Traditional Arts Showcase 2019 (PST 2019) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has been enjoyed throughout the year by its loyal fans—the Kuala Lumpur urban generation. These traditional festivals are organized by the National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN), Malaysia.
The PST program has been staged each year in Kuala Lumpur since 2013. Essentially, it is a medium to preserve and conserve traditional arts heritage as well as elevate the art to a higher level. It is also a platform to establish Kuala Lumpur as a hub for traditional performing arts, thus recognizing PST as a tourism product.
Tan Sri Norliza Rofli, Director-General of JKKN, remarked: “Throughout six years of implementation, PST has featured 36 types of traditional performing art in 3 genres—dance, music, and theater—by collaborating with 69 performing arts groups and 1649 participants from government agencies, public universities, and non-government organizations (NGOs).” In addition, several performing arts groups have been given opportunities to perform under the Apprentice Program: these include Makyong Kijang Mas (Makyong); AKRAB Kedah (Mek Mulung); Menora Sri Timur (Menora); Seni Tradisional Setia Jaya, Perlis (Jikey); and Boria Angkatan Budayasari Troupe, Pulau Pinang (Boria).
Awang Batil ⓒ JKKN
This September and October will bear witness to productions of the PST programs. “Night of Malay Classical Dance” will be held on 27 and 28 September 2019. Malaysia has rich unique customs of diverse cultures practiced by multiracial people for generations. This is witnessed through Malay lifestyles, customs, games, cuisine, and entertainment, including music, theater, and particularly the art of dance. Malaysian art of dance can be defined as movements of body, feet, and hands in sync with music, either solo, duo, or in groups. The Malay dance repertoire includes Joget Gamelan (originating from the palace), Layang Mas, Asyik, Terinai, Tarinai, Mengadap Rebab, Gerak Timpuh, and Melenggok. There are also lesser-known dances from the palace such as Tari Gamelan Lambang Sari and Tari Gamelan Topeng. The compilation performance of the rich variety of dance art heritage will be given during the Night of Classical Malay Dance in conjunction with PST 2019.
The last PST program performance is a traditional Malay form of theater, Awang Batil. It will be given on 25 and 26 October 2019. Awang Batil is a folk storyteller from Perlis. Originally, the storyteller was known as “Awang Belanga” due to the use of the belanga (a pot made of copper) as a musical accompaniment. However, since the belanga at that time was usually filled with charcoal, storytellers replaced it with a batil (a copper water container). Thus, he then became known as Awang Batil. Awang Batil inherits many folk tales and each one is told continuously for several nights until it ends. Comedic elements are also injected in the storytelling and at times the storyteller will put on masks representing hulubalang (the guard) or ahli nujum (the soothsayer). In Perlis there is only one Awang Batil, En Romli bin Mahmud, who inherited the talent and art of storytelling from his father, the late En Mahmudbin Wahid. Mahmud now resides in Kampung Pokok Sena, Chuping, Perlis. More details on PST 2019 can be found at http://www.jkkn.gov.my/en/2019-traditional-arts-showcase.