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Articles (English)

The 8th Annual BOH Cameronian Arts Awards — Results!

By Kakiseni dance BEST GROUP PERFORMANCE Prize of RM1,000 ASWARA Dancers for “Tapak 4” in Jamu 2009 – 2; choreographed by Shafirul Azmi Suhaimi, presented by ASWARA BEST SET DESIGN Prize of RM1,000 Looi Chin Yu & Kechara Organisation for The Legend of the Conchshell; choreographed by Lee Swee Keong, Chan Soo Leng, Woon Fook […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 18, 2010

The 7th Annual BOH Cameronian Arts Awards — Results!

By Kakiseni dance BEST FEATURED PERFORMER Prize of RM1,000 Suhaili Ahmad Kamil for “2=1” in Jamu 2008; choreographed by Suhaili Ahmad Kamil, presented by ASWARA BEST CHOREOGRAPHER IN A MIXED BILL Prize of RM1,000 Umesh Shetty for “SUM” in Jamu 2008; presented by ASWARA BEST CHOREOGRAPHER IN A FEATURE-LENGTH WORK Prize of RM1,000 Anthony Meh […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 3, 2009

The 7th Annual BOH Cameronian Arts Awards Nominees

By Kakiseni dance BEST FEATURED PERFORMER Prize of RM1,000 Chew Zi Xin for The Nutcracker; choreographed by Steve Goh, presented by Dance Space Elaine Pedley for A Delicate Situation; choreographed by Lina Limosani, presented by Rimbun Dahan Dance Residency Suhaili Ahmad Kamil for “2=1” in Jamu 2008; choreographed by Suhaili Ahmad Kamil, presented by ASWARA […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 10, 2009

Abdul Multhalib Musa: Travelling with Moving

By Eva McGovern Stillness. Stasis. Movement. Action. Sitting in traffic on the way to Wei Ling Gallery to see Abdul Multhalib Musa’s recent solo show Twist, I didn’t have a book, newspaper, I-pod or other useful strategy to pass the time en route. I glanced at my taxi driver who was reading an article on […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 18, 2008

Big Art and Little People

By Rachel Jenagaratnam Some confessions ought to start this piece off nicely: First, when asked to review Multhalib Musa’s recent exhibition at Wei-Ling Gallery, I had absolutely no idea who the artist was. The exhibition’s Chubby Checkeresque title, Twist, suggested milkshakes and black-and-white linoleum flooring, but these American dreams came to a halt when I […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 17, 2008

Of Boys and Breath Mints

By Yasmin Zetti Martin What kind of school has toughening-up camps that they force their “effeminate” students to attend? The kind of school located in front of a railway station that is known as a red light district? Or is this just the school playwright Shanon Shah went to? The school in question is the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 11, 2008

The 60 Second Plug: HSBC Young Composers Workshop 2008

By Yasmin Zetti Martin A few months ago, there was a call for submissions for anyone under the age of 28 to compose a five minute-long original piece of work for an ensemble comprising of piano, flute and/or oboe. The result was five pieces by five young composers — Chow Jun Yan, Chow Jun Yi, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 2, 2008

Shirley Lim’s Layered Confection

By Grace Ng A daughter rapes and kills her father. This was how I first came to know Shirley Lim – through a short story entitled Mr. Tang’s Girls that I had to analyze for a literature class. Lim grew up in Malaysia but moved to America in her twenties. It is from her diasporic […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 2, 2008

The 60 Second Plug: “Air Con”

By Yasmin Zetti Martin A school. A dead body. A scandal… “Biasalah asrama.” Award-winning singer-songwriter Shanon Shah’s first full-length play, Air Con tells the story (in Bahasa Malaysia (Kedah dialect) and English with surtitles) of a group of boys at an elite school in Kedah. The boys confront sex, violence, bullying, and growing up after […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 23, 2008

Loi Chin Yu Answers His Calling

By Dr. Wong Oi Min My Calling My Act, My Stage is being marked as a return to the stage of performer and choreographer Loi Chin Yu after a four-year hiatus following his departure from the Nyoba Dance Theatre group over creative differences. It was a period during which Loi gave priority to a practical […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 5, 2008

Zaitun Mohamed Kasim: 1966 – 2008

By Kakiseni Some years ago, Time magazine ran a cover story asking, “Do the good die young?” It’s what comes to mind now, with the news that Zaitun Kasim — known as Toni to almost everyone — left us a few hours ago. Toni Kasim was a good person, and she died much too soon. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 4, 2008

