31 May 2023

Journey of Cultural Appreciation: AYCF Unveils the Mesmerizing National Collaborative Performances

Chanya Chinsukserm
AUN Programme Officer;

In a display of cultural prowess and unity, the 18th ASEAN and 8th ASEAN+3 Youth Cultural Forum (AYCF) burst onto the stage on 15 May 2023, captivating young delegates from AUN and ASEAN+3 Member Universities in a mesmerizing showcase of the National Collaborative Performances. The opening ceremony at Universitas Indonesia set the tone for an unforgettable journey of cultural exchange and appreciation.

The AYCF proved to be a distinguished platform for cultural exchange and a catalyst for unity among the participating countries, where delegates from diverse backgrounds came together to celebrate and appreciate the rich heritage of traditions within the ASEAN+3 region. With its revival, this year's forum exhibited the remarkable National Collaborative Performances of the vigorous cultures within the ASEAN+3 region, highlighting the diversity and commonalities that make it truly unique.

As all eyes were fixated on the stage, the highly anticipated National Collaborative Performances began to unveil the unforgettable experience for all in attendance. The spectacles, carefully choreographed and flawlessly executed, transported the audience to a realm where artistry and diversity converged in perfect harmony. Each act was a testament to the resilience and creativity of the participating nations, showcasing their unique cultural heritages in a breathtaking fusion of sights and sounds.


Brunei: The talented dance artists from the University of Brunei Darussalam have ingeniously choreographed a traditional dance, perfectly synchronized with the charming instrumental song, “Seri Murni.” This remarkable composition by Haji Osman bin Buntar in the 1980s blended Brunei's traditional musical instruments, like Gulintangan and Rebana, with modern elements, creating a harmonious fusion. The dance beautifully encapsulated the grace and warmth of Brunei Malay women, their friendly nature resonating with the enthralling rhythms of “masri” and “canggung.”


China: The spellbinding showcase has taken everyone on a journey through time and regions, presenting a diverse array of traditional music and dance. Delegates united from four Member Universities: Guangxi University, Guizhou University, Xiamen University, and Yunnan University, began with a contemporary hit, portraying the mystique of blue-white Chinese porcelain. The stirring rendition of the beloved classical piece “Jasmine Flower” filled the air, featuring an exquisite combination of flute, pipa, xun, and keyboard. As the performance reached its peak, ethnic dances from Xinjiang and other regions mesmerized the audience, offering a glimpse into China's vibrant cultures.


South Korea: The beats and sounds of the sensational K-POP dance have transcended boundaries and united cultures from around the world. The AYCF participants witnessed firsthand the performance titled “Across the Country, Across the Region” by delegates from Daejeon University and saw how K-POP, a global phenomenon, has become a cherished treasure that connects people across countries and regions. The show demonstrated the power of culture to bring people together, surpassing all barriers and creating a shared language of joy and celebration.


Malaysia: “Tautan Madani Dance” combined the high-spirited rhythms of three traditional Malay dances–Inang, Zapin, and Joget–into a dazzling medley. With the theme of unity in the spotlight, delegates from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, and Universiti Sains Malaysia, showcased the resilience and spirit of its people in the face of the global pandemic. Tautan Madani Dance was a powerful testament to the unwavering commitment to cultural preservation, introducing the rich traditions and values of Malaysia to a global audience. 


The Philippines: The performance by Ateneo De Manila University, De La Salle University, and University of the Philippines kicked off with a thrilling tale inspired by “How Rosang Taba Won a Race,” where the clever Lakambini outwitted the greedy conqueror, Matsing, in a race for freedom. The exciting excerpt from "The Boxes" by Philippine National Artist, Rolando S. Tinio, also unfolded how a former member of a ruling organization defiantly stands up against oppression. The show ended with an alluring dance piece accompanied by spoken word poetry and singing, showing the resilience of student-artists amidst the pandemic.


Singapore: Delegates from Nanyang Technological University beautifully demonstrated Tarian Melayu. It was a captivating showcase that paid tribute to the abundant cultural heritage of the indigenous Malay islanders in Singapore before colonization and immigration transformed the city into the dynamic cosmopolitan hub it is today. The Malays, Indians, Chinese, and Eurasians lived harmoniously. With the representation of each of these races, the performance of the Malay Dance carried profound meaning, symbolizing unity and celebrating the multicultural tapestry that defines Singapore. 


Thailand: The extraordinary spectacle of “Leelalep Leela Thai” captured a journey through the nail art traditions of Thailand's diverse regions. The dances “Fonlep,” “Sud Chatri,” “Fon Phu Tai,” and “Nora” represented each region in Thailand. The heart of the show was the seamless integration of dances from all four regions, with fingernails taking center stage. Specially arranged music accentuates the unique characteristics of each region, making this a meticulously curated masterpiece by the collaboration of students from five Member Universities: Burapha University, Chulalongkorn University, Mahidol University, Chiang Mai University, and Prince of Songkla University.


Viet Nam: Delegates from Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City, performed the heartwarming dance performance, “Nô đùa.” The show brought to life the joyous world of children's folk games, an invaluable treasure of Vietnamese traditional songs and dances. With rustic charm and infectious joy, these tunes form an integral part of Vietnamese folk traditions. The performance beautifully recreated the playful scenes of children in the countryside, capturing their innocence and genuine spirit. 


Indonesia: The thrilling finale as delegates from three Member Universities: Universitas Airlangga, Universitas Gadjah Mada, and Universitas Indonesia, took the stage with their enthralling performances. Participants were fascinated by the enchanting traditional dances of this lively nation, from the graceful movements of Indonesian culture to the rhythmic beats. The show truly promises to be a feast for the senses. 

As the curtains fell on this remarkable opening ceremony, the 18th ASEAN and 8th ASEAN+3 Youth Cultural Forum proved to surpass all expectations. This extraordinary event not only showcased the immense talent and cultural wealth of the ASEAN+3 nations but also ignited a renewed sense of unity and collaboration among the delegates. The journey has only just begun, and the next AYCF promises to deliver an unforgettable experience filled with even more surprises and enlightening exchanges in the days to come.