Sunday, June 26, 2005

Brown Sugar and Special Branch

Went along to the readings at Jalan Tempinis 1 yesterday afternoon. People write, must support, what. Though was not in the mood to sit and listen because was in a big strop with my other half who started World War Three because we were out of brown sugar (white doesn't count apparently).

A bit disappointed about changes to the advertised programme, and the crowd that showed up ... didn't exactly amount to a crowd despite bernice's exhortation to "datang beramai-ramai" .... there were about 15 people, and three of them Raja Ahmad's kids.

Raja Ahmad read first. I have a running joke with him because I bump into him all the time, at every reading and literary event. "You still following me around?" I say "We just can't go on meeting like this." But it's great to see a writer who supports other writers to this extent.

I was glad that Raja Ahmad told me that he is a poet, that first time we met at a Darling Muse, because he looks the part with his long hair and thoughtful expression.

He read several of his poems including one called membaca buku di kinokuniya - a nice piece of free advertising for Kino! I like the way the poem ends:

if everybody is silent
what kind of society
is this


I bought his collection of poetry Manyarung Jiwa, a beautifully produced book of uncluttered layout and quality paper. I'm so glad that it is a bi-lingual edition so that I am not going to miss anything.

Raja Ahmad had his daughter read an extract from his work in progress, a novel written in English.

Then some of the kutu-kutu guys read. RuhayatX gave us Anak Kepala Anjing; Natasha "champion blogger of the Neohikayat website" read Dhoji's Tsunami; Irman read a piece by Danny Lim; Nizam Zakaria read his Penunggu Malam. Then Abror Rivai, a young poet who has been writing for about a year read a few poems, and the very encouraging Bernice insisted on reading a few more herself.

I can't give you any stunning critical insights into the texts ... I really have to get my brain into gear to begin reading again in Malay ... And I'm a much better listener when my head is not full of visions of brown sugar and deeply-disappointed-in-me husband.

Nizam wins my prize for the most sartorially elegant performer of the day. His t-shirt had a picture of fingers held up in a victory sign (was it? or?) outlined in flashing bands of neon. It was not magic as some had thought, Nizam showed me the battery pack. (Haven't seen any piggy t-shirts for a while, which seemed to be de rigeur garb for those who wanted to project an image of being both creatif and alternatif in the Darling Muse days.)

Listened into a conversation between some of the Wilayah Kutu-kutu, debating whether or not there had been Special Branch guys at the launch at Silverfish and if there had been quite what it implied. Whilst not exactly the Stasi, the thought of Special Branch opening a file on their subversives strikes a certain amount of terror particularly as ther ISA means that dissenting voices can be disappeared for quite a while.

Perhaps it's all paranoia? Those Special Branch guys don't actually need to show up in a physical sense to show up in your psyche.

Perhaps too, there's a vicarious thrill to be gained from courting the possibility?

Oh yes, and the other big news of the day was that Zedeck has had a haircut. And now you can actually see that he has eyes.


Anonymous said...

waslooking forward to the reading but had to interview ppl for work :( glad to know it went well though.

Kak Teh said...

When I am back, can you invite me to one of these readings? Raja Ahmad was my classmate. Met him again two years ago when I was back in KL.

bibliobibuli said...

Kak Teh, will keep you informed ... I shoulda known you'd know Raja Ahmad too. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Sharon, it was an honour meeting you that day. Eventhough I did not approve being called the 'mascot' or 'groupie' of the neohikayat 'kutus', i had lots of fun despite the could-have-been-better turnout. And isn't Zedeck the darling-est thing? (the last time i saw him was 3 years ago - gahhe'ssocuteOKwillshutupnow)

bibliobibuli said...

Lovely to meet you too, Natasha.

Don't worry about the kutu guys making a bit of a pet of you, it's just their way of showing that you are indispensible, but they don't actually want to admit it, 'cos it might dent their macho image. (Men are odd creatures at the best of times, and probably kutus stranger still.)

Zedeck should be the mascot.

(Or perhaps you should adopt him as YOUR personal mascot.)

lainieyeoh said...

zedeck has....eyes?

Anyhow, any idea where I can get a map to this place? Like....with very big pictures, and very clear detailed explanations.

Because I have no sense of direction. And don't really understand maps.

lainieyeoh said...

(never mind, I'll get someone to figure out the Seksan map)