The 60 Second Plug: “The Annexe Collision Weekend”

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 […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 2, 2008

The Virtues of Sin

By Gabrielle Low In Bernice Chauly’s small but substantial collection of poetry and prose, The Book of Sins, words indeed rage forth from the page, and they do so with a searing yet unembellished forcefulness. It’s hard not to note, first and foremost, the urgent, pounding rhythm to some of the lines in this collection. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 19, 2008

Lloyd Fernando, 1926 – 2008

By Ann Lee For any history of Malaysian literature, it is remiss not to consider the pioneering work of Lloyd Fernando (1926-2008) — author, academic, and eloquent champion of Malaysian literature. At the landmark 1971 Cultural Congress that defined Malaysian literature into “national” and “sectional”, Lloyd spoke (in Malay) about his hopes for the future […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 29, 2008

Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis”

By Kathy Rowland Persepolis is based on the best-selling graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Satrapi. Directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, featuring the voices of Danielle Darrieux and Cathering Deneuve, it won the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, along with a clutch of other international awards and nomination. Like […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 14, 2008

Mega Art on Discount

By Daniel Chong If you were told that a grandmaster of 20th century modern art from France is exhibiting in Malaysia, would you believe it? It’s true! And you read it here first! But which art icon would show in Malaysia and where? Most certainly not at our Balai Seni Lukis Negara! That’s a space […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 6, 2008

Hans Issac’s “Cuci”

By Benjamin McKay The directorial debut by leading actor Hans Isaac is more impressive than I had anticipated. For all of its syrupy Malaysia Boleh sentiments, “Cuci” is in fact a fairly well constructed entertainment. One of the pleasures of the film is that it takes the tired cliché of the ubiquitous KL skyline establishing […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 5, 2008

A Space For The Other

By Veronica Shunmugam The regular gallery visitor setting foot in Galeri Petronas today will be, first of all, roused into curiosity by the colour of its now jet black walls. It’s never been anything but white, made pearly by genteel lighting. Then again, it’s never quite had a show like “The Independence Project”, now six […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 29, 2008

KSFM’s “Malaysian Shorts”

By Benjamin McKay Monday evening’s screening of recent Malaysian short films largely confirmed the talent and richness to be found in the work of some of our leading independent filmmakers. Organised by Kelab Seni Filem Malaysia and hosted by the irrepressibly witty Amir Muhammad, these screenings are now firmly a part of the local film […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 24, 2008

The Year The Arts Showed The Way (Part II)

By Veronica Shunmugam In last week’s part of what the arts meant to 2007, I looked at what the arts community offered in terms of nation building, promoting heritage and arts-culture exchange. In the second part of this overview, I’d like to highlight arts outreach, arts for health, how options for arts training as well […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 18, 2008

Tembak: Mark Tan’s “Jarum Halus”

By Benjamin McKay For a debut feature film, Mark Tan’s “Jarum Halus” proves to be both bold and audacious. With mainstream ambitions and craftily manipulated indie edginess, this present day Malaysian version of Shakespeare’s “Othello” is bound to have the pundits’ tongues wagging. In so many ways, this film should not work but even with […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 9, 2008

Tembak Shots: “WOMAD Singapore’s 10th Anniversary”

By Bernice Chauly My first WOMAD experience in Toronto, Canada in 1988 was a seminal experience – having hitch-hiked from Winnipeg, some 1500 km away where I was in university. A music-festival junkie by then, I had to get to WOMAD Toronto by whatever means possible as the man himself — Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 4, 2008

Size Does Matter

By Andrew Hwang Two thousand and seven, for a businessman and arts collector like myself, was noteworthy arts-wise because of two interesting, uncommon and comparable art exhibitions — “Art For Grabs” organized by The Annexe, Central Market, and “Art Around RM1,000” organised by Valentine Willie Fine Arts (VWFA). The Annexe programme director Pang Khee Teik, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 31, 2007

More Than Just Another Music Festival

By James Lochhead Two years ago, I wrote a gushing review of the 2nd Penang Island Jazz Festival (PIJF). Sitting under the stars at Batu Ferringhi while listening to some great music for two wonderful evenings was such a treat. At the same time, the seriousness of the festival was very apparent in the way […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 27, 2007

The 60 Second Plug: KLPac’s “Aladdin – the Pantomime”

