a woodcut printing workshop, children’s lion head-making workshop, as well as performances of both classical and contemporary Chinese opera.
It was altogether a tasteful and well-balanced mix of offerings that catered to a broad range of audience, both Malaysians and foreigners, young and old.
“We brought people together to learn more about the rich culture of the Chinese dialect groups in Malaysia, ” said AirAsia Foundation executive director Yap Mun Ching.
“The warm reception from locals and foreigners has shown us that introducing traditional practices to the younger generation and to wider audiences can help preserve dying art forms.
“AirAsia Foundation is determined to do its part in preserving the cultural heritage of the region, and so, we hope to spearhead more events that will give people many reasons to be proud of our region’s diversity and uniqueness.”
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