October 23, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – The streets of the city here were decked with splashes of colour and gaiety as more than 1,100 people took part in a batik fun walk yesterday.
Meant to promote Malaysian batik as a national heritage, the gathering walked 2.5km from the Malaysia Tourism Information Centre (MaTiC) at Jalan Ampang, passing through Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan P. Ramlee and Persiaran PETRONAS, before heading back to their starting point.
Datuk Leela Mohd Ali, chief executive officer of the event’s organiser, Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia, said the whole point was to encourage people to wear batik on a daily basis.
“This is a nice way to make people understand that batik can be worn formally and leisurely,” she said after the walk was flagged off by former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who was there to support his wife Nori Abdullah, who is Penyayang chairman.
“The whole idea is to make people understand that a cultural item can be turned into a nice contemporary fashion line,” added Leela.
She expressed joy that participants from various races and backgrounds had fun walking together.
“They all participated without any planning at all,” she said.
Another organising member of the event, Mohd Tasham Mohd Azali, 23, said it was a scenic walk for him as he enjoyed flaunting his cheery batik.
“It was my first time helping organise the event as a committee member, and I’m happy we’re organising the walk again after a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Some participants showed their competitive side by jogging instead.
Mohd Mahmi Mohamed Hussin, 37, who was among the first to finish the walk, said he took 20 minutes to jog through the tracks and had a wonderful time with his wife.
“I’ve participated for about 13 years now and it has never failed to disappoint me,” he said.
Hotel worker Ragu Rajananda, 23, said it was his first time joining his colleagues in the walk.
“Our hotel is a proud sponsor of the walk, so I’m happy to come and show off my batik,” he said, adding that he was the only man in his team of 10.
MaTiC staff member Mazlan Mahmood, 40, said he is no stranger to the route as he has participated almost every year to show his support.
“I also love the batik specially provided for my team as we can wear the outfits comfortably at work or on other public occasions,” he said.
Universiti Teknologi Mara engineering student Ahmad Salleh Ibrahim, 20, said he loved taking pictures of the city while walking with family and friends.
“It’s not every day that the roads are closed off for us to walk comfortably, and the view around the city is nice,” said Ahmad Salleh, who lives in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam.
Winner in the Most Creatively Dressed Individual category, Haslina Mariam Zainal, 55, said she was surprised to win a second time.
Haslina Mariam, who wore a blue batik dress with a floral hair dressing, said her dress was tailor-made.
“Even my dress from years ago, which won the award, was tailor-made,” she added.
Zaina Abu Bakar, 85, who won the Oldest Participant Award in the event, said she didn’t have much problem walking the route and had a wonderful time with her grandchildren.
“They accompanied me throughout the walk and inspired me to keep going until the end,” she said.
The winner of the Youngest Participant Award, three-month-old Orked Trisha Ahmad Tamizi, was in her infant-sized batik as she rested in her stroller while being guided by her parents.
Her father, Ahmad Tamizi, said they had fun strolling around the city with their daughter.
“We also want to encourage her to wear batik at a young age,” he said.
The winner of the Most Creatively Dressed Family in batik, the Ell Rich Beauty family, said they were happy to win the award and would like to join again next year.
According to Khairy, his family has been supporting the event since it started in 2003.
The participation fees will be donated to cancer initiatives via Penyayang Pesakit Kanser, a support group that provides services and assistance to cancer patients at various hospitals.