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Boys do Malaysia proud at third Asian Youth Arts festival PDF Print E-mail
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Written by A. LETCHUMANAN   
Nov 15, 2008 at 11:39 AM

MALACCA: Students from Sekolah Menengah St. Francis Melaka (SFI) staged a dynamic performance at the third Asian Youth Arts festival in Kagoshima, Japan with their colourful costumes and lively cultural dances.

The all-boys 15-member troupe, aged between 16 and 18, were the first to give their performance at the Houzan Hall in Kagoshima followed by the other troupes from Davao City (Philippines), Changsha (China), Asan City (Korea), Jeonju City (South Korea), Hong Kong, Singapore and Kagoshima, Japan.

Close ties: The SFI boys (in blazers) posing with Japanese students during a familiarisation tour to a Japanese school in Kagoshima.

Themed ‘everyone is excited, Asia is connected’, the boys exhibited Malaysia’s multi cultural and diverse heritage in music and dance in the festival. This is the third time that they were performing in the festival.

SFI Senior Assistant for Co-Curriculum, Vivienne Cheong who is also the group representative to Japan, said it was a proud moment for the boys to perform at an international stage.

”It was the discipline and Franciscan Spirit in them that saw them through the three-month intensive training. They did a fantastic 15-minute routine comprising the Overture, Zapin, Endang, Borneo and ended their performance with Rasa Sayang,” she said.

Looking resplendent: The SFI boys dressed in the traditional costumes after their performance at the third Asian Youth Arts festival in Kagoshima, Japan.

Cheong said the Borneo dance was a combination of music and dance forms of different ethnic people of Sabah and Sarawak, which are truly exotic and enchanting.

“Requiring great agility, the boys were required to perform dramatic jumps. The colourful costumes of different ethnic groups added to the uniqueness of this performance. We want to thank Cikgu Mohd Zainy, dance choreographer from Malacca City Council and our Mayor Yusof Jantan for his guidance and kind support,” she said.

Cheong said the boys had been good ambassadors for Malaysia, especially Malacca. A troupe member Tan Kin Mun said: “It is indeed heartwarming to see how this festival has brought youths from across Asia together. This is an enriching experience for us and I have gained much insight from the exchange of ideas and interactions.”

Historic site: The SFI students and teachers posing for a photo during a visit to a tourism site in Kagoshima.

Music composer Ryo Yoshimata, who said that music is a common language of the world, was the special guest of the festival.

Another participant, Jason Yeo said he was impressed at how this event helps today’s youths to build bridges to feel, learn and understand each other’s countries through music at this year’s Kagoshima Asian Youth Arts Festival.

Kenny Ang who participated in the Endang said, ‘I never did think I would ever dance on any international stage or be a part of an international exchange amongst the youth from all over Asia”.

“I am proud to be chosen to represent SFI and contribute to promoting Malacca as the World’s Heritage City in Japan,” he said.

Japanese touch: The 15 boys posing in Japanese robes

Cheong who taught in SFI since 1996 said it was a privilege to be a Franciscan as SFI students have a close relationship with the city of Kagoshima.

She said the cultural exchange and home stay programme between the two cities was started by their Brother Director, Br. Ambrose Loke and Mishima Moritake from Kagoshima some 20 years ago and today St. Francis’ Institution and Malacca are no strangers to the people of Kagoshima.

Last year, the Mayor of Kagoshima Hiroyuki Mori visited Malacca and the SFI. While in August, the Mayor of Kirishima (another prefecture in Japan) Maeda Shuiji visited the school.

In the first festival, 18 students from SFI, Kolej Yayasan Saad and SMK Infant Jesus Convent took part in 2006 while a 15-member troupe performed a song-and-dance routine with fans and bunga manggar backed by lively ghazal music last year.

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