Thursday August 24, 2017
11:21 AM GMT+8

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AUGUST 24 — Last week, I wrote here that I hoped to see the best opening ceremony for the KL SEA Games.

And I think my wish has been fulfilled.

Sitting inside the massive stadium, even if you were only one in 100,000, you could sense the powerful excitement of 100,000 spectators.

The success of the opening show was not just the spectacle and colours although where these two aspects are concerned, we were indeed up to world standards through the clever use of technology and creativity.

What really touched my heart was the sincerity and truth that it presented.

If the opening show could be called a microcosm of the Malaysian society, I saw the real Malaysia and felt the energy and hope of this country.

It started with the dances of the Orang Asli on peninsular Malaysia, followed by the presentation of the cultures of East Malaysian Dayaks and Kadazans.

That was a show of respect for the indigenous peoples who had already been living on this land for tens of thousands of years before the arrival of other mainstream ethnicities.

True as it is, their mere existence is oftentimes overlooked and even avoided.

And this opening ceremony returned the historical status of these Orang Asli and the indigenous peoples of East Malaysia.

Next, the field was turned into an ocean through exceptional visual effects. The Malays, the Chinese and the Indians arrived at this land with all kinds of seagoing vessels.

In the company of their respective music and dances, they began to look for their dreams and build their lives here. All peoples, including also the descendants of the Portuguese and Baba-Nyonyas, had their respective places here.

The duet by the baba and nyonya on trishaws was a manifestation of cultural interactions among different ethnic groups that gave rise to the uniqueness of the Malaysian culture.

After that dances and musical instruments of different ethnic communities performed concurrently under the same rhythm, two mighty golden dragons shuttling on the stage.

Warriors in various ethnic costumes waved their poles together at the beat of 24 Festive Drums, Malay kompangs and Indian hand drums.

This was followed by the appearance of the lead vocalists singing the theme song of the Games. At that very instant, a nation was born, and all rose together, hand in hand, moving forward.

Finally the torch arrived and was relayed by three generations of sportsmen representing the past, the present and the future. The torch finally reached the hand of young diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri who was lifted up slowly to light the main cauldron.

Hosts of major sporting events worldwide would heavily invest in cash, manpower and technology to create an opening gala show that will impress the rest of the world.

The KL opening show was not particularly grand, but it nevertheless portrayed the most genuine faces of the different ethnic cultures on this land in re-enacting the vibrant Malaysian spirit through the unpretentious presentation of history and the country's rich and accommodating cultures.

Youth and Sports Minster Khairy Jamaluddin said in his opening speech that the Games that saw the participation of athletes from Asean-10 plus Timor-Leste was not just a competition but a celebration. To 30 million Malaysians, it was also a great show of unity.

If you happen to miss the opening show, look for it at YouTube and have a personal feel of the Malaysian spirit.

Other things like misprint of Indonesian flag and the medal count are of secondary importance now. — Sin Chew Daily

* This article was first published here.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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