FIRSTS: The Cooler Lumpur Festival

If the title above rings a bell then you are super awesome! For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, the Cooler Lumpur Festival is a yearly event hosted by PopDigital. So basically every year, this multidisciplinary festival will have adopted different themes in order to shape a better Malaysian society.
This year’s theme was RE:Independence. I think it was a very clever take on the definition of independence as a human pursuit and redefining the scope of what makes us independent.

How did I get to know about this cool festival?
It was part of my Writing for Different Media class! My lecturer, Miss Joanna Lee shared this event with us and we were to attend and do a news report on one of the talks. I’ll be honest, I doubted the event first because I didn’t really see anything about this event on social media. Plus, it was held on Saturday… So that was quite a bummer as I had to cancel some plans for this. 
But oh well, I went with an open mind anyway.
As we stepped in, we saw Boey Chee Meng having a book signing and people lining up to get their “When I Was A Kid 4” books signed. But the thing that really caught my eye was that the exhibition hall at MAP Publika was filled with cool little exhibits. Some of the exhibits included a wheelchair designed to encourage movement for physically-impaired individuals and motivational products. Man, I didn’t know Malaysians were doing such amazing things!

And something that was really unique about the festival was their live mural drawing by artists. Basically, the mural is constructed with feedback from the social media sphere. So if you use the Cooler Lumpur Festivals special hashtag and share about what you think independence is, you might have your suggestion drawn on the mural for all the festival-goers to see. Cool right?
Unfortunately, since I went on the first day, the mural was barely close to completion…

The first talk we attended was Music Disruption: A Talk for Spotify. The talk was given by the Sea Yen Ong, the Regional Vice President of Sales for Asia of Spotify. It was mainly a talk on how Spotify emerged online and it has revolutionized how people choose and listen to music. I found it very interesting how Spotify used data to gauge what users want for music. It really showed me how powerful data analysis is and how equally important seeing trends are.

The second talk we attended was Journalism in Service of Democracy. The talk was given by a former special correspondent, John Dinges and moderated by BFM presenter, Umapagan Ampikaipagan Now, this was the talk that we were supposed to write a news report on. The content mainly revolved around Dinges stories, experiences and opinions that he gathered from when he was working in Latin America during the military coux.
And man, this talk was awesome! Although it may have been a little bit dry for some, I found all the things Dinges shared were extremely insightful. It really opened my eyes to the meaning of Independence, accuracy in journalism and the role of the media to let people know about things that really matter. So throughout that one hour of intense story-telling and an even more intense Q&A session after, my pen was like a lightning train jotting down notes all the way!
At the end of the talk, my classmates and I who attended looked for and interviewed sources for our news report. This was the sort of awkward part for most of us because it really challenged us to push out of our comfort zones and approach strangers. It was daunting at first but in the end, I managed to get a few sources. And one of the sources I interviewed was the moderator of the talk, Umapagan Ampikaipakan! Through his interview answers, he really inspired and encouraged me to share stories that matter because in the end, these stories will change how people think, speak and behave.

So overall, I’m really happy with my experience and the Cooler Lumpur Festival. It really exceeded my expectations and inspired me to do more as a future media content creator and as a Malaysian. So if you think that this festival is as awesome as it was for me then attend next year and I’ll see you there!