KUALA LUMPUR: After a long day being holed up in meeting rooms, giving talks and attending bilateral meetings, Asean leaders and their dialogue partners were treated to a night of good food and entertainment at the gala dinner.
Hosted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the heads of states were adorned in special attire - the host country's national costume - in keeping with the Asean tradition.
The leaders looked dashing in a cekak musang
-collared evening shirt with songket
trimmings, their spouses resplendent in their respective traditional outfits.
While a four-course western dinner was served, guests were entertained to a medley of songs representing each of the Asean nations and their dialogue partners.
The show kicked-off with a special tribute to Malaysia’s music legend, the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee, when four of his famous songs – Getaran Jiwa, Kwek Mambo, Tiru Macam Saya
and Menceceh Bujang Lapok
– were presented in the form of instrumental music.
It is understood that the Prime Minister himself had selected songs of P. Ramlee.
Malaysia’s musical segment reflected the country’s multi-culture background - Zapin Bunga Hutan
was chosen to represent the Malay culture, Balleilaka
the Indian and Jambatan Tamparuli
As for the dialogue partners, the songs I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)
made popular by the group Four Tops and Do You Love Me
from The Contours were chosen to represent the United States, Down Under
by Men At Work (Australia and New Zealand) and Kojo No Tsuki
by Korea’s K-pop sensation Wonder Girls and India’s Jai Ho
from the movie Slumdog Millionaire received applause from the guests, reflecting the song’s popularity outside their countries.
To represent China, the song Mo Li Hua
(Jasmine Flower) was staged while A Million Voices
was Russia’s song at the gala dinner.
But what captured the attention of the leaders and guests was probably the young performers from Permata Seni Remaja and Permata Seni choir groups who served as back-up singers for the night.