There are many Malaysian traditional dances and each ethnic group in Malaysia has their own dance. For Ibans, it’s the ngajat, a dance that mimics warriors in battle. For the ethnic group that originates in Sabah, it’s a dance called the sumazau.
Ever since I was young, I was always involved in performances, most especially dances. One of the first traditional dance I learned is called the joget (joe-get). It’s a traditional dance belonging to the Malay ethnic group. It’s a couple dance and the tempo is fairly quick. A good workout! This dance is quite popular and would often be performed at international events or occasions, weddings.
I had the opportunity to perform this dance at an event during my secondary school years. I remember we had to practice every other day until we got the complicated footwork right!
I managed to dig up a decades old photo of me doing the joget. I’m the one on the far right, focusing on my feet. The girls all wore sarongs and a baju kurung top. A baju kurung is a traditional dress. We also had long scarves around our necks. And yes, the dance is sometimes performed barefooted.
Maybe one day, I’ll try my hand at ngajat since that’s the dance of my people 🙂
When I was a child, I’d eagerly wait for the the sound of a handbell being rung followed by motorcycle honking. When I did hear it, I’d run to the gate and wait for the ice cream man to make one more round of my neighbourhood so that I can wave him down. In Malaysia, we didn’t use to have ice cream trucks, rather ice cream was sold by men riding motorcycles with a cold box on the back of it.
When they’re not driving around neighbourhoods, the ice cream man would sometimes park at schools waiting for kids to get out or at parks on the weekends.
The variety of ice cream sold would be displayed on the box, along with the price. So, you’d just point at which ice cream you wanted, get your cash ready and the ice cream man would open the box and reach in to get the ice cream you wanted!
Some of the ice cream I’d crave would probably not be as familiar to non-Malaysians. One of the cheapest ones I used to get as a kid cost only 10 Malaysian cents and it’s not quite an ice cream but rather a sweet drink poured into a long tube-like plastic bag which is then frozen.
We’d chew off the plastic from one end and then suck on the frozen icy concoction! Another favourite would be ice cream scooped into cones although usually the choices of ice cream flavours would only be limited to three types and most often it would be corn, chocolate or durian!
It’s quite rare to hear the ice cream man’s handbell these days but whenever I’m in the mood for ice cream and see the familiar motorcycle with the ice cream box on the back, I’d revisit my childhood.