Dying art form gets US funding

A dying art form from Kelantan recently received a boost from the US Embassy.

To preserve knowledge of rebana kercing, a traditional hand drum, U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Brian McFeeters launched the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Award in collaboration with Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) in Tumpat, Kelantan.

The link involves documenting the hand drum manufacturing process as well as the performance associated with the instrument.

Both are essential elements of the art form.

Acting UMK Vice Chancellor Prof. Nik Maheran Nik Muhammad said, “The international recognition and support received proves the strength of US-Malaysian relations in various fields, including intangible heritage conservation efforts. “.

The Rebana Kercing Project marks the 20th anniversary of the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Project.

The fund was first launched in April 2001.

McFeeters hopes the Rebana Kercing project will be the first of many exciting projects to come.

“This people-to-people collaboration in preservation is a testament to the enduring relationship between the United States and Malaysia,” McFeeters said.

“How fitting, as this year marks the 65th anniversary of our diplomatic relations and our continued friendship.

“I hope the launch of this important project will be just the first of many more exciting projects to come this year.”

The 11-month Rebana Kercing Project, led by the Director of the UMK International Center, Professor Assoc Dr Ng Siew Foen, will take place in Kampung Laut, Tumpat.

During his two-day visit to Kelantan, McFeeters also met with Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob Ahmad and the leaders spoke about their hopes for strengthening US-Kelantan ties.

In addition, the Ambassador met with five former Malaysian students from US Embassy exchange programs.

The former students spoke about their experiences in the United States and how their experiences had a positive impact on their lives after returning to Malaysia.

McFeeters also visited the American corner of the UMK campus in Bachok, where he spoke with young student leaders and shared with them his journey as a diplomat.

He visited the Kelantan Library and American Corner, which opened in 2018, and learned about the many services and facilities offered there.

Upcoming programs at American Corner will include exhibits on environmental sustainability and the global fight against the spread of disease, as well as workshops and lectures on women’s empowerment and media literacy.

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