Sunday, April 17, 2005

A Surfeit of Readings

Brain got sozzled with other people's words yesterday p.m.

The Darling Muse gig was on. Kam Raslan was first up, reading more of his novel about his datuk. A line I laughed at: "England when it was still part of the Malaysian Empire. ... London was our reward."

Nizam had his Kisah Dua Wanita performed by three friends. Bless his heart, he'd read in my blog that this hopeless Mat Salleh isn't the best at following spoken Malay and had printed off the text in a little booklet. It made understanding much easier, particularly as the piece was written in Kelantanese dialect. (Love the music of it.)

Zedeck looked all bashful when you could see his face at all, hidden beneath a cascade of hair. (He looked a bit like that ghost in The Ring.) He ummed and erred and fidgeted with his notebook annoyingly - just like an unwilling kid forced to read out something in front of the class, dragging his feet every inch of the way. And a writer should never rubbish his own work before he reads! Once he got going he was fine, and the piece entertaining and well observed.

Bernice read a heartfelt piece she'd written about three years ago about the pains of being a mother and the lost rebelliousness of youth. She is working on a one-woman show based around this material.

After a short break Rahmat was up. His dreadlocked hair was like a piece of installation art, like gnarled branches of a tree, and into it he'd woven a bright red gerbera flower from one of the flower arrangements. His t-shirt had a picture of a couple of stylised piggies for the sake of true rebellion. He'd been just a little too much into the generously donated La Bodega wine, I think. His first "piece" I'd call a "sound poem" - was it scripted or just improvised on the spot? Then he read (with plenty of outrage) a psychiatrist's letter about his purported "dadah addiction" as if it was a poem (he was arrested for possession of cannabis).

A performance artist and poet, Arahmaini, read next. (She's currently doing an artist's residence at Rimbun Dahan.) I understood her first poem about wanting to be a prophet but being told by her father that she could not be one because she is a woman. There was a longer passionate piece, conplete with ghostly sound effects about her father, a refuse collector. Didn't understand this one. Nor why she poured and drank a glass of whisky and then smashed the glass on the floor with the final words.

But it doesn't matter if I don't understand the readings in Malay. It's great that the two languages are side by side. That writers make one community.

Later in the evening went to a reading at Maya gallery on Telawi 3 (the galleries are the lit. places!). I was due to interview poet Nathaniel Tarn who was stopping in KL briefly on his way to Sarawak with his wife. Shall post up the article I'm writing after it appears in next Sunday's Starmag.

More than deserved my pint of of Kilkenny at Finnegan's afterwards - eating all those words makes you thirsty.

4 comments:

The Visitor said...

last nite, i watched a film that was 11 hours long. it's called Evolution of a Filipino Family, directed by Lav Diaz, one of the Philippines' best filmmakers. me and the gang are proud that we survived the event! Yuhang wanted to print t-shirts for us declaring "We survived Ebolucyon!" hahaha!

i had snacks, drinks and everything laid out around my seat, basically build a camp there.

u should have been there!

bibliobibuli said...

Aiyoh. 11 hours! Next time please invite and I will be there.

Ted said...

Arahmaini mentioned at the beginning that she had to drink as the piece required her to do so, somehow.

Too bad I arrived late and missed Kam's piece. Thanks to you at least I can read other people's take on it :)

P.S - I sat on your left after the break and couldn't resist peeking at your notes. I hope you don't mind!

bibliobibuli said...

Hi Ted. No probs with you peeking at my notes. Welcome to add to them in fact next time!