Freelance writer, PR person, loving the Perth lifestyle of fabulous food and wine, great weather and wide open spaces.
A Malay feast of fashion, food, song and dance
The Morley Recreation Centre is not the first place that comes to mind for a Malay wedding. But nonetheless, there we were, my wife and I surrounded by a sea of sound and colour on a Sunday afternoon to experience a taste of Malaysian culture.
Spectacular dancing was a feature of the afternoon. Picture supplied
We'd been invited by Perth's Malaysian Consul-General Mr Nazarudin Jaafar to come along and get a taste of Malay culture at the Malay Fashion and Cultural Show organised by Makan Angin Perth, Pelangi Biru Wedding Planner and Johor Heritage Foundation.
While we've holidayed in Malaysia, we've never experienced anything like this. As a group of us gathered, ready to go into the event, we were served Bandung, a bright pink drink made with rose water syrup, condensed milk and sugar that we were told is ubiquitous at Malaysian ceremonies, particularly at wedding receptions.
As the ingredients might suggest, it's pretty sweet but the rose flavouring does cut through the sweetness. Inside the hall, we've been whisked away to an overload of colour and sound.
We're told that Malay weddings are one of the most culturally-rich and well-preserved traditions in the world - and that ceremony is on show for us this afternoon. The room is full of families dressed in their Sunday best with lots of bright colours and matching dresses and head dresses.
The bride and groom are treated like royalty, often referred to as Raja Sehari, which literally means king and queen of the day. The wedding involves elaborate ceremonies consisting of various customs and rituals. Ceremonies might run over several days and involve lots of guests in a festive atmosphere.
This afternoon we witness the highlight of the wedding, a ceremony known as 'bersanding' where the newlywed couple is seated on a beautifully decorated dais and entertained with cultural performances. The 'newlyweds' watch a performance of Silat, a Malay martial art and Kompang, traditional Malay drum, to mark the special day.
Keeping the sensory overload going is a fashion parade featuring models showing off stylish, culturally inspired, Malaysian high fashion. Professional dancers flown in from Malaysia performed traditional dances to toe-tapping, modern Malaysian music.
Young Malaysian girls, excited by a performance from singer Liza Hanim, who had been flown to Perth for a special appearance, flocked to the front of the hall to get close to the star. And to round things off a fabulous lunch buffet was served featuring Nasis Minyak (flavoured ghee rice), Nasi Putih (steamed rice), Ayam Masak Merah (red chicken curry), Rendang Daging (beef randang) and Dalca Sayur (mixed vegetable dahl).
Deserts included Kuih Ketayap (coconut filled crepe), Kuih Seri Muka (pandan custard with glutinous rice), Karipap Ayam (chicken curry puff) and Kuih Bakar (baked pandan cake).
It all made for an intriguing and spectacular spectacle.