VISITORS to the recent Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) Convofair in Tronoh, Perak, found themselves surrounded by a melting pot of nationalities from all over the world.
Students from 15 countries including Pakistan, Yemen, Iran, Timor-Leste and Equatorial Guinea dressed in their traditional costumes and shared information about their cultures and countries at the fair.
It is organised yearly in conjunction with UTP’s convocation ceremony and features food stalls, exhibition booths, concerts, cultural shows, sports activities and a treasure hunt.
Students from Turkmenistan wore big sheepskin caps and their tradi-tional long garments with colourful embroidery at the collar.
Bayramdurdy Gurboinweliew, 20, explained that the cap was called the telpek and was worn by men outdoors to protect them from the cold or heat.
“We have a smaller cap, the tahya, that we wear indoors.
“It is handmade by women. Gene-rally, the women in our country are good at needlework and making handicraft,” said the third year civil engineering student.
He said that Turkmenistan, for-merly part of the Soviet Union, was in Central Asia.
“It is about twice the size of Ma-laysia with a population of six million,” he said.
Gurboinweliew and his countrymen exhibited their handicraft as well as books on their country at the fair.
Local student Mohd Khusyairi Kusmaniirat, 20, tried his hand at the tabla balade, an Egyptian drum, while Egyptian student Mohammad Abdul-lah Bader demonstrated how to smoke the shesha which was filled with flavoured tobacco.
“I’m so proud to show off what Egypt is like – our culture, our people and what we do. It does make me feel a little homesick though,” said Mohammad Abdullah.
The booth set up by students from Sudan featured a 5m-long anaconda skin and items made from snake and crocodile skin.
Students from other countries like South Africa, Mozambique, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia also displayed items made in their countries.
The UTP Convofair 2005 was launched by state Education, Human Resources and Multimedia Commit-tee chairman Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.