KUALA LUMPUR: Sarong, a clothing item that can be found in most local households, coloured the streets and train stations around Klang Valley on Malaysia Day today (Sept 16).
Thousands of Malaysians celebrated the roots of their multi-ethnic identities while doing it in style in conjunction with the Keretapi Sarong 2023 (KS2023) flash mob programme organised by Locco, a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
The festive event brought together Malaysians of different ages and cultural backgrounds to stand united on Malaysia Day.
Participants of the flash mob began gathering at the Bandar Utama MRT station as early as 6am while activities began at around 7am.
Aside from Bandar Utama, other transit points include Putrajaya Sentral (KLIA Transit), Subang Jaya (LRT), Bandar Utama (MRT), Ampang (LRT), Gombak (LRT), Kajang (MRT) and KL Sentral (LRT), all heading to one destination, the Dataran Merdeka.
This time around, aside from the sarong, participants could also be seen donning traditional attire from Sabah and Sarawak.
A festive mood filled the train stations as iconic Malaysian and patriotic songs such as Tanah Pusaka, Standing in the Eyes of the World and Saya Anak Malaysia, coupled with traditional dance performances were showcased to the public.
The most eye-catching performance at the Bandar Utama MRT station was the energetic Dikir Barat, a unique musical art form that involves the combination of singing, poetry reciting, synchronised dancing, and music.
While some were familiar with the event, others had their first taste of the joyful flash mob which first started in 2012.
Izzati Yunus, 28, said her morning began early as she was looking forward to ironing her sarong and baju kurung.
“I heard about Keretapi Sarong last year and I made a plan with a friend to join the programme this year. We have memorised all the songs and are very excited to sing along with the others,” she said when met at the Bandar Utama MRT station in Petaling Jaya.
The same excitement could be seen in friends Arissa Nazrey, 25, and Firdaus Fairuz, 24, who donned a coordinated white with light blue baju kurung and baju Melayu.
“We couldn’t make it last year, which is why we’re very excited about Keretapi Sarong this year.
“We’re so glad we decided to participate because the entire process was smooth. We got all the information from social media which is convenient for us,” Arissa said.
At the Bandar Utama MRT station alone, at least 2,000 participants and crew members were present, according to a RapidKL officer on duty there.
After about two hours of celebrating there, the big group made its way to the heart of Kuala Lumpur, where thousands more were seen singing, dancing and eating their favourite Malaysian food from the food trucks here.
According to the organisers, over 10,000 people were present at Dataran Merdeka.
Programme director Shamsul Bahrin Zainuzzaman told the big crowd at Dataran Merdeka that another flash mob to showcase Malaysian tradition will be held next month.
“This time, only for the ladies, we will be doing ‘Flashmob Lenggang Kebaya’. We will announce the date later but it is happening next month!” he said.
Aside from the Klang Valley, similar events also took place simultaneously in major cities like Johor Baru (along Sungai Segget), Ipoh (KTMB Ipoh) and Kuala Terengganu (Terengganu Cultural Village), as well as in London, United Kingdom at the Battersea Power Station.