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Articles

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

Drawing Water

By Gabrielle Low An Indonesian artist once pointed out to me the pervasiveness of visual clichés. He said that Indonesian schoolchildren, whether from Aceh or Irian Jaya, always draw the same landscape in art class: A rectangular sheet of paper, divided lengthwise by a horizon line. Rising from this horizon are two green hills, roughly […]

  • 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

Race and Place

By Benjamin McKay One should applaud the release of another Malaysian independent feature on local screens – on that count, therefore, you can add the sound of my two hands, clapping. In his debut feature film, Arivind Abraham’s S’kali (Malaysia, 2006; in English and Malay; Perantauan Pictures) explores the uneasy terrain inhabited by a group […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 3, 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

Hiking Out of Ipoh

By Benjamin McKay Coming of age stories, especially those that take us on a physical journey, can be problematic films to craft well – the narratives are often loaded with detail, and when resolutions are sought there is a tendency to mire them under the weight of sentimentality. Goodbye Boys (Malaysia, 2006; English with Malay […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 21, 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

Questioning Mark

By Benjamin McKay In an attempt to uncover the mysteries of creative practice in Malaysia, and discern what makes Malaysian artists unique to their time and place, I plan to interview an array of local cultural practitioners over the next year. I begin this enquiry with a conversation with Mark Teh. Mark, 25, has been […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 14, 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

Sejarah Masa Depan

By Saifullizan Tahir Majlis pelancaran buku From Majapahit to Putrajaya –– yang mana saya terlewat dan bila sampai majlis sudahpun selesai. Mujurlah berkesempatan duduk sama menikmati teh tarik bersama beberapa teman yang masih berlegar di situ. Pada ketika inilah saya dirapati oleh Kathy untuk membuat ulasan buku Farish. Ulasan buku saya yang sebelum ini adalah […]

  • 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-and­-a-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 Remember

By Benjamin McKay In remembering the late Tan Sri Azizan Zainul Abidin, former chairman of Petronas and well respected public servant, writer Farish Noor observed that, “great nations are made not by rhetoric and empty promises, but painstakingly built upon the labours of quiet patriots whose greatness lie in their humility.” The capacity for such […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 18, 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

Jeri Azhari, 1955-2006

By Nur Hanim Khairuddin Ahmad Azhari bin Mohd Nor atau lebih sinonim dengan panggilan Jeri telah berhijrah ke alam serba baru pada bening subuh 19 Julai 2006, hanya kira-kira dua setengah minggu usainya majlis pelancaran pameran solo (ke-8) beliau di Balai Seni Lukis Negara. Beliau dikebumikan di Sungai Siput, di tanah kelahirannya, negeri Perak Darul […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 9, 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

Tidak Seniman Hilang di Dunia

By Yati Hj Kaprawi Melalui seni, U-Wei Haji Saari sentiasa meneroka alam pemikiran baru. Isu-isu dan sifat manusia yang kompleks seperti identiti sesuatu bangsa pun dipaparkannya. “Kalau takut meneroka, baik saya berhenti berfikir,” ujarnya. Kali ini U-Wei mencabar lagi isu identiti bangsa dengan pementasan barunya bertajuk Wangi Jadi Saksi. Ia mengisahkan peristiwa bersejarah dalam dunia […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 27, 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

Rockin’ in the Free World

By Chuah Siew Eng Music as a tool of political consciousness doesn’t happen often enough — perhaps unsurprisingly for a society wary about the uncontrolled consequences of freedom of expression. But that rare occasion of bands banding together to bandy an important issue did happen recently when, on the last weekend of May, groups like […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 12, 2006

Take The Lead – Choreography for non-choreographers: The dance of democracy

By Kathy Rowland Can I use the word “inscrutable” to describe an ethnic Chinese man without being accused of resorting to cliché? Because inscrutable is really the adjective that springs to mind when I think of James Lee, the chess master, moving bodies like pawns in Myra Mahyuddin’s A Sleepwalker in Transit, on a rainy Sunday afternoon […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 12, 2006

Il Diva

By Lisa Ho Most people know that an opera “ain’t over till the fat lady sings”. Originating from a reference to Wagner’s Brunhilde singing the “Fire Song”, the sight of a shrieking fat lady in a steel bra and war helmet seems to be the accepted image of divas who sing in fat, polished tones […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 4, 2006

Artistic Intifada

By CH Loh The Wall: Breaking point Representing the concrete wall being built to fence off the West Bank from the rest of Israel are seven huge grey vertical panels on the stage at the Drama Centre, Singapore. These panels dwarf the seven characters whose lives revolve around the towering slabs. But just when their […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 4, 2006

