By Yasmin Zetti Martin
Pang Khee Teik, writer, photographer, program director at The Annexe, and former editor of Kakiseni takes time out from his decadent life to give us Kakisenians some friendly advice, pass on some birthday greetings, and talk about the ‘do’ this coming weekend at The Annexe. Caution, reading ahead means you risk exposure to extreme Pang-isms, talk of cruising mens toilets, and pressure to buy me a birthday present. You have been warned.
Tell us about your life post-Kakiseni.
No more weekly deadlines!
But then again, now every week I have to meet with folks dying to exhibit their artworks or use one of our galleries for their diabolical agenda; after that I have to plan those upcoming programs, coordinate closure to previous ones; call up people to beg them to come for our events, call up the media — especially Kakiseni — and beg them to plug us; every other week, I have to meet the Central Market management and justify the diabolical agenda to them since they are practically subsidizing our activities; oh, and I still have to send out a weekly email…
Sigh, I miss Kathy Rowland harassing me Thursday midnight about the editorials.
The job sounds terrible. How’d you get it? Who did you sleep with?
In 2006, I took part in Marion D’Cruz’s experimental workshop Choreography for Non-Choreographers, which resulted in a performance at the lorong between Central Market and the then Annexe. It was gratifying to get people to dance suggestively to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” outside KL’s cruisiest male toilet.
Anyway, after that, I posted a poll on Kakiseni asking people to vote for what else they might like to see at Central Market, including, a drag queen Beauty Pageant and a cruising workshop.
As for who I slept with – darling, everybody I have ever slept with has helped get me this far in life.
If you could say something to the Kakiseni staff that they would actually listen to, what would it be?
Make the kakiblog more prominent lah. Also, young people from around Malaysia are expressing themselves in blogs great and small and inane. Link up with them!
Lastly, turn your phone off on Thursdays.
If you met a boggart of the Harry Potter kind, what form would it take?
My younger self.
There’s quite a lot happening on the May 3rd & 4th weekend. How did you guys know my birthday’s on that Saturday?
Facebook, of course. We figured that if there was one person in KL whom everybody would want to buy artworks for as birthday presents, it would have to be you.
Was the collision of events planned?
We planned it to appear like a collision of events.
Collision 1: The Dong Tai Du (Attitude Movement) gig wanted to organize this crazy 20-indie-music-acts-from-Chinese-language-background-shebang on Labour Day (it’s the socialist streak in them). I persuaded them to hold it in conjunction with the art bazaar so that we can steal their crowd.
Collision 2: Joe Kidd had also booked Sunday for a Tribute To Rock Kangkang Part 2. Yes, the first Tribute was so kangkang they couldn’t wait to let their balls hang out again!
Collision 3: Then Amir Muhammad called to say he wanted an Alternative Book Fair in May, and it was a no-brainer that we were meant to be together! And gosh, did this cat drag in some strange fish, like a Kakiseni book launch … but also many other launches of books about religion, Bersih, and aweks.
Collision 4: The World Press Freedom Day actually happens that weekend, and I was excited about the prospect of seducing our innocent passerbys with the gorgeous people from the Centre for Independent Journalism. CIJ thinks the next step after the last elections is Media Laws Reform Toward an Ethical Media, of which they don’t think is wishful thinking anymore. So they are holding a forum for the two topics on Sat and Sun 12.30pm respectively.
Collision 5: Meanwhile, the Malaysian Academic Idol Dr Farish Noor gives a talk titled “The Lost Tribes of Malaysia: The Construction of ‘Race’ in Colonial Malaya and Its Enduring Traces Today”. How to resist that? It’s everybody’s wet dream to be deconstructed by Farish.
Which is your favorite?
My favourite? Your birthday party, of course!
Also, I have arranged to give a few free lots to some NGOs, including WAO and Empower Malaysia, to give them opportunities to interact with the public as well as artists. Another one of them is Food Not Bombs, which feed the homeless on Sundays. Well, I have given a performance art idea to them called Burst My Bubbles. Basically, they will get people to wear bubble wraps, and invite the public to donate money for opportunities to burst the bubbles on the wearer. But before that, the wearer must write down a bubble that needs bursting, for example, “Malaysia is heading towards a democracy”, or “We have racial harmony” or “Arts will save us.”
Who, or what, inspires you?
Toni Kasim, whose inspiration knows no bounds. Please get well Toni!
What’s the worst thing that could happen at Arts For Grabs?
Crowd control nightmare.
What advice do you have for people planning to lepak at The Annexe during my birthday weekend?
Buy more presents for Yasmin, fellas! If you don’t like her, make her wear the bubble wrap and burst her bubbles!
What is the local arts’ best kept secret?
That it exists.
Which hero are you coming to the 6th Annual Boh Cameronian Arts Awards as?
The Malaysian voter.
What is your one and only weakness?
What’s the most productive thing you can do in 60 seconds?
Stare at something utterly meaningless, and yet strangely pretty, that I have stumbled upon on some street corner somewhere and enjoy our both being unproductively there.
First Published: 02.05.2008 on Kakiseni