Preview of 24 Festive Drums (18th August 2018)

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Over the last three years there seems to have been an increase in the number and variety of cultural events occuring in and around Johor Bahru, but one thing which has not increased is the public’s awareness of these events. But things are changing! This week I attended a meeting held at the Think City office in Jalan Dhoby, where the guest of honour was Ms Liow Cai Tung, the Democratic Action Party’s State Assemblywoman for Johor Jaya, and the Chairman of Johor Women Development & Tourism Committee. She was there to hear a presentation by Mr. Tan Chai Puan, co-founder of the 24 Festive Drum organisation. 

Back in 1998, Mr. Tan and the late Tan Hooi Song created ’24 Festive Drums’ here in Johor Bahru. This organisation has spread around the world, and in 2009 was recognised as a Malaysian National Intangible Cultural Heritage. Every two years there is an International Championship. This year, the 5th International Festival of 24 Festive Drums will be held at Pasir Gudang, to the east of Johor Bahru. And this year, Mr. Tan has arranged for some commentary in English to help any non-Chinese members of the audience. This is a small step in actively encouraging the non-Chinese community in Johor to participate in a ‘Chinese’ event. Let’s hope that the Johor Tourism department catches up with this initiative and promotes events such as this on their website.

If you have time, please do help support this initiative and come along to watch what I am sure will be an exciting and memorable event. The National Championships will be held on 24th August, and there will be an International Show on 25th August. For tickets, please call the JB Tiong Hua Association 07 278 8999 or the JB Chinese Heritage Museum 07 224 9633.

To further advertise this event, several drumming groups performed for the public in Jalan Tan Hiok Nee on the evening of 18th August. After three drumming groups, members of the audience were encouraged to try a bit of drumming for themselves. It was fascinating to watch the youngsters enthusiastically copying the teacher, while the older members of the audience had a bit more difficulty keeping their rhythm going! Here are some photos and a short video showing the energy and skill of these young drummers. 

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