When I had initially heard of this festival, I envisioned it to be filled with stalls selling Char Koay Teow, Roti Canai, Laksa and many more of the delicious foods that Malaysia definitely has to offer. After all, eating, is every Malaysian's favourite past time. And for the cultural aspect of the festival, I thought they would showcase the traditional dances from Malays, Chinese and Indians as well as some of those from the native tribes.
I was sorely disappointed. I felt that it was a bit of a sham of a festival. Yes, harsh words but its how I feel.
It was held right in the middle of the city at King George Square. A very prominent position so they would have had a lot of traffic. I think I felt a little embarrassed on behalf of the organizers.
During the drought, King George Square was converted from a pleasant place with grass and a small fountain into a vast expanse of concrete in front of the city hall. You can imagine how much hotter all that concrete made the day. There was hardly any shade so it was incredibly silly of the organizers to expect anybody to sit on the chairs they had put out in front of the stage. They were lucky that there were people risking skin cancer to line up at the handful of food stalls they had there. After the long wait in the sun, the food was not up to standard. There are many good Malaysian restaurants in Brisbane - Why didn't they invite them to come help out?
Here's the one and only photo I took. We managed to squeeze onto one of the few shaded benches and Aaron is trying to pull of a bit of chewy chicken satay. Thats my mother in her I'm-too-hot-to-eat pose next to him.
We did persevere in the heat awhile because I hoped that some of the performances they had would be 'educational' for my two son. The worst must have been the 'band' that entertained in between traditional dances with sappy karaoke songs from the 80s. Who wants to listen to Careless Whisper while baking in the hot sun? The dances were nothing to rave about either because they were all half hearted attempts and gave me the impression they thought that their intended audience wouldn't know any better about what they were doing.
I was hot, a little grumpy and definitely disappointed. Instead of showcasing the wonderful food, multiculturalism, and traditions, it reminded me of the many times in my Malaysian life that I have been frustrated by situations or services that were half heartedly thought out.