After my Dari Pusat Tasek performance in Lumut, Perak, I went to meet Sara Frederica Santa Maria in the Kampung Portuguese Settlement, Melaka. We are planning to work together as a part of my Kaza Nunteng Porta performance series which links the Settlement with Lisbon, Portugal. We are planning to create an engagement on the street and perhaps on stage in Lisbon, bringin the Kristang language, music, dance and food home to Belem, the harbour district from which the Portuguese mariners set sail on their adventures of discovery and conquest.
‘Kaza Nunteng Porta’ is Kristang (Melaka Portuguese) for ‘House Without a Door’. It is the title of the 9th series of Koboi Project which addresses notions imperialism, globalization, migration, miscegenation and tourism as a part of the wider Koboi Narrative. The project is ongoing and thus far impromptu photo-performances have been held at the Alfonso De Albuquerque Monument and the Discoveries Monument in Belem, in 2018 and 2019.
A Praça Afonso de Albuquerque está localizada próxima ao Palácio de Belém, em Lisboa. Ela celebra Afonso de Albuquerque, o segundo Governador do Estado da Índia e conquistador de Malaca. No centro da praça há um monumento imponente, concluído em 1902, com quatro baixos relevos no pedestal, um deles representando a queda de Malaca. Não muito longe desta praça, o colossal Padrão dos Descobrimentos comemora a aventura e poder marítimo dos portugueses. Construído como estrutura temporária para a Exposição do Mundo Português de 1940, se tornou um monumento permanente em 1960.
Afonso de Albuquerque square is located close to the Belém Palace in Lisbon. It commemorates Afonso de Albuquerque, the Second Governor of Portuguese India and the conqueror of Melaka. At the centre of the square is an impressive monument completed in 1902 with four reliefs on the pedestal, one of which represents the fall of Malacca. Not far from this square is the gargantuan Monument to the Discoveries which celebrates Portuguese marine adventure and power. Built as a temporary structure for the Portuguese World exhibition of 1940, it was realized as a permanent monument in 1960.
‘Kaza Nunteng Porta’, significa ‘Casa Sem Porta´ em Kristang (língua Portuguesa Malaca). É o título da nona série do Projeto Koboi. Nesta série, o Koboi aborda as conexões culturais, históricas e sociais entre Lisboa e Malaca, enquanto tenta colocar esta relação no contexto dos movimentos de diáspora e globalização. As fotografias desta série foram tiradas em Belém, Lisboa e Ujong Pasir, Malaca. Belém é o porto de qual os portugueses partiram nas suas aventuras marítimas pioneiras, enquanto Ujong Pasir é o local do Assentamento Português em Malaca, o último vestígio de uma das tais aventuras.
Kaza Nunteng Porta’, means ‘House Without a Door’ in Kristang (Malacca Portuguese language). It is the title of the 9th series in the Koboi Project. In this series the Koboi addresses the cultural, historical, social and connections between Lisbon and Malacca, while attempting to set this relationship within the context of diasporic movements and globalization. The photographs in this series were shot in Belem, Lisbon and in Ujong Pasir, Malacca. Belem is the port from which the Portuguese set sail on their pioneering maritime adventures and Ujong Pasir is the site of the Portuguese Settlement in Malacca – all that remains of the legacy of one of those adventures.
The late Papa Joe Lazaroo and the late Uncle Noel Felix, elders of the Malacca Portuguese Settlement explaining the contiguity of Papiah Kristang and modern Portuguese language, and most interestingly, how Kristang is a misnomer for their language – which is best termed Portugues Antigo (Ancient Portuguese).
The Melaka Portuguese community staged a coffin protest at the Melaka Gateway site office on the 17th May 2018. Melaka Gateway is a gargantuan land reclamation and development project that is a part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative. It will include a deep-sea port that is being built by Chinese companies in a joint venture with Malaysia’s own KAJ Development Sdn Bhd’s (KAJD). According to a report in the STAR newspaper, the Chairperson of the Portuguese Village Community Management Council, Jacinta Lazaroo, alleged that the developer failed to comply with the macro EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) report of 1998. This non-compliance seems to have resulted in severe silting which has affected the livelihoods of the members of this largely fishing community. The STAR also reported that according to Melaka Gateway’s developer, Hasbullah Zakaria, KAJD Maning Director, the company had not received any memorandum of protest nor any demand for compensation from the community.
‘Kaza Nunteng Porta’ is Kristang (Melaka Portugese) for ‘House Without a Door’. It is the title of the latest Koboi Project series shot in Belem, Lisboa. This series addresses notions imperialism, globalization, migration, miscegenation and tourism in the course of my expansive Koboi Narrative. In impromptu photo-performances that took place at the Alfonso De Albuquerque Monument and the Discoveries Monument in Belem, Lisbon on 7th and 8th July 2018 respectively, I recast two important Portuguese memorials to discovery and ascendancy in an allegory of diasporic identity. In the course of each performance I raised my Pazaham Neeyappa banner with its image of Tamil movie SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth and played audio clips on a megaphone. The audio included Fausto’s A Guerra é a Guerra and Soundararajan & Janaki’s Ulagam Ulagam and a rendition of Jingkli Nona on the cello by Tara Rajah. I also played verses from the Malay pantun (poem) Kalau Roboh Kota Melaka and the lyrics of Ulagam Ulagam spoken in Portuguese by Hugo Moss. At the heart of each street intervention was the convivial engagement with the passers-by. Cards presenting the state flag of Melaka were handed out.
The next photo-event of the Koboi Project will be a series of street performances at the sites of various monuments to Portuguese marine adventure and imperialism in Belem, Lisbon. The performances will take place in the 2nd week of July 2018. For more information please visit https://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/nuntengporta
Jingli Nona is a song from a dance form know as Branyo. It epitomizes the Malacca Portuguese (Kristang) language, music and culture … In 1511, a Portuguese fleet under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque assaulted Malacca and annexed the Malacca sezurinty. The Portuguese then ruled Malacca for the next 130 years and in this time, to facilitate settlement, the Portuguese Crown granted freeman status and exemption from taxes to Portuguese men who married Malaccan women. According to a citation in a paper by Razaleigh Muhamat Kawangit 200 such marriages were recorded by 1604. The contemporary Kristang are their descendants. They form a small but fundamental component of Modern Malaysian society.
Listen all the way to end of the video and you will hear the Malay Joget rhythm come forth … of course, the influence goes the other way too. Interestingly, I am familiar with this song from my own Malaysian childhood. My parents grew up in Sri Lanka, and there they imbibed the Sri Lankan Portuguese musical form known as the Baila. I remember singing a version of this tune as a child, even before hearing the Kristang version.