The Rojak Projek Promotes Unity, Culture and Diversity via “Rediscovering Each Other”

An initiative by TRP CREATIVES, a social enterprise it focuses on creating positive understanding and awareness by promoting unity, culture and diversity.

Co-Founders of The Rojak Projek, Rachel Lee, Faye Lim and Jon Cool

Led by a group of young Malaysians who travelled around Malaysia, they filmed a documentary called, “Rediscovering Each Other” which depicts their journey in transforming the idea of being ethnically colour-blind to colour-embracing; in a time where the call for unity has never been more profound. Through their travels they found that Malaysians are very ‘Rojak’ (mixed), and that speaks about the beauty and diversity of Malaysia.

The Rojak Projek's concept (from colour-blindness to colour-embracing)
Q. SO, WHAT DOES “COLOUR-EMBRACING” MEANS TO ‘THE ROJAK PROJEK’?
“People would think that the way to achieve unity among our differences is to be a colour-blind nation. However, we, The Rojak Projek, think otherwise. MALAYSIANS belong to uncountable cultures and traditions… that is just how different and diverse we are as a nation. We believe that our colours, our incredibly vibrant diversity and culture should be fully embraced. It is what makes us who we are, not something to be diluted.”

Q. SO WHAT DOES ‘INCLUSIVENESS’ MEAN TO ‘THE ROJAK PROJEK’?
Inclusiveness as what Faye Lim and Rachel Lee shared with Astro Awani on 13th August 2018 regarding their adopted Kelabit mother, Mummy Supang Tagong.

“A friend we met along our journey, Anderson Kalang, brought us to Miri to meet his mother and toward the end of our trip, she adopted us as her own, as family. From then on, we were referred to as cousins and introduced to other family members as our “cousins”. She could have easily said, “This is Anderson’s cousin…”. She didn’t. Instead, she said, “This is your cousin”.

In between all the journey of travelling around Malaysia (2016-2017), they had public events called, ‘The Rojak Party’, a social event where attendees are encouraged to eat, share, embrace and learn from and with each other to explore what it means to be a united nation. There was food to eat and friends to make during these events.

The Rojak Projek held its first Rojak Party in March 2015 and opened it to public in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor areas from October 2016 until May 2017 on the 16th of every month to reinforce the idea of Malaysia, for all Malaysians.

Jon Cool, Co-Founder of The Rojak Projek was there to capture all the ‘Black & White’ portraits while we collected information and stories for our experiment. We noticed that there were cultures and heritages (ethnicities) that we’d never heard of that were listed in our forms.

Note that many of us had not known about the existence of Malaysia Day, the formation of federation between Malaya, North Borneo (Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore on 16th September 1963 as many of us here in West Malaysia mostly celebrate Merdeka Day (31st August 1957).

This was the moment when we had no idea that due to our lack of acknowledgement to Malaysia Day, it was a sign of not acknowledging the existence of others in Sabah and Sarawak.

The Rojak Projek team have also produced 540 food artworks (2015-2017) showcasing Malaysians from all 13 states.

Why 540?

Because Malaysia was born on the 16th of September 1963 (54 years prior to 2017) when East Malaysia was included as an essential part of the Malaysian Federation. Without Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia will not be the Malaysia it is today.

Q. SO, WHY FOOD?
“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate and our Malaysian food takes it to the next level, and we Malaysians know it! Our food has always been the gesture of peace which allows us to sit, eat and enjoy each other’s company despite our differences. It is our differences that makes us unique. These artworks are about showcasing not only the beauty in variety of Malaysian food but the message that our diversity is equally beautiful.”

Q. SO WHAT HAPPENED AFTER YOU CREATED THE FOOD?
“All the food were eaten, packed, documented, and delivered to bless others. We also gained terrible weight for the entire year!!! With the works we’ve done so far, we’ve only managed to cover a portion of Malaysia in its entirety! That means that there is so much more to discover!”

The Rojak Projek will be showcasing their documentary on Merdeka Day (Independence Day) at Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur. Furthermore, they will be showcasing an exhibition of 550 artworks (another 10 additional artworks will be created in conjunction to Malaysia’s 55th birthday) in collaboration with Perdana Fellows Alumni Association’s, “Youth Festival of Ideas 2018” at Sunway University on 15th September 2018.

For more information about PFAA’s event:
Youth Festival of Ideas (YFI) aims to bridge the gap between young Malaysians from
different backgrounds and interests to have open dialogue and celebrations differences.

Date: 15th September 2018
Location: Sunway University (court)
Time: 9.00am-5.00pm

The Rojak Projek’s highlight at 1.00pm-1.45pm to showcase the largest artwork exhibition*

The purpose of this is to pave a way to inspire younger Malaysians to begin their own journey of being problem solvers, carrying the responsibilities of bridging gaps together. Our hope is that this will become a larger Malaysian nation building movement.

“The ultimate aim is to break ignorance and allow our nation to know each other better. We cannot do it alone and this has to be a nationwide project.” – Faye Lim, Co-Founder of The Rojak Projek

To know more about our journey, what were our challenges, and not to mentioned to view our conceptual artworks, please go to: www.therojakprojek.com/phase-2

Want to know more info? Find us on:

For ‘The Rojak Party’ images:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/therojakprojek/photos/?tab=album&album_id=960780174065889

For ‘Black & White’ portraits:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/therojakprojek/photos/?tab=album&album_id=715053728638536
OUR BACK STORY
It started off as an idea at the end of 2014 when, over the years, more and more negativity seem to surface around Malaysia. This slowly grew as we met new friends to join in on this persistent mission throughout 2015. The beginnings of these efforts were launched on New Years, 2016, for and with our fellow Malaysians to show new, creative and positive forms of how our Malaysian diversity is truly beautiful.

CO-FOUNDERS BACKGROUND
1) Lim Sheng Feiyan (also known as Faye Lim) is a Malaysian Conceptual Artist who believes in serving her country. She received her Diploma in Advertising & Graphic Design from The One Academy Communication Design, Malaysia. She is a visualiser and her strength lies in her conceptualism and her determination to show how unique, strong and beautiful we are together as Malaysians through creativity. After witnessing many challenging event that happened in Malaysia, she took a risk and embarked on a journey to travel around Malaysia to focus on inspiring unity, culture and diversity through creativity and thus ‘The Rojak Projek’ is born.

2) Rachel Lee is an Architect that graduated with her Masters of Architecture from the University of Newcastle, Australia. She is also active in her other interest such as humanitarian efforts, awareness movements and inclusive & sustainable building. Rachel left Australia early 2015 to return to Malaysia as she saw the beauty, potential and strength her country has and that lied in their diversity. Though she has a formal design and construction background, she truly found her passion in social and community work and decided to go hand in hand with Faye and Jon to start off ‘The Rojak Projek’.

3) Jonathan Chong (also known as Jon Cool) is a self-taught professional photographer, best known for his portraiture work. Through his photography, he realised the treasure in Malaysian diversity and had a vision to bring Malaysians together to embrace each other’s differences. Along with Faye and Rachel, he co-founded The Rojak Projek and used his passion of photography throughout The Rojak Projek’s journey.

 

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