19 May 2023, Fri, 8pm
Esplanade Recital Studio
Air Da Tohor (The tide is low) is a vernacular expression used by the orang laut / orang pulau to call for attention to low tides when fishing. Just as intertidal zones reflect where the ocean meets the land, in low tides more can be seen and revealed in life below water.
Asnida Daud and Firdaus Sani are two of Singapore's orang pulau and orang laut descendants whose families lived on Pulau Semakau and Pulau Sudong. These islands, located in the south of Singapore, were once home to indigenous orang pulau (people of the islands) community. In Air Da Tohor, they will attempt to navigate their complex identities, loss of cultural tradition and heritage through spoken word and movement.
The performance will flow through four segments, manifesting issues such as oral traditions, maritime craftsmanship, cuisine and environmentalism.
Mantera Laut (Mantras for the Ocean)
A culture that is rooted to its coastal environment and beliefs, the orang laut/orang pulau community are no strangers to animism. Crafted in a mother tongue unique to this community, this segment is inspired by the spoken and written words of healing and love mantras used in rituals and as a way of manifestation.
Rangka Bubu, Rangka Budaya (Frame of a Bubu fishing trap, Frame of our culture)
Focusing on the unique maritime craftsmanship of wired fish traps made by coastal communities, this segment dissects the anecdotes behind the unique traditions of bubu trapping. With little to no access to land and sea, this dying tradition faces the challenge of having no torchbearers in the foreseeable future.
Kami tak akan mati (We will not cease to exist)
As natural food gatherers, the orang pulau / orang laut community often rely on their surroundings to source for food. This segment focuses on the unique perceptions to one particular species of seafood: the puffer fish. While it is infamously known as a highly poisonous fish, it is a delicacy among the coastal communities. From entrapment of the fish, de-poisoning, to its ritualistic practices, this story spotlights an underrepresented heritage forged by its unique cuisine.
For decades, the stories and identities of the orang laut / orang pulau have been written by others. Inspired by sea rituals and mantras for protection, this segment hopes to embody the characteristics, energy and willpower of the orang pulau / orang laut community who are the respectful guardians and protectors of nature.
Researchers and performers: Asnida Daud, Firdaus Sani
Invited performers: Hamzah Bin Mohamad & Mohamad Asri bin Hamzah
Movement artists: Syimah Sabtu, Adi Aiyad, Kansh
Sound artists: Jeffrey Zauhari, Luqman Hakim
Vocalist: Syurga Jeffrey
Artistic director: Norhaizad Adam
Dramaturg: Aidli Mosbit
Writer-in-residence: Nabilah Said
Project manager: Hasyimah Harith
Stage manager: Syarifuddin Sahari
Assistant stage manager: Firas Rahmat
Lighting designer: Amirul Azmi
Visual content creators: Nurul Aqilah Mazromi & Fitrah Jeffrey
Asnida conceptualises, produces, directs, writes, acts, and sings in audio and video resources for national schools, a role that requires a high level of proficiency in the Malay language. Asnida is a representation of the Bahasa Budaya aspect of the Malay language as her involvement in the Malay arts and culture shows the language’s pivotal role in understanding and preserving Singapore's national language heritage and culture.
Firdaus Sani is a fourth-generation orang laut/pulau descendant whose ancestry can be traced to the islanders of Singapore’s Southern islands and the Riau Islands. His maternal grandparents used to live on Pulau Semakau, until 1977 before they had to leave their home for the mainland. While growing up, Firdaus visited Pulau Semakau on many occasions with his grandparents, where he learnt the traditions and the ways of life of the people who had a deep connection with the sea. Firdaus is the founder of Orang Laut SG (@oranglautsg), a page dedicated to reclaiming indigenous narratives. As an advocate for indigenous voices, Firdaus has spoken about his cultural heritage on platforms such as TedxYouth@Singapore and Singapore Writers Festival.
19 May 2023, Fri
Students, NSFs, Seniors & PWDs
Early Bird (16 – 26 Mar 2023, limited tickets)
Black: 20% savings
White: 15% savings
Discover: 15% savings (Min. of 2 tickets)
From 27 Mar 2023, 9am
Black: 15% savings
White: 10% savings
Discover: 10% savings (Min. of 2 tickets, limited tickets)
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