By Juliet Jacobs She’s done ‘Sepi’ and ‘Fawzia’ and even parodied some Broadway ditties in between. Now Doreen Tang takes on Paris, the Princess that is, in KLPac’s psychedelic “Aladdin – the Pantomime”. ~ Tell us about yourself. I grew up in Petaling Jaya, in a close-knit family and studied at various institutions — Methodist […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 20, 2007

Success At First Bloom

By Benjamin McKay It takes great skill to make a film about the emotional and material deprivation of young children without resorting to either sentimentality or sermonizing. How, instead, do you make an empathetic, realistic and non-preachy film about the plight of children in need and still manage to fully engage with your audience? Can, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 19, 2007

The 60 Second Plug: ASWARA’S “Asyik”

By Juliet Jacobs Besides guiding, training and inspiring young minds towards greater things, the lovely folks at ASWARA have also been at the forefront of preserving our Malaysian arty traditions. The dance department at ASWARA continues with this very own tradition of theirs, in “Asyik.” Co-choreographer Wong Kit Yaw tells more about this simple, yet […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 13, 2007

What’s That Smell?

By Zedeck Siew The shop-lot in Taman Tun Dr Ismail that the theatre companies Dramalab and Five Arts Centre share has a rehearsal space on the ground floor; last Monday, it was occupied by the cast of Ann Lee’s “Tarap Man”, the playwright’s first full-length play in nearly a decade. For a work of such […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 5, 2007

Tembak: Low Yi Chin & Chong Kim Chiew’s “A White House and A Temporary Road”

By Zedeck Siew A red Chinese box-altar stands on one of The Annexe Gallery’s upper levels; its idol, a cross-legged figure with a white beard, looks over a space in which two-by-fours, of varying sizes and each encrusted with a layer of fresh asphalt, lay scattered. Some distinguish themselves: “Platform” has a panel raised as […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 11, 2007

Tembak Shots: “LAMU: Performance art by Donna Miranda”

By Kakiseni When Filipina choreographer Donna Miranda of the Quezon City arts group Green Papaya Art projects first came to Malaysia, it was to develop dance vocabularies as the March-June 2007 resident choreographer of Rimbun Dahan’s residency programme for Southeast Asian and Australian choreographers. As part of her residency, Donna facilitated a workshop “Contemporary Dance […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 25, 2007

Playing Catch Up

By Kathy Rowland Malaysia has a long history of conflicts over arts and culture, pitting artists against the Japanese during the Japanese Occupation, against the British during the Communist insurgency and anti-colonial movement that followed World War II, and, since independence in 1957, against the Alliance government. Over the past 49 years, the space for […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 5, 2007

Bad Theology Leads to Bad Morality

By Aloysious Augustine Mowe An image deemed insulting to a prophet is printed in a newspaper. Religious leaders express their dismay. The common faithful see the picture as an attack on their religious beliefs. Welcome to the delicate world of religious sensitivities. But where are the violent protests? Fiery denunciations are not issued from pulpits […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 14, 2007

Halcyon Days

By Zedeck Siew Things began in 1975: the world’s first home computers were made available to the public; American Congress had signed the Foreign Assistance Act, leaving the Republic of Vietnam to its fate; and Marion D’Cruz, who would become one of Malaysia’s most important dance practitioners, was walking the corridors of the Universiti Sains […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 7, 2007

The 60 Second Plug: KLPac’s “4.48 Psychosis”

By Juliet Jacobs Director/actor/writer Gavin Yap tells us about his initial meeting and subsequent relationship with playwright Sarah Kane’s works, as he tackles her last and most experimental work, 4.48 Psychosis. ~ Tell us a bit about yourself. Have you always wanted to be involved in acting and directing? Okay, let’s see: I was born […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 5, 2007

Every Frog Has Its Day

By Amir Hafizi Urgh. For some reason, when the arts community decides to embark on a production that have frogs who dream of singing, they get all “cheesed out”. All that reservoir of cheesiness, all that pent-up corniness. Yes, that corny energy, unleashed upon the unsuspecting public. Just look at “Frogway” ‘s television spot — […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 27, 2007

Malaysia at First Sight

By Gina Fairley “Selamat Datang ke Malaysia” is a cultural expo of sorts … on one hand playing off the clichés and truisms in how we are asked to present and think of ourselves, and on the other dismantling the structure of such prescriptions to reveal the fault-lines in such a presentation.” Valentine Willie Fine […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 20, 2007