Free Winnie

By Ruhayat X “Apa erti semua tadi tu?” kata makcik yang telah mencegatkan dirinya bertentangan dengan aku tu. “Saya… tak berapa faham.” Aku gunakan terma “makcik” tu in a loose sense, sebab sebenarnya kalau aku berselisih dengan dia di jalanan and I didn’t know she had a grown-up daughter, hiris pergelangan tangan aku takkan sangka […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 29, 2006

A Room with a View

By Zalina Lee Theatre diva and award-winning set designer Edwin Sumun is the interior decorator for the recently opened Top Room along Jalan Kia Peng. Edwin’s magic touch had transformed what was the upper floor of a restaurant into a jazz bar. The night we were there, he was also the MC, a stand-in manager […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 21, 2006

Alien Nations

By CH Loh We learn something new everyday. I for example learnt that the new politically correct term for foreign workers — you know, the people who tend our kids and clean our homes 24 hours a day (if possible, if not then at least 18 hours), clean the streets, serve us drinks at the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 20, 2006

Unequal Partnership

By J-Teoh Are double bills the fashion nowadays? Directed by up-and-coming 20-year old director Goh Fung Shuan, Noise Performance House’s double bill Brothers. Beloved kicked off to a colourful and flamboyant start with Brothers. A coming-of-age tale of two orphan boys, not actually brothers, who leave their welfare home on a journey into the world, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 17, 2006

Talk Is Action

By Benjamin McKay There will be some among you who believe that talking about problems, about crises and about rights is a passive act. All talk, no action. I disagree with those sentiments. Talk, conversation, dialogue, argument and general discourse ARE actions. Identifying problems and the responses to those problems are important diagnostic activities too. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 15, 2006

Talk Is Action

By Benjamin McKay There will be some among you who believe that talking about problems, about crises and about rights is a passive act. All talk, no action. I disagree with those sentiments. Talk, conversation, dialogue, argument and general discourse ARE actions. Identifying problems and the responses to those problems are important diagnostic activities too. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 15, 2006

Janganlah Stress, It’s Only Cameronian

By Benjamin McKay These awards have in the past received criticism from some bitter and twisted quarters – allegations of nepotism, cronyism, corruption, lavish waste – and accusations of being nothing more than a back slapping, back stabbing orgy of arts industry indulgence. So I thought perhaps I should start my review of the evening […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 11, 2006

No Higher Love

By J-Teoh Spending a Friday night out with two unmarried, middle-aged Englishmen who still live with their mothers is not my idea of a fun date, but apparently personal ads can be deceiving, especially in the case of Graham Whittaker and Gus Gascoigne, at the Actors Studio Greenhall, Penang. Still, you would have to play […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 7, 2006

Silencing the Lambs

By Benjamin McKay The media here of late have been reporting and commenting upon a number of issues to do with perceived moral shortcomings and the manner in which those perceived shortcomings are addressed by the moral guardians of the nation. Indeed the media has in some cases decided to act as a moral guardian […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 5, 2006

The Awards FAQ

By Kakiseni As we go crazy dealing with the DBKL, the VVIP, and the scariest of them all, the RSVPs, while preparing for a glitzy, controversial and memorable 4th Annual BOH Cameronian Arts Awards 2005, we take time out to answer some Frequently Asked Questions. What are the new awards this year? Best Actor in […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 5, 2006

Sedang Ingin Bercinta

By Remin Noir Apa sebenarnya berlaku pada petang panas terik hari sabtu 15 April yang lepas? Khabarnya terjadi satu peristiwa kontroversi di dalam iklim hiburan muzik di Malaysia. Ramai karyawan muzik Malaysia yang tidak bersetuju dengan acara keramaian yang jelas menganak-tirikan kelompok pemuzik tempatan. Asalnya acara sebegini adalah bertujuan untuk bersuka-ria malah juga menikmat nuansa […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 5, 2006

Undang-undang Pelukan

By Hishamuddin Rais Saya menimbulkan perkara nilai dan moral ini kerana pada minggu ini saya terus membaca berita tentang agenda untuk mewartakan moral. Saya juga telah membaca beberapa kenyataan dasar moral dari pelbagai pertubuhan dan badan NGO. Saya juga ada membaca surat-surat di media dari beberapa individu tentang perkara yang sama. Kelihatan hampir kesemua berita […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 28, 2006

