On the 5th of November, my university organized an event called the International Cultural Day. But before you question the need of this event, here’s a fun fact: according to an article in the 139th issue of Taif (PSU’s official magazine), there are as many as 40 nationalities at PSU! Hence, as the name suggests, the purpose of this program is to showcase the different cultures and diversity present within the PSU community.
Prior to entering PSU, I remember watching a video about this event on YouTube. I was very excited because I saw this as an opportunity to show something about Malaysia—mainly on how its history and the Malay culture are both influenced by the Arabs—and to my luck, the chance came very soon! Since I am the first and only Malaysian student here, I was hesitant at first because (I thought) I was alone. Plus, it’s only my first semester here so I had no experience whatsoever about this program. Eventually, I decided to just go for it for the sake of my dreams and submitted my name as a representative for Malaysia.
From the registration deadline, I had about 3 weeks to prepare everything from nothing. Besides a list of requirements for our booth, we were given a generous amount of cash to purchase whatever we required such as food and pay expenses. I was very fortunate to have the Malaysian lecturers at PSU help me prepare for this event. However, the help didn’t just stop there because even the government chipped in! We had buntings, brochures, badges, fans, and even cheering balloon sticks delivered all the way from Jeddah and we also received some traditional clothes and items including a mannequin by the Malaysian Embassy in Riyadh.
This time, the event was participated by 25 countries including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Palestine, Norway, United States of America, Jordan, India, Yemen, Sudan, Russia, United Kingdom, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Lebanon, Japan, Australia, Pakistan, South Korea, Tunisia, and last but not least, Malaysia!
When the big day arrived, most of the tiredness I experienced from juggling between my duties as a student and as a representative for Malaysia magically dissipated. Perhaps I was too preoccupied with serving food to our guests and keeping an eye on our photo booth and giving tours of our booth and greeting those who dropped by! Although a bit loud, the event was full of smiles, laughter, and people saying how much they enjoyed our food. Some of our visitors even went very far by saying wonderful things such as
You guys have the best food!
This is the best food I’ve tasted!
These people came to our booth at least twice for another round of rendang, karipap, and the other food we had! Even I myself didn’t get the chance to taste the rendang. Or the sushi. Or the food from the other countries…
At the end of the day, despite feeling terribly exhausted and sore from wearing a pair of uncomfortable capals, euphoria kept me from trying to sleep—even though we didn’t win half of the SR10,000! Images of that day kept flashing before my eyes and I couldn’t help but smile. After all, it was a really nice day.
Participating in this event was truly a great experience for me. I had the opportunity to witness and be a part of PSU’s diverse community, I was able to meet many new people through this event, and most importantly, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone. Besides that, I personally learned a lot from the person whom I worked with most of the time, Dr Zainurin, and from participating in the event itself. And in case you still haven’t realized it, I also made it on the front cover of Taif!
If you ask me whether I’d do this again, the answer is: YES!!!
Only not anytime soon!
In case you’re interested to read some of the information we displayed at our booth, you can click these links: