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Sarong party-goers mob the train

 | February 26, 2012

More than 200 people took part in a sarong-themed flash mob on the RapidKL train on Saturday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of Malaysians thronged KL’s railways in what appeared to be the city’s first sarong-wearing flash mob.

Termed “Keretapi Sarong” (literal for “Sarong Railway”), the event saw more than 200 young people sporting sarongs on the Kelana Jaya LRT line.

Gathering at the KL Sentral LRT station at 4pm on Saturday, the crowd broke into groups of 10 and more before boarding the train. Their objective was to gather at the KLCC Park by 5:30pm.

Keeping the crowd busy was Keretapi Sarong’s organisers Random Alphabets, who directed these groups to get off at several LRT stations along the way.

According to organiser volunteer (who wanted to be known as) Zain HD, Keretapi Sarong had only one purpose: to have fun.

“It’s just for fun. It’s as simple as that,” he told FMT.

Throughout the two-hour event, the Random Alphabets volunteers kept their groups busy.

In some instances, the organisers got their “followers” to chant sarong-themed slogans, including “Sarong, Sarong, Keretapi Sarong” to the amusement of ordinary LRT passengers.

One group even sang Malaysia’s national anthem -the Negaraku- inside a moving train.

Wearing it creatively

While many wore their sarong the normal way (around the waist), some decided to don the traditional Malay dress in creative ways.

One of them was sarong first-timer (who only wanted to be known as) Mey, who wrapped the cloth around her to resemble a ninja.

“This is the first time I’m wearing a sarong. I don’t know how to wear one,” she said sheepishly, before striking a “ninja” pose.

A few girls were even seen sporting the traditional kebaya along with their sarongs.

One of them, who wished to be known as Ayue, said she chose to wear the kebaya as it represented Malaysian culture.

“(The kebaya is worn by) people who want to keep a semblance of tradition and culture,” she said.

The groups were also accompanied by traveling drum band KL Street Drummers, who entertained the flash mobbers with their routine whenever they got off at a platform.

“So far it’s been good, it’s been exciting,” said KL Street Drummer member Ahmad Husni, adding that he usually wore the sarong for sleeping.

Many of the flash mobbers also showed “sarong stories” on pieces of paper, with the reasons why they wore the dress.

“My sarong functions as an internal exhaust fan,” read one humorous story.

Another read: “I feel free when I’m in a sarong.”

About unity

Strangely enough, neither the police nor RapidKL officials interfered with the flash mob.

In fact, some RapidKL officials were seen sporting sarongs in support of the event.

Though the event was almost wholly attended by Malaysian youth, Zain said that Keretapi Sarong was for everyone, including migrant workers and expatriates.

“We’re not selling it as a Malaysian event. It’s never been about that, but rather about unity…across all borders,” he said.

Zain also seemed surprised by the authorities’ response to the flash mob. He said that the police had occasionally approached the groups to ask questions, and did not chase them out of the stations.

“We were expecting them to come to stop us…(but) it’s been quite positive.”

“It’s a totally different language from what might have happened if we did this four years ago,” he said.

Zain added that Keretapi Sarong was a clear sign that locals wanted to see more of these events taking place.

“Even with the little marketing and promotion, we still had such a turnout. Clearly there’s a demand for such events like these,” he said.

The group would later disperse peacefully from the KLCC Park at about 6:15pm.


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