Old friends, delicious food, and competitive sports – it was the time of the year again when Malaysians in the UK travel all the way to our university to mingle and compete during the Nottingham Malaysian Games (NMG).
The NMG is a one-day event and was held on November 10 this year. Other universities have their own version of this event but it is widely known that ours is the oldest (since 1985) and the biggest. For some of the exchange students coming from the Malaysian campus, this is one of the reasons as to why they chose to exchange during the autumn term. This year, 75 societies from over 65 universities joined us to make this memorable day. Seeing rows of buses entering University Park was such a joy for many of the crew members. Some of them would playfully discuss among each other as to which bus was carrying which university. Of course, it has never been restricted to Malaysian students only. NMG will always welcome the public to join. As people always say, the more the merrier!
Talking about the competition, NMG had 15 games in total this year. We had games ranging from 5-a-side football, badminton, scrabble, Malaysian games such as congkak, and the newly-added ultimate frisbee, and others. Since it was quite impossible to accommodate everything in the Sports Centre, the committee members have divided the games between Portland building, Sports Centre, Florence Boot, Highfield Park and the Power League.
Football was quite a distance from the other events but the committee made sure that it was convenient for both players and spectators to commute back and forth. Nevertheless, football attracted many people on that day. Due to the popularity of the sport, 60 teams participated in that game alone. The game started at 9am and ended roughly at 7pm. Since the final game of football was the most anticipated, players made their way from Power League to the pitch outside the Sports Centre. In the end, Sheffield University took home gold. Congratulations!
Like I mentioned earlier, we have food as well. Malaysians are known to love food a lot (I mean, who doesn’t) and they often crave for their local food whenever they are abroad for a long time. So, for some of them, the main purpose of coming to the event is all about the food. While riding the bus, one of the football players said “We don’t care that much about winning, all we want is to eat”. This year, we had seven major Malaysian restaurants selling food ranging from Malaysian pancakes, satay (skewered and grilled meat), the ever popular Nasi Lemak (coconut rice), and others. Since seats were limited, most people were standing while eating. It did not bother people that much because they were too occupied socialising or taking pictures. Some of them even met friends they hadn’t seen in ages! Friends from primary schools, some from kindergartens even. It was definitely a good day to meet old and new friends.
Everything ended after 7pm and students from other universities headed back home. Despite the tiredness, they went back quite contented (NMG would like to hope so). NMG Director Sarveen Kumaran said that this year’s event went very smooth and that it was all thanks to the tremendous support that they have received. Of course, there were some bumps along the way but due to the hard work put in by the crews, everything went well. As for the competitors, our Nottingham team has made us proud. We won gold for mixed volleyball, received silver for squash women’s singles and frisbee, and obtained a bronze for table tennis women’s singles. Congratulations to everyone that participated in the event! As for now, let us anticipate how next year’s games will be like.