WHAT better day to unveil The Nut Graph‘s Found in Malaysia book than on Malaysia Day on 16 Sept 2010 last week. The book is after all, a compilation of interviews with prominent Malaysians of different lineage on what their Malaysian identity means.
Found in Malaysia, published by ZI Publications and now available in good bookstores for RM45, made the top of the MPH bestseller list for local authors for the week ending 12 Sept 2010.
The book launch was held alongside a discussion on “Politics and Malaysian Literature” led by Umapagan Ampikaipakan. The panelists were politician Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, human rights activist and poet Cecil Rajendra, writer and translator Eddin Khoo and author Chuah Guat Eng. The launch and discussion were held at Leonardo’s Dining Room and Wine Loft on Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
Found in Malaysia’s launch was part of the festivities in the Malaysiaku: Celebrating Malaysia Day events that were held along Jalan Bangkung. It was also the first time Malaysia Day is acknowledged with a public holiday.
To celebrate the day when Malaysia was formed on 16 Sept 1963 when Malaya, Sabah (then known as North Borneo), Sarawak and Singapore came together as a country, the Malaysiaku events featured discussions, exhibitions and fun activities along the street.
There were special performances by singer-songwriters and Sarawakian, Sabah & Orang Asli dancers, and colourful stalls by Bijou Bazaar, Nur Salam, Womens’ Aid Organisation (WAO) and many others.
But it was the many fascinating discussions and talks that gave the day historical meaning. These included the MyConstitution launch of Phase 6 of its campaign on the judiciary, Amir Muhammad‘s talk on “Malay Movies & the Creation of Malaysia,” and “Our Founding Fathers”, a panel discussion with the descendants of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Tun VT Sambanthan.
Other organisations and associations that added to Malaysiaku festivities were We R Malaysia who showcased their patriotic song and new t-shirts, and Five Arts Centre and Instant Café Theatre which held hourly performances. MYCAT, the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers, had colourful tiger-themed body and face painting for anyone who dared to sport them.
As the day turned into night, there were also fundraising dinners, and traditional performances like the lion dance and wayang kulit which entertained the crowds. As you can see from the photographs The Nut Graph took, the first public holiday for Malaysia Day had something for everyone at Jalan Bangkung.
Photos were taken by Koh Lay Chin, Jacqueline Ann Surin and Ding Jo-Ann.
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