This was my second post as PopIN’s PopMuda.

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Away from polarising politicians back home, Malaysian students in Sydney thrive on being simply of one race: Malaysian race. That was one of the most important things I learnt while in Sydney for four years.

Today, I want to share with you some of the interesting things our students there do for fun:

Malaysia Fest (MFest)
Undoubtedly the oldest and biggest Malaysian cultural festival organised by students—in Australia, if not the world. MFest showcases the best of Malaysia with the classic combo of cultural stage shows and stalls of authentic goodies. Months before the event, the students start choreographing and rehearsing the performances . Every year the committee tries to outdo the last year’s, and MFest 2009 headed by Jenny Tan is the grandest yet, with guest performances by One Buck Short, Reza Salleh, Liyana Fizi and Rashdan Harith. In 2010, MFest will be in its 20th year.

Photo credits: Kamal Hadi

With Love, Down Under (WLDU)
WLDU is a charity organisation based in Sydney, but with members from all over Australia and Malaysia. The idea was concocted by Erina Zahara Ellias as a way for the students to give to society during uni holidays. Two events have been organised so far: a dinner in Malaysia and the WLDU Charity Gig in UNSW featuring Flop Poppy. In two years, they have managed to collect RM 42,000 for PERNIM and Pertubuhan Penyayang ar-Raudhah. WLDU plans to branch into other charities in the future, especially environmental causes.

Photo credits: Andrialis Abdul Rahman

Combining art exhibitions and impromptu concerts, TONG is the flagship annual event led by Tasniim Abd Rahman and Persatuan Pelajar Melayu Sydney (PPMS). Every year, Malaysia Hall is turned into a gallery featuring eclectic artworks from arts and design students. It is apt then that the name was derived from the act of throwing all artistic “junk” in one space. The last TONG was given the theme “junkies in rubik.kubik”.

Photo credits: Andrialis Abdul Rahman

Malam Gema Merdeka (MGM)
Starting as a modest dinner to celebrate Hari Merdeka, MGM has transformed in the last three years into a full-blown musical theatre under its masterminds from Malaysian Students’ Council of Australia (MASCA) NSW, Najmuddin Mohd Aminuddin and Nik Arif Izani. Attended by the Malaysian High Commissioner and consuls from various countries, MGM features spectacular performances with elaborate dances and costumes. It is usually held on the Merdeka eve and ends with Merdeka shouts.

Love the Person NeXT to You
This charity project was started by Muhammad Hafiz Samsudin and Baiti Aziz, who are representatives of Act of Random Kindness (ARK). With a couple of other friends, they distribute free clothes, books, food and whatever they can spare to the homeless and other needy people around the Newtown area. The free stuff are donated by students, especially those who are leaving for good. They look forward to continue their efforts in Malaysia when they get back after graduation soon.

All these projects are organised 100% by students, and they would be glad for any support they can get, especially in financial sponsorship. Are you from a company or GLC looking to give some corporate social responsibility? You can contact these events on their website to give them a much-needed boost.