My First Rodeo

Having lived in Vancouver, so close to Western Canada’s cowboy country, and having been a cowboy of sorts myself, since 2013, it is of note that the Cloverdale Rodeo and County Fair 2023 is ‘my first rodeo’. Jane and I were given VIP tickets to the Stetson Suite by Dave from the Rockin Cowboy, where I have acquired much of my Western gear since the start of the Koboi Project. In fact, Dave had invited me before but I have always, evaded his kind invitation due to my concerns about animal welfare. You see, I am a vegetarian Cowboy. Yes, an oxymoron! This time, however, I accepted. After a decade of being the Koboi, I wanted to be able to use the expression – this aint my first rodeo, meaningfully! While I did feel concerned for the animals involved, not to mention the cowboys being bucked about, I can’t say I did not enjoy myself. Thanks Cowboy Dave!

The Koboi Returns 2023 – 6

The Malay and Javanese word ‘kayangan‘ is synonymous with adnan, eden, firdaus, janah, nirwana, surga, indraloka, kedewaan, keindraan, suargaloka, suralaya, surgaloka and paradiso. In Malay cosmology, 5. Kayangan is inhabited by Dewa, Perman. This ‘skyworld’ is located directly above the Pokok Pauh Janggi which rises through the Pusat Tasik . This 2 Pusat Tasik Pauh Janggi is, in turn, directly above the 6 Dasar Laut which can be seen as the ‘underworld’. The combined downward spiral of the Pusat Tasek and the upward thrust of the enormous Pokok Pauh Janggi both pass through the 1 Dunia, combining to create the axis mundi of the Malay cosmos.

Anker Rentse explains, from ethnographic notes that seem to have been made in Ulu Kelantan“Shurga, Heaven, is on the top of Pauh Janggi, and Nuraka, Hell, is down below its roots. A gigantic hole between the roots causes the ocean water to disappear into hell’s big boiling-pot, kawah nufaka, whence the whirl-pool. Underneath the pot burns everlasting fire. A dragon guards the hole, the gate to hell (pintu nuraka) with its body in order to prevent the ocean from running dry. In Pusat Tasek an account is kept of the good and the bad deeds of every human being in the world. The accountant in Heaven is Ka’ Tebir, and in Hell, Kiraman. The last one is said to be so busy on occasions, that he gets angry, throws his pen on the floor and declares, Ini sekarang sudah chukup!”

The diagram is adapted after Md. Salleh Yaspar in Malaysian World View edited by Mohd Taib Osman.

Rentse, Anker. “NOTES ON MALAY BELIEFS.” Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 11, no. 2 (117) (1933): 245–51.

The Koboi Returns 2023 – 5

In Malay cosmology, the 1. Dunia of Man, animals, plants, objects, spirits is connected to 6. Dasar Laut, the domain of Raja Lebis, via the 2. Pusat Tasik Pauh Janggi which is inhabited by Nagas, Jins, and Garudas (Modified from a diagram after Md. Salleh Yaspar in Malaysian World View edited by Mohd Taib Osman.). This Malay motif of the pusat tasik pauh janggi appears to exemplify a more general Southeast Asian ontological structure

  1. The navel of the sea drains the waters of the world
  2. A submarine tree or world pillar at the navel links the human realm to both the underworld and the skyworld
  3. There are mythic creatures dwelling at the navel of the seas at the base of the tree or pillar
  4. The ebb and flow of tides are due to the movements of the creature blocking the drain at the navel 
  5. The ocean currents are due to water flowing in and out of the drain at the navel 
  6. Earthquakes are caused by creature at navel of the sea shaking the world pillar
  7. There are relationship between these flows to the movement of the Sun and Moon and events like eclipses
  8. Rising sea levels and flooding are associated with the navel of the sea.

The Koboi Returns 2023 – 4

According to Malay folklore, in the far depths of the ocean, there is a great whirlpool known as the Pusat Tasek’ or the ‘navel of the seas’. At the centre of this whirlpool, there is an enormous tree known as the Pokok Pauh Janggi. At this place, identified in Malay Cosmology as the Pusat Tasik Pauh Janggi, is inhabited by Nagas, Jins, Garudas and other such creatures. One of these creatures sits on the ocean floor, at the base of the tree blocking the a gigantic opening opening in the roots of the tree. This opening leads further down to the nether world of the Dasar Laut inhabited by Raja Lebis. Further, according to Anker Rentse, it is from the Dasar Laut, that the swirl of the Pusat Tasek rises in the course of ocean water draining down the opening. In some versions of this cosmology, a dragon guards this hole and its body also blocks the hole, preventing the ocean from running dry. In other accounts it is not a dragon but a giant crab that holds the waters up. It is the daily movements of this crab, unblocking and reblocking the hole, that cause the movement of the waters that we humans expirence as currents and tides. The above Kelantan Wayang Kulit puppets of the Pokok Pauh Janggi and the giant crab were collected by Walter William Skeat from a Tok Dalang in the late 19th Century.

