Friday, October 16, 2009

Merdeka & Raya Celebration At The Embassy

Short note: The Embassy of Malaysia in Tokyo is certainly not the best place to visit in Japan. Two years ago, those who ate the curry chicken at the Raya open house had stomachache. This year during the same event (Raya celebration), one student there was H1N1 positive and those who were there might be infected =.=||
I first stepped my foot on Japan on April, 2007. 
Now it is already October, 2009. That is exactly two-and-a-half years already, if you exclude the time I went back home for my holidays. Being a government sponsored scholar, I have never gone to the Embassy of Malaysia in Shibuya, Tokyo down the years. I am not saying it is compulsory for us to go there, but we are receiving monthly allowance from the government and isn't it better if we could spare some time from our busy schedule to attend and join the fun at the functions organised by the embassy once in a while?
The main entrance to Embassy of Malaysia, Tokyo.
You will never feel more proud to be a Malaysian than seeing the Jalur Gemilang flying high on a foreign land.
When we first arrived here, we weren't taken to the embassy for the orientation programme; everything was done at the hotel we stayed at. Another reason I have never gone to the embassy is because of the distance factor. I am studying in Nagaoka, which is equivalent to the distance between Penang and KL. Public transportation in Japan isn't cheap at all. so you should get what I mean here.
This year, I was informed that one of my entries for the photography competition was selected as the second-prize winner. However, I didn't go down to Tokyo just because of that as it would be silly to fork out so much (more than RM500) just for transportation, when the prize money is just about RM100. Doesn't make any sense at all, does it?
Traditional dance to entertain the guests.
Tanggal 31.
Part of the students and staffs who attended the event.

Like I have mentioned, I had other things to attend besides just this event at the embassy last weekend, and it was a coincidence that everything fell on the same weekend. I will blog on the Tokyo trip over the long weekends in some other entries later on but for now, lets go back to the event at the embassy. What event was it, you might ask me. It was the celebration of Merdeka Day and Hari Raya 2009, organised by Malaysian Students' Association in Japan (MSAJ) and Kelab UMNO Jepun (KUJ). I know both celebrations have ended quite some time ago, but it is common for the embassy to organise the event at this time of the year because most students usually return to Malaysia for their summer break in August.
As part of the side event for this celebration, there was several competitions held in conjunction with the 52nd Merdeka Day celebration - essay writing, video and photo competition. It is a winding story if I were to talk about what happened to the video competition, so I shall spare them until I feel it is the right time to mention it.
I submitted a photo for the photography competition which won me 3,000 yen (RM 100). Not too bad isn't it? My initial idea was to take pictures of small kids from different races having fun together, but I thought that was too cliché. So, I took a different approach by using "food" as the main subject here.
We might be different people, different culture, different beliefs, but in the end, it is the food that brings us together as "One Race, 1Malaysia".
Kita mungkin berbeza bangsa, budaya, dan kepercayaan, namun akhirnya makanan menyatukan kita bersama sebagai "Satu Bangsa, 1Malaysia".
Posing with the three pictures in the photography competition.
I went to the morning market in Taiping one morning and walked to the stall selling putu mayam and murtabak. It so happened that I was at the right place at the right time because this was the scene I saw the moment I reached the stall. This is what we call one race.
Not bad for my first attempt in a photography competition. Also many thanks to my Sony DSC-T100 because the quality of the photo it produced was able to compete with other photos which I suppose were taken using DSLRs.
I actually arrived almost two hours late there. The event was supposed to start at ten, but I heard the real event only started at eleven because it was the arrival of guests and VIP before that. Speech followed up after that and I guess I made the right decision to arrive late as I get to skipped those sessions haha. Later, it was the prize presentation for the essay and photography competition and I managed to be there for the presentation.
Met up with several seniors and juniors there.
The acting ambassador and his wife posing with the dancing team. Believe it or not, those ladies dancers are Japanese.
The moment everyone were waiting for was of course the makan session. But being Malaysian, we just cannot hear to the word "makan". The moment the MC invited everyone to the garden for lunch, instead of remaining on their seats before the ambassador and the VIP leave the hall, everyone stood up almost immediately, ignoring the VIPs. I noticed the committee tried to signal everyone to get back to their seats, but nobody bothered them lol.
Randy, this happened not only in Nagaoka, but in Tokyo as well haha.
More performances to entertain the guests.
Isam posing with the duit raya he got from one of the dancers.
One thing I noticed was that the number of guests in the embassy turned as much as twice when it was the lunch time. Just like what I thought, these people only enter the embassy when it was lunch time without having to brace themselves for the formal programmes in the hall earlier that morning.
Damn smart Malaysians, eh?
Kimura Sensei, our ex-Japanese lecturer in PPKTJ was there too.
Green bridge standing in between the white twin towers haha.
Seniors and a few private students who were at the event.
Food was not bad. Nasi briyani, ayam masak merah, daal, vegetables acar, kueh and fruits. Ohh yea, not forgetting nasi himpit and kuah kacang. Too bad there didn't prepare satay and rendang.
The next event was ketupat-weaving competition. Before the competition started, Ben showed off his skills in weaving ketupat by doing a demonstration for everyone. The competition was opened to everybody and it was joined by a few guys as well. Contestants were given a time-limit of ten minutes and they were required to weave as many ketupats as possible using the colour ribbons. No specific shapes were set, so they were free to make whatever shape they like.
"Mula-mula, buat tiga gelang emas macam ini. Lepas tu, ..."
The boys.
The girls.
A blue happy family.
Since we were free to come out with any kinds of shapes, I asked Afifi, my batch mate if he wanna join the rest. He said no, because he didn't have a stapler with him at that time haha. Are you laughing now? If you are not, then you didn't get the joke here haha!
As expected, the winner was one of the embassy staff, a lady.
The winner of ketupat-weaving competition.
Traditional performance again.
The winner of guess-the-number-of-cookies-in-the-box competition, a student from Teikyo University.
She got to bring back the whole box of cookies haha wtf.
Okay, I promise this is the last performance by the dancers haha.

