Friday, August 31, 2007

KL Day 6 - Merdeka Parade and Wayang Kulit Concert

Had only a couple of hours sleep before I was awakened by my ringing mobile phone. One of our customers is in our (Sydney) office today and wanted to see if I'm around. It's actually good that he called - if not, I'll be sleeping till noon. Hopped down to One on One for a quick breakfast, then out of the hotel by 7:30am. Again, long queues at KL Sentral for tickets to Masjid Jamek. With my infinite patience, I managed to get to Merdeka Square around 8:30am. Lots and lots of people milling about. The streets are still closed, and everywhere you'll find Perdana Executives and other flashy cars parked. The Merdeka parade has already started without me. Masses of people in colorful costumes passed by, then floats of different themes, sizes, and shapes. After that came the military troops, the trucks with onboard missiles, and fighter jets thundered across the sky. Due to my average height, I didn't get to see much of the parade. There were some earlier attempts to get the people in front to sit down so that people at the back can appreciate the parade, but there wasn't enough momentum, so everybody remained standing.

By 11am, the sun is at its maximum heat setting, so I decided to head back for the hotel. Paid RM50 for 24 hours of Internet access so I can send off some emails and complete my eValuation. Finished by 3pm, then went to KLCC to cool off. Bought tickets for tonight's The MPO Meets Wayang Kulit. Killed time by window shopping. There's quite a few tempting sales from Isetan, Hush Puppies, and G2000. Ended up buying a pair of Primavera shoes. Much to my surprise, my special friend called up and was asking for a favor. Well, aside from that High School Musical 2 DVD, she wants me to meet up with this guy based in KL, who's the long-time penpal of her friend. Sure, no problem. I'm just a stranger in a strange land - what's the worst thing that can happen to me? I passed by Galeri Petronas and spent about an hour checking out the current exhibitions: Building Merdeka (an architecture retrospective from 1957-1966) and 50 Ways to Live in Malaysia (a series of paintings and works by 50 local artists depicting Malaysian life). The gallery is also showing videos of the more memorable Petronas TV ads for the past few years. Don't understand a word they're saying, but some of them are quite funny and interesting.

By 8:15pm, I proceeded to Dewan Filharmonik Petronas for tonight's performance. Called "The MPO Meets Wayang Kulit", it's supposed to be a fusion of East and West, Kelantanese shadow puppetry meets the orchestra. The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned Adeline Wong to compose “Empunya yang beroleh Sita Dewi”. The piece revolves around the famous "Ramayana" episode, where Sita is abducted by the demon-king Ravana. Most of the piece has dalang Saupi bin Isa narrating the story, and the orchestra provides the soundtrack. I have to say I wasn't too impressed with the shadowplay. It's basically Rama and Ravana fighting each other - portrayed by two puppets chasing and bouncing off each other. After the intermission, we had some real classical pieces: Georges Bizet's Jeux d'enfants and Ottorino Respighi's La Botique Fantasque, with the Overture to Rossini's The Thieving Magpie for encore.

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