The Dreaming

By Benjamin McKay As part of the year-long My.Oz festivities (that celebrate 50 years of friendship between Malaysia and Australia), a selection of recent films from Australia were screened over two days to full houses at Suria KLCC’s Tanjung Golden Village Cinemas. It was Malaysia’s own Australian Film Festival, and I was particularly curious to […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 14, 2007

Tembak: Instant Café Theatre’s Adaptation Masterclass

By Zedeck Siew “I believe we never stop learning,” said actor Anne James, sitting down at a long table. She was right on time for the day’s session, arriving just before me; everyone else was running a little late. Australian director Lawrence Strangio — whose critically acclaimed adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s “Alias Grace” ran at […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 2, 2007

Sit Down and Talk

By Adeline Ooi Held once every five years in Kassel, Germany, documenta – the Hundred Day Museum is a post-war effort originally conceived by artist and art educator Arnold Bode to reconcile German public life and culture — after the period of Nazi dictatorship — with international modernity, and confront Germans with their failed Enlightenment. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 27, 2007

The Politics of Muslim Clothing in Indonesia

By Nuraini Juliastuti Jilbab versus Schools This article is about the dynamics of jilbab conflicting with the social, political, and cultural issues in Indonesia. The polemics of jilbab dates back to the 1930s; a 17 year old school girl disagreed with the rule urging adult women to wear head covers in order to preserve their […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 18, 2007

Philippine Art Across the Islands: Luzon

By Marilyn R. Canta In 2002 and 2003, I essayed “preliminary assessments” of writing on art from different Philippine regions. The first survey ambitiously decided to include the entire Philippines, while the second (admittedly a take-off from the larger initial survey) was focused on the Mindanao-Sulu region. The conclusions were quite similar. In an effort […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 18, 2007

Between Revolution Stronghold and Laboratory of the West: Political Positions in Indonesian Fine Art in the 1950s

By Antariksa Yogyakarta was Java’s principal art centre during the 1950s. According to Claire Holt’s “Art in Indonesia” (1968), there were a total of 74 registered art-related organisations in the city in 1955. Of that number, 14 were general groups; there were 17 dedicated to dance, 16 to music, 12 to theatre, and 7 to […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 18, 2007

Philippine Art Across the Islands: Mindanao

By Chris Rollo When the Zamboanga del Norte Federation of Visual Artists (ZANFEVA), a confederation of four art groups in Dipolog City and Sindangan with a combined membership of more than 50 artists, opened its inaugural exhibit in October 2006 at the Provincial Art Gallery located at the second floor of the province’s Convention and […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 18, 2007

Philippine Art Across the Islands: Visayas

By Estela Ocampo-Fernandez & Raymund L. Fernandez The cursory view of the raw data would seem a bit depressing. Outside of Cebu City, not much art writing is being done and for several reasons. The dismal data, however, should only lead us to question our paradigms and contemplate how art and writing-about-art should be defined […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 18, 2007

Shadow Runners

By Tengku Amalia Over a year ago, my classmates and I watched a Wayang Kulit performance as part of our Traditional Asian Theatre course, alongside a seven-day crash course on Mak Yong. Despite being half-Kelantanese (as my father reminds me from time to time), I found myself unable to comprehend most of the text, due […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 23, 2007

The 60 Second Plug: KLPac’s “Within / Without”

By Juliet Jacobs Taking time off their rehearsal schedule, Lim How Ngean, Loh Kok Man and Reza Zainal Abidin discuss their latest project, “Within / Without – two sides revealed”. Three directors, three performers (Melissa Saila, Nell Ng, and Lim Tiong Wooi), and three monologues inspired by works of three Asian playwrights (Kuo Pao Kun, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 17, 2007

The 60 Second Plug: KL Ensemble’s “A Bucketful of Beckett: 8 Shots”

By Juliet Jacobs Kay Chin on knitting, remembering lines, and bizarre initiation rituals. ~ Tell us about yourself. I don’t like to window-shop, and I don’t have much money to shop for real. So when a friend told me that there was a “biomechanics” workshop — by director Chris Jacobs –­ going on, I decided […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 26, 2007

The 60 Second Plug: Nyoba-Kan’s “Curse of the Forbidden Palace”

By Juliet Jacobs Tell us about yourself. I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, and I’ve loved the creative arts since I was a child. I started dancing when I was 20 years old, and I got involved in Butoh a few years later, after meeting the first Malaysian butoh dancer, Lena Ang — […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 5, 2007

The 60 Second Plug: KLPac’s “The Magic Flute”

