1All eyes turned to look at the raucous laughter that had erupted behind the arranged chairs. Several groups of cacophonous students of mixed descent had gathered around the set tables with playful smiles, ready to toss the vegetables as high as their fate would let them. The centuries-old tradition of Yee Sang, celebrated by the Chinese in Malaysia, was brought to life at Lagenda 2020 in an effort to fervently immortalize the event. As the joyous students, with hope twinkling in their eyes, flipped the vegetables with chopsticks, my mind raced back to my childhood home, reminiscing about the functions we held to bring people from all over the locality together. In its core essence, this was what Lagenda 2020 was all about. Nostalgia.
Over 1000 students, born and brought up in Malaysia, currently study at the Melaka Manipal Medical College. Thousands of miles away from the islands they call home, Manipal has proffered them all a second home. A second lease at life and education. But who doesn’t slip away during daydreams in a boring class with their mind wrapped around the delicacies and customs of their own begotten land? This is what made Lagenda 2020 unique. It was not merely a fest or a function. It was a collective remembering, by over a 1000 students, of their colorful lives back home. No wonder, the Organizing Committee as well as the rest of MSAI, spent months planning and ironing out the details. A half-hearted attempt at mere recollection wouldn’t have cut their case. They needed a full-blown outburst that satiated every Malaysian’s home-sick spirit there. And they delivered just that.
On their own little island in KMC Greens, on a balmy January evening, students gathered from all walks of life to enjoy the food, games, and other booths scattered around the main stage. Excited students had set up the booths and prepared elaborate dishes from the traditional cuisines of Malaysia and Sri Lanka. The exotic smells wafting from the small kitchenettes enticed even the most reluctant eaters to savor the flavors. Using home-grown spices, the students had tried their best to mimic the roadside eateries that lined up in downtown Kuala Lumpur. While some students pillaged the dishes, others gathered around the stage to witness the cultural renaissance that was on display. The usual customaries by the Guest of Honor and MSAI President were followed by a southeast Asian extravaganza that included a fashion show, music performances, and dances. While the fashion show focused on showcasing the traditional attires of the various ethnicities residing in Malaysia, the dances sought to bring out the expression of ethnic pride. Each dance, be it the Sri Lankan, Malayan, or Chinese, brought forth the exuberance of their ancient histories and the ties with their land. The music performances did more to combine the various cultural influences and wrap them into soulful renditions that brought forth loud cheers from the students.
“…it brought back some fond memories trying to replicate the dishes we grew up eating back home.” Said Tishan, an incumbent of MMMC.
Calling Lagenda 2020 a mere success would be a blight on its near-perfect attempt to recreate Malaysia in Manipal. By heralding the new decade in the most beautiful manner possible, Lagenda 2020 has set an example for all other cultural functions to follow. After all, what matters more than lifeless numbers is the impact an event creates in the hearts of the people.
Photos by – Aishwarya Sharma and Sanskriti Airon
Edited by – Hrishit Roy