BOOK REVIEW | Soulless by Rozlan Mohd. Noor

There is a sense of bleakness that permeates Soulless: Inspector Mislan and the Faceless Girl, the latest of the Inspector Mislan novels, a bilingual series of whodunits written by retired Malaysian policeman Rozlan Mohd. Noor. The novel begins with a scene of destitution and despair: a drug addict named Aden Kho, living in the squalor of downtown KL, encounters the rotting corpse of a mutilated murder victim – she has no face. Thus begins a lengthy and exhaustive investigation to uncover the truth surrounding the death of an individual who is faceless in both the literal and figurative sense...

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Teacher gets 45 non-English speaking students to stage a play in English!

Over the past few months, a group of secondary school students have been toiling together to put up a play. The performance is set to be in English; a language that is not native to most if not all the participants. Yet, these teenagers, from five “high need schools” in Kedah, have decided to embrace the challenge to raise awareness against the destructive behaviour of bullying. For this reason, “Singing for the Lions” is not your ordinary theatre piece. The ensemble cast and crew consist of 45 students from SMK Lubok Buntar, SMK Serdang, SMK Serdang Baru, SMK Sultan Ahmad...

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The reason MPH 1 Utama closed down is not what you think it is!

On 7 August I heard the news, first reported by Amenic Film Space, that MPH’s 1 Utama branch has closed down. Some people have attributed the closure of this bookshop, and bookshops in general, to digital consumption of books (e-books). While I am not affiliated at all to MPH and any of its related companies to know precisely the full circumstances of the closure, I do not believe that e-books are the cause of bookstores closing. Rather, I feel that the bookselling model that MPH has been surviving on is an expensive model, and if no changes are made...

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Khizanat wants a revamp to host international audiences!

Kamal Sabran performs with Sufian Abdullah at Khizanat Ipoh. Image credit Wan Musa. Ipoh is known for its food, signature coffee and in recent years, blossoming  art scene. Locals and international tourists alike have been flocking to the city’s revitalised “old town” to look at intriguing murals and patron the quaint shophouses, that exude a “hispter cafe” vibe while still maintaining a local charm, possibly lent by the preserved five-foot way architecture, commonly featured in colonial cities in South East Asia. If you’ve attended one or several of the many art festivals in good ol’ Ipoh, you can bet...

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Vikramaditya – Bahagian 9 oleh Uthaya Sankar SB

Baca bahagian-bahagian terdahulu di sini. Vikramaditya sedang berjalan meredah malam yang gelap. Di bahu raja itu kelihatan sekujur mayat yang dihuni Vetalam. Mayat itu perlu dibawa kepada seorang lelaki alim yang mahu menjalankan yaagam, iaitu suatu upacara pemujaan khas. Setiap kali Vikramaditya bercakap, puntianak itu terbang melayang dan bergayut semula pada dahan pokok besar di tanah perkuburan. “Jangan ikut laluan ini,” kata Vetalam tiba-tiba. “Sekumpulan ahli sihir sedang membuat upacara khas di sana. Mereka mungkin menganggap tuanku mengganggu kerja mereka, lalu melakukan sesuatu yang tidak baik.” Vikramaditya sudah beberapa kali melalui jalan yang sama. Mustahil tiba-tiba ada sekumpulan ahli sihir...

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Opening doors to tell more Malaysian stories through The New Play Project

All images by The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre Mention the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) and immediately three things comes to mind; the theatre shows, the gorgeous location and the ever growing number of talented individuals churned out through the in-house programmes here. You might be familiar with the The Actors Studio Seni Teater Rakyat’s (TASSTR) Theatre for Young People (T4YP), an initiative that consists of workshops and lessons on acting for a period of three months before culminating with a full scale production. This programme, started out 11 years ago, has churned out a slew of...

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Vikramaditya – Bahagian 8 oleh Uthaya Sankar SB

Baca bahagian-bahagian terdahulu di sini. Cheviraja mendengar penerangan Shekar yang menyamar sebagai seorang pendeta. Raja dan pegawai istana segera pergi ke rumah saudagar yang dikenali dengan nama timangan Penggigit. Mereka terkejut melihat Thamarai yang masih berada dalam keadaan mabuk akibat minum arak. Terdapat calar pada lehernya akibat cakaran menggunakan garpu oleh Kumaran. Cheviraja yakin kesan itu akibat terkena tombak sakti pendeta. “Ternyata Thamarai seorang ahli sihir! Beta menjatuhkan hukuman supaya wanita ini dibotakkan kepala dan dibuang ke dalam hutan!” Demikian keputusan Cheviraja yang masih berduka atas kematian putera tunggalnya. Penggigit cuba merayu tetapi tidak diendahkan oleh Cheviraja. Thamarai pula...

