Stepping out together and in style

KUALA LUMPUR: The song Saya Anak Malaysia reverberated inside trains as commuters sang and celebrated their culture, music and traditions as part of a Malaysia Day flashmob.

A huge crowd of passionate Malaysians in sarong, retro outfits and traditional costumes showed up at various train stations here and sang patriotic songs as part of the “Keretapi Sarong” programme yesterday.

Devash Shammugam, 23, who came with 14 friends representing Hindus, said there should be more events similar to Keretapi Sarong, which unites Malaysians from diverse backgrounds.

The United Malaysian Hindu Youth Fellowship president, who travelled from the LRT Ampang Line to the event location in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, said he saw many Malaysians of different backgrounds gathering there to celebrate the uniqueness of the country.

“I’m proud to be a Malaysian. If there are more of these cultural activities, it will definitely strengthen our bond,” he said.

Student Eilliyah Fong Abdullah, 19, who came with her family, said she was awed by the patriotism shown by participants.

“It’s a really ‘happening’ event,” she added.

All aboard: Participants of the Keretapi Sarong programme celebrating Malaysia Day in a fun way. — AZMAN GHANI/The StarAll aboard: Participants of the Keretapi Sarong programme celebrating Malaysia Day in a fun way. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

Eilliyah, who was on board the MRT from Kajang, said she hoped that Malaysians would stay united and not fight over racial and political issues.

Keretapi Sarong, which is in its sixth year, aims to encourage the use of public transport and also celebrates the sarong as a traditional fashion and culture.

It is organised by the community group Locco (Local Companion) with the Transport Ministry as its main collaborator.

The ministry said it hopes the collaboration would encourage sarong-wearing people to experience train services planned along the RapidKL network of MRT and LRT lines.

This year, Keretapi Sarong added three new stations – Putrajaya and KLIA via the ERL train network to the five existing stations, and KL Sentral.

Nur Sabrina Zainuddin, 23, said she plucked up the courage to attend the event solo after reading promotional material about “Geng Takda Geng (Gang Without a Gang)”, a gathering and ice-breaking session for those who came alone for the Keretapi Sarong flashmob.

The logistics employee had no regrets turning up.

“After getting to know the people in Geng Takda Geng, I feel we are truly united like one family because they welcomed me.”

Even ‘Spider-man’ at the Bukit Bintang MRT station swings into action.Even ‘Spider-man’ at the Bukit Bintang MRT station swings into action.

Also in Geng Takda Geng was real estate consultant Nur Nadhirah Ariffin, 31, who wished that more events like this would be held.

Nur Nadhirah, who took the LRT from Gombak, said the sarong is something dear to all Malaysians and not just the Malays.

“Malaysia Day is very significant for me because it’s a remembrance of what made us today. I’m very proud to be a Malaysian,” she said.

Keretapi Sarong yesterday included activities, cultural games and sing-alongs led by groups of volunteers and strategic partners stationed at all eight stations.

The final stop was the Bukit Bintang MRT station, before participants walked to Pavilion.

It was exciting to see Malaysians coming together just to have fun to celebrate the occasion, said Nurazam CY, who is from Jejaka, an NGO which focuses on harm reduction for HIV and AIDS.

The 32-year-old said the sarong and batik were his daily attire, which he wore with pride.

Clad in a yellow sarong, he said there was only one word to describe yesterday’s Malaysia Day flashmob: “Unity”.

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