Esplanade Presents


Air Da Tohor (The tide is low)

An Esplanade Commission
Asnida Daud & Firdaus Sani (Singapore)

19 May 2023, Fri, 8pm

20 May 2023, Sat, 3pm

1hr 30mins

(Intermission: None)

Esplanade Recital Studio

This event is over.


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.


Air Da Tohor flows through four segments, manifesting issues such as oral traditions, maritime craftsmanship, cuisine and environmentalism. The hour-long performance will culminate with a dialogue with the artists, moderated by Nabilah Said on 19 May and Aidli Mosbit on 20 May.


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.  

Pelindung (Protector) 

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.


Producer: P7:1SMA
Artistic director: Norhaizad Adam
Dramaturg: Aidli Mosbit
Writer-in-residence: Nabilah Said
Project manager: Hasyimah Harith


Researchers and performers: Asnida Daud, Firdaus Sani
Bubu fishermen: Hamzah Bin Mohamad, Mohamad Asri bin Hamzah
Martial artists: Isiah Majid, Endra Wirjaya Mohamad Hamdan
Movement: Adi Aiyad, Kansh, Hasyimah Harith


Stage manager: Syarifuddin Sahari
Assistant stage manager: Firas Rahmat
Sound: Jeffrey Zauhari, Luqman Hakim
Vocals: Syurga Jeffrey
Lighting designer: Amirul Azmi
Visual designer: Nurul Aqilah Mazromi & Fitrah Jeffrey


Read writings produced in response to the production, its people and its rhythms by Nabilah Said, writer-in-residence:

Admission Age:
6 and above.
Language: Malay
Surtitle Language: English
Things to Note:
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Artist Information

Asnida Daud

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

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.

Date & Time

19 May 2023, Fri


Esplanade Recital Studio

20 May 2023, Sat


Esplanade Recital Studio
Tickets & Prices

Students, NSFs, Seniors & PWDs

Price $30 $24

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Tote Board Arts Grant


All Secondary Schools, Junior Colleges/ Centralised Institute & ITEs may use the Tote Board Arts Grant to subsidise up to 50% of the programme cost. 


For more details, please contact Esplanade Box Office at 6828 8389 or email


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