30 | Sisterhood & Space.

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So, you guys probably know I just came home from a 3-night stay in Kuantan, visiting relatives. Basically, my grandaunts & their children live in Kuantan, which is in Pahang, Malaysia, and visiting them is just something I don’t really get to do often. I came with two missions, one, to visit relatives, and two, to complete a travel writing assignment. I was going to write an exposition of Kuantan, but who knew that everything was going to tie in so nicely that I had so much more to write about?

Firstly, on sisterhood.

I first approached this topic by watching Sisters, a play by my mentor, Jean Tay, put up as part of Literally9 at the Arts House. Aside from the technical genius of it, the concept and the lessons I garnered were very close to heart. I think it really touched the core of sisterhood – maybe the way sisters interact and bond is truly different from that of the brothers? Other than that, I really loved the way puppetry made the play come to life, and the use of very simple props – 8 chairs decked in different cloths and made of different textures, ie a chair draped in white cloth was used in the scene of the wedding, and chairs were overturned to form “islands”. It was an eye-opener and these are the things you can do in theatre and not on screen. That, for me, is the whole charm of the theatre. Also, the way the actresses took on more than 5 characters between them, each with distinctly different voices, characters, habits and personalities, was spectacular. They had the accents, expressions, and movements down to a T, accurately transitioning between characters in the blink of an eye. All in all, it was very experimental, but in my eyes it was a success, and it really inspired me to get on with my writing!!! Moving on..

I met my grandaunts & the way they were still very much emotionally attached to my Grandma despite being separated by the Causeway is just really admirable. 🙂

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As you can see, this is a true blue kampong and I still have many memories of how I used to come here when I was younger and become some mosquito buffet! Nevertheless, it’s cool to be running around in the same space that my mom used to run around in, and to see the family history and property being passed down, generation to generation.

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That oven is a whopping 50 years old. And yes, it’s still operational. In fact, most of the things you see on the table are older than I am, even.

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The pantry always holds the sweetest memories for me cos I loved tagging along to my Sixth Grandaunt as she baked and she’d introduce all these ingredients to me in a cute way. 🙂

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The view from behind the metal grille.

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My grandaunt used to sing me this Big Ben song which I’ve forgotten now, but this clock has a really ominous chime. Don’t like it, but it’s one of a kind.

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Next, about space.

After reading Boom, by Jean Tay, and The Coffin Is Too Big For The Hole by Kuo Pao Kun, I’m starting to wonder if  one day when I die, I won’t be able to opt to be buried. I want my ashes scattered in the sea, by the way, but as I paid respects  to family that day, I wondered if one day I’d be cramped instead of having the kind of space as they do in Malaysia. Hmm. 

In conclusion though, after three nights, copious amount of bak kut teh, chicken rice and kinship, I must say, I really do love my family there as well, and my essay is definitely going to be a long one. Phew.

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