Sunday, May 22, 2022

Me/We - collective performance art at 59th venice biennale

At the opening of Port Perak's opening at the Venice Biennale, we made a collective performance called Me/We. Here are some pictures from my contribution.

Pera+Flora+Fauna Port Perak 59th Venice Biennale Collateral event

I was one of the leading curators for Port Perak Participation in the 59th Venice Biennale Collateral Event from 24rd April-27th Nov. 2022.

It is a group show which consist of 5 artists and two artist collective. All of the participating artists are either based or from Perak except for one guest artist from Italy.

The participating artists are Saiful Razman, Azizan Paiman, Kim Ng, Kamal Sabran in collaboration with Aida Redza, Stefano Cagol, Projek Rabak in collaboration with Orang Semai Kg. Ras, Sungkai and Kapallorek in collaboration with Ronnie Bahari.

the hand shake

i made a performance recently when i was doing my residency at Port Perak, Malaysia where i shook hands with the audience. the only different with this hand shake was that i had my hand dipped with black chinese ink.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021


journey thru thick time (1967-72) pengkalan chepa, kelantan
Jalak, Dino, Ning, John, Johny, Mimi, Donny and Marie were some of the names of our cats. we had more than 10 cats around that time and sometimes more. they were mostly stray cats and orange in color.
Donny and Marie got their names from the american singers /entertainers Donny and Marie Osmond who had a weekly show on tv. ‘i m a little bit country, i am a little bit rock and roll ‘ was one of their popular songs.
Jalak was a wild jungle cat who one day got lost and came to our house. to tame Jalak my mum spit her saliva into the rice and fed him. yes, it worked. we also had a burmese cat. burmese cats sometimes have long beautiful furs and were quite expensive if u were to buy them.
the cats were normally fed with rice and fish. my mum would buy fresh fish and boil them in hot water. she then crushed the fish and mixed together with rice. it was a much cheaper way to feed them than buying cat food. the smell of the boil fish was a bit stinky but all the cats love them. sometimes the cats got unlucky to have bones stuck in their mouths. but they always managed to get them out themselves.
all the cats have different characters but they love u most when it is feeding time.
some of the cats got pregnant and start to breed. we would have small kittens and they were the most adorable. we had to watch out for the male cats cause some were jealous of the male kittens and would try to kill them. some got away with it a couple of times.
i used to have my face scratched by cats all the time. it didnt bother me so much cause i love to play with them. sometimes some of them fell into the stinking drain and we had to wash them. and u all know how cats are with water.



my brother and i went to sultan ismail primary school in kota bharu. both my sisters went to sekolah Zainab. we took the school bus and it was about 8 km meters from home. 8km was quite a long journey in those days. the roads were long and winding. we had to past thru the center and get over to the other side of the city to get there.
my first bus was the type that has a shape of a nose infront where the engine is stored. it was old and always breaks down. i did get a few rides before it went totally kaput. when my brother joined me to school later, we then had another bus which was in better condition. but it didnt help us coming to school on time . the driver will drive and send the other school kids to other schools first. we were his last destination. so we always arrived late to school and got punished for it even though it was not our fault. there was no mercy from the teachers. no questions were asked and we will get a few lashes of rotan on our buttocks. during those days the teachers were allowed to give u a rotan or gave you a slap on your face if were caught for doing something wrong. fear was used in full force and this didnt help to free the children. it created a gap…an authoritarian one which is the worse. the children become passive and not train to ask questions when in doubt. some teachers get a kick out of doing that. those should be sent for rehab. thank god they stopped doing that now. not all teachers were like that though. some were like angels and u feel u want to bring them home.
Arriving late to school went on quite frequently that we had to think of something to avoid those painful punishments. my brother came up with a trick where he put a book in between his pants and his butt which worked rather well. the teacher must have been quite stupid not to notice that or maybe they just closed one eye and ‘make dunno’. maybe some of them do felt the pain when they give us those lashes. perhaps those days they were instructed to do it. i dunno.
i tried sneaking up thru the back door to enter the classroom and went in when the teacher was writing on the blackboard. it didnt always work. sometimes i would wait for the first lesson to be over before coming in. i would hanged out in the back of the school or stay in the toilet to wait. when the school bell rings, then u just act as if u came from the toilet. make sure u hide your school bags though. u have to find ways to survive.



