International day 2008 – Salsa to Bhangra

International Day on the 20th of September was a time for the diverse MBA cohort to showcase their country’s distinct culture and heritage.

The first time I noticed the diversity of my MBA cohort was when I had my first Marketing meeting, the second time was during International Day. The event on the 20th of September was for everyone to showcase what their country was all about. The impending doom of the midterms didn’t stop all and sundry from attending the event. Continuing with the tradition every student came dressed up in their national attires.

The event kicked off with the team from China. We had the Chinese Opera followed by a rendition of a Chinese Love song. The attires and the voices were so beautiful and it was a breathtaking performance. I still remember a lunch I had more than a week before the event, with some of my Chinese peers, wherein they looked exhausted because they were practising for the International Day all morning. This dedication and commitment truly reflected in each of their performances.

With the Chinese in action can the Indians be left far back?? After all Chindia is the current Mantra right!! Debraj played some delectable Hindi Songs along with Rashid on the guitar. Debraj chose Hindi songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s, that was strategically an excellent move with the age of our Batch also varying from 23 – 40 (everybody had a song they could relate to). The crowd (read Indians, who form the largest representation at NUS) soon joined in and as they say the rest was all “History” (read Chaos). Srini introduced us to carnatic music and performed a thrilling solo experience; he was soon joined by Pavithra, and later by Suvira. As they say, more the merrier.

Bilal and Rashid took on the mantle of guarding the Pakistani reputation of being born artists, and they didn’t disappoint. In fact after the performance, I was reminded of those rock concerts with girls shrieking and the crowd screaming “Once more…”. Don’t know whether it was Bilal’s charm or his voice that did the trick…☺

Friends from Burma soon followed it up with snippets from some of their Folk Dances. Don’t want to bring politics but we literally had a Chinese invasion during the Burmese performance. They couldn’t keep their dancing shoes off and it was a great sight seeing them all dancing together.

When I entered the event I remember seeing some familiar faces dressed in the Taekwondo attire. Initially I thought they were bouncers (didn’t know from when did bouncers start wearing “doboks”, but this was international day right!!!). My misconception was soon clarified with our Batch mates from Korea performing some of the Kata’s in Taekwondo. Truly a different package after all the singing and dancing.

As the festivities continued, Dinner was also served. Everybody enjoyed the great spread of food. This was also one of the last official meals from NUS (Man we did have many !! ) and everybody ate to their Hearts content. The MCs of the event , Yudi and Denitsa also did a great job of keeping the crowd alive. This was easy till dinner started. Post dinner this was truly a challenge.

Meanwhile the performances continued, Cedric sang some of the popular English chartbusters. The Salsa Dance performance generated considerable interest. Salsa soon turned into “Bollywood Item” numbers (hate both words… but nevertheless!!) and the crowd couldn’t just stay at their seats. Well the crowd couldn’t be stopped further and soon the stage was cornered by the enthusiastic dancers. The DJ (read shivdat) soon complied and it was good fun seeing Chinese doing “Break-dance” and Caucasians learning the “Bhangra”. The event was soon wrapped up (read had to be wrapped up!!)

nus mba student activities international day 2008

My favourite memory and my crème de la crème of the event was the rendition of the Beijing Olympics theme song “Beijing Huanying Ni”. It was a true spectacle to the eye. Soon all of us joined the chorus, even though we didn’t know the lyrics, we sang to our hearts content. And as I type this I think the Olympics is actually not much different from a Business School, each of us represent our countries and are proud of its culture. This was truly what “International Day 2008” was all about. As the clichéd line goes truly “Unity in Diversity.

Alex
Class of 2010