Pent-up House

By Sherry Siebel Maybe far too many evenings spent captive watching fusty, antediluvian and embarrassingly démodé British Airways Playhouse productions over the years in the name of journalism have caused me to despise them more than a little. They’re always the goddamn same. They’re always mawkish farces, which means that the usual accelerating kerfuffle arising […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 25, 2006

Instant Latte Theatre

By Lainie Yeoh ROJAK! ended with a shower of empty Marlboro boxes, several successfully aimed at my head — and one actually thwacked me in the eye. I reckon this is the only show I’ve been to where the reviewer was attacked before the review was written. ROJAK!, presented by The Oral Stage with their […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 20, 2006

Imaginary Homeland

By Benjamin McKay “Sometimes I wonder if you guys realise how hard it is for the rest of us to live here. It’s like being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back.” – Alan in Gubra In Yasmin Ahmad’s Malaysia, it appears possible for a Chinese Malaysian man to give a Malay woman […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 14, 2006

The Umur of Innocence

By Ruhayat X Masa sekolah rendah dulu aku ramai member Cina, sebab parents aku for whatever reason lebih suka bergaul dengan cikgu-cikgu Cina colleagues diorang. Ada sorang member aku tu, nama dia Mun. Mun ni badan dia gempal. Muka dia bulat, kulit dia putih bersih, bukan kuning-kuning macam setengah orang Cina. Aku dengan dia start […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 14, 2006

Where Muftis Fear to Tread

By Toni Kasim Gubra raises a whole pile of socio-religio issues — some may even consider it somewhat overburdened — and in a heavily censored society, you really want to credit Yasmin Ahmad for using narrow windows of opportunities to test the limits of national and social discourse, even if some viewers may come away […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 14, 2006

Mall Art

By Zhin Teng I am not a good window shopper. And I do not regard mall-ing as a very culturally enriching experience save only on two conditions: Books Kinokuniya and my mission of the day — the search, the aim, the inquisition — the art gallery as a newcomer to the mall experience. As the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 5, 2006

The Pied Piper of Penang

By J-Teoh The first question Janet Pillai asks me when she sees me is: “Have you finished your folio yet?” Even now, she is moving very fast around the music practice area of Universiti Sains Malaysia ABM-AMBRO, sternly asking the same of every young-ish looking person (and unsuspecting members of the press). “Haveyoufinishedyourfolioyet? Haveyoufinishedyourfolioyet? No, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 30, 2006

Putting the “Ha” Back in Harold Pinter

By Ruhayat X The Homecoming, typical of Harold Pinter’s plays, starts out innocently enough, with a normal domestic scene between an old man and his son. It is not long, however, before you start realising that, as it is with life, what you see on the surface is not all that it seems. The plot […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 29, 2006

Project Runaway

By Antares M! The Opera, staged at Istana Budaya from Thu 23 Mar to Sun 2 Apr 2006, is arguably the most ambitious and esoteric piece of music theatre ever conceived and produced in Malaysia. I’m awed by Saidah Rastam’s perseverance and stamina, and gratified that after such a protracted incubation, her monumental vision has […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 28, 2006

THE 2005 NOMINEES!

By Kakiseni dance nominees BEST GROUP PERFORMANCE Prize of RM1,000 and Tumasek Pewter Trophy En-Body-Men, choreographed by Wei Jun, presented by WJ Powerhouse “Varsha” choreographed by Umesh Shetty, in Inside Out, presented by Inner Space “Evolutions” choreographed by Lim Gaik Choo, in Malaysian Dance Festival 2005: Traditional Dance Night, presented by the Ministry of Culture, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 23, 2006

The Mild Mild West

By Benjamin McKay In a lovely article for the British press, Annie Proulx, the author of the short story that the Oscar-nominated film Brokeback Mountain is based upon, had this to say in an uncharacteristically bitter, but amusingly succinct rant: “We should have known conservative heffalump academy voters would have rather different ideas of what […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 22, 2006

Saidah! the Phenomenon

By Jenny Daneels “Next time I say I want to do something like that [M! the Opera], please bang me on the head, will you?” says Saidah Rastam. We are in Scat Productions. Her show opens in two weeks and she is busy putting together a tape to make up for the fact that many […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 18, 2006

Protocol 101

By Gina Fairley Censorship is a contemporary issue. It is mitigated by a new set of protocols that we are negotiating globally. Goenawan Mohamad’s recent piece on Kakiseni speaks about the recent reactions to Prophet Muhammed’s cartoon representation in the popular press and I raised it recently in relation to biennales. I also discovered, cruising […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 15, 2006

