Celebrate Merdeka with these local events

Merdeka events 2019
Image adapted from: Sukaseni and @riuhinthecity

Malaysia’s 62nd independence day is rolling around, and Malaysians are already getting their party hats out to celebrate on 31st August 2019. 

But if you can’t wait till the end of the month to start the festivities, there are a ton of events to delve into. From artsy festivals to cultural ones, plus a meet-and-greet session with a local author, this celebratory season is jam-packed with things to do:

1. Join in on the festivities with Riuh in Ipoh

the pop up stores at Riuh
Image credit: @riuhinthecity

Riuh has probably appeared on your social feeds time and time again. After all, it’s a festival well-loved by the youths of KL for its curation of pop-up stores, food and creative workshops. This time round, they’ve decided to journey north and pay a visit to the fans in Ipoh instead. 

a collage of past Riuh events
Past Riuh events have been locally and culturally themed
Image credit: @riuhinthecity

Eat your way through 22 food stalls while you groove to live music by 9 Malaysian artists. Show your appreciation for the olden arts by joining a Chinese calligraphy class, and if you haven’t yet eaten your share of mooncakes, head over to the snowskin mooncake workshop and bring home some mini handmade treats. 

In conjunction with Merdeka, there’ll also be a tribute to Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Bapa Kemerdekaan we all learned about in school. We also have our eyes on some of the retail booths, namely Apom with their very Malaysian tees and canvas bags as well as Hornbill Time and Wear with their batik print watches. 

2 vendors of Riuh
Image adapted from: @apom.my and @hornbilltimeandwear

Date: 17th August 2019
Time: 4PM-12AM

Date: 18th August 2019
Time: 11AM-6PM
Venue: Kinta River Walk, Ipoh
Admission: Free

2. Take part in art jamming & watch vibrant cultural performances at Temasya Bagan 

Merdeka is always a good time to remember our roots, and this gets easier when there are still people out there keeping tradition alive. Join the crowd at Temasya Bagan at the Butterworth Art Walk for their culturally-themed festival.

Visitors will not only be treated to cultural dances like Tarian Kollatam as there’ll be other fun activities to do till late including art jam, aerobics, live mural colouring and traditional games.

Location for Temasya Bagan
Butterworth Art Walk is known for alley walls decorated with murals
Image credit: @wxshots

Date: 24th August 2019
Time: 4PM-11PM
Venue: Butterworth Art Walk, 1, Lorong Bagan Luar 1, Bagan Luar, 12000 Butterworth, Pulau Pinang
Admission: Free

3. Attend cultural workshops at Sentul Festival 2019 

We Malaysians love local bazaars, mainly because we love chomping down on street food while doing a little retail therapy. Well, the one at Sentul Festival 2019 is not your ordinary market — there will be workshops for you to take part in and you can learn how to make the perfect chapati, or sew your own batik backpack. 

With over 60 booths, there’ll be lots of food to feast on and plenty of local goods to browse through. The classic Milo truck will also be making an appearance so you can relive your childhood days.

A workshop on weaving
A workshop on zero-waste weaving during a past edition of Sentul Festival
Image credit: @dignityforchildren

In the words of the organisers, it’s basically a massive open day where people can come together to learn about culture while exploring Sentul. 

Clay workshop
There’ll be a creative workshop that lets participants work with clay
Image credit: @dignityforchildren

Date: 17th – 18th August 2019
Time: 11AM-8PM
Venue: Dignity for Children Foundation, 7-G Jalan 15/48A, Sentulraya Boulevard, 51000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Admission: Free

4. Flaunt your talent at Temasya Tiga Tahun

Open mic nights are a great way to discover new talents in the community. Whether it’s a fresh face whose singing makes you swoon, or a stranger whose poetry can touch even the loneliest of hearts, you’ll soon come to realise that there’s no shortage of local talent.

Singer performing
Image credit: @urbanscapes

Temasya Tiga Tahun celebrates their 3rd year anniversary just days from Malaysia’s own big day. Selected acts are set to entertain guests throughout the night and audience members can take to the stage to sing a few lines or read out that poem they’ve been working on. 

spoken word performance
Attendees can also do spoken word performances
Image credit: @urbanscapes

Date: 22nd August 2019
Time: 8PM onwards
Venue: InTunNation, 147A, Jalan Aminuddin Baki, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Admission: RM20

5. Meet homegrown writers at Lit Books

If you’ve ever spotted the local books section at the bookstore and decided to give it a look, you’d find that there’s actually a pretty great selection of good reads. Though local literature is still waiting for its time in the limelight, things are starting to take a turn with publishers like Lit Books doing their best to bring homegrown stories to our attention.