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Vikramaditya – Bahagian 7 oleh Uthaya Sankar SB

Baca bahagian-bahagian terdahulu di sini. Vikramaditya tidak memberikan sebarang jawapan kepada pertanyaan Vetalam kerana baginda tidak mahu mayat yang sedang dibawa itu terbang semula ke pokok besar di tanah perkuburan. “Jangan risau. Ini bukan soalan utama saya. Sebenarnya, menurut tafsiran Shekar, tiga calar itu bermakna keadaan di rumah milik saudagar bernama Penggigit itu tidak selamat dikunjungi selama tiga hari,” kata Vetalam sebelum meneruskan ceritanya. Maka, selepas tiga hari, wanita tua itu diminta pergi semula bertemu dengan Thamarai. Nenek bercerita lagi mengenai Kumaran sementara gadis itu mendengar dengan penuh gembira. Tiba-tiba, kedengaran bunyi bising di luar rumah tiga tingkat itu....

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BOOK REVIEW – A German with a Pulse on Arab’s Scientific Future!

Space Science and the Arab World: Astronauts, Observatories and Nationalism in the Middle East (2018), by Jörg Matthias Determann, is a book that has been a ‘long’ time coming. Both for the author himself, who has researched and drafted it since his days as a PhD candidate in 2014, and for us here in the Arab world. It’s filled a ‘gap’, a tremendous gaping hole, in our own knowledge of ourselves. I had no idea that scientists, scholars and politicians from the late 19th century in Arabic countries were desperately trying to revive the science of astronomy in the...

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BOOK REVIEW | Coitus Interruptus and Other Stories

Author : Malachi Edwin Vethamani Genre : Short stories Novel Pages : 92 I did not quite expect to like Coitus Interruptus and Other Stories as much as I did. The not-very suggestive title denotes the interruption of a sexual act, and someone could be forgiven for mistaking the book for a collection of erotica. I’m glad that I gave this book a chance. Coitus Interruptus and Other Stories shows that Malachi Edwin Vethamani, already very well-received as a poet of two collections – Complicated Lives (2016) and Life Happens (2017) – is an adept and emphatic writer of short...

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Vikramaditya – Bahagian 6 oleh Uthaya Sankar SB

Baca bahagian-bahagian terdahulu di sini. Vikramaditya tidak berputus asa. Baginda bergegas ke arah pokok besar di tanah perkuburan. Seperti yang dijangka, mayat yang dihuni Vetalam sedang tergantung dalam kedudukan terjuntai dari dahan. Raja itu memanjat pokok berkenaan dan menurunkan mayat tersebut. Kemudian, Vetalam diletakkan di atas bahu kiri sebelum memulakan perjalanan sekali lagi. “Bagus! Bagus! Tuanku tidak mudah berputus asa,” Vetalam bersuara sejurus selepas itu. Vikramaditya tidak memberikan sebarang balasan. Sebaliknya, baginda terus berjalan meredah kegelapan. “Perjalanan kita amat jauh. Izinkan saya untuk berkongsi satu lagi kisah,” kata Vetalam yang menghuni mayat di atas bahu raja. Di sebuah negeri,...

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Vikramaditya – Bahagian 5 oleh Uthaya Sankar SB

Baca bahagian-bahagian terdahulu di sini. Puluhan putera, pahlawan, dan pemuda berkumpul di perkarangan istana. Orang ramai juga hadir untuk menyaksikan swayamvara (sayembara) yang bakal berlangsung. “Minta perhatian!” Perdana menteri bersuara selepas mendapat arahan daripada raja. “Pada hari ini, suatu pertandingan akan diadakan bagi memilih individu yang sesuai untuk berkahwin dengan Puteri Indumati.” Ujian yang diumumkan amat berbeza dengan tradisi swayamvara yang menjadi amalan selama ini. Peserta perlu memanjat satu tembok tinggi. Kemudian, peserta perlu melompat dari atas tembok itu. Di bahagian bawah, terdapat sangkar khas tiga tingkat yang dipasang ratusan pisau tajam. Peserta perlu memastikan tubuhnya langsung tidak terkena pisau...

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