The Koboi Returns 2023 – 3

In my December 2019 performance for Percha Art Space in Lumut, I changed the SUPERSTAR banner from one with an image of Rajinikanth to one depicting Anwar Ibrahim. The references of the Koboi Project have, from the outset involved social history, myth, and movies. In this context, I am delighted to note that an Anwar Ibrahim biopic starring Farid Kamil has recently been released and is reported to have made RM 1 Million on the opening day and, as such, a complex layering of realities continues to operate around the symbols and devices of the Koboi Project.

The Koboi Returns 2023 – 2

According to Md. Salleh Yaspat (in Malaysian World View edited by Mohd Taib Osman. Mohd Taib Osman) the Traditional Malay Cosmology can be visualized as in the above diagram, whose key is is as follows: 1. Dunia: inhabited by Man, animals, plants, objects, spirits; 2. Pusat Tasik Pauh Janggi: inhabited by Nagas, Jins, Garudas; 3. Padang Jauh dan Puncak Gunung: inhabited by Giants, jins; 4. Pulau Buah: inhabited by Ancestral spirits; 5. Kayangan: inhabited by Dewa, Perman; 6. Dasar Laut: inhabited by Raja Lebis.

In December 2019, I did a Koboi Performance for Percha Art Space in Lumut after which I left for Vancouver. I will now return to Malaysia in August this year (2023) and, to mark my return, I am working towards another Koboi Performance, the details of which will be announced shortly.

The Koboi Returns 2023

In December 2019, I did a Koboi Performance for Percha Art Space in Lumut, in which I raised a new SUPERSTAR banner depicting a giant hoarding of Anwar Ibrahim. I performed a cleansing ritual on the Lumut waterfront and left for Vancouver soon after. I will return to Malaysia in August this year (2023).

Since my performance, and after a long struggle, Anwar Ibrahim has become the 10th Prime Minister of the nation and holds on to this seat by the skin of his teeth. Anwar incredible return to power, after a quarter-century perjuangan, is an exemplary Hero’s journey – a striking display determination, endurance and a sense of destiny. To mark my own much less momentus return, I am working towards another Koboi Performance the details of which will be announced shortly.

Hari Guru 2023 – 3

Dalam petikan video berguru dengan Hasnul Jamal Saidon ada juga kritikan keatas nilai-nilai ‘think bandar’ yang tertepu dalam sistem politik /ekonomi /budaya semasa. Dibawah adakah istilah yang membawa konsep-konsep asas dalam kritikannya ini (untuk istilah yang merujuk kepada nilai-nilai murni ‘think kampung’ sila ke sini) –









pasaran bebas


liberalisma (ekonomi)


sila nampak juga –

Hari Guru 2023 -2

Konsep-konsep dasar ajaran ‘think kampung’ Hasnul Jamal Saidon dalam tafsiran saya –


tanah air



















sila nampak juga –

Hari Guru 2023

Hari Guru disambut pada 16 Mei setiap tahun dan, pada hari ini, saya ingin mengingatkan semua bahawa dalam kefahaman tradisional, guru tidak boleh dipisahkan daripada ilmu yang dibawanya. Saudara saya, Hasnul Jamal Saidon, menjadi teladan bagi guru dalam zaman pascha tradisi kini. Nikmatilah pendekatan dan gayanya dalam contoh dibawah ini –

Megikut peradaban tradisi ini kewajipan murid adalah membalas jasa guru dengan –

1. Memberi salam kepada guru.
2. Elakkan daripada mengabai dan membantah kata-kata guru.
3. Bercakap dengan guru menggunakan bahasa yang sopan dan indah.
4. Membuat kerja yang diberikan guru dengan bersungguh-sungguh.
5. Menziarahi guru ketika mempunyai kelapangan.
6. Mendoakan kesejahteraan guru.
7. Menghormati guru sepanjang masa.
8. Membantu guru ketika kesusahan.

8 Adab Dengan Guru yang perlu di amalkan ini dipetik, dan perkataannya diubahsuai sedikit, dari penulisan Nurhanisah Noh.

Selamat Hari Guru!