The French words - il est magnifique - literally meaning 'it is magnificent' in English, best describe the spellbinding ambience that infused UTAR Ball 2013, themed 'Renaissance', which was held at the opulent Manhattan Ballroom, Berjaya Times Square Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on 2 June 2013.
Young men who graced the ball were spotted in powered suits, elegant bowties and coiffed hairdos, and their female counterparts, in loose locks, figure-hugging bodices and flimsy frocks. Together, they painted a picture of sophistication, which was accentuated further by an apparent rehearse of chivalry and courtesy. Their faces beamed with youthful vigour in anticipation for the party to begin, heralded by a wave of intermittent flashy lights that pervaded every corners of the breathtakingly festooned ballroom.
To kick start things, a momentous opening ceremony was launched, and subsequently officiated by UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato' Dr Chuah Hean Teik. Up next was a rousing welcome address delivered by UTAR Ball 2013 Organising Chairperson Ng Chih Seng. Prof Chuah was invited once again to deliver his speech, in which he jested, "I was a student once, and I understand how awkward it feels to revel in the presence of top officials from the institution. I will try to leave this party early so that you can party without reticence." Also present at the scintillating affair was UTAR Vice President for Student Development and Alumni Relations Dr Teh Chee Seng, Registrar Tan Kee Kong and UTAR personnel.
A myriad of entertaining performances by both student and guest performers was lined up, such as, the recitals of contemporary chart-toppers and classical numbers as well as the staging of a musical drama titled 'Flowers of Illusions'. Set in medieval France, 'Flowers of Illusions' chronicled an unlikely love affair that blossomed between a girl of noble lineage and her commoner beau. The masterpiece, staged over four sessions to the melodious crooning of UTAR students, was irrevocably the crème de la crème of the nights' highlights. Audience was also treated to spectacular dance moves performed to the catchy beats of phenomenal K-pop sounds by KL Dance Club.
As with previous years, it is only typical that the ball be converted into a magnificent pedestal for the presentation of UTAR Student Awards. The Awards, handed out annually by Prof Chuah, recognise the efforts and contributions of deserving UTAR students towards the betterment of the university. Winners of the 2012/2013 award for Best Student Leader, Most Talented Utarian and Sportsperson of the Year were Lee Jialek, R. Aravin a/l Ravi and Loh Chooi Fern respectively. Meanwhile, the Best Society Award went to Mathematics Society of Kuala Lumpur (for course based) and Wushu Club of Perak Campus (for non-course based).
There was also a lucky draw in which five students walked away with prizes containing food hampers, vouchers and electronic gadgets. However, most attendees were oblivious to the fact that they were being monitored from the time of their arrival. Covert photographers had been assigned to snap pictures of the five best-looking male and female students who would automatically make the cut for the Prom King and Queen Award finals. The truth came to the light when pictures of the finalists were featured prominently on the projection screen. The Award, decided by cheers from the crowd, ultimately crowned bubbly Accounting student Loh Choon Ling as Prom King, and statuesque Media and Creative Studies student Shu Zhi Cui as Prom Queen. Both Loh and Shu are from Sungai Long and Petaling Jaya Campus respectively.
UTAR Ball is an annual event courtesy of the earnest collaboration between Department of Student Affairs and Student Representative Council. It is aimed at fostering ties and cooperation between the students from four UTAR Campuses, namely, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Petaling Jaya and Sungai Long.
Prof Chuah (in batik) officiating UTAR Ball 2013, while volunteers and performers look on.
Prof Chuah addressing the crowd
Ng presenting a memento to Prof Chuah
Audience was treated to a buffet-styled dinner
Lee receiving the Best Student Leader Award from Prof Chuah
Students acting out a scene from Flowers of Illusions
Deeply enchanting, Flowers of Illusions is a tale of unconditional love
KL Dance Club performers gyrating to the beat
Dr Teh presenting a hamper to Loh
Dr Teh posing with Shu and Loh