Saturday, December 30, 2006

Folklores staged!

Event: Folklores staged!
Date: Jan 10 & 11, 2007
Venue: The Main Auditorium,Main Campus, International Islamic University
Malaysia, Jalan Gombak, Kuala Lumpur.
Time: 8.30 pm - 10 pm

Folklores from:

Malaysia (Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup in English!)
China (Shanxi Bai Mao Nv or The Grey Haired Girl of Shanxi)
Sudan (A story of the arrival of Islam in Africa)
Turkey (Stories of Nasruddin Hoja)
Iran (The 40 Thieves)

These plays are re-written, directed and acted by IIUM students/staff and
their guest performers from Turkey, Iran, Middle East and Africa.There
will be folk dances and music incorporated in the plays.

Fee: RM2 (with programme book), RM1 without prog book.

Contact Shima at 012 283 7847 or the English Langauge and Literature Dept
(Dr Faridah tel 6196 5130/013 353 3342)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Launch of Silverfish New Writing 6

Silverfish New Writing 6 edited by Prof Dr Dipika Mukherjee was launched on the 14 of November 2006 (Tuesday), at the Banquet Hall 2 of Impiana KLCC Hotel & Spa in Kuala Lumpur. The launch sponsored by HSBC for the Arts was attended by over one hundred. It is indeed wonderful that we have organisations like HSBC in the country that are ready and willing to sponsor the arts and literature given the present atmosphere that is almost anti-art and anti-intellectual. Of course, it helps that Dato' Zarir Cama is a banker who reads TS Eliot.

Dr Dipika Mukherjee was down from Amsterdam for the event. Amongst the writers who turned up in person were Junaidah Hussain, Nurfaizah Tubi, Peter Brown, Rebecca Chew, Saras Manickam, and Thaatchaayini Kananatu. Four other writers, Arun Subramaniam, Arthur Goh, S Gopalan and Wenxian Tan were represented by family and friends. Congratulations and keep the stories coming. We are now accepting submissions for Silverfish New Writing 7 - closing date 31 March 2007. Read the rules here.

Silverfish New Writing 6 is now available at all major bookstore at RM25.00. You may also order them (post free if you live in Malaysia) from our secure website here. See the slide show here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Farish Noor - website launch - 28th Oct 06

Political scientist and activist Farish Noor spoke to another standing room only crowd (with no police presence) at Silverfish Books on the 28th of October. Also with him were Yusseri Yusoff and Mack Zulkifli who volunteered to help him put up the website:

Farish Noor made an impassioned plea to not let the real history of Malaysia be erased or marginalized. The website, which is funded entirely by him welcomes contribution from everyone … on issues of politics, religion, gender, culture, economics et. al… with the only condition being the writers take responsibility for what they write. No pseudonyms, and definitely no anonymous postings will be allowed.

This site was set up as a source of alternative information regarding the history of Malaysia. will therefore attempt to highlight aspects of Malaysia's past and present that have been systematically downplayed or relegated to the background of the national
(That's Farish Noor for you!)

He further adds: is committed to an academic culture that is free, open and democratic. Readers are encouraged to use the materials found in this site and all that we ask is that proper acknowledgement is given …

Visit the website and click here for a slideshow.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Amir Muhammad event - Police come a calling

A gentleman came by at around 2.00pm on Saturday. I was not in, Phek Chin was. He extended his hand in a handshake. Phek Chin took it and was about to say, "No thank you," thinking he was yet another direct salesman, when the gentleman introduced himself as Inspector So-and-so (no names shall be mentioned) from the Brickfields Police Station. Phek Chin said she was a little taken aback - bengang
was the word she used - but the gentleman proceeded to ask if there was going to be a screening of an Amir Muhammad movie later? "No, I don't think so. I think it is going to be a talk of some sort," she replied. He then asked who would be attending? "Our usual customers lah," she said. Can anybody come? Yah, anyone can come. Can I come? Yah, you can come. What time does it start? Five thirty. Are you the boss? No my boss just went out.

He came back just before we started, introduced himself and sat at the back. (He said he had a colleague, though I couldn't figure out whom.)