Nomadic Dancers of Kuala Lumpur

By Joseph Gonzales The 2nd National Chinese Cultural Dance Competition organised by the Chinese Language Society of Malacca and Multi-Media University was held at the Taman Budaya Melaka from Fri 10 – Sun 12 Mar 2006. A total of 45 groups, consisting of Chinese Dance associations, secondary schools, cultural clubs and private dance schools, including […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 15, 2006

Mak Yong: A Jihad

By Fahmi Fadzil Royat hilang berita nak timbul Timbul nak royat Seorang Raja sebuah negeri Seorang Raja sebuah menteri… A vow to God In the beginning, there was no such thing as Mak Yong. But there was a family: a father, a mother, a child. They lived in an ordinary kampung house. One day, the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 14, 2006

Bebas Dari Onani

By Hishamuddin Rais It is easier to dominate someone if they are unaware of being dominated. Colonised and colonisers both know that domination is not just based on physical supremacy. Control of hearts and minds follows military conquest. Which is why any empire that wants to last must capture the souls of its subjects. – […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 1, 2006

Cartoons

By Goenawan Mohamad Puffy face. Heavy eyebrows. Bushy moustache. Black turban inscribed with sacred words in Arabic calligraphy. More interesting still: the turban is complete with wick – it is a bomb. If this picture had been without words, we would not have known that it was a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed. Yet we […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 1, 2006

Revenge of the Native

By Sharaad Kuttan I must admit that I am rather partial to academic conference even when held on home grounds (which eliminates the “junket” dimension). In my limited experience the academic conference is a site pregnant with possibility – both intellectual and social – limited in large part by the disposition of the participant-observer. This […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 1, 2006

Membutuhkan Tempat Tetap

By Nuraini Juliastuti [Artikel di bawah adalah di dalam Bahasa Indonesia.] “Sebenarnya aku tidak yakin, yang kita butuhkan itu sebenarnya tempat yang tetap, sebuah rumah, atau sebuah ruang kecil, dimanapun itu, tempat kita bisa menaruh komputer dan data-data kita?” kata Wimo Ambala Bayang. Tahun ini genap satu tahun Ruang Mes 56 di Yogyakarta kehilangan ruangan […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 21, 2006

The Princess who Went Up a Mountain and Came Down a Hit

By Shanon Shah Judging from the last two big budget Malaysian musicals I caught at Istana Budaya – Hang Li Po & Rubiah the Musical – I was ready to dismiss its latest offering, Puteri Gunung Ledang the Musical, as yet another patronising and jingoistic production that is spending a lot of money and clichéd […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 17, 2006

Exposing Artists

By Gina Fairley On the 14th January, a crowd gathered at Sek San’s Lucky Garden, mustered by the alliterative mantra, Bila Boleh Biennale?  But the punters may have been misled with a spirit of boleh rather than the answer to, “When can Malaysia have a Biennale?” Jammed with a hip art crowd eager to participate […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 16, 2006

Laptop Unplugged

By Matt Armitage When we heard that Lewis Pragasam was lining up a couple of Asiabeat shows (Fri 27 – Sat 28, Jan 2006) as part of the excellent Alexis jazz series at Great Eastern Mall we weren’t exactly overly excited. Not because there’s anything wrong with Asiabeat – they’ve been an essential part of […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 12, 2006

Double Afdlin Burger

By Ruhayat X Don’t say I never do anything for you, ducklings. Sebagai khidmat sosial dari aku, here’s a quick and simple test to see if these two movies – Afdlin Shauki’s double whammy Buli Balik and Baik Punya Cilok – are must-see events untuk dipenselkan dalam kalendar kau: Katak. Well? Adakah sepatah perkataan tu […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 9, 2006

Facilitator, Chill Thyself!

By Zedeck Siew Stella Maris, a mission school in Pudu that shares its premises with a chapel under restoration, found itself playing host to the Asian Youth Artsmall Exchange, a 9-day workshop for those interested in taking the arts to marginalised communities. Organised by Five Arts Centre, one of the pioneers of community arts in […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 7, 2006

The Mat Salleh Speaks Malay

By Sherry Siebel Tiara Jacquelina has always wanted to play the immortal enchantress-princess of Mount Ophir, that most mystical creature of all Malay legend. And what Tiara wants, Tiara gets. So when the bijoux gem that is Puteri Gunung Ledang was released by Enfiniti Productions with great pomp and circumstance in 2004, the resultant recherché […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 7, 2006