By Juliet Jacobs Shamelessly blow your trumpet, and tell us about yourself. I studied at the Trinity College of Music, in London. While at college, I fell in love with everything to do with vocal accompaniment. I love the voice, you see; the mix of vocal repertoire, music and words are, to me, the perfect […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 21, 2007

The 60 Second Plug: Balletbase’s “Take Flight”

By Juliet Jacobs Tell us a bit about yourself. In 1997, I went off to Harvard for four years, where dancing was a huge relief from my daily cerebral struggles. Not knowing what to do next, I moved to Australia and earned my graduate diploma in Choreography at the Victorian College of the Arts. Art […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 14, 2007

Tembak: Wed 28, Feb – Wed 7, Mar 2007

By Kakiseni Kg Berembang Mon 5, Mar 2007 Kg Berembang was a place I knew about only because its children had been staging, with the efforts of a group of volunteers, wayang kulit performances to tell the history of their village. I was also vaguely aware that the community was having problems with the Majlis […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 9, 2007

The 60 Second Plug: Monti and Logi’s “Indian Stories, Chinese Tales”

By Juliet Jacobs Tell the world about Fong Muntoh, AKA Monti. I am from the land of many virgins: Ipoh. I was born there and spent a great deal of my life growing up in Hospital Bahagia Tanjung Rambutan — because my mum was a nurse there, and she used to get the inmates to […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 8, 2007

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Profile: Shahnon Ahmad

By Loo Jia Wen “I have a bit of a split personality,” says Shahnon Ahmad (January 13th, 1933; full name: Datuk Haji Shahnon bin Ahmad) in Amir Muhammad’s ‘Raising A Stink’ (Asiaweek; May 7th 1999). “People look at me and see a pious man, but there’s a repressed side which comes out in my writing. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 2, 2007

Mengalih Punggung

By Zedeck Siew Tell us about yourself. Did you, like any other good middle-class child, have to pick up a formal musical instrument? Yes, my parents insisted I attend piano lessons, beginning at age seven — although they had to drag me kicking and screaming the first few years. I got bored easily, and got […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 28, 2007

Press Statement on the banning of “Apa Khabar Orang Kampung”

By Artis Pro Activ (APA) Artis Pro Activ (APA) unreservedly condemns the Malaysian Film Censorship Unit’s decision to ban director Amir Muhammad’s documentary film Apa Khabar Orang Kampung (Village People Road Show) which documents the lives of former Malay Muslim Communist Party Malaya members. The film was submitted to the Censorship Unit on January 18th […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 22, 2007

What Is My Culture

By Tan Sooi Beng Cultural identity formation and national belonging in the contemporary age is complex. Most Chinese who are born overseas no longer look to China as their homeland, and the ethnically Chinese who now live in Malaysia are no different. Malaysian Chinese who have visited southern China — wherefrom their forefathers originated — […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 15, 2007

The 60 Second Plug: Ahmad Fuad’s “Dislocated”

By Juliet Jacobs Tell us a bit about yourself. I was born 38 years ago in Baling, Kedah. I graduated with a Fine Arts degree from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in 1991, and I’ve been exhibiting since then. I now live and work in Melaka and Kuala Lumpur. I am also involved in Matahati, an […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 29, 2007

The 60 Second Plug: Tourniquet Production’s “Okiku”

By Juliet Jacobs Okiku is based on a story from Japanese folklore. Tell us more about the conceptualization and story. Sam Yen: The perception is that Okiku is a ghost story. It is — but only to a certain extent, depending on which version you’re reading. Our version deals more with the human elements of […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 16, 2007

Enjoy the Silence

By Shanon Shah The semi-autobiographical domestic drama by Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, Betrayal (staged at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre Pentas 2 between January 5th and 14th), starts off with a scene between a pair of former adulterous lovers, Emma and Jerry. From their conversation we eventually learn that, apart from their affair, another […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 16, 2007

Be Heard

By Sonia Randhawa In 2001, a group of young Malaysians set up a project to help their fellow citizens rediscover the potential of radio. Radiq Radio, started with the assistance of a few jaded journalists, was designed to be something a bit different from the commercialised diet we’re typically fed. Over the years — and […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 21, 2006

Roti Bakar With Planta

By Lucy Friedland I don’t bother with film shorts in the States. I think of American shorts as a training ground for young, credit­ card-toting wannabe filmmakers, who haven’t yet honed their chops enough for someone — besides their parents -­- to fund their first feature. Why muck around with American shorts, anyway? When hundreds […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 20, 2006

