Thursday July 21, 2011
Promoting Malacca through music festival
TOURISM Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen was recently quoted as saying that her Ministry would assist Malacca to organise an international music festival with heritage as its inspiration.
Taking the cue from the runaway success of Sarawak’s World Rainforest Music Carnival (WRMC), I wish to applaud the move simply as a way to promote the tiny state’s Unesco World Heritage status.
However, the organiser must be cautioned that the intended music festival should be clearly defined and creatively expedited so as not to run off-track, as what the WRMC is facing now after many years of staging.
It recently concluded its 14th edition, bringing fame and tourism revenue to Sarawak and the country.
Sadly, the WRMC which was initially proposed to be an ethnic music gathering, using ethnic instruments, has slowly become like a rock concert spiced with folk songs.
Malacca should learn from the experience of Sarawak in defining its true objectives.
WRMC’s popularity as a world-class music carnival is mainly due to its aim of staging under one roof, a congregation of world ethnic music.
It is a perfect vehicle to position Sarawak and the rest of Borneo at large because of the strong ethnic presence against the backdrop of the world’s oldest rainforest.
Malacca, needs a booster to make known its Unesco World Heritage status, now entering its third year.
Malacca may be more famous than many of the states in terms of tourism but it still needs that wow factor.
So how can Malacca stage an international music festival that can stand on its originality and yet be successful in luring the tourists by the numbers?
Malacca’s cultural potpourri comprising various races and minority etnicities, provide the perfect setting for a music festival which can garner an international standing.
Already the three major races, comprising the Malays, Chinese and Indians are a sight to behold, what more with their sounds of music.
To top it up, the Kadazans, the Ibans, the orang asli, the Javanese and Arabs, the Babas and Nyonyas, not forgetting the Portuguese and the Dutch, the Punjabis as well with their own brand of ethnic music.
Together with some international guests, the stage is set for an event listing on the country’s tourism calendar.
We are certainly not short of tourism products that can woo visitors to our shores.
However, let’s make sure that every state has its own unique product to show its true colours to the world.