Sarong Party Beruk

By Hishamuddin Rais Kehidupan dunia moden semakin mengasak kita. Mata kita akan terus dikelilingi oleh imej, gambar, ikon, logo atau papan-papan tanda. Kota-kota kita berselirat dengan papan tanda dan papan iklan. Ada pelbagai imej yang terpaksa kita hadapi. Ada papan iklan yang didirikan sehinggakan anak mata kita tidak dapat mengelak melainkan memandang atau membaca iklan […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 6, 2006

Aunties In Agony

By Rebecca Duckett Penang playwright Mark Beau de Silva must have found his latest women characters from the Sunday market crowd: ordinary women who come along to the SPCA fair volunteering behind the stalls, women chatting on the benches along Gurney Drive in the mornings. They are not young but are dressed up gaily, with […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 3, 2006

Gated Garden Variety

By Andrew Hwang Very few things romance the egalitarian Malaysian public as seductively as free gifts from public-listed companies. When YTL Corporation Berhad (YTL) celebrated its 50th Anniversary, the public was offered free tickets to a series of concerts (13-17 Dec 2005) which were held at KL Performing Arts Center (KLPac). To make it more […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 25, 2006

Not In The Mood

By Jerome Kugan I have nothing against the Chinese. After all, I myself am half chink. But every now and then, I think of how the Chinese community in Malaysia (as do other races in their own way) default to their 5,000-year-old continuous history’s worth of identity so self-assuredly when asked what it means to […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 18, 2006

Crawl, Wriggle, Squirm, Walk, Run, Jump!

By Revathi Murugappan “My mother told me I was very good at art, singing and dancing so she wanted me to be an artiste like her. But my life changed after I contracted polio,” says Manri Kim, the youngest and tenth child of Honju Kim, a Korean traditional dancer. Polio eventually led to Manri’s paralysis […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 18, 2006

The Gospel of Rock

By Azmyl Yunor It was interesting to see if the Street Roar Independent Music Festival 2006 could be translated effectively from its Petaling Street origins to the idyllic lake-side setting of KLPac. The context of the event, being held a week to day of the dumbfounding raid at Paul’s Place on New Year’s Eve, was […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 17, 2006

“Kami Tak Minum Darah Kambing!”

By Rafil Elyas About two weeks before the cops hunted down satanic elements at Paul’s Place, I accepted this assignment from Kakiseni to review Rock The World 6 (17 Dec 2005, Stadium Merdeka) and unwittingly exposed myself to some potentially dangerous music. At that time, I had neglected to check if any of the bands […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 16, 2006

Yang Berat Dan Yang Hitam

By Hishamuddin Rais Tahun 2005 berakhir dengan nota yang kurang menyenangkan. Apa yang saya maksudkan ini bukan kerana kegagalan bursa saham melonjak tetapi penangkapan hampir 500 anak-anak muda yang sedang merayakan pesta tahun baru di sebuah kelab muzik – Paul’s Place – di Jalan Klang Lama. Mereka dikatakan sebagai penganut/peminat muzik genre Black Metal. Saya […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 12, 2006

Black Mental Nation

By Pang Khee Teik Rafil Elyas, 39, engineer, builder of mathematical models and rock musician, wasn’t playing at the ill-fated New Year’s Eve concert at Paul’s Place that was raided. But he was outraged all the same. So, with some help from the Centre for Independent Journalism, he organised a press conference at Paul’s Place […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 11, 2006

Teater Saat Akhir

By Zulkifli Mohamad Saya menjadi Lipas Kudung selama 5 hari kerana nak menonton Teater Melayu. Apa tidaknya, ada tiga festival yang berlangsung dalam minggu yang sama: Festival Teater Wilayah Persekutuan 2005 di Taman Budaya Kuala Lumpur pada 17-21 Disember Empat Drama di Stor Teater DBP pada 19-22 Disember Minggu Teater ASK yang menampilkan empat monolog […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 9, 2006

The Merlion Spouts

By Jerome Kugan Recently, I attended the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) as an invited writer. Objectivity is very much suspect when one writes about something of which one was a part so you shall not find that here. Asia Truly Exotic In Malaysia, publishers, writers and readers of fictional works are, at best, fictitious. Whether […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 30, 2005

RM309 Million And The Arts

By Fahmi Fadzil The latest edition of our federal government’s proposed annual budget was disclosed 30 Sep 2005. This time around, it seemed like there wasn’t as much fanfare as the year before, which, importantly for the Malaysian arts scene at least, saw the birth of the Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Heritage (MOCAH). That […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 30, 2005