The 60 Second Plug: Lapar Lab’s “Five Alone”

By Juliet Jacobs Tell us a bit about Five Alone — how was it conceptualised? What can the audience expect? Five Alone represents five solo dance pieces by five different choreographers. They’ve infused their own experiences and understanding of life into each of these individual pieces. The audience will be treated to an experience that […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 19, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen

By Juliet Jacobs and Zalina Lee He’s practically done it all: the West End (Miss Saigon, Rent), Hollywood (Anna & The King), Malaysian theatre (Spilt Gravy on Rice) — he even came out tops in what was, in 1995, the Idol series of its day: the Singapore Fame Awards. In other words, the proverbial triple […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 13, 2006

The 60 Second Plug: Integrated Expressions’ “Little Mission Impossible”

By Juliet Jacobs Little Mission Impossible: should we Expect the Impossible? Tell us more about the musical. Little Mission Impossible makes the impossible possible on stage. It’s a children’s musical adventure that sees the journey of Ai Ya-Ya, a little pixie, in a quest to maintain the colours of the world. She runs into numerous […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 12, 2006

The 60 Second Plug: Sankai Juku’s “Hibiki”

By Juliet Jacobs Hibiki is described as a work of “unparalleled simplicity and poetic beauty”. What can you tell us about it? To be honest, I have only watched the works on DVD. But let me say one thing: from just that, I can tell that it is a truly, truly, truly must-see, world-class performance. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 21, 2006

The 60 Second Plug: PingStage’s Theatre Carnival — Monodrama 2006

By Juliet Jacobs ‘Three girls in a play’ is your tagline for the event — sounds naughty. Tell us more! Who came up with the idea for this monodrama and seminar? The three girls: Seok Chin, Felix, Oi Min — and I. In Chinese-language theatre it’s hard to find men. Women are the main force […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 20, 2006

Stiff Monster

By Amir Hafizi Watching the KLPac production of Frankenstein in Love, I was somehow reminded of a play I saw at a high-school theatre competition about 10 years back. It was a staging of Keris Laksaman Bentan, a popular text about the assassination of Sultan Mahmud. Everyone had packets of rose syrup hidden under their […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 9, 2006

Stop the Sledgehammers

By Farish A Noor A nation is as rich as its geography; and geography is enriched when it is over-determined. In this respect, we in Malaysia are — or were — rich indeed. Rich, because of the fact that — being located as we are at the crossroads of Asia — this patch of earth […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 2, 2006

The 60 Second Plug: The DFP’s KL BBC Proms 2

By Zedeck Siew Tell us about yourself. What inspired you to pick up the baton? The sound of the large symphonic orchestra: it was a love affair from the very first sight and sound. This was from when I sang as a six-year-old boy in a children’s choir in the Prague National Theatre. I was […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 30, 2006

Pasar Ramadan

By Toni Kasim Walking into a Ramadan evening bazaar with a rumbling tummy is almost masochistic. Here you are at in Section 14, Petaling Jaya, surrounded by stalls selling curries and roasts and breads and desserts, their multi-coloured umbrellas less vibrant than their wares: you are surrounded by so much of the forbidden, after almost […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 25, 2006

The Funky Guru

By Matt Armitage Finding out about international acts performing live in Malaysia can be a bit like playing with the lottery: you never know what to expect. There are the popular, well-advertised stadium shows, like the Pussycat Dolls and INXS, of course — but more interesting are the smaller shows, promoted through word of mouth […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 24, 2006

Free To Speak

By Kee Thuan Chye Let’s start with a number of disclaimers: first, I’m writing as an individual and not as a representative of any organisation; second, I’ll be talking about freedom of expression and culture, specifically relating to the performing arts in Malaysia; third, there’s nothing I will tell you that you don’t already know. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 19, 2006

Why Care?

