The Onam festival is celebrated with great fervour by Singapore Malayalees, either as small gatherings of friends and groups or as larger ticketed events. The inherent and most essential part of the celebration is the ‘festive delight’- the Onasadhya, the sumptuous feast! The festivities here start long before Thiruvonam day and go on long after Thiruvonam day too!
Celebrating for the fifth year running, the vibrant and zealous students and alumni of the Malayalee community of Republic Polytechnic got together yet again to organise Onam celebrations.
Resounding ChendaMelam, traditional folk dances, energetic cinematic dances and songs formed the entertaining cultural fare by the students and alumni. And together with the Onasadhyacompleted the RP Ponnonam spread.
Limin PS, alumni of RP, who presently works as an AsstEngineer in REC Solar Pte Ltd,was part of the organising team that initiated the celebration in 2010. He reminisced, “Onam is very special for every Malayalee. So we thought of celebrating it by showcasing our talents in the form of different programmes thus resulting in RP PONNONAM!”
And Mr Udayakumar T, RP staff, has been a regular attendee more on a personal basis than as an official staff. He had this to say, “By seeing the enthusiasm and artistic talents of the students, I support them by attending their rehearsals and providing feedback on their performances. I also help them to book venues for their rehearsals.”
Regarding the success of the shows he added, “The key reason is the tremendous cooperation and support from the alumni of RP who takes RP Ponnonamto their hearts and always find time for rehearsals and committee meetings in spite of their busy schedules. I have encouraged them to engage with the community in a way which is more meaningful, andto take our culture and unique artsinto the wider society. Also, this is the first time the students engaged with Woodlands Galaxy CC and brought in more cultural programs by the community.”
Hurdles are unescapablewhen it comes to organising any event. Deepak R Nair, Year 3 student and one of main organisers of the event this year mentioned, “We are all students or working personnel, so we faced difficulties right from finding a venue for the event to preparing ourselves for the programmes. But the success of the event isimportant for us, so that we can live up to the name that RP Ponnonam has garnered in recent years. So these challenges drive us forward.”
About student participation and the how well the public receives the event,Blesstee Anna Thomas, Year 3 student, programme coordinator and participant enthusiastically said, “It is a very good opportunity for students who were very active participants in youth festivals back in India to not lose touch with their talents just because they have come here to study. Moreover it is a very good experience to be with all Malayalees and we get a ‘homely feeling’. Andthe audience appreciated our hard work. So we felt very happy that the efforts taken by us got us good and satisfying results!”
The event was supported by Woodlands Galaxy Community Club whose members also participated actively, with charming dances by their ladies and children.
The chief guest for the occasion was Mr GV Nathan, former CEO of NTUC and the event was held on 17th of August at the Agora Hall of Republic Polytechnic.