It has been a good two year run performing at Chingay Parade 2015-2016. Never have thought that I would ever take part let alone perform at the parade two years in a row.
Last year performed using a Mirwas (a small double-sided hand drum originally from the Middle East), singing and dancing to simple/basic Malay dance and Dikir Barat steps was very easy. This year was a bit more challenging and I can say physically demanding – performing a combination of Malay dance, Silat movements, singing to the tunes of Dikir Barat while holding and playing the bamboo (originally the bamboo was rather heavy, but somehow they modified it to make it slightly lighter and there were others who had to carry a heavy prop that resembles a kampong house). The performance was a total of 18mins, 3mins per sector (a total of 6 sectors). As challenging and demanding as it is, it was an enjoyable and satisfying experience. Especially for the fact that it was my first time performing in the rain wearing a poncho (rained heavily on 19 Feb – first day of the Chingay parade). If it had rained on the second day, I would definitely forgo the poncho. One of the reasons that I loved performing – regardless of numerous times you had trained, making sure that everything from costume, make-up, props, etc has been set up to perfection, there will always be situations that is beyond your control. And performing outdoors is totally a different ball game. The performance is the same but the environment can make the performance a whole lot different.
The experience of performing alongside a group of talented Malay youths these two years was truly eye opening. The conversations and time spent getting to know new and familiar faces, sharing their aspirations, having great laughs, making the best out of a scorching/bad weather, comparing the type and number of abrasions/bruises each had, made the whole experience truly worthwhile. Really appreciate and great to see that neither experience, age nor educational background matters as we perform as one – a great representation of who we are. Those aspiring conversations made me feel and think that we still have hope.
Will I be back for the third year? I don’t know as there is an urge to know and the itch to be involved behind the scenes of this massive parade.