By Lainie Yeoh Should I be afraid to point a camera at something if it’s wrong? A few nights ago, I watched a stout, thuggish man collect RM2 from people parking along Tengkat Tung Shin. I was tempted to point my little digital camera at him and record a video, to later upload on Youtube.com […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 19, 2006

Lepidopterists – the Musical

By Jess C Those who are familiar with classical Chinese literature will have heard of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, the legendary, ill-fated ‘Butterfly Lovers’ of yore. When Dama Orchestra — almost synonymous for their high quality and unique presentations of Shanghai-style shi dai qu — decided to stage this well-loved tale as the group’s […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 17, 2006

The 60 Second Plug: The ComeBackKings’ “Free Flow”

By Zedeck Siew Why the ComeBackKings? The first time we performed we were just a bunch of seniors in Taylor’s College’s drama club, doing a half-time show. We weren’t a group or anything yet. But the lecturers called us the ComeBackKings because we ‘came back’ to help with the final year production — even though […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 16, 2006

Pak Saari Abdullah, 1952 – 2006

By Prof Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof I first met Saari when, in early February 1975, I started research work for a proposed doctoral dissertation on Mak Yong in Kelantan. I was in Kota Bharu, in the Jalan Bayam house of the late Khatijah binti Awang, and I was looking for a field assistant. Khatijah, the legendary Mak […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 12, 2006

Listening to Pomeloes

By CH Loh What do the films Lelaki Komunis Terakhir and Gubra have in common? Obvious answer: they were both Malaysian films that stirred local controversy in recent times. Less obvious answer: they both contained music by composer Hardesh Singh. When one talks about film, composers rarely get mentioned. “Film is not a medium for […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 11, 2006

Assembling Performance Virgins

By Zedeck Siew Recently we called on Thailand to ask about the coup. From a condo on the Gulf, by the beach, Rey Buono told us that he himself had phoned Bangkok the night General Boonyaratglin seized power. “My friend said: ‘What coup?’” Rey says. “I’m calling it the Jim Thompson coup — smooth as […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 4, 2006

Jack Nathan, 1965 – 2006

By Rafil Elyas Kumaresvara (Jack) Nathan, 360° Head Rotation co-founder, musical collaborator, and my very dear friend of almost 15 years, is dead. Jack was cremated with his beloved ‘Frankenstein’ custom ‘Jack Series’ guitar on Monday, 25 September 2006, at around 4pm. On Saturday, 26 September 2006, his ashes were taken to his favourite spot, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 3, 2006

Pillage the Village

By Amir Hafizi The programme leaflet for Anak Bulan Di Kampong Wa’ Hassan, staged recently at KLPac, has a sort of disclaimer. Roughly translated, it says: ‘Far from a romantic lament about a nostalgic Malay kampung, the play is an exploration of the true value of a kampung filled with original characters; and the true […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 27, 2006

The 60 Second Plug: Francesca Beard’s “Chinese Whispers”

By Pang Khee Teik and Zedeck Siew Who is this ‘Beard’ that gave you your last name? Did you have a rough time as a kid with a name like that? My dad’s family name is Beard. It’s a Cornish name. I didn’t have a hard time in Malaysia, but when I came to school […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 24, 2006

Domestic Stress Test

By Zedeck Siew At the door to Laut Lebih Indah Dari Bulan, which ran between September 7 – 10 at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Stor Teater, one is given a slip of paper titled Stress Test: the printout contains eight floral configurations, subtly coloured to appear — as the eye moves across the page […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 20, 2006

The 60 Second Plug: The Shape of Things

By Juliet Jacobs Shed some light on the play for us Well, it’s about art and how far a person is willing to go for it. It also questions art and brings up interesting points about the negative and positive sides of it. Why Neil Labute? Why ‘The Shape of Things’? When we initially came […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 7, 2006

Street Smart Heritage

By Zedeck Siew The entrance to Khoo Kongsi, perhaps one of Penang’s most iconic locations, is a porte cochère that precedes facing rows of empty shophouses; buntings line this street tonight, announcing ‘DiGi’s “Amazing Malaysians” and “Madame Heritage Heboh”. Up ahead, a banner saying Anak-anak Kota spans the wall that is the back-end of an […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 6, 2006

The Freedom to Worry

By Zedeck Siew I have been worried that my teeth are falling out. It has been six months since my last visit to a dentist. Being immigrants to the city, my family never really acquired a new orthodontist, so dental examinations require a one-and­a-half hour drive back to Port Dickson: a Dr. Lim handles all […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 24, 2006

The Freedom of Limits

By Jac SM Kee We exercise our freedoms in modest amounts. Selecting carefully which brand we prefer, what newspapers to read (or not), musicians to support, our select hang out spots, restaurant, coffee chain, bank, mobile phone service and sport. At least in consumption, some amount of autonomy can be exercised. To push boundaries takes […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 24, 2006

