Celebrating Southeast Asian Pride at SEADay 2024

Celebrating Southeast Asian Pride at SEADay 2024

By Mindy Liew

For the past three years, Southeast Asian societies in the University have come together to host SEA Day (Southeast Asia Day). Celebrating the region’s rich tapestry of history and culture. The annual food festival draws hundreds of students together to share in Southeast Asian pride.

This year’s celebration saw the joint effort of the Malaysian Cultural Society (MCS), the Malaysian-Singaporean Students’ Association (MSSA), the Brunei-Bristol Society (Brustol), the Vietnamese Society, and the Indonesian Students Association in Bristol and Bath (PPI).

Hosted in the grand Great Hall of Manor Hall, with the help of ResiLife, attendees were spoilt for choice with the range of national culinary treats on offer. From the sweetness of Singaporean soy milk grass jelly drink to the spice of Bruneian nasi katok, the room was set in a frenzy as everyone rushed to purchase their taste of home. Personally, my favourite was the various Malaysian desserts and snacks on offer, particularly the onde-onde (palm sugar glutinous rice balls).

Southeast Asian pride was at an all-time high as both attendees and event crew alike donned their best traditional wear, such as the sinuangga and cheongsam. Attendees were also treated to cultural performances throughout the evening. Jumpstarting the performance roster was the university’s Malay Martial Arts team, both young and experienced martial artists alike simulating sharp traditional combat. A live band performance featuring pop song classics brought out the romantics inherent in all Southeast Asians, quickly followed by a fun Indonesian game of gerobak dorong (wheelbarrow).

Of course, it wouldn’t be a roaring festival without the UoB Lion Dance Team. The red and yellow lion duo was once again a crowd favourite amidst the booming procession of traditional drum and cymbals. At the end of the night, the festival morphed into a concert as the crowd gathered before the stage for the final act – Beng and the Beats. The rock band’s setlist consisted of songs humorously dedicated to each country represented at SEA Day, one being ‘Style’ by Taylor Swift to commemorate her recent tour stop in Singapore. It was a sight to behold as the crowd collectively sang and danced along.

As the night ended on the band’s emotional serenade of ‘Yellow’, there was a renewed sense of community between us all. Being over 10,000 kilometres away from our home countries, many of us international students in Bristol were drawn to reflect on our connections to our culture. Encapsulating the essence of home, SEA Day served as a brilliant opportunity for us to reconnect with our roots amidst the hustle of student life in a new country.

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