The Year of Tears

By Pang Khee Teik When we received the SMS that morning in April informing us that Krishen Jit was expected to go anytime, my housemate and I rushed to the University Hospital. At the hospital, we grabbed a bun each from the sundry shop – we were starving for breakfast. We spent a few minutes […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 30, 2005

Playing With History

By Beverly Yong As children we are told the names of things – naming is one of the earliest tools we adopt to negotiate our world. We put pictures and sounds and feelings to words, they define people and places near and far. As we grow up things named grow associations, take on deeper and […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 29, 2005

The MPO Winter Collection

By Zalina Lee I spent the first two years of my marriage as a professional mall rat. And I’m here to tell you, young grasshoppers, that if you need a bathroom on a Sunday, and just so happen to be in KLCC at the time, forget about getting close to an empty toilet stall. Just. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 23, 2005

Majukanlah Rock Untuk Negara

By Nur Hanim Khairuddin Meski menyorot sekelumit dari sejarah sosio-hiburan silam yang berkecamuk dan tercerai-cerai, Rock membawa kita kembali menjengah keberadaan ‘pop culture’ dan ‘pesta muda-mudi’ di dekad 80an. Penuh nostalgia, padat dengan lagak dan imej realistik disulami beberapa babak kelakar, Mamat Khalid memaparkan secebis sahsiah dan siasah popular (asalnya sub-kultural jua) pemuda Melayu generasi […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 23, 2005

Oh Baby, Baby, It’s A Wild World

By Jenny Daneels We thought that the Christmas season would be a good moment to review some children’s books made in Malaysia. Unfortunately we only came to that realisation a few days ago, so this review is terribly late for Christmas. Still, the books are for sale all year round! The first striking fact is […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 22, 2005

Enough Is Enough!

By Revathi Murugappan We’ve heard it before (and will continue to hear it). Man fed up with world full of greedy phony people engrossed by money, property and status; man infuriated with local entertainment scene glorifying commercial aspects and worshipping western values with total disregard for artistic values, pride of race, and aesthetics. Man cannot […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 21, 2005

Fun on the Night Shift

By Lydia Chai Chapter 1: Ikat Batu at Gudang – a warehouse tucked away in suburban Damansara Jaya – was an art event instead of an art exhibition. It lasted only one night (25 November 2005) and had a festive air about it, what with a musical trio, night-long ice-sculpting, and lip-smacking kenduri complete with […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 15, 2005

Murder Most Foul (Can you smell the belacan?)

By Meng Yew Choong This is another whodunit for the big stage. Though it was presented to Singaporeans for the third time (in 1997 and 1998 at the Jubilee Hall of the Raffles Hotel), the difference this time was that it took place within the magnificent confines of the sophisticated Esplanade Theatre. Being my first […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 15, 2005

Our Funny Valentines

By Antares I don’t even like jazz, as a genre, but jazz virtuosos do generate a peculiar fascination. You have to be so goddam good to pass muster as a “jazz great’ the accomplishment in itself is worth applauding and recording. As jazz pianists go, few get any better than Singapore’s mythical Monteiro (Jeremy) and […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 15, 2005

To Dye For

By Dr Zakaria Ali [This paper was first presented at “Batik Paintings – Public Talk by Dr. Zakaria Ali” organised by Galeri PETRONAS, on the 14 December 2005.] This talk is centred on three artists: Yeong Seak Ling, Dr. Mohamed Najib bin Ahmad Dawa, and Abdul Rashid bin Abdul Razak. Through different paths they have […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 15, 2005

Konfrontasi: With Ourselves

By Chuah Siew Eng “If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” The significance of history, succinctly explained by Aristotle, comes too late for me and generations of schoolchildren for whom history is a jumble of meaningless dates and past happenings with little impact on our everyday lives. Little did we know […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 9, 2005

Beaches Brew

By James Lochhead Lying on the grass, staring up at the crescent moon, the sea breeze gently rustling, and then to hear the cool soprano saxophone sound of Japanese jazz band Jaja thrilling the air – the melodic piano at the back, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, the hendrix-like guitar, lifting the sound and […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 9, 2005

The Taste of Death

By Christina Orow We’ve all heard about the unusual delicacy that is the Shakespeare speech. Breaking through the initial layer of incomprehension is like getting over the initial revulsion to the smell of durian, until we take that first bite that sends us over to the other side. In a moment, all resistance to the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 7, 2005