It was a success..the booth and the Tarian Endang. Looking around, I have to say our team made it.
Compared to the Malaysian team, most of the other countries had a large number of people in their groups to help out. There were also groups that had 2-4 countries combined. (what a cheat..hehehhe) We were green with envy. For our small group of 4 ladies, the Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Egyptian, Indonesian, Emirati and the Palestinian groups were like giants who could easily topple us! They had these massive tents, adorned with trinkets from home, carpeted and draped with curtains that yelled out their origins. The Emiratis had a grand 'majlis' for onlookers to rest in, while the Egyptians built a mini pyramid the size of me! Looking at our humble booth, our self-esteem was nowhere to be found. Fortunately, our husbands were around and helped to set up the booth, along with another pair who had nothing to do with Glenelg but had willingly assisted us in the name of patriotism and friendship. Alhamdulillah..we made it through.
Weeks before the event, we started off being petrified. There was nothing that we could offer to introduce Malaysia to the crowd of onlookers, no items of handicrafts, no posters and not even the Malaysian flag (yeah yeah..scorn us lot..we forgot to bring these items here!) All we had were pieces of kain batik Terengganu, our baju Melayus, baju kurungs and a set of congkak. Not knowing what else to do, we contacted the Embassy of Malaysia in Abu Dhabi and requested for some posters and brochures to display. Since the embassy did not have what we needed, the corresponding officer took the initiative to contact the Malaysian Tourism office in Dubai on our behalf asking for whatever brochures that they were able to spare. Two days later, what we were given was a small box with different sorts of pamphlets. They were very helpful indeed; the pamphlets, the embassy and Tourism Malaysia staffs. Although the reading materials were not enough to hand out to the passers-by, however, it was sufficient enough to add colors to our empty booth. What more could we ask for, better something than nothing. And lo..as we finished decorating and preparing the stall, it was immediately transformed into a mobile branch of Tourism Malaysia. Our booth was more like an information counter and it was the only booth to have offered brochures! Three cheers for Malaysia!
Apart from the brochures, we also displayed our traditional game of congkak and batu seremban. Since we could not find any rocks here where the desert looms, Kak Marlina made them out of rice in small packets of cloth. It wasn't quite peculiar to the westerners as they a have similar game called "Jack" or was it "Jumping Jack" ? The array of traditional delicacies also did not fail to impress people. The 'keropok lekor' made by Niza and her 'sambal cicah' had fast gained popularity. And by the "mmmss" and "ooohhhhsss.." that were heard as these kuehs had found a new home in people's mouths, we knew that Niza's 'lepat pisang' did not disappoint us either as well as the 'kueh kole kacang' by our masterchef Ila. Unlike the other countries which offered a buffet enough to keep you full till the next day (oh did we pig out!!! So malulah these Malaysian housewives gorging on almost everything.. but i tell you ah..Palestinian and Egyptian food is absolutely delish!!!! and Kenyan too..oh the black sesame paste..mmm) our simple servings of kuehs were just the right amount.
Then at 5pm, the time we waited for had finally come. After two weeks of practice from 4 to 7pm, the cryings and complaints of small children, the fatigue of having to be patient with them, hindering myself not to yell when they screamed, trying to understand that a 5-minute break in reality is 25 minutes, having to keep them going-on when they all sighed upon hearing me say.."salah..one more time!"..the moment had arrived. As I stood in front of the stage, assisting the little ones so they would not forget the steps, I noticed that my being there was not needed at all!!! They were doing a fantastic job..each and everyone of them..the small blunders they made were nothing to make a fuss about because they they all knew their steps and they looked nowhere near being afraid or shy..even the little ones..even Tabina who joined the group not more than 48 hours prior to the day. All the effort had finally paid off!