Wayang kulit at the UN

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 30 Apr 2006

NEW YORK: Malaysian Tok Dalang or master puppeteer extraordinaire Mohamed Nasir Yusoff – better known as Pak Nasir – made history by performing the wayang kulit at the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium at the United Nations headquarters here. 

The performance on Thursday unfortunately did not get a full house because of meetings which went on late into the night. Tight security also kept the general public out. 

However, for those who attended the more than one hour performance, it was an enjoyable experience despite it being something totally new. They also had some difficulty following the dialogue which was in Malay.  

Pak Nasir, who has performed all over the world, was accompanied by an eight-member musical troupe from the National Arts Academy. 

FASCINATION WITH PUPPETS: ‘Tok Dalang’ Pak Nasir explaining the puppet characters of the ‘wayang kulit’ to the children duringthe workshop in New York on Tuesday.

This was their first visit to New York and during their 10-day tour, they would be putting up several performances throughout the city as well as in New Jersey. 

On Tuesday, the group performed for the Asean Ladies’ Circle at the Permanent Mission of Malaysia in New York. The group is made up of wives of diplomats from Asean countries at the UN. 

In the evening, they held a workshop for the children of Malaysians working in New York as well as foreign students. 

The workshop turned out to be a lot of fun for the children as they got the opportunity to learn from Pak Nasir about wayang kulit and its main characters. 

They also had a session with the musicians. 

Datin Amy Hamidon, wife of Malaysia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Datuk Hamidon Ali, said besides showcasing Malaysian traditional music and theatre in New York, she wanted the younger generation to know about this dying art of wayang kulit

Amy, who was responsible for bringing the wayang kulit group here, said she was happy with the response to the performances and the workshops.  

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