Residency Day 1, 26 January 2020


7pm - 10pm

Rumah P7:1SMA


After warming up for the rehearsal, Haizad would like to jump straight in to the Spider segment. He shared that the segment would mostly be recreating/reenacting the pastime of catching jumping spiders nicknamed bu, kang & hantu and having them fight each other. The collaborators all watched videos of spider fights to gain a better understanding of their movements.

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Movement study of how spiders fight.

With a more substantial understanding and imagination, they proceeded to reenact the scenario with the song in the background. The scene starts off with all 4 collaborators searching for spiders, and when one exclaims they have found one, one of the other collaborators will take the place of the spider. This will happen again with the remaining two, and the two (rather large) “spiders” will proceed to have a confrontation.


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A scene of spiders fighting.

They would mimic the stances, postures, intimidation tactics/abdomen display and fight patterns based on what they observed through the videos. As this was happening, the two catchers will watch and cheer on (perhaps embodying the elderly males in the videos) until one of their “spiders” give in. After one round, the scene will repeat and the roles will swap. As for the second round, the catchers will check the “spiders’” genders, and “spider” Sharul’s gender is ambiguous.

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An ambiguous gendered spider

The collaborators took time to structure their spider battles and coordinated/shared amongst both pairs, suggesting and adding in ideas to enhance them.


As they were structuring and did a few runs, the song, Relaku Pujuk (“my eagerness to console/soothe”), evoked a sense of nostalgia and tapped on reminiscence. It could be due to the age of the song (together with a sound that is hardly heard in current mainstream music) as well as the era the song came out in, which was concurrent with the popularity of such hobbies. The song lyrics may relate to the spiders or be from the spiders themselves. However, that is after being familiar with the lyrics, which may differ from one audience member to the other.

They then moved on to the Bumi Putera Rockers segment, which is a readaptation of the curtain call segment from Haizad’s work ‘Delay’. It borrows the European curtain call structure, where the audience will applaud 3 times, in a standing ovation.

For this segment, the collaborators will walk downstage from their previous segment, Fotograf, for the first round of applause before heading backstage. They will then reemerge one-by-one for the second round of applause before heading backstage again, and finally return as a collective, stand in a row, and sembah salam before finally concluding the performance.

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Planning their routes and sequence.

Throughout this segment, the collaborators will encourage/invite the audience to clap for them, being “thick skinned” and pretend to be famous. This came in the form of gestures, body language and facial expressions, to which some may find entertainingly annoying. If it comes to a situation where no one in the audience claps, they will clap very loudly for themselves. Similar to the previous segment, the song, Dari Sinar Mata (“from the shine in the eye”), and its lyrics can be adapted (perhaps a better term would be appropriated) to suit a different narrative as what was originally intended by the band or add another layer behind the meaning of the song. However, that interpretation/understanding could also be a bit of a stretch and subjective.


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Was it an embodiment, or expression of their deepest desire?

Following this, the collaborators tried from the Fotograf segment into the Bumi Putera Rockers segment, to have a better sensing of what it will be like lying down for 5 minutes straight as projections are shown, before transiting and ending off the performance.


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A photo of the Fotograf segment.


The collaborators then gathered to have a rehearsal debrief/final discussion:

- Reason for lying down in the dark, aside for the technical necessity to show the projections, is to be di alam (“in the realm”).

- The band names are chosen based on the mysteries & histories of Singapore.

- The performance as whole is presented in fragments, and the end ‘sews all the strings together’ and calls back to what happened prior.

- Should assistance/cues be given to help the audience make sense of the work?

o Yes because the songs are in Malay

o No because that could limit their imagination/interpretation

- Haizad is considering splitting the audience to Malays & Non-Malays so that they will not influence each other’s views and opinions about the work.

- Should the lyrics be translated?

o Yes, for better accessibility of lyrics. However translations will alter the nuance/expressions of the words.

o No, to allow the audience to pay more attention to the music and emotions and perhaps provide another experience perspective.

- What is jiwang now, in this day and age?

o Stereotypically refers to Malay 80s rock ballads.

o Xiao Jun shared that Chinese examples of jiwang artists would be Andy Lau and Jacky Cheong

- Jiwang used to be a music genre, which then became a term to describe conditions, experiences and emotions.

- There is a possible presence of patriarchy in the work as males sing all the songs.

o Most is not all jiwang bands are male

o It allows an opening for the possibility of a female version of jiwang.

- Why is Xiao Jun in Jiwang?

- Jiwang is not necessarily exclusively Malay; it could be a human condition that is more pronounced in the Malay community (perhaps due to history).

- The approach of Jiwang and its concept and choice of songs

o Satire of presenting “This is our condition.”

o A questioning that allows for speculation.

- Xiao Jun suggested for the work to have fragments.

- Haizad assigned the other collaborators to read up and find out more about medicine, nenek keropok, nasi kangkang and bomoh.


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The final debrief for the first day of residency.


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