Jingli Nona

The next photo-event  of the Koboi Project will be a series of street performances at the sites of various monuments to Portuguese marine adventure and imperialism in Belem, Lisbon. The performances will take place in the 2nd week of July 2018. For more information please visit http://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/leraian/lisbon

Jingli Nona is a song from a dance form know as Branyo. It epitomizes the Malacca Portuguese (Kristang) language, music and culture  … In 1511, a Portuguese fleet under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque assaulted Malacca and annexed the Malacca sezurinty. The Portuguese then ruled Malacca for the next 130 years and in this time, to facilitate settlement, the Portuguese Crown granted freeman status and exemption from taxes to Portuguese men who married Malaccan women. According to a citation in a paper by Razaleigh Muhamat Kawangit 200 such marriages were recorded by 1604. The contemporary Kristang are their descendants. They form a small but fundamental component of Modern Malaysian society.

Listen all the way to end of the video and you will hear the Malay Joget rhythm come forth … of course, the influence goes the other way too. Interestingly, I am familiar with this song from my own Malaysian childhood. My parents grew up in Sri Lanka, and there they imbibed the Sri Lankan Portuguese musical form known as the Baila. I remember singing a version of this tune as a child, even before hearing the Kristang version.



Roboh Kota Melaka

papan dijawa

The fall of Melaka is depicted in a relief on the pedestal of the Alfonso De Albuquerque memorial in Belem, Lisbon. The next photo-event  of the Koboi Project will be a series of street performances at the sites of various monuments to Portuguese marine adventurism and imperialism. This intervention attempts to mark, express and interpret the aggregation of memories, memoirs and memorials that I find at this junction of my own self and this deeply historic place – Belem. The performances will take place in the 2nd week of July 2018.

Kalau roboh Kota Melaka
Papan di Jawa hamba dirikan
Kalau sungguh bagai dikata
Nyawa dan badan hamba serahkan

​If the city of Melaka has fallen
In Java shall I make my place
If I am true to the words I have spoken
Life and limb I shall give with grace

Se a cidade de Melaka cair
Vou me pousar então em Java
Se eu for leal às palavras ditas por mim
Oferecerei a minha vida toda com graça

For more information please visit http://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/leraian/lisbon


Promising Indians!

promising indiansWith with just 55 days left on the STATELESS INDIANS CLOCK, 20 or so promising Indian lawmakers from Pakatan Harapan held a press conference to renew their election promise to resolve the ‘stateless Indians’ problem in 100 days from coming into office. According to Malaysikini reporter Alyaa Alhadjri they held a press conference on the 25th of June 2018, with about 55 days on the clock … and proposed that the previous government’s, “Socioeconomic Development of Indian Community Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department (Sedic) be retained, as part of the government’s commitment to the community promised in its election manifesto”. In a seperate article Alyaa notes that PKR vice-president Xavier Jeyakumar told the press he is confident that the government will strive to resolve Indian citizenship issues within its first 100 days in office. Come on Annai can you really do it! What are action items … what is the timeline for this mammoth project … Please publish it so we can believe you … or at least be smart and let the 100 day deadline you set yourselves in your election promise to the most deprived sector of Malaysian society fade into the background noise along with the rest of the deadlines which will be forgotten in context of the post-election ‘realization’ of financial limitations brought about by the alleged malfeasance of the previous Barisan government! It seems that there are ‘promising Indians’ in every walk of Malaysian public life!

Image: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/431196


PETRONAS vs Wet’suwet’en

If PETRONAS goes ahead with its new LNG Terminal investment in BC, the Malaysian crown corporation will hold a 25% stake in LNG Canada’s CAD $ 40 billion project. This investment will be closely aligned with the Coastal GasLink pipeline that TransCanada is building to transport the natural gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat. A further enmeshment to note that much of the natural gas will come from PETRONAS’ own North Montney fields. All the parties involved in this set of developments, the corporations, the provincial government and the federal government have their eyes on the burgeoning Asian market for the LNG .

There remain, however, some unresolved and under reported conflicts with First Nations in connection with both the terminal and the pipeline. Although there are reportedly signed benefit agreements with 19 of the 20 First Nations involved, there is some entrenched opposition. Some members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation have built the Unist’ot’en healing camp in the path of the pipeline. So once again, the interests of the exemplary Malaysian bumiputra (indigenous) enterprise is contrary to the those of a group of indigenous peoples from British Columbia.




lng-canada-cattaneoHaving given up its bid to lead BC LNG Terminal investments with a mega plant on Lelu  island, PETRONAS seems unwilling to be left out. On the 31st of May  2018 PETRONAS owned Progress Energy announced  that another PETRONAS  wholly-owned entity, the North Montney LNG Limited Partnership (“NMLLP”), “has entered into a Purchase and Sales Agreement for an equity position in the LNG Canada project in Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada”. Pending regulatory approvals and associated agreements, the composition of ownership in this ‘LNG Canada’ project will be PETRONAS (through NMLLP), (25%); Shell Canada Energy, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”), (40%); PetroChina Canada Ltd. (15%); Diamond LNG Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation, (15%); and Kogas Canada LNG Ltd. (5%).

Before PETRONAS joined this consortium, Chris Newman of Energeticcity.ca, had reported that industry analysts consider the project  to be a long shot. Yet in an even earlier article in Energeticcity.ca (also by Newman), B.C.’s Premier John Horgan, is reported to have said that the project will proceed “It has all of its permits in place, has social license from First Nations in the region, has the support of the community, and is waiting for economic conditions to turn around”.


Image: http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-ndp-celebrates-petronas-return-but-lng-canada-hurdles-remain



Gaikwad cries Jai Bhim

In, arguably, the most significant vignette of PA Ranjith’s Kaala (a film that is essentially a collection of rhetorical set pieces), a minor character named Shivaji Rao Gaikwad (Rajinikanth’s actual name), speaks up for the protesting slum-dwellers that he, as a policeman, is tasked with repressing.  ‘Shivaji Rao’ who, one might reasonably assume, is a signifier for the ‘real’ Rajinikanth, concludes his revolutionary speech with the Ambedkarite cry – ‘Jai Bhim’. This conjunction of speech and speaker, of message and context, of the text and its tag, presents, in a nutshell, the conundrum of Rajinikanth’s political entry. Are we being given insight into Rajinikanth’s intended political direction and allegiance … or is this merely Ranjith’s cinematic fantasy – aligning the voice of an illusory SUPERSTAR with his own fervent Dalit cause, without any grounding in Rajinikanths’s actual politics … Indeed, as the upcoming Tamil Nadu elections unfold, it will be fun reading and re-reading this scene in the light of that moving political context! Indeed, the Gaikward vignette appears to be a most intricate double, perhaps triple, feint, made in the course of a momentous Kollywood engagement between rising director and risen SUPERSTAR – the highlight of an exchange between two powerful agendas in Tamil Cinema … Tamil politics even!

Who Are You Man!

Of late, the SUPERSTAR’s sign (semiotically speaking) was being reconstituted as a unity of two distinct signifiers – one being that of the established  screen ‘hero’ and the other, the emerging ‘politician’. Both these signifies had, in the run-up to the release of PA Ranjith’s Dalit-Bahujan (the proletariat majority in the context of Indian caste society) gangster flick Kaala, seemed to be coalescing to signify something like … ‘Common (Tamil) People’s Leader’. In the wake of the Thoothukudi police massacre, however, Rajinikanth’s response, seem to have created a sudden and impactful aporia or space of internal contradiction within this singular signification.

Who is the Superstar Rajinikanth?! ….