Daddy Issues

The Malay Man and his Chinese Father. by Akulah Bimbo Sakti, a collective by Noor Effendy Ibrahim. Daddy Issues ya think? I took these photos in the space, and I keep them because they’re deliciously terrible and sadistic. The piece is performed by Yazid Jalil and Michael Tan, who are amazing in the amount of chemistry they have, trust, and sayang, to allow them to perform such terribly intimate truths about love, relationship, manhood and trauma.

I saw the whole thing as an iteration of trauma, the replaying, broken narrative of being displaced, in a way that only memory could offer. I read Cathy Caruth in school, and her words resounded in my head as I watched this. She spoke about unclaimed experience, the drabs of memory that lay unfixed, and incoherent, but existing as a sum of parts. There was space and time in this one, we saw characters relying on walls, designed on the floor in white tape (very much like the set of Dogville, windows and doors etched by dotted lines or gaps), there was no vocal landscaping, only a broken radio. alarm clocks, lights the simulated daytime and nighttime, (or did it? or is it a mere mockery of common perception of what day and night was?).


“It took the war to teach it, that you were as responsible for everything you saw as you were for everything you did. The problem was that you didn’t always know what you were seeing until later, maybe years later, that a lot of it never made it in at all, it just stayed there stored there in your eyes.” – Michael Herr, Dispatches.

It’s beautiful to watch.


Also some parts are painful to sit through, only because they were very real, and very emotionally distressing. But it was like scratching at a scab, it hurt, and it was sore, but it was shiok.

“The peculiar and paradoxical experience of trauma. In its most general definition, trauma describes and overwhelming experience of sudden, or catastrophic events, in which the response to the event occurs in the often delayed, and uncontrolled repetitive occurence of hallucinations and other instrusive phenomena.” – Cathy Caruth, Unclaimed Experience: Trauma and the Possibility of History.photo430766206424820051

pardon my terrible phone camera. photo430766206424820055photo430766206424820064.jpg

There was a live feed. Two cameras positioned at the bed and the bathroom, very intimate corners of an already very private and small home. The door never opens though, constantly locked, but never opened. The old man does try to unlock it, strangely the motion of trying to turn a knob with two hands, looked very much like strangling someone.


I rather not try to read too much into it. Some things must be left stored in our eyes. and just that only.

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