Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sarawak Rainforest Music Festival... in Penang?

It was one of those story that make you go "Hmm.."

In today's NST an article, "Sarawak claims Rainforest fest as its own" By Firdaus Abdullah (Nation, pg 29 col 1), is a definate "Hmm.." material. Got you thinking that is.

Apparently Penang Tourism Development and Environment Committee chairman, Teng Chan Yeow said that the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) will be held in Penang next year. [Note: Hmm.. One time..]

It will be the first time the happenin' fest will be held outside of Sarawak, and reports also quoted Teng as saying Penang was chosen by the Tourism Ministry to host next year's event, which was expected to cost RM1.5 million to organise. [Note: Hmm.. Two time..]

Firdaus writes on, aptly inserting Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Gracie Geikie's comment:

"If the ministry is allocating RM1.5 million, then it should be given to Sarawak because we started the event from scratch and today it's an international event which uniquely identifies Malaysia and the rainforest. We have been doing it for nine years in a row and the last thing we want is for 'our baby' to be hijacked on its 10th birthday."

And she has the backing of a senior Tourism Ministry officer [Note: Hmm.. an unidentified
senior officer.. Three time..] who said, "As far as I know, the festival belongs to Sarawak as it is their product. I do not know where people get all these funny ideas of moving an established event like the music festival. It's like organising a fishing trip in the Sahara." [Note: Hmm.. four time!]

Hmm.. so.

What would RWMF look like in Penang? A couple of stages erected amidst the fragrant durian trees and next to the charming winding roads of Balik Pulau (sorry, it was the first venue that pops into mind) maybe? Kinda risky lah.

Though someone will likely make money selling Perisai Penang (I imagine foot stomping and hip gyrating in the middle of high-risk terrain naturally calls for iron body suits) and matching Helmet of the Orient (stainless steel, and you get to carve your name on it too!) eh?

RWMF is not exactly PC Fair la. People don't just walk in to RWMF expecting to grab something they've been surveying online/Low Yat Plaza for a couple of months then quickly run out of the venue (and they don't really mind if it is PWTC or KLCC) to avoid the jostling crowd.

There's lots of reasons why people go to RWMF, year after year on that second weekend of July, each time dragging everyone they knew.

It's not just the music. It's the crowd, the activity, the ambiance, the nights, the days.

There will be centenarian trees shading you from the hot afternoon sun, tomcats and ayam sleeping through your (and others') rain-beckoning sing-along and wince-inclined dance steps.

^ Watch then follow! Tak ingat lirik tak sape perasan de, tis how you move!

There will be activities - hello, not collecting freebies from each exhibitor booth - it will be interactive workshops where you can learn and do what the performers do, together with your gang and those total strangers camping next to you next to the tempat ketuk batang sagu.

^ Finale concert highlight - all the cute guys playing good music throughout the event will be there - can't have durian trees in between you and the stage now, can we?

There will be crowd - yes, jostling they will be, but only to persuade you to join them moving to the music.

And there will be food! Yeah... goooood fooood...

Hmm.. hard to imagine RWMF happening elsewhere but just there at the foot of Mount Santubong, Sarawak.

Eh Penang, get your own fest started lah.