By Marisol Dorantes
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
Free food is a foolproof way to attract a crowd at any event. The Malaysian Student Association effectively used this strategy to produced the largest turnout at its annual cultural awareness event.
The Malaysian Food Fest was held at the Hannah Community Center at 6 p.m. April 8. In the past, the association focused on the general culture of Malaysia by presenting the country through slide shows as well as live performances by Malaysian artists. The low attendance and the growing difficulty of finding Malaysian performers pushed the group in a different direction.
Featuring Malaysian cuisine contributed greatly to the success of the event but it was not without extra efforts of the students in the organization. Having the food fest in the Hannah Community Center opens the event to the rest of the community which is ideal for spreading cultural awareness but the number of attendees can only be guessed.
Planning for the event began in January. One of the project directors, Muhammad Mohdbakeri ,said that everything was planned and executed by the group, including the catering. The Malaysian buffet included several desserts, drinks, and main courses.
“We began buying the ingredients a month ago and we started preparing the food this past week.” said member Azureen Saifulbahri.
The budget for the event was $1,850 which covered room rental, food, performers, and goodie bags. The funding came mostly from Phi Beta Delta International fraternity, Office of International Students and Scholars OISS, and out of pocket from the students involved in MSA. There were also $3 tickets, the money was used for a deposit on the room and was returned to those who paid.
The buffet was preceded by showcasing the traditional opening ceremony of a Malaysian wedding. During the dinner there was Malaysian music and the public was welcome to try out customary Malaysian wear as well as learn about traditional children’s games and dishes.
“I heard about this through my friend but I also saw promotional flyers at the International Center. It was a lot of fun and the food was great, I hope I can come next year as well.” said Anara Kassymbekova a Michigan State University junior and international student.