RASA is the sentient flow of the body as it recovers from forgetting. The lenggok tari, the lentik jari, the moving towards a vivid image, the moving away from the abstract longing. Rasa is when the body feels the body, all in the act of reimagining the bodily traces of hijrah (migration).

This is just a white cloth bought in Geylang Serai. I lay it on the ground. I thought of lemongrass, Bazaar Ramadhan, red light district, putu piring, the extinct Malay Village, karaoke sessions at Grandlink Square, Geylang River, beggars, bungalows, karipap, Azan and Malay dance. I should put down all my thoughts on this white cloth. But, I crumpled and hugged it.


Norhaizad Adam

Kain Geylang, 2020

Original cotton cloth from Geylang Serai

Rasa (feeling) workshop at

Rumah Rimau Dapor


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I learn to appreciate wisdom and words from everyone, regardless of age. I am reminded to pay attention to what really matters as we bring strangers together and spend time to chat about life. Also, talking about Geylang Serai helps us to see each other as equals and that artists and community can learn from each other. I am grateful for the trust and generosity of everyone in District 14 and humbled seeing everyone’s heart and mind invested in passing on their stories to each other, having faith in District 14 unfolding by itself.

- Norhaizad Adam

I appreciate the opportunity to converse with the different artists that P7:1SMA has roped in and it was fresh and beautiful to witness and see their processes and ideas.

- Syimah Sabtu


"The moving away from the abstract longing... when the body feels the body."

Displacement to me is an act of witnessing corrosion. Geylang Serai reminds me of this sense of displacement. Although I did not grow up in Geylang, there is a red thread of connection to the district and architectures. I recognise that now I am the migrant / intruder in Geylang Serai. I am interested to reminisce, hope and be present to experience and this is my response through Rasa. In line with the idea of Hijrah (migration), I am curious on what happens to the being when in a space with histories and habits. Does it have an imprint on the state of self (body and mind), physical space or presence of lives living in the community spaces? What happens before, during and after? To really observe, absorb, experience and converse.

Syimah Sabtu

Rasa, 2020


Dance film shot
at Tanjong Katong Complex


7 bungkusan (parcels) prepared for P7:1SMA Associates

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Documented by Koh Maan Lin


Haizad and Syimah gathered the bungkusans to one corner of Zarina’s backyard, and the associates were told to close their eyes and take the first bungkusan they felt. Some associates crawled on the floor, and some simply walked with their arms outstretched. I appreciated the way this exercise was carried out, because it also means that the bungkusan could pick the associates, and the associates would just have to work with whatever they were given.


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Documentarian Notes


Documented by Syarifuddin Sahari

They were then invited to explore with their individual dumplings; to rasa (feel) with different body parts, different placements and different angles. Some observations:


  • Smell of one of the dumplings seeped into others.

  • Valerie’s dumpling unravelled, which she then re-tied (did she see the its contents?).

  • Dancing / feeling the item compared to becoming / embodying the item.

  • Each associate was reflecting on their personal journey with their dumplings.

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Collaborators for RASA

Artist Collaborators

Norhaizad Adam

Syimah Sabtu

P7:1SMA Associate Artists

Sonia Kwek

Ismail Jemaah

Jonit On

Hasyimah Harith

Valerie Lim

Kow Xiao Jun

+ Read more about them

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Koh Maan Lin