In all, I had a great time there; meeting friends, seniors and juniors whom I have not seen them for some time. In fact, there were a few of them whom the last time I saw them was when we went off to our respective colleges more than two years ago.
But there was one disturbing thing which happened there. One of the students who attend the event had fever and that student was later diagnosed as being positive for Influenza Type A - H1N1. From what I heard, most of the students who were at the embassy have either been infected or having symptoms of that flu. My two juniors from Nagaoka who were there are currently being quarantined.
As I attended the event as well, people are now suspecting me as well =.=||


Ben Foo said...

That is not the Ambassador but the Acting (wat's the right word? forgot the right word for that)

calvin said...

@ ben foo:
i was just gonna confirm with you on that guy in yellow because i somehow feel that he isn't the ambassador. anyway, thanks for the clarification and i have edited the wrong info hehe xD

pinksterz said...

aiseh, better go and check yourself! hope everything is fine :D

calvin said...

@ pinksterz:
thanks for your concern. i think i am back to normal :)

Kae Vin said...

u don blog according to chronology. Confusing la~ This was before you came back right/?

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
this event was held just last weekend, after my summer holiday. sorry for the confusion.

to be honest, there are too many pending posts, but i try to post them in the best order as possible :)

CLF said...

going to the Embassy is not easy for those in Tokyo too.... not accessible by train is one such problem.
anyway, would love to visit it next time, gonna spend more time in western Tokyo hah.

calvin said...

@ clf:
you must be joking to me. japan, especially tokyo has one of the most efficient train system in the world and you said it is not accessible by train?

just get down at shibuya, walk out from hachiko exit and a fifteen-minute walk should bring you to the embassy. ask the locals for directions if you are unsure. i asked the 7/11 guy for directions the other day to save time :)

by the way, which part of tokyo are you living?

CLF said...

O_o 15 mins walk from Shibuya?!? That's much closer than what we're being informed here, which I heard we had to took bus to get there sweat...

I'm staying in Arakawa (荒川) currently, studying in Bunkyou-ku (文京区).

calvin said...

@ clf:
errr, maybe that is because my walking speed is much faster than a normal person lol! but no matter how slow you walk, i think you should get there in thirty minutes.

unless you are walking as slow as a tortoise hehe xD

by the way, i saw there are buses from shibuya station that pass the embassy as well.

Roshmi Sinha said...

Hi! My first time here...

Very entertaining as well as informative post. Following you :)

P.S. Please try and put up the 'followers widget' on your blog. It'll make it easier to follow.

calvin said...

@ roshmi sinha:
hello! thanks for dropping by :)

thanks for your constructive comments and just like you suggested, i have put up the "followers' widget" for your convenience.