M’sia takes centrestage at Expo 2020 Dubai with cultural spectacle

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PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s performing arts scene is set to scale new heights at the Malaysia Truly Asia showcase taking place at Expo 2020 Dubai’s cultural landmark, the Jubilee Park.

The showcase will feature a remarkable host of cultural performances by troupes from Istana Budaya and the National Department for Culture and Arts, HANDS Percussion Malaysia, Sutra Dance Theatre, and musical shows by Malaysian artistes Syafinaz and Datuk Zainal Abidin.

Miss Universe Malaysia 2020 Francisa Luhong James will also be making a special appearance at the event.

For most, this will be the first performance outside of Malaysia since the global pandemic, so they are excited to take on the stage at Jubilee Park to entertain the crowd in Expo 2020 Dubai. The showcase will take place on 9th January 2022 as part of the 8th January 2022 Malaysia Day celebration, which is the national day accorded by the Expo organiser to participating countries.

“Presenting our Malaysian-made traditional and contemporary percussion performance on a global stage means that we get to share the beauty and uniqueness of our music and culture to an international audience,” Artistic Director and Founder of HANDS Percussion Malaysia, Bernard Goh said yesterday.

Their performance will include an original musical piece composed including instruments such as the timbale set, big red drum, Chinese drums (shigu), bonang, gendang, jidor, and the Chinese cymbal.

The dance performances will see unique plethora of Malaysian cultures from Odissi, an Indian classical dance style to traditional routines of Malay, Chinese, and Bornean customs.

“Our troupe has been rehearsing daily for over a month now to ensure we deliver on a truly remarkable and amazing spectacle vividly to reflect Malaysia’s culture for the international audience at Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Istana Budaya Production Department Assistant Director, Mohd Ferdaus Hassan added.

Meanwhile, Sutra Foundation Founder, Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, quipped that this was their first performance and trip overseas since the movement restrictions due to Covid-19. “Our first performance for 2022 places us right on an international stage of Expo 2020 Dubai.

“This experience will be a truly unique one for our dancers, especially the young ones who are beginning to learn the art of traditional dances.”

Malaysian music legend Datuk Zainal Abidin will be belting his top hits, Damai IV, Manis and Hijau.

He said, “I am proud for this opportunity to perform modern Malaysian music to the world. This is also an exciting time for me personally as it will be 30th anniversary since my song Hijau made its debut.”

The Malaysia Truly Asia showcase is in conjunction with the Malaysia Day flagship event of the Malaysia Pavilion at the World Expo, spotlighting the nation’s achievements and progress across key sectors, including economic, social, cultural, science and technology, as the honour day accorded by Expo 2020 Dubai to participating countries. This occasion also marks the 100-day milestone of Malaysia’s participation at this third largest event in the world.