Store view of Lit Books
Image credit: Lit Books

Their meet-the-author session on Merdeka Day will be a good chance for those looking to get an introduction to the Malaysian literary scene. You can meet Daryl Yeap, the author of The King’s Chinese — a story about how a penniless migrant from China who climbed his way to the top to become Penang’s richest man. 

Meet-the-author session with Zunar
Fans of the cartoonist Zunar had the opportunity to meet him back in May
Image credit: Lit Books

Date: 31st August 2019
Time: 4PM-5PM
Venue: Lit Books, P-01-11 Level 1, Tropicana Avenue, 12 Jalan Persiaran Tropicana, 47410 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Admission: Free

6. Check out the local art scene at Pesta GENTA x Zine DIY Fest 2019

Pesta Genta will be held at Rumah Seni Selangor, and just like its name implies, it’s going to be all about the arts. Malaysian creatives will be gathered under one roof, which means you can have inspiring conversations about literature and art with independent sellers.

Indie rock duo Satwo
Indie rock duo Satwo will be performing at the festival
Image credit: @satwomusic

With 37 vendors setting up shop here, you’ll be able to find musical instruments, handmade crafts, fashion accessories and even homemade food.

If you want to get more hands-on, try your hand at making your own magazine or button badge. There’s even a workshop on making toys, so this the place to unleash your creativity at full blast. 

Date: 17th – 18th August 2019
Time: 9AM-11PM
Venue: Rumah Seni Selangor, No 18, Jalan 16/4, Seksyen 16, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Admission: Free

7. Join a National Day walk with #AnakAnakMalaysia 

Don’t let the heat of the tropics get in the way of the National Day celebration. If you’re ready to walk 5km in celebration of diversity and unity, sign up for the #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk. 

2016's #anakanakmalaysia walk
The #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk back in 2016
Image credit: EcoWorld

Most of us are more than willing to set aside our differences and come together as a nation to celebrate the country we call home. If you’re a proud Malaysian, join the thousands of others to walk as 1 nation on Merdeka Day. 

Location for the walk
Eco Ardence, where the run will take place
Image credit: wendylai2018

Date: 31st August 2019
Time: 4PM
Venue: Eco Ardence Sales Gallery, Persiaran Setia Alam, Setia Alam, 40170 Shah Alam, Selangor
Admission: RM50 for adults and RM20 for kids

8. Support small businesses at Merdeka Craft Market at The Linc KL

The Merdeka Craft Sale at The Linc KL
Image credit: Sukaseni

The charm of handmade crafts lie in the effort and care that go into making them. Whether it’s soap made from scratch, or batik designs that have been painstakingly drawn with hot wax, you won’t be able to find the same product elsewhere.

Vendor at Merdeka Craft Sale
Get hand painted pouches like this by Darzainah at her booth
Image credit: dar_zainah

Local artisans will be setting up booths at the Merdeka Craft Market organised by Sukaseni and there’ll be a ton of local handmade products. Be it fashion or accessories, the items you bring back home are sure to give you a style boost while adding a pop of Malaysian influence in your look.

Merdeka Craft Sale 2 vendors collage
Butterfly bag from Whimsical Design and Muslimah fashion wear from By Kunang Kunang
Image adapted from: @whimsicaldesignco and @bykunangkunang

Date: 30th August 2019 – 2nd September 2019
Time: 11AM-7PM
Venue: The Linc KL, 360, Jalan Tun Razak, Taman U Thant, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Admission: Free

9. Challenge yourself to a 5km run with games & a culture exhibition at Merdeka Fiesta 2019.

About 100 running events taking place in Malaysia each year, and it goes to show that we Malaysians love getting fit outdoors. This month, the Merdeka Fiesta 2019 is bringing together the strong-willed and the patriotic for a 5km run with fun activities to celebrate National Day. 

Previous running event by APU
A previous running event organised by APU in 2017
Image credit: A.P.U Merdeka Fiesta 2019

After powering through the 5km route, you can keep the adrenaline going by playing a few games at the carnival area. If you need to recharge, head over to the food booths for some comforting and filling Malaysian fare. Remember to drop by the culture exhibition before you call it a day. 

Date: 24th August 2019
Time: 6AM-4PM
Venue: Asia Pacific University, Jalan Teknologi 5, Taman Teknologi Malaysia, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Admission: RM40 for general public and RM30 for APU students

Merdeka 2019 events to get in the National Day spirit

These National Day-related events are sure to switch up your weekend routine and help you get in the mood just in time for Merdeka. After all, this is an affair that only comes once a year, so we might as well go all out and celebrate with locally-inspired markets, festivals and runs.