June/July 2013 Ridiculously Free
e-journal of Asian Arts and Culture
nabina das sue guiney julian good ankur betageri
rodney p. yap
gerry alanguilan jeganathan ramachandram 1
buy this e-book on Amazon 4
contents page 6
martin bradley new poems
paul callan Shadows beneath the Fronds novel excerpt
jeganathan ramachandram studio visit
graham mceune segment from up country
ankur betageri review
nabina das poetry
madan lal visual art
sue guiney a clash of innocents review
art basel hong kong exhibition
dr julian good inari kitsune deity or messenger?
shanghart gallery exhibition yang fudong - the nightman cometh
gerry alanguilan comics from the philippines
rodney p. yap visual art
amy aragon visual art
nazlinaâ€™s spice station
dusun martin a bradley
Dusun TM published by EverDay Art Studio and Educare June 2013
cover image by gerry alanguilan
editorial Dear Reader It is with great joy and pride that I mention that Dusun has reached an audience of 34,619 people on Issuu, as of April 23rd 2013. We, of course, hope that those numbers will continue to climb with each issue. June, for some, marks the true beginning of summer with spring lambs being sprung and birddies on their various wings. For those of us who wallow on, or adjacent to the equator, June brings mid-term school holidays and the beginning of the tourist season. For those visitor-gorged months of June and July, this brand new issue of Dusun has, once again, scoured the Asian region to bring you the very best in Arts and Culture. In this issue we bring an ace comic creator from The Philippines, poetry from India, poems and artworks from Malaysia, as well as a whole host of other tasty morsels for your discerning palate. A usual, Dusun remains completely independent. Dusun is not aligned to any gallery, organisation, political party or government. This means that Dusun can, and does, bring you Art and artists/poets/writers not featured elsewhere. Dusun is always on the look out for fresh material, new Artists/poets/writers etc to grace its pages. If you wish to submit, please do send your work to email@example.com.
Editor - Martin Bradley was born in London, 1951. He is a writer/ poet/designer and a graduate in Art History, Exhibition Making, Graphic Design, Philosophy and Social Work. He has travelled most of the known world and lived in Britain, India and Malaysia. Martin was Guest Writer at India’s Commonwealth Writers Festival in New Delhi (2010) and Guest Writer at Singapore’s Lit Up literature festival (2010);he has read in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2009, 2011), in Cambodia (2012, 2013) and The Philippines (2013). Martin writes articles on Art & Culture for magazines and newspapers and designs digital images. He has been the editor of Dusun – a Malaysian Arts and Culture e-magazine and founder/host of Northern Writers – a venue for ‘readings’ in Ipoh, Malaysia. Martin has had three books published during 2012 Remembering Whiteness - a collection of poetry, Buffalo & Breadfruit - autobiography, and A Story of Colors of Cambodia, which he also designed.
dusun art talks asia 2013
a l a m il h p e h t camb 8
a i s y a pines p i l dia o b
carrot cake and chocolate by martin bradley
Sitting in the Blu Jaz Cafe Cool jazz Gerry Mulligan Frank Sinatra rat pack Washing over me I watch young slim chick Blowing smoke like she was so hot She's not Bad breath like death I gaze Half crave Some long black haired chick So slick see her Bend Flick long luscious hair Pout pink lips Suck chocolate In that suggestive way Imagining her soft slightly brown skin on mine Her scent Her touch Till I'm half crazy Loving the way she moves Loving the way she looks Frida Kahlo without the flower All hard yet soft Sensuous in her smile And me half a mile away Interrupted by guys in psychedelic t shirts Kids in glasses Babes in shorts all legs Guy in shirts, ties all straight Tapping tablets Smart and not so smart phones Bringing office into cafe And something undeniable
Is happening I watch her smile Watch her watch Watch her move Heart fanatically beating Like internal thunder So loud she should hear Palms wet I crawl into her mind Send passion waves Avoid the guy selling his soul for commerce Avoid the 2013 wage slavery The women covering their heads Hearts Minds And look at her smile at me And my hardness melting Falling like a male Alice Into the wonderland Of her smile Falling
Falling Falling Cappuccino shot icarus In flames and melting Into the eyes of this cool chick And maybe Falling A little in love In the Blu Jaz Cafe Over carrot cake and chocolate.