Amir talked about his new documentary, Village Radio, with a slide presentation. (While The Last Communist was about the Chinese side of the communist insurgency in the country, the Village Radio was about Malay side.) Amir Muhammad said he was at one of the two Malay villages in Southern Thailand (another two are occupied by the Chinese) where the ex-communists live and earn a living off the land given to them by the Thai government - though many of them were originally from Temerloh.

When I turned around after the presentation, I noticed that the gentleman had left. Looks like the police are interested in everything Amir does these days. But from all accounts, I must say that he was extremely polite. Charm offensive? Or new image.

Watch the slideshow here

Monday, October 09, 2006

Farish A Noor at Silverfish Books on Saturday 28th Oct, 5.30 pm

Farish A Noor writes on The question of how 'progressive' ideas can be transmitted to Muslim societies today is a thorny one, as it raises many other related questions regarding the power relations both between the Western and Muslim worlds as well as the power relations within the Muslim world itself. At a time when Muslims the world over feel that the future of Muslim countries is under threat, and when conspiracy theories abound about the so-called 'concerted attempts' to undermine Islam from within and without, any attempt to work towards a radical re-thinking of Muslim norms, values and praxis is bound to solicit much controversy and suspicion, if not outright resistance and even violent reaction.

He says of his website: This site was set up by a number of Malaysian scholar-activists and volunteers with the simple aim of providing other sources of information for those who are interested in unearthing aspects of Malaysian history, politics and culture that have thus far been sidelined, marginalised or erased in the official historiography of the post-colonial state.

Farish A Noor will officially launch his website at Silverfish Books on Saturday 28th Oct 2006 at 5.30pm. Those who have attended his talks before know how eloquent a speaker he is. Do not miss this opportunity to meet and talk to Malaysia's top public intellectual.

Admission is free. But do RSVP Usha/Phek Chin, tel: 03-228 448 37, before Friday 27th Oct 2006 due to limited space.

Amir Muhammad at Silverfish Books on Saturday 14th Oct 2006, 5.30 pm

Village Radio is the sequel to Amir Muhammad's documentary The Last Communist, the first Malaysian work to be banned at home. The Last Communist has been invited to over two dozen film festivals since premiering at the Berlinale Forum

Village Radio takes place in a community of retired Malay-Muslim communists. Although of Malaysian origin, they live across the border in South Thailand. Recollections of the decades-long guerilla warefare against the Malaysian government are interspersed with a fictional Thai soap opera.

Amir will be talking about the making of this sequel to his banned Lelaki Komunis Terakhir, called Village Radio (Apa Khabar Orang Kampung) with a slide presentation. Expect this to be interesting. Amir will also be around to sign any of his DVDs you buy. (Oh BTW, free postcards of Village Radio wil be given away to all attending.)

Admission is free. But do RSVP Usha/Phek Chin at tel: 03-228 448 37 before Friday, 13th Oct, because space is limited.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Pete Teo and Ho Yu Hang

Pete Teo
and Ho Yu Hang were at Silverfish Books on the 23rd of September fresh back from the Venice Film Festival, a film festival regarded second only to the big one in Cannes. Most people don't realise how big a deal it is to have your film shown in competition in Venice. Ho Yu Hang, who wrote and directed the film, Rain Dogs, was boxing way above his weight catagory, in the words of Pete Teo, who also acts in the film.He says that Ho is a director to watch. "He will will go far." He commends the film maker's lyricism and power in story telling. "It is a beautiful film," he says. Anyway we will be able to find out soon enough. The film will hit the local circuits by the end of October - if the censors or other powers don't object, that is. (The film will be in competition in Pusan and Hong Kong, and will be an official selection in Toronto and Vancouver.)

Pete Teo did not quite launch his new album, Television, on Saturday but he talked about it, about writing it, and played some songs from it. While his previous album was dark and almost suicidal, he says he decided to move away from that theme for two reasons. Firstly, he didn't want to be stereotyped, and secondly he is in a much better mood these days! He says he doesn't like the pop song format (nor the industry) and prefers to write about what he sees happening around him. He lists the Middle East crisis and the Iraq war as major influnces on his latest venture, Television.

Pete Teo is without a doubt the most literate song writer in Malaysia. He may not be a Bob Dylan (yet), but a Paul Simon ...? I think so. Give his new album,
Television, a listen.

View the slideshow.