Before I embark on this entry, I would like to apologise first and foremost to the organisers and good people of Gentarasa 2015 for this belated promo entry, as personal and family matters over the past three weeks or so have prevented me from posting it up. Oh and I doubt I would publish my post-Pesta Perdana thoughts anyway as the euphoria and backbiting have fizzled out within a week or two after the event. I’ll probably bring it up if some of those occurrences were to rear their ugly heads once again in the next edition. Anyway, I could have just kept quiet till the event ends this Saturday 30th May 2015, but I felt it will not be fair, especially since my old friend, Izzat Yusoff, had kindly invited me to the media preview event held at Goodman Arts Centre on 6th May 2015. So here I am with this entry and hoping that it will help in some way, entice you reading this to attend this much awaited annual event.
To be honest, I have never once attended a Gentarasa event in my lifetime, as the dates always fall on some prior engagement or commitment that I have planned or confirmed earlier. This year once again, is no different with much regrets, even though I thought I would be able to make it. Now in its fourteenth year, Gentarasa 2015 promises to be “The Production of the Year” as it commemorates the SG50 celebrations. This year Gentarasa will be a musical showcase that brings with it the question of “Nak Ke Mana” (Where Are We Going). It is an apt question to ask of our community, looking back on our past 50 years of nation-building, the difficulties and hardships faced and the direction that we are currently heading in the years to come.
Gentarasa 2015 depicts the story of the struggles of a group of youths, who in a bid to fulfill a project, reflect on the contributions and progress of the Malay community since Singapore‘s independence and reflect the unified Singapore Spirit of care, concern and support, especially in times of difficulties. This year, Gentarasa is directed and scripted by Haryani Othman, no stranger to our local Malay entertainment scene. She is ably assisted by producer Firdaus Faisal, artistic director Izzat Yusoff, head choreographer Osman Hamid and composer Zubir Abdullah. If I am not mistaken, all the songs featured in this year’s showcase are all fresh and original compositions from our well respected composer. No mean feat having to conceptualise and compose within a short time frame.
Maybe for those of you who have not been introduced to nor immersed into Gentarasa just like me, well here’s a bit of introductory summary for you. This annual show was initiated by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information and Adviser to MESRA (People’s Association’s Malay Activity Executive Committees Council), in 2002, to foster awareness and appreciation of Malay culture in our multi-racial society. This arts showcase also acts as a platform for the Malay performing groups at the various community clubs to come together and showcase their talent in Malay performing arts. Gentarasa literally means “Chimes of Expression” and it translates the many voices of expressions from the heart of the Malay community. These voices reverberate from the vast talents that exist in the community activity groups in the hopes to raise awareness and appreciation of the Malay culture, thus elevating and developing the standard of Malay cultural groups.
The main committee members of Gentarasa 2015 – (from left): Omar Ismail (Chairman of MESRA), Osman Hamid (Head Choreographer), Ramlan Rasidi (Organising Chairman of Gentarasa 2015), Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim (MESRA Adviser), Izzat Yusoff (Artistic Director), Zubir Abdullah (Composer) and Firdaus Faisal (Producer)…
I watched with much interest and intrigue during the media preview event. Even though it was just a ten to fifteen minutes preview of some of the songs and acting segments that will be featured this Saturday, I applaud all the performers for giving their all. Most of them I believe, are not full-time actors or performers, but their professionalism and eagerness to entertain those who attended the preview event was very much evident and shone like a beacon. For their sake, I really really hope you can set aside some time this Saturday to attend Gentarasa 2015 at the NUS University Cultural Centre for either the matinee show at 2pm or the gala show at 8pm. They deserved to be watched and appreciated for the amount of hard work and time sacrificed to bring you a good show. I wish everyone involved in Gentarasa all the best for this Saturday‘s event…