The Scenic Bridge of Ipoh

By Nigel Skelchy There is always that moment of trepidation when a curtain rises on a musical for the first time. If the impact of the first scene is less than a sonic boom, it muffles the rest of the musical. What more an all Malaysian musical written by two untried and untested neophytes? It […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 24, 2006

Bohemian Academy

By CH Loh Long long ago in a galaxy far far away there was a land whose people enjoyed a good twist or two, and whose womenfolk wore tight fitting kebayas that accentuated their curves, and original songs and movies were peppered with naughty fun. It was a bygone era — when it was all […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 24, 2006

Baggage Check

By Amir Hafizi Break-ing (Ji Po) Ka Si Pe Cah, at first glance, looks like an ‘Osman, Mutusamy, Lai Kok Seng’ production. You know, a forced ‘muhibbah’ project. Just like in those text books we used in school. They even mention it in their website, touting it as an “inter-cultural collaboration” between three theatre directors […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 22, 2006

The Freedom to Justice

By Sonia Randhawa The Federal Constitution establishes and protects the Judiciary. In turn, the Judiciary’s main task is to protect us, the Malaysian citizen. There are signs that its almost uninterrupted decline from the debacle of the Tun Salleh Abas trial has been arrested. But the fundamental liberties protected by the Constitution, from Article 5’s […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 18, 2006

Music Has The Right to Children

By Zalina Lee I was sent for the opening ceremony of the 27th International Society of Music Educators (ISME) World Conference, a weeklong affair at the KL Convention Centre, and it turned out to be a banquet dinner, along with the obligatory speeches and formalities, and NO CONCERT. I was initially very impressed with the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 18, 2006

Who’s Afraid of Harmony Street?

By Concerned Citizens There is a street in Georgetown, Penang that has been affectionately dubbed “The Street of Harmony”. Once officially known as Pitt Street, it is now Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling. Along the axis of this street, there are three mosques, two churches and several Hindu and Chinese temples, all of them within easy […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 11, 2006

Dream Merchants

By Sonia Randhawa Inter-ethnic understanding is a high priority for many groups, and National Service doesn’t really seem to be working. The Jumping Jellybeans, however, have begun a project with much younger children, which contains the potential to help cultural sharing between children of different language groups in Kuala Kubu Bharu. And National Service doesn’t […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 11, 2006

Life is Beautiful

By CH Loh Twenty years ago in a small basement room in a school in Singapore there was a piano, and on weekends a secret gathering took place around it. Young aspiring divas would convene and live out their dreams of stardom, emulating their favourite Broadway heroines belting out show tunes with attitude and imaginary […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 3, 2006

The National DNA

By Hazri Haili One morning in July, giddy with expectations of travelling with a busload of tourists all geared up for exploring the city’s museums, I ran towards the National History Museum with such a focus that I nearly got run over by some biker (they start early!). My enthusiasm was however quickly deflated when […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 3, 2006

You Must Go On

By Philip Koh This double review first appeared in Sunday Star, Aug 1998. Damned To Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) By James Knowlson Samuel Beckett – The Last Modernist By Anthony Cronin Samuel Beckett is a master of 20th Century literature. He straddles world literature casting his influence beyond his Anglo-Irish, French, German […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 2, 2006

Intimacy

By Jo Kukathas The following was first presented at Utih… Celebrating Krishen, 28 Apr 2006, at Sek San’s Gallery. It has been said that when you write a biography of a friend you must do it as if you are taking revenge for him. The same must go for eulogies. And while it was never […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 27, 2006

Congratulations, Dato’ Krishen Jit!

By Kakiseni So the Yang di Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, on the occasion of his 84th birthday, handed out 1441 royal gifts in the forms of titles and certificates to outstanding Malaysians, as is his wont (last year, he gave one to Datuk Faridah Merican, much to our collective delight). Not that a mere […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 27, 2006

Bringing Chin Peng Home

By Sharaad Kuttan It is near impossible to write about Lelaki Komunis Terakhir without dealing with the immediate politics of the affair; the circus of the UMNO-directed banning (including the Arts Minister’s intervention) as well as a divided media, caught between anti-communist hysteria and liberal breast-beating. So perhaps the only thing to do in order […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 20, 2006

Where have all the Commies Gone?

By Zedeck Siew After watching Amir Muhammad’s Lelaki Komunis Terakhir l remembered I had a copy of In Search of the Revolution: A Brief Biography of Chin Peng, by historian CC Chin. I rescued this from a pile of dusty paper in my room several days later. It begins with a flourish: “There is no […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 20, 2006