(From left) Alana Azlan, Nana, RJ Kevin, Arisha Akhir, May Chong, Hon-Wai, Aiman. Image credit Leong Qi Tyng

Imagine an open house feel to an open mic event. How would you do it?

Gerakbudaya aptly named their recently held first open mic event as Onde-Onde Open Mic.

Turns out, the organizer, Hon-Wai, wanted to bring an open house feel to the event. Basically something more Malaysian than usual lah!

In order to create the open house environment, there were childhood snacks Malaysians would recognize and squeal over to be munched on while mingling.

The seating had a relaxed and homey-feel to it too: colourful pillows on a mat and armchairs at the back.

To further add to the open house feel, I discovered I share some mutual friends with one of the acts of the day! So Malaysian right??

The featured acts in the line-up were Alana Azlan, Nana, Arisha Akhir and RJ Kevin. The three girls are poets except for RJ Kevin, who is a singer and songwriter.

The other acts included poets Aiman, May Chong and Hon-Wai.

Each performer had their own style and were creative in their presentation.

Arisha made ‘Teh Tarik Kurang Manis’ an immersive experience by getting the audience to repeat a line from her poem when cued. Her volume on Malay Poetry entitled ‘Rahsia’ will be out this month.

Hon-Wai, who has been published by The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Heather, and The Hopkins Review had RJ Kevin strum the guitar during his set, providing a lyrical background to his poems such as We Fit in Fluid Tangle and The Heights of Your Shoulders.

Alana incorporated singing to hers while Aiman brought humour through one of his poems ‘Malaysian Traffic Light.’ She recently published her book ‘A Female Called Psyche’ and can be pre-ordered through SelutBooks.

Nana and May Chong included poems written in Bahasa Malaysia entitled ‘Adam’ and ‘MXNG’ respectively, which added a nice variety to the day.

Serving as the opening and closing act, RJ Kevin performed songs from his single, Thirsty, which was released earlier this month on Spotify and iTunes.

With a soulful voice, he certainly earned the moniker as the ‘Malaysian Bruno Mars.’

Gerakbudaya or ‘movement of cultures’ is a community hub bookstore of critical and alternative perspectives and hidden histories of Southeast Asia and the world.

They aim to host Onde-Onde Open Mic monthly and serve as a platform to share a multi-genre showcase of Malaysian secrets and narratives.

Do you have an event coming up? Want us to write about it? Drop us an email to editors@eksentrika.com!