Smashing showcase of Penang heritage

Four months of hard work closed with a blast from the past for the 53 children who learned about heritage under the tutelage of DIGI's Amazing Malaysian 'Madam Heritage Heboh of Penang' Janet Pillai. 

Putting together what they had learnt during the period, they put up splendid peformances in a showcase called the Heritage Heboh Street Festival in Penang last Saturday. 

Pizzazz and glamour surrounded the event which was held in the vicinity of the Khoo Kongsi and attended by several hundred people. 

While the Wayang Bayang-Bayang visual arts segment fell a little flat compared to the preview held a week earlier, the Gerak-Gerak Borak-Borak dance and Muzik Bunyi-Bunyian segments lived up to the ‘oomph' promised and even more. 

The demon-possessed Tek Soon and his mother, intent on getting the famed powerful Yap Temple god to exorcise him, was a hilarious cultural lesson presented in shadow and light with cinematographic effects. 

ROUSING END:Janet Pillai(white blouse),her charges,other participants and helpers taking a bow at the close of the Heritage Heboh Street Festival.

STREET ACT:The 'Gerak-Gerak Borak-Borak' group using metal kopitiam stools and chopsticks in their dance rountine at the Lebuh Armenian-Lebuh Cannon junction.

The byword of Penang – food – was presented in an upbeat rhythmic dance routine incorporating the movements of people eating and preparing food which involved metal kopitiam chairs and chopsticks. 

Festival mascot Mr Love Lane, who knew the many streets in Pe- nang where the best food could be found, made appearances during the show. 

Then the story of early multiethnic Penang settlers unfolded in a musical piece that left the audience hanging on to every note and word as they relearned a familiar story in an enthralling combination of gamelan, rap, dikir barat and pantun

Joining the children onstage in the last segment held in Khoo Kongsi itself were Bangsawan exponent Mohd Bahroodin Ahmad as the Nyonya matriarch Bibik Hitam and songstress of golden oldies Yudi in a glamorous finale. 

Dancers in suits and high-slit cheongsams and tulle dressers relived the golden days of entertainment in the Great World Park as Yudi serenaded the audience with songs like Rose, Rose I Love You

A burst of fireworks culminated the night as the Heritage Heboh kids and their facilitators took to the stage with their traditional Malay dance moves as well as the not-so-formal moves learnt during the span of the project. 

One snag to the whole event was that entrance to the last two segments and the finale was limited to invited guests while the rest who came had to watch the proceedings from a big screen set up outside. 

The festival was the final show- case of DIGi's corporate social responsibility programme that identifies individuals who are doing great heritage work and engages them in projects with youth or children living mainly in rural areas.  

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