Pakistan up close

A seven-day festival will showcase food, art, music and fashion from the country

It is easy in Singapore to find an eatery serving authentic Indian fare or to suss out Indian art, but the same cannot be said about the country's next-door neighbour, Pakistan.

The disparity in the cultural footprint here of the two nations, which used to be one country, has prompted Ms Azzah Waseem to produce Fun Aur Funkaar, a seven-day festival that showcases Pakistan's food, art, music and fashion.

Ms Azzah, 37, managing director of events company Momentz by Azzah, says: "The positive sides of Pakistan are not presented as much as the negative in the media... and I think it is high time to showcase how rich the art, culture and talent is in Pakistan too."

The festival's name translates to "art and artists" in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, adds Ms Azzah, who was born in Pakistan and moved to Singapore nine years ago.


There will be a showcase of Pakistani fashion designer Rana Noman’s bridal collection. PHOTO: SHAHID MALIK

  • BOOK IT / FUN AUR FUNKAAR RUNG-E-JOSH

  • WHERE: Magic Carpet Lounge, 01-201, 7500E Beach Road

    WHEN: Tomorrow, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $78 (includes one standard drink) (go to www.showtickets.asia or call 9146-5761/8382 -1123)


    RUNG VIRSA

    WHERE: Asian Art Platform, 292 River Valley Road

    WHEN: Tomorrow to March 31, 11am to 6pm

    ADMISSION: Free


    RAKABDAR - PAKISTANI FOOD FESTIVAL

    WHERE: Aryaa Kitchen, 01-201, 7500E Beach Road

    WHEN: Sunday to Thursday, noon to 3.30pm for lunch and 6 to 11.30pm for dinner

    ADMISSION: $35 for a lunch set, $45 for a dinner set and $65 for chef's recommendation

    INFO: Call 8382-1123/8448-1642 to book a table


    RUNG REZA

    WHERE: Aryaa Lounge, 01-201, 7500E Beach Road

    WHEN: March 31, 2 to 6pm

    ADMISSION: $50 (includes meet-and-greet with Mikaal Zulfiqar)

    INFO: Advance reservation is recommended as there are limited seats, but ticket sales are open to the public after 3.30pm on the event day (call 8382-1123/ 8448-1642 to reserve)

The festivities kick off tomorrow with a concert by JoSH, a Canada- based band popular for blending classic Pakistani and Indian rhythms, including bhangra, with Western music styles.

They will perform at Bollywood club Magic Carpet Lounge in Beach Road in their first public gig here.

On Sunday, a five-day gastronomic journey through Pakistan starts at Aryaa Kitchen in Beach Road.

Each day features a different menu that is tailored to cuisines found in five Pakistani regions: Punjab, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Rehmat Karim, chef de cuisine of Islamabad Serena Hotel, who crafted the menus, explains that the flavours and spiciness can vary greatly among regions, hence a basic dish such as pulao (rice infused with spices) can differ in taste as one travels across the country.

Some of the dishes on the menu include Balochi namkeen gosht, a succulent mutton stew; and muthuk, a signature dessert from the northern mountainous region of Gilgit-Baltistan. A lunch set costs $35 a person and a dinner set $45.

Elsewhere during the festival, art lovers have an opportunity to appreciate 55 paintings of diverse styles that range from the abstract to portraits to Islamic calligraphy.

The art exhibition, which takes place throughout the festival at art gallery Asian Art Platform, will features the works of Pakistani artists such as M.A. Bukhari, A.S. Rind, Aamir Khatri and Singapore-based Erum Adnan.

The festival will close with a fashion show at the Aryaa Lounge in Beach Road featuring elegant bridal and formal collections by popular Pakistani designer Rana Noman and baubles by Singapore- based jewellery designer Tanya Farooq.

Adding star power to the show is Pakistani actor Mikaal Zulfiqar, who will be present for a meet-and- greet with fans.

Ms Azzah asserts that the festival is not just for Pakistani expatriates in Singapore, but for Singaporeans as well.

"Many people know little about Pakistan here and that is unfortunate. So this festival is an opportunity for them to learn about the country, whether through its food, art, music or fashion," she says.

She plans to make the festival an annual affair and to feature other countries that are part of the Indian subcontinent, including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, in future editions.

• Go to www.facebook.com/MomentzbyAzzah for more information.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2017, with the headline 'Pakistan up close'. Print Edition | Subscribe