On Thursday, 9th March 2017, the Student Association’s ‘International Cultural Night’ (ICN) took place successfully. The event, which was creatively referred to as ‘Flight ICN’ throughout its promotion period, soared above all expectations to give students a feel of what was truly a trip around the world.
Following the travel-inspired theme, the attendees were welcomed by two very charismatic emcees, Anis Sahoo and Nikko (Nkosi) Sikhosana. Sporting flight attendant costumes, the pair helped ensure that the flow of performances remained smooth and that all those abroad ‘Flight ICN’ were kept entertained throughout the night.
Opening for the night was UNMC’s very own Kareshma Martin Patrick, who recently made her musical debut in the local reality talent show Akademi Fantasia. The lass’s strong vocals set the pace for the rest of the ICN, which was carried on by each country through their own incredible performances.
First, as the ambassador of the hosting country, Sara Akashah binti Mohd Reduan of Malaysia started the night’s cultural showcase with a sweet rendition of a traditional Malay song.
After being graced with Sara’s gentle voice, the stage then welcomed an impressive show of masculinity by the students from Egypt. The group of men swung their prop swords to a raucous beat, whilst still managing to demonstrate some fancy footwork. They were followed up by the cheeky performers from Mauritius, all dressed in floral traditional garb. The students’ rendition of what appeared to be the Sega dance was nothing short of spectacular, and the males of the troop earned a few laughs with their exaggerated dance moves.
Sara representing Malaysian culture with her lovely voice in singing.
Then, Kazakhstan’s ambassador, Zhanbota Dyussebayeva, took to the stage. Despite being alone, she managed to fill up the stage with her talents, delicately playing what appeared to be a traditional instrument from Kazakhstan, called the dombra. The Kazakhstan ambassador’s performance was then immediately followed up by the students of Bangladesh, who impressed the audience with their upbeat dance moves.
After that, Japan sincere rendition of a Japanese song left smiles on many of the audiences’ faces. The whole group was dressed in kimonos and yukatas, and the lead singer’s childlike voice brought a nostalgic feel to their performance that many could appreciate.
Following the Japanese students were a group of dancers representing Pakistan. Their sensual moves created an engaging performance, which would have definitely made their country proud.
Next up was an all-female group from Nigeria. Making a strong impression from the get go, they appeared unaffected by the large crowd, showing off their dance skills confidently. The audience were clearly very entertained by their performance, with many amongst the crowd yelling for an encore as their slot drew to a close.
Representatives from the United Kingdom (UK) then made their way to the stage, using their slot to showcase a series of performances. They started off with a guitar sing along session featuring famous British songs. The audience were very sporting, singing along with the performers to an Ed Sheeran single. Then, the UK students put on a skit mixed with a pantomime, mouthing famous lines from well-known English titles and acting out a series of hilarious scenes.
Halfway through the ICN, the emcees came up to announce the start of a cultural fashion show. Representatives from each country strutted across the hall to show off their traditional garb, coming together to form a truly beautiful display. Some highlights include the SA’s very own President, Linur Chubaev, dressed from head to toe in traditional Arabic gear. Immediately following him was SA Vice President Jason Ong, who was dressed in traditional Chinese clothing complete with elaborate headset, which was reminiscent of an Emperor in olden dynasties.
After some laughs and a loud roar of appreciation from the audience, the fashion show dispersed to make way for the next performance. This time, Chinese Malaysian students from the infamous UNMC 24 Festive Drum Team rose to the occasion. They delivered a fantastic drum performance, the accurate beats and synchronised shouts resonating through the walls of the Great Hall.
A cool band performance from Sri Lanka was up next. The lads transported the audience to a serene coffee-shop-esque sequence with their ambience, and their effortless instrumental show. It was clear that the crowd size did not affect them at all, as the bassist and guitarists were comfortably fooling around with each other on stage as they played.
Not much later, the SA International Officer, Marwa Abbas, graced the stage with fellow students from Bahrain. They began by re-enacting a traditional wedding scene, which eventually turned into a dance performance. It was apparent that the audience had much appreciation for Marwa, who was behind this event, as many called out her name and cheered as she gave her all during the dance routine.
Then, India and Pakistan came together in a combination of dance moves and culture. Despite being from different countries, the students truly performed harmoniously during this slot. The upbeat atmosphere was continued by the dancers from Africa, who came forth to shake it off – literally.
One of the most surprising performances of the night, Indonesia then came forth to give a truly unique performance. Their slot was filled with what seemed to be a dikir barat routine, but adapted and improved through their cultural input. It was incredibly engaging, and audiences shouted out their surprise as the group’s movements created a varied combination of synchronised patterns, by only using their bodies, all whilst singing. They were met with a roar of approval as they left the stage.
Next, the students from Sudan incorporated calls for political awareness as they began their performance with the tagling that “Sudan is split”. Initially dancing as separate teams, the students came together in the end to perform the final dance routine, and stood hand in hand as the audience gave their approval. This was followed up with dances from the Maldives and then India, with the representatives from both countries showing impressive passion through their footwork.
Finally, Marwa appeared on the stage again to thank everyone for coming. She then invited all the ambassadors under the International Students Bureau to come onto the stage together, and wave their country’s flags proudly.
The night then drew to a close as the judges announced the winners of the ICN awards. Japan grabbed second runner up, and the main singer from their performance went up the stage, seeming slightly surprised, but ultimately very satisfied. Then, first runner up was awarded to the Chinese Malaysian group, whose Malaysian ambassador, Sara, accepted on their behalf.
Last but certainly not least, the first place was awarded to team Indonesia, which was unsurprising to many. The Indonesian ambassador then went up to the stage with a huge smile on her face, probably grateful that their hard work had paid off.
The event concluded on a high note, as the audience dispersed. Most made their way to the Great Hall to check out the food booths set up by all the participating countries, which could be purchased with food coupons. All in all, it was truly an international experience.
Written by Amirah Qistina (SA Marketing and Communications Team)