I would like to thank Nur Hanim Khairuddin for kindly officiating the opening reception.
I thank Sang Nabil Utama for his his advice on Malay ritual form and for his assistance during the performance.
I would also like to thank Mohd Najmi Jamaluddin for the sensitive and articulate photography.
I thank Suhaila Hashim for her beautiful and delicious kuih pauh dilayang.
I thank Azizan Paiman for curating the event seamlessly.
Thanks also to Hamzah Yazd and Zai Kuning who graced the evening with their ‘Gazal Pauh di bibir laut’ performance.
Finally, I thank all those who attended the performance and the opening making it an eventful happening at the Lumut Waterfront.
In the Dari Pusat Tasek performance, I was assisted by Sang Nabil Utama who is musician, sound engineer, sonologist and a committed Malay culture activist. We were introduced by Azizan Paiman the afternoon before the event at which time we first discussed the underlying ideas and possible controversies of the performance. We refined and rehearsed the performance that night, and went on to execute the event the next afternoon (25 Dec 2019).
This intervention in the public space of the Lumut Waterfront, which was based on a Perak Malay cleansing ritual, was grounded and given poignancy by the fact that Sang Nabil Utama is a native orang Perak. It was also great working with Nabil as he showed great sensitivity to my approach and generously offered his own ideas about Malay ritual form in a way that brought the best out of the performance.
According to researcher Ariffin Mohd Dahlan, in 1528, on the request of some Perak nobles, Sultan Mahmud Shah, the deposed Sultan of Malacca, sent his son Raja Muzaffar to take over the Sultanate. As he made his way with the Malacca Royal accoutrements such as the nobat (drum), naifiri (woodwind), pedang Chura Simanjakini (sword) and the cop mohor halilintar (seal) and several other tools his vessel was hit by a storm as passed Pusat Tasek (Navel of the Seas) which was near the Beting Beras Basah at the mouth of the Perak river, and his vessel ran aground on the sandbank. They discarded all many weighty items and even the acctruments, but the vessel would not move. Finally, the Jin of the Navel of the Seas instructed the Raja to, throw his crown to the sea. Only when the Raja obliged the Jin, did the storm subside and the vessel move on to its destination.
According to some versions of this dynastic legend, the Raja had to dive into the sea at the Pusat Tasek and spend 7 days and 7 nights in negotiations with the Jins and other supernatural beings before this arrangement was arrived at. The prince was installed as Sultan and to this day the air to the throne of Perak is known as the Raja Muda (Young Raja) and not the Raja Mahkota (Crown Prince). It is also known that mysteries still abound in the area of the Beting Beras Basah which is a place where any new Sultan of Perak must perform a rite of passage (Istiadat Mencecah Kaki) in order to take up the throne.
The Dari Pusat Tasek exhibition continues at Percha Artspace, Lumut Waterfront till 19 Jan 2020. Sometimes Life is better than Art!
These are the proposed pipelines connecting the interior Northern BC oil and gas fields (where PETRONAS’ North Montney gas fields are amongst the largest) to export terminals on provinces West coast (where PETRONAS owns 25% of the massive LNG Canada investment ). Three of these pipelines pass through Wet’suwet’en territory and the Wet’suwet’en are objecting and resisting. In their favour and against the push for these pipelines is the Delgamuukw Case (1997) in which the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the claim of 48 Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs against BC and Canada to affirm Aboriginal rights, title to Aboriginal lands and the duty of governments to consult.
According to Taib Osman, in the Malay cosmology, 1. Dunia is inhabited by Man, animals, plants, objects, spirits; 2. Pusat Tasik Pauh Janggi is inhabited by Nagas, Jins, Garudas; 3. Kayangan is inhabited by Dewa, Perman; 4. Dasar Laut is inhabited by Raja Lebis. Further, according to Anker Rentse, Syurga sits above the Pokok Pauh Janggi, while Neraka lies below it. It is from below the Dasar Laut, from hell’s boiling-pot or the kawah nufaka, that rises the swirl of the Pusat Tasek. A gigantic hole between the roots causes the ocean water to disappear into the boiling-pot. A dragon guards this hole that serves as the pintu Neraka. Its body also blocks the hole, preventing the ocean from running dry. In the Pusat Tasek an account is kept of the good and the bad deeds of every human being in the world.