Mari Makan

Mari Makan Mari Makan translates to “good eating” which is an understatement in
Malaysia.  The wonderful smells of international food from the street stalls, coffee shops and restaurants on every corner assault your senses.  (I will write later about the wonderful gastronomic pleasures of
Malaysia!)  Our school’s annual event, Mari Makan, took place on Friday night.  The organizers always refer to it as, “A Night to Remember!” For me though, it was, “The Night to Remember Why I Am a Global Wanderer!”

One of the reasons I chose the expat life was to experience the many lifestyles from around the world.  Friday evening was the perfect time to indulge in multi-cultures when our school put on a fantastic evening of food, entertainment, drinking and dancing from around the world. The Parent’s Association sponsors the adult event each year.  A country representative organizes each national booth.  Almost all of the 46 different nationalities of students at our school were represented at Mari Makan.  Teachers and parents from the school community contribute to set up a booth that reflects their country’s food and customs.  Tables were set up, a dance floor was arranged and everyone came dressed in their country’s colors and traditional dress.   

As I walked around to each booth, I piled my plate high with delicious homemade food and sampled drinks.  The mother of a child I tutor was in her kimono and served me Saki and Sushi.  One of my student’s parents piled on the Swedish pancakes and insisted that I take two glasses of the liquor that burned my throat! A Malaysian parent invited me sit with her while the Malaysian dancers performed traditional dances.  I have seen these dances numerous times, but on Friday, I listened to an interpretation from the woman who entrusts her six year old to my care everyday.  Each year one country is the host and provides the entertainment.  My “Room Mother” was the emcee for the Dutch community who dressed up in crazy orange outfits to display their patriotic love of the
 Datos (equivalent to Lords), oil company managers, housemothers, administrators, diplomats, teachers and parents laughed and danced their way through a personal display of international goodwill.  It was an amazing night in which every racial, religious, and socio-economical line broke down to prove yet again that the more we learn about each other’s differences, the more we discover how alike we really are.


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