journey thru thick time(1968-72) pengkalan chepa, kelantan
there is pokok semambu- neem tree- infront of our house. the tree is still there when i looked thru google earth. pretty amazing.
the leaves are known to cure many diseases among them for chicken pox. u boil the leaves and take a bath with the water. u can also use various parts of the tree due to its antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties. lots of people and strangers came to our house and asked permissions to take the leaves. it is a huge tree and be able to feed the whole army. the tree is also one of my favourite to climb on. it has big and steady trunks and it is also cooling to be under it on a hot day.
we also had aloe vera plant which have great healing properties. good for skins, hair and weight loss. we like to put eggs shells at the point of the leaves. i guess it is something people do for decoration.
but eggshells are made almost entirely of calcium carbonate, which is good for plants. you can deliver it to them through compost, soil or by making “eggshell tea.”
we also had ubi gajah- elephant tapioca. they were huge and we have to dig really deep to get them out. u can eat tapioca by boiling them and dip with sambal or sugar. it has to be served while it is still warm. otherwise they ll be hard. my mum told me that they used to live eating tapioca during the japanese occupation in WW2. tapioca are quite easy to plant. just cut the trunks about one feet long and stick it in the earth. shower them with water and u ll see them grow.



journey thru thick time (1967-1972) from muar to pengkalan chepa
we had our first tv probably around 1970/1. it was a ‘national’ brand. we were very lucky to be able to afford it. i think my mum were very good at savings with her little salary and it helped when we didnt have to pay for the house rent and telephone bills. it was pure luxury in those days to have such things. everything was still in black and white and only in 1978 that RTM malaysia started to introduce color broadcasting. we did try putting a color screen infront of the tv so it will be artificially colored…but itnever look good.
we were one of the few to have a tv in the area. so everyday we have a house full of neighbouring kids sitting in front of the tv all day long.
we would watch ultraman, disneyshow, wrestling, football, scoobydoo, bonanza etc. my all time favourite was ‘the lone ranger’ and his red indian friend kimosabi. probably it has to do something with the mask and them being an outlaw.
p ramlee movies were everyones favorites and all those ghost stories like pontianak and so on. nobody dared to sleep alone after watching such movies. thank god we didnt have any malay tv drama at that time.
in one of the pictures is my sister Oie celebrating her birthday infront of our tv 


journey thru thick time (1967-1972) from muar to pengkalan chepa
pantai sabak is about 4.5 km away from where we lived. so sometimes we brought our picnic basket there to swim in the sea. we will normally bring meehun goreng and sardine sandwich. there is something about salt water that make sardine
sandwich taste especially delicious.
on the beach there were people selling drinks and snacks. u can also find people selling belangkas bakar, grill horseshoe crabs. the smell of it makes your saliva drools in many different ways.
sometimes u have to be very careful when swimming coz there were lots of ampai ampai or jellyfish. they say vinegar is the best cure for it.
there were lots of old british bunkers in the area which were used to fight off the japanese during the WW2. pantai sabak was the first landing place attacked by the japs in malaya which took place on dec 8 1941. two hours after the attacked at pantai sabak, they bombed pearl harbour. they managed to conquer the place very quickly with the help from their airforce. they easily chased the british out and invaded the whole malaya a few months after.
there was a propaganda film done by the japanese during the war which is called ‘ the tiger of malaya’. the film was inspired by a real life story about a japanese man who grew up in terengganu and whose father had a barber shop. he was later recruited to be a spy for the japanese military.





journey thru thick time (1967-1972) from muar to pengkalan chepa
our first telephone number was 2255. Our auntie Mak Nah who lives in KL loved the number so much that she had it on her car number plate on her peugoet.
our next door neighbour was a sweet japanese man. sometimes he would find some earth worms and took my brother for fishing.
cakap pasal cacing, masa kecik banyak masalah cacing dalam perut. mungkin sebab kalau main dekat luar tu tak pakai kasut, kaki ayam aje. cacing tu ada yg kecik2 tapi ada juga yang panjang2. bila buang air besar kadang2 kena tarik dia keluar. so kena makan ubat macam dlm gambar tu.
Infront of our house, there is a school called SMK Pengkalan Chepa. There was one time where our mother or Mak we prefer to call her will make ice creams and we helped to sell them to the school kids. These ice creams or popsicles were made from sweet drinks like orange, vanilla, chocolate flavor etc. and came in different colors. They each cost 5 cents and on a hot sunny day, they sold out pretty fast. My favourite was ‘the one with asam merah’.