The Merdeka Carnival, a celebration of Malaysia’s 49 years of independence, was held at the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre in Brickendonbury, Hertford last Saturday. My husband and I with our two boys in tow arrived there at around 11 in the morning when there were not yet too many people, the queue for the satay at the satay stalls were still short and there were still plenty of good spots available to lay down our mats for our picnic. Many people started to arrive around noon and the area was filled with Malaysians, British and other nationals alike, all there to experience a 'Malaysian Day', from the Malaysian food and products sold at the various stalls set up there for the event, to watching the Malaysian performances which will be performed during the event. A stage was erected in front of a large white building next to the carnival spot which had the look of a country manor, and that’s where the Indian dancers wiggled their 'stuff' to the Bollywood music, the lion dancers leaped and danced to the rythm of the drums and cymbals, the Malay dancers tried to tackle the zapin and some other traditional dances from Sabah and Sarawak.
The weather was dull and the clouds looked like it was at the verge of falling down on us the whole day and indeed, it did drizzle for about 15 minutes just before noon. The sun, in true British fashion peeked at us in its full glory for a few minutes before going into hiding again until later in the day, when again it played hide and seek with all in attendance at the outdoor event.
The place itself, the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre was beautiful - with its tall trees that are still lush and green at the end of August and the serene pond with the pink lotuses not 30 metres from the stage. A big field right in front of the building, across the pond, was used well as both car park and footie pitch for the football competitions that were held during the course of the day, also part of the carnival's programmes. The grass was fresh and green due to the rainy week prior to the day of the event but was not wet nor muddy because the Almighty was kind to let the rain from previous days seep through the grass the previous night before it rained again, to nourish and lend life to the trees and grass instead of allowing the many feet on that Saturday to trample and destroy the scene.
My family, together with 2 other families laid down our mats and the food we brought for our ‘picnic’ very near the stage so that we can see the performances later. There were roti jala, cup cakes, fajitas, and my own contribution; nasi lemak and peach pudding. The food was far too much – because everybody also wanted to buy and taste the mouth watering array of Malaysian food sold in the many stalls there - indeed, we had to offer the nasi and pudding to whoever that came to our ‘port’ so that our nasi lemak leftover to be taken home was a manageable amount that my husband and I can finish off later.
The location brought pleasure to my naturally green senses and was worth that 1 trip and more. Plus, the performances and the food were fine and the company was good – it’s always good to spend time with friends – I’m so very hungry for company (other than my own family, that is) these days. If my friends did not invite us to come along, I dare say, my husband and I would never dream of going to that carnival. It was our first time going there and I’m glad we decided to join them.
Never ever leave the bottle at home.
Can I join the troupe?
Towards the end there were still a lot to go around.
There's the kuih koci stall. 50p a piece!
I love to eat yummy karipap!