Wednesday, October 10, 2012
A Century of Moonlight
"In all the old stories, all the men seem to be scholars. Like it was so easy to pass the exams. And some woman would wronged, and she would have to prove her innocence. The two protagonists would lament on and on. The full scene would be 45 minutes, which I'm sure would be enough to put everyone in the audience to sleep."
When the clock struck eight, mum and I moved to the gathering point. Upon walking out of Chan She Shu Yuen, we were given free lanterns and candles. Lovely. The start was a bit slow, with the organizing committee giving their speeches and doing a bit of lamenting of their own. Seems that money's running low and they're not so fired up anymore after a year. A cry out for new blood to continue the good work. YB Fong Kui Lun was also there to lend his support, together with Cikgu Suri, a grassroots leader from Gombak who is also resisting moves to develop their 150 year old village. Kicking start the night's event was Yuan Leow Yunn, a soprano who sang from the roof of the old site of Chik Shin Tang at Jalan Sultan. Her voice carried across the crowd and set the mood. The following act wasn't so great. A group of kids called the Ukelele Sunshine Kids showed their skill on the cute instrument, but it wasn't very good. Expecting for Jake Shimabukuro material is a but too much I guess. Then the Persatuan Penganut Buddha Bodhi KL did some singing. The next performance was scheduled at Old Asia Cafe. Six lion and dragon dance troupes (the dragon sponsored by Oloiya was extremely long and needed 90 handlers) led the lantern-toting public there. At the spot, the MC revealed some historic details of the place. Turns out to be the location of the old Laundry Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Yudi Yap belted out some shi da qu from the second floor window. The eerie lighting did not flatter her at all. After a couple of songs, she came down and did a sing-a-long of Teresa Teng's "The Moon Represents My Heart". Fun!
Just opposite was Gurdwara Sahib, so they showcased a Bhangra group, The Dholiz. Not quite as energetic as I expected. But thankfully a group of deperate la la kids rushed out to join them. Taking center stage like they were dancing on the podium of a club. Perhaps they were high on something. Moved on to Jalan Panggung where MoBeat was waiting for us. Consisting of two rappers, they go the way of dialect rapping, specifically Hokkien. Liked their style. Smooth and catchy. Closing their act was a deklamasi sajak from someone in Cikgu Suri's entourage (Seniman Paksi Rakyat). A poem on dreams, dreams of true freedom and democracy in Malaysia. Although I'm sure most of it was lost on the predominantly Cheeeena audience, everyone clapped anyway. Next up was Lee Swee Keong's Butoh performance at the Guan Di Temple. He was dressed up like a Balinese guardian (with a wooden mask and crazy white hair) and did his whole spasmic performance at the entrance of the temple. Complete with strobe light and disjointed soundtrack, it was all quite surreal. Jolting us back to reality was a heart-thumping act by the folks from Kampung Banda Dalam-- kompang.
Weirdness was also the mainstay in the next performance by Chong Keat Aun, something he called he calls a classical accent performance. Performed on the second floor of a shophouse, he basically did a faux funerary ceremony for the land that is currently being developed for the MRT project. Lilting chanting and transition between male and female voices, he waved joss sticks and threw mata kuching into the crowd. Many were freaked out. LOL. The second last stop was in front of the Yan Keng Benevolent Dramatic Association where the Theater Christian Fellowship belted out some hymns and love-themed songs. Back at square one, we were greeted by a pair of struggling singer / song writers who seemed to be more comfortable at Halo Cafe-- KC Loo and Yow. The highlight was a performance from Hands Percussion. Was mesmerised by one of the twinks beating his drum with wild abandon. Can't help but stare at his arms. :P. In the end, we had more speeches from the dedicated people at Projek Seni Komuniti Jalan Petaling. More calls for volunteers and funds. People did respond and donated on the spot. The rest of the people were busy burning candles on the ground, still very much in the mood for fun. But mum and I were pooped and quickly made our way back. Definitely a Moon Walk to remember.
Hands Percussion @ Jalan Sultan Moon Walk 2012 (don't you wish that the bald guy was out of the way?) from William Ng on Vimeo.