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District 14 Bah Rehearsal

| Documentation by Syarifuddin Sahari |

17 October 2020, 10:30am - 1:30pm

Rumah P7:1SMA

This rehearsal included the youths from Atrika and Azpirasi as well as the elderly from MKAC, and it was the first time they rehearsed together along with the associates. Before the elderly arrived, the youth and associates broke the ice by playing a game of passing the ‘kain’ around without using their hands or letting it touch the floorbefore warming up together through Last Breath.

Getting to know and coming together for the final Bah.

When the MKAC elderly arrived, Haizad decided to speak in Malay for ease of understanding (to the majority, at least. Perhaps a manifestation of Geylang in Rumah?). Everyone then took turns to share their names with everyone present. He then continued to share about the project as well as the idea behind the Bah video, and that the rehearsal was towards the recording of it. He shared that the location will be the big space outside Joo Chiat Complex, where the taxi stand is along Joo Chiat Road, and it will be recorded from a birds-eye view perspective off one of the higher levels. The final video is envisioned to be about 15 – 20 minutes long, and the costumes will be confirmed at a later date (except for the associates, as they will be wearing the same costumes they wore for their videos and Rasa).

An orientation for the Bah filming.

Haizad explained / clarified on the type of dance / movement that P7:1SMA does, as well as his vision for Bah with regards to the intentions of those appearing in the video. He went through the associates’ and youths’ involvement first, and that each group will be featured in allocated segments in the video.

He went through the “plan” / flow of the video:

  1. The invited artists will come in and ‘bentang’ (spread) their white cloths in a flower-like layout in the center of the space.

  2. P7:1SMA associates will come in with their dumplings (the same way as how they exited in Rasa), place their dumplings on the floor and start the phrase they learnt previously.

  3. The youths will each hold a white cloth from one side and pull them apart / separate them, dragging them on the floor.

  4. The MKAC elderly will approach the P7:1SMA associates, receive the dumplings and place them on the dragging end of the white cloth that is being pulled by the youths, before coming into the center of the space (where the white cloths used to be).

  5. After a certain point / distance, the youths will stop dragging the cloths and join the elderly and associates in the center.

  6. Everyone will do the phrase together.

  7. Will then transition to a ‘joget lambak’ where everyone will groove and have fun.

Although the recording is now changed to being in-location, this rehearsal is what it would be like if it was done outside of Geylang.

Going through with the youths.

Everyone was then invited to learn the phrase together, done in a circle. Haizad shared that the phrase had influences from Silat (a Malay martial art form) and that its speed is rather slow. He also went through a simple step-tap to be used as the foundation for the ‘joget lambak’ segment. They then tried the last segment together with music, where everyone is in the center, performing the phrase and going into the free movement / party segment.

Learning and trying out the dance segment.

They then went through from the very start of the video (after the invited artists place the white cloths), this time Haziq and Liyana from Atrika performing their duet while the associates come in and ‘rasa’ their dumplings.

After everyone was clear with the sequence and flow, Haizad shared how the video will end / what happens after the ‘joget lambak’ segment before ending the rehearsal:

- 1 MKAC, invited artist, 1 youth and 1 associate will each come together and sit on a white cloth, similar to a ‘kenduri’.

- They will unravel the dumpling together.

- Talk / have conversations about the object inside, their experiences, their thoughts on Geylang etc.

Sharing how the last segment of the video will look like, not unlike this photo.

The different parties then separated for the day, with Hasyimah requesting the youths to come up with duets (like what Haziq and Liyana did) to perform while the associates ‘rasa’ their dumplings, and the MKAC elderly played five stones and card games with some from P7:1SMA before leaving.

Last few moments of sharing the space together (for the day).

Thoughts and observations from the rehearsal:

- Has the intention (of being out of space i.e. Geylang) shifted as it is now situated in Geylang?

- A showcase of community spirit and being interconnected.

o A literal passage; of time, of the objects / dumplings, of ideas.

- The concern of how the white cloths will be placed by the invited artists, and their fragility.

o Haizad mentioned to the youths to be sensitive, showing care and being tender to the cloths when pulling them.

- Wet-weather plan? Regulations to ensure health and safety during recording?

- The MKAC elderly were akin to guests-of-honour / VIPs, especially when they were invited to learn the movement phrase and dance together with the associates and youths.

- Conversations to pass the time.

o Hasyimah engaging in conversation with Mdm Mihrul, Ismail with Mr Rafi.

o Murmurs constantly filled the air, similar to Geylang.

- Although the recording is now changed to being in-location, this rehearsal is what it would be like if it was done outside of Geylang.


As much as we will attempt to record the process, this journal does not necessarily reflect the artistic direction or intention of the work. This is our interpretation as we experience it with the artists and collaborators.

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