The 40th year celebration of the Look East Policy (LEP) celebrated in Malaysia and Japan displays the commitment of both nations to empower and support one another continuously. Aligned with this commitment, Persatuan Seni Tarian dan Pendidikan Antarabangsa (PSTPA) organised the ‘Celebration of Friendship Between Malaysia & Japan Festival’ to promote cultural tourism and cross-cultural literacy.
Present on this prestigious event were YBhg Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, Cultural Icon and Founder of Sutra Foundation, Mr Shimada Seiya, Director of the Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur (JFKL), Ms Audrey Kwan, President of Persatuan Seni Tarian dan Pendidikan Antarabangsa (PSTPA), Assoc Prof Dr Nor Fariza Mohd Nor, Chairperson of Centre for Research in Language & Linguistic of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Mr. Adam Ham, member of FINAS’ Board of Directors, Mr. Ahmad Samri Mohamed Akhir, Language & Cultural Diplomacy Consultant to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr Jack Lim, President of KL Society.
The two-day festival aims to attract the interest of domestic and international tourists to an immersive cultural experience of Malaysia-Japan. Visitors, especially Japanese Pop Culture enthusiasts will be thrilled with the activities hosted such as traditional dance, fashion shows, anime exhibitions, Borneo music performance, Batik displays, wau making workshop, Sarawakian weaving gallery and many more. Furthermore, visitors will be able to interact with traditional art practitioners and enthusiasts converging in the heart of the city.
Traditional art aficionado and Founder of Sutra Foundation, Datuk Ramli Ibrahim presented his artistic contribution in the Malaysian arts through the Sutra Foundation Traditional Malaysia India Dance performance. He reiterated, “It has always been my goal to grow the visual arts scene in Malaysia while forging a unique ‘sutra’ bond that fosters a universal yet distinctively Malaysia interpretation of the arts. I would like to congratulate the PSTPA and their partners for organizing a much needed impactful event.”
PSTPA acts as a catalyst for growth and development of the arts and culture scene through local and international events. Furthermore, PSTPA involves local talents in making this festival a success. President of PSTPA, Ms. Audrey Kwan said, “Involvement from universities, theaters and foundations to bring in exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations and performances that will be exposed to the rakyat, especially the younger generation. It acts as a representation of what Malaysia has to offer for local and international visitors. I hope that the event will spark an interest in the rakyat and the younger generation to continue showcasing the uniqueness of Malaysian arts in the future.
As the root of this aspiration, the Look East Policy (LEP) has reached a ripe age of 40. It has given a unique perspective for thousands of Malaysians who were given the opportunity to visit and study in Japan. As a result, this initiative has produced thousands of experts in various fields and strengthened Malaysia-Japan bilateral relations.
Interest in Japanese popular culture through music, film, drama, animation and more has increased the demand for Japanese language courses among academicians across schools and universities. It is the most popular foreign language to learn in Malaysia. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nor Faiza, Chairperson of the Center for Language and Linguistic Studies UKM said, “I am very happy to see the youth in Malaysia learning new languages. Language helps us to express our feelings and thoughts. It also helps to preserve our culture and respect others. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) will continue to serve those who want to develop their talents and abilities to represent Malaysia as a citizen of a humble, diverse and skilled nation.”
Malaysia and Japan are committed to continuously empower each other. Cultural differences are not an obstacle to unity, rather they strengthen and solidify a continuous and lasting friendship. Arts and culture events are the right way to realise this dream and ensure the future generation remembers our cultural legacy.
The event was held at Jumpa, Sungei Wang Plaza in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur and Jointly Organized By: PSTPA, KL Society and Network of Bukit Bintang Communities. Strategic Partners includes Sutra Foundation, Animangaki, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Global Creative & Media Agency, and SADA Borneo.