‘Wah, best-ah, got bazaar again leh.’ (Please appreciate the pun, I realise it’s a stretch but I didn’t know how else to start the article ok sue me.)
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business (TO DEFEAT THE HUNS!). Week 6 marked the return to school for all of us this semester following the (rather early) mid-semester break; and for many, Week 6 was also known as Hell Week. Fret not though, as you can always trust us Malaysians to tackle that problem with what else but food. That and a whole lot more, all available at MBC’s Cashless Bazaar!
This edition featured many favourites of bazaars past, such as the good old char koay kak uncle with his huge container of cash (thanks for trusting me to take my own change, at least somebody trusts me smh), oyster mee sua, as well as everybody’s go to snack for the week, keropok lekor. This was in addition to many newcomers, namely DOH! (think Homer Simpson and edible cookie dough – heavensend?), founded by our fellow Monashian Shailesh Nathan, Instagram boutiques (Follow us on Instagram and you can have this top for free!) and MBC-student-run stalls (Nachos, Drinks and Corn; what’s not to love?).
The twist, however, was the introduction of Maybank’s cashless payment system. All customers had to do to receive a RM2 discount on their first purchase was to download the Maybank mobile app and proceed to scan the vendors’ QR code! As I looked around at the hoards of students clamouring to download the app (whilst complaining about the wifi and its ineptness of allowing their downloads), it became apparent to me that what I was witnessing was, in a sense, a changing of the times.
Here we are on the cusp of the digital age, having cash payments moved aside, leaving the barter system behind, and finally ushering in a generation of exponential growth in technology and ideas which will change even the most fundamental processes of our lives, like for instance, how we purchase our meals, among other things. That’s my pretentious part done at least, and if you want relatable, just think a less developed, more present episode of Black Mirror, featuring a not-so-far-fetched depiction of life in this day and age.
I think it’s easy for the average student to overlook the level of preparation and behind-the-scenes work that goes into the organisation and operation of a campus-wide bazaar. Adrian (along with most probably all the other members) of MBC would testify otherwise. Let’s consider the following: from preparing the event proposal, to visiting various pasar malams to source for potential participating vendors, to liaising with Maybank with the introduction of the cashless payment system through the Maybank mobile app. Adrian himself mentioned a distant memory of being a fresh-faced first year thinking ‘Oh how hard can arranging and carrying out a bazaar be?’, and over the past few weeks realising how mistaken he was leading up to the culmination of the Bazaar. Sin Yee herself was elated to have been entrusted with responsibilities having just being elected as a subcommittee member, and believes that the mutual sense of trust and respect between each member of the team attested to the bond between the MBC members.
A common theme apparent in both interviews (interviews being a term I use very loosely) I had with the aforementioned representatives from MBC was the stressed importance of teamwork and cohesion among all participating members (committee and subcommittee alike); and I think that sentiment works well as a general rule for life, which allows me to segue into a demonstration of my extensive knowledge of the African proverb that reads:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
This, I also found out over the weekend as I tried to break raw spaghetti, first as a whole packet, and failing to do so, trying with smaller handfuls; but that’s another story altogether.
Ultimately, as Adrian put it, the biggest takeaway from this event, was not food (surprise, surprise!), but the smiles on the faces of everyone, ranging from the student body to our associates at Maybank; and knowing that working together with his team allowed for the event to be a great success.
Article by Saik Ming Tay
Contributions from: Adrian Wong Tze Yang (Activities Director of MBC), Liew Sin Yee (Subcommittee Member of MBC)
Photos by Derrick See and Daniel Sim