Introducing Malay Customs and Cultures – An e-Intercultural Learning Adventure!

Veronica Woo, a great teaching colleague to have, organized an extravaganza for us last Friday. The library was booked so that we could videoconference with skype using the Interactive White Board to project the web  conference. A number of classes from year 6 to 11 were present – a total of more than 45 students and 6 staff members.

Year 11 students from  SMJK Poi Lam School in Ipoh, Malaysia, demonstrated to and treated us with the following:-

  1. Malay dance performance
  2. Demonstration on how to play ‘congkak’
  3. Demonstration on how to beat the Malay drum ‘kompang’
  4. Brief introduction of a Malay wedding
  5. Demonstration on paper money-folding ( folded items are given as Bridal gifts to families concerned )
  6. Ended the web conference with a song!

Three of our year 6/7 students learnt how to dance the Malay Dance by following the Malay girl’s movements on screen. Most students had an Australian paper note to practise folding the paper money.

In turn, our students and staff demonstrated the following:-

  1. a bearded dragon lizard
  2. a pet colourful baby bird
  3. how to play Australian Rules Football (footy)
  4. vegemite and how to spread it on a dry biscuit

It always intrigues me that the sharing of objects over the web cam, makes students overcome their shyness, as their curiousity drives them to naturally ask questions about the object without  really thinking.

2 responses to “Introducing Malay Customs and Cultures – An e-Intercultural Learning Adventure!

  1. Thanks for the wonderful e-learning sharing session with your staff and students. Over here we have Marmite and it tastes similar to vegemite except that I think one is meat-based and the other is a vegetarian paste.

    Last Friday’s lesson with both our classes in Malaysia and Australia was on the topic “Introducing Malay Customs and Cultures – An e-Intercultural Learning Adventure.

    The dance performed by my students is known as ‘Joget Pahang’. ‘Joget Pahang’ is one of the many versions of the joget dance. ( This is the explanation of the joget which I obtained from http://virtualmalaysia.com :

    “The Joget is the most popular traditional dance throughout Malaysia. It is performed at cultural festivals, wedding celebrations and other social functions. The Joget’s origin has been traced back and associated with a Portuguese for dance which was introduced to Malacca during the era of the spice trade. The Joget is a couple dance and the tempo is fairly quick with the feeling of teasing and playing between the partners. In Malacca it is better known as Chakunchak. Joget is generally accompanied by flute and dance. ” )

    The game demonstrated to you all is called ‘congkak’. It is a traditional Malay game played during one’s leisure time. The rules of the game can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/congkak

    I hope you and your students like the drum beat of the ‘kompang’. The kompang is played at weddings, cultural festivals and other social functions. It is made of cow or goat hide. As demonstrated, I am sure you could see that the player held the kompang with one hand while the other was used to hit the kompang.

    It is customary for the Malays, both the bride’s and bridegroom’s families, to give bridal gifts to each other on the wedding day. The folded paper money is known in Malay as ‘Duit Mas Kahwin’ ( a form of dowry ). Besides money, other items which can be folded to be given as gifts are towels, cloth, shirts, handkerchiefs, stockings, etc. My students also showed you the ‘bunga telur’ literally translated as ‘egg flower’. As a token of thank you and appreciation, wedding guests are given a ‘bunga telur’ each during or after the wedding luncheon or dinner.

    The song for the lesson closing is actually a popular Mandarin song. The title of the song is ‘Tomorrow Will Be Better’ and you can ask your students to download it (with lyrics) from YouTube. This song has frequently been sung at numerous fund-raising events like the China Earthquake fund-raising event one or two years back.

    Here’s my viewpoint from a TESL teacher’s perspective. Overall, in terms of communication skills and strategies during the presentation by both schools in Malaysia and Australia, an interesting point was observed. I guess both groups of students, native and non-native speakers of the English language, somehow realised the complexities of having to cope with language and thinking at the same time hence the need to address the issues of learning not only what to say but how to say. Another language concern is definitely in the area of accent which both sets of students have to learn to deal with in order to understand what both parties were trying to say or communicate with each other.

    My heartfelt thanks to you and your students for a wonderful sharing session last Friday! For our next lesson, both Evon and I are trying to get our students to reenact a Chinese wedding ceremony for you and your students. You will definitely be able to find a lot of Chinese customs and tradition embedded in the ceremony. Regards

  2. Pingback: Highlights of 2010 | On an e-Journey with Generation Y

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