Songs of Joy - Cultural Exchange between Taiwan and Malaysian Choral Groups

Feb 17, 2003 ◄ Back to list
Taiwan Soka Association's Pacific Chorus's rendition of 'I Will Follow You' had the crowd 'swinging' together with them

It was an evening imbued with richness and joy at Wisma Kebudayaan SGM; an exchange that inspired better understanding and friendship among the youth of Taiwan and Malaysia.

On February 17, five choral groups comprising of Taiwan Soka Association's Pacific Chorus, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's Artisukma Choir Club, Universiti Putra Malaysia's Music Department Choir, Universiti Teknologi MARA's Mashaaliman Choir and Soka Gakkai Malaysia's Renaissance Choir performed a total of 27 songs, including popular and folk songs in the 'Songs of Joy' concert attended by over 300 people.

Each choral group displayed their own unique attribute and creativity in their delivery and selection of songs. The Mashaaliman Choir from Universiti Teknologi MARA's rendition of 'Vision 2020', showed how the diverse cultural traditions of Malaysia could be reflected and integrated through music.

Taiwan's Soka Association Pacific Chorus, which comprised of 47 youth members, impressed the crowd with their 'Hawaiian' fiavoured rendition of 'Rasa Sayang Eh', complete with garlands and corresponding dance movements. The group from Taiwan arrived in Kuala Lumpur only a few hours earlier in the afternoon after a five-hour bus ride from Singapore. Despite their hectic schedule in Singapore, they showed no signs of fatigue and put on a superb performance, led by their conductor Dr Hattori Yoichi.

Mashaaliman Choir, Universiti Teknologi MARA Music Department Choir, Universiti Putra Malaysia


In what was the most moving moment of the evening, more than 200 youth from the five choral groups combined for a finale to sing 'Bridge over Troubled Water', a song made popular by the American duo Simon and Garfunkel. The concert ended on a high note, with friendly exchanges and goodwill permeating the entire auditorium right after the show.

The significance of the event was aptly described by the Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Prof Datuk Anuwar Ali in his opening speech. He said, "Culture is a manifestation of human creativity and a medium that serves as a bridge for people to appreciate the dignity and enrichment of our lives... I believe that tonight's cultural exchange, will certainly help to promote the spirit of co-existence and mutual appreciation."

Renaisssance Choir, Soka Gakkai Malaysia Artisukma Choir Club, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia


Associate Professor Fakhariah Lokman, the conductor of the Mashaaliman Choir from Universiti Teknologi MARA, commented that the exchange was in many ways an eye opener for her students and gave them opportunities to interact with youth from other races. She also felt that cultural exchange was one the most effective ways to achieve peace and mutual understanding in Malaysia.

On the following evening, February 18, the Pacific Chorus held an exchange with SGM's Renaissance Choir at the SGM Culture Centre in Cheras. Around 1000 SGM members attended the two-hour event. In his speech, SGM President Koe Teng Hong encouraged the SGM youth to emulate the spirit of the SGI-Taiwan members in overcoming adversities in life.

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