On February 20, 2021, Warwick ASEAN Conference (WAC) organised our very first Warwick ASEAN Cultural Night to showcase Southeast Asia’s diverse cultures and celebrate the region’s multiplicity of cultures and traditions. The event featured musical performances, which allowed our audience to admire the intricacies of each country’s cultural heritage and traditions. With national lockdowns and border closures, the event hoped to promote cultural unity and provide a platform for people to gain a better understanding of the region’s cultural diversity.
Warwick ASEAN Cultural Night was also an event that aimed to raise funds to support the COVID emergency food aid program, created by the ‘Children of the Mekong’ organisation.
The pandemic has undoubtedly increased unemployment rates and prices of necessities such as rice and other food items. Thus, ‘Children of the Mekong’ aims to raise a total of £406,597, which will support over 10,000 families around Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia.
At 1 p.m. GMT, the event started with live performances from 3 different guest artists, SHN, King & Jesters, and Mutiara Azka. SHN, a Malaysian singer-songwriter, weaves stories into her lyrics with pop tunes, mesmerising the audience with her mellow yet powerful singing. You can’t help but fall in love with her enchanting voice, which ripples with warmth, confidence, and emotion. After SHN, King & Jesters, a budding band started by two brothers, Alistair and Aaron from Malaysia, played acoustic love songs inspired by their very own heartbreaks. Although these two may have failed to capture a girl’s heart, their guitar skills and charismatic singing definitely stole ours. Subsequently, Mutiara Azka, an Indonesian singer-songwriter who placed top 24 in the Indonesian Idol Special Season, sang Manuk Dadali and Breathtaking for the audience. Her youthful and bright vocals in both Indonesian and English definitely dazzled everyone in the audience.
The event followed with a series of musical performances from various students. Shi Hao, a 2nd year Law student from the University of Warwick, sang Akad, an Indonesian song, and Dao Nay, a Vietnamese song, showcasing his talent to analyse lyrics from different languages. Gerald, a student awaiting matriculation into the National University of Singapore, delivered a cover of ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy, using his ukelele to add his spark to the song. Originating from Thailand is Bun, a first-year economics student at the University of Warwick, who played the classical Khim for the audience. The ‘khim’ is a stringed musical instrument played using two flexible bamboo sticks with soft leather at the tips to produce a tone. The piece Bun played gradually became faster and faster as each section progressed, demonstrating her finesse and expertise on the instrument.
Zho, an economics student from Malaysia, aspiring to pursue music, sang a cover of ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ by Alicia Keys. It’s okay if Zho ain’t got you, he already has the key to our hearts with his vocals. Shevita, a student from Malaysia, sang Kau Ilhamku, a Malaysian song for the audience. Luthfi A R Partodihardjo, a student from Indonesia, sang Tanah Airku, a song representing the importance of not forgetting your own country wherever you are. His voice stood out from the crowd, reminding us to be proud of our country and culture. Maria Puteri Elshaddai Sitinjak, a 20-year-old student from Indonesia, is an avid music lover. She is artsy and loves expressing herself through singing. Singing a cover of Tomboy by Destiny Rogers, her voice dripped with emotion and fire, allowing the audience to feel her passion and enthusiasm. Ixi and Sam are first-year undergraduate students at Warwick from Indonesia, studying engineering and economics and industrial organisation, respectively. They performed ‘Juwita Malam’, a jazzy piece written by the legendary Indonesian Songwriter, Ismail Marzuki. The song tells the tale of a man who fell in love at first sight on a train headed to Jakarta from Jatinegara. Their soothing voices elucidated the man’s emotion and brought the song to life. Lastly, to end the night, Sweater Weather, a student band comprised of 3 students from Singapore, Mmin Le, Krystal, and Tristan, sang for us a cover of 流星 by Katherine Ho (originally by Coldplay) and 刻在我心底的名字 – 盧廣仲 (Your Name Engraved Herein – Crowd Lu).
Our inaugural ASEAN Cultural Night was a resounding success, with listeners tuning in from ASEAN and beyond. Together, we managed to raise a total of £85 in donations to support our beneficiaries at the Children of Mekong. They are still accepting donations here.
Do click the link below to access the WAC Cultural Night Booklet !