wannabe at the Blu Jaz Cafe by martin bradley
I’m just some stray cat done rollin in the hay cat somewhat of a fay cat perhaps I’ll just stay cat at the Blu Jaz Cafe I’m a wannabe cool cat a gottabe hip cat hep cat trying fat catting trying a little scat catting at the Blu Jaz Cafe I’m just rolling in the smoke and beer ya hear trying not to lose my cool an all in the Singaporean heat some feat pah lease man mr police man just see and don’t bother me in the Blu Jaz cafe I just wannabe be free man slam some poetry man
dig some sounds man makin my rounds man gettin some blu man getting cool man doin my thing man havin a fling man doin what I can to be true and razz at the Blu Jaz Cafe
Shadows beneath the Fronds by Paul Callan
The sun was hot and so high it cast few shadows when Saravanan walked through the open gate to freedom. Outside, waiting for the bus, he stared up at the walls of the prison, a dull and lifeless grey against the clear blue sky. Somehow, seen from here, they seemed less imposing. He was fitter and leaner than he had ever been, thanks to the dedicated exercise regime he had followed. The clothes he wore, a white, round-necked, collarless T-shirt, blue jeans and flip- flops, fitted him perfectly. He felt good in them. Jeevita had left them at the prison on her last visit. He had chosen not to tell her exactly when he would be released. He wanted to do this alone, step back into the world by himself. When his bus arrived he was overcome by a sudden rush of nerves. He waited for the prison visitors to disembark before boarding and handed the driver the pass that would take him into the centre of Kuala Lumpur. On the journey he tried to concentrate on the views from the window but they flashed past him like a film running out of control. The nearer the bus drew to the heart of the city, the more slowly it travelled and he was able to marvel at the spectacle of all the people going freely about their affairs, especially the many beautiful women. It was a Friday—prayer day—and he remembered it as the great Malaysian Muslim fashion day. All the Malay women were dressed in brightly coloured baju and tudung headscarves. The baju—two-piece, full-length flowing garments—were of every imaginable colour: orange with green flowers; yellow with purple designs; pink with gold dashes; wild red with black patterns, delicate indigo, blues of every shade. If the tudung did not match the baju, then they wore plain headscarves carefully selected to complement their outfit. They looked like a vast garden of flowers—truly a sight to behold. Outside the mosques every available space—pavements and kerbsides—was taken up by men deep in prayer. He got off the bus and stood for a moment, drawing in the fresh air. Soon he could at last pay homage to his mother. But first he had a task to attend to, a chore that might set him one step along the road to
success. Cheran had advised him to set about it before anything else. Do something positive, something constructive, in your first few hours. Close to the settlement was a temple surrounded by rows of shops largely selling Indian wares. Saravanan wandered about, soaking up the smells from burning incense sticks and spices that brought memories flooding back to him, listening to the soothing tunes and melodies of Indian music blaring out from different vegetable grocers, barber’s shops or astrologer’s stands, fruit sellers, restaurants and herb dealers. The area was crowded and bustling. The pavements were awash with spices left out to dry. In dark corners women sat perched on low stools, making intricate garlands from jasmine and chrysanthemum with extraordinary dexterity. Old men sat about cross-legged in their dhotis, chewing betel leaf, waiting to sell their newspapers and magazines. Ladies in colourful saris that outshone the rainbow milled about making their daily purchases. Signboards written in Tamil crowded the skyline. At the roadside customers swarmed around stalls selling freshly cooked Indian snacks: vadai—deep-fried dhal with fresh chillis, curry leaf and ginger; murukku dry-roasted rice, black gram split, cumin seeds, asafoetida and ghee fried in coconut oil; roti canai—a dough of wheat flour, ghee, eggs and sugar, cooked in boiling oil; dalcha—mutton or vegetable-flavoured sauce with dhal, ginger and garlic. He was home at last.
Paul Callan was born in Dublin, Ireland. His love for storytelling was fuelled while attending Chanel College in North Dublin. His first Malaysian based novel was The Dulang Washer. Shadows Beneath the Fronds is his second Malaysian based novel.
i have come to protect Jeganathan Ramachandram is an all round Malaysian artist. He got his early education in fine arts when he learnt his techniques from Babu Surender in Chennai India. He also learnt granite sculpturing from Sthapathi Thangavelu Achari, in Thirupathi, who was the Principal of Thirupathi School of Temple Architecture. Ramachandram further enhanced his artistry by learning techniques of wood carving from Muthusamy Achari, while he garnered tantric art through Bootha Muni as well as Indian Classical music with â€˜Vithvanâ€™ Veena Arjuna in Madras, India. Ramachandram is one of the few Malaysian Indian artists whose works are seen in most public and private galleries exuding motifs and elements of spirituality.He is currently a full time artist and manages his own art gallery - the Symbols House of Natural Art.
the elephant man
he caught within a she
the enlightened one.
futuristic world - sathish natarajan
the art of love
confusion he say...... an unpublished segment from Graham McEune’s Up Country One of the sources of endless, almost childish fascination for me is Chinese names.Written Chinese characters, as the world knows them, are Mandarin. Whilst most Chinese understand the written characters, each dialect group pronounces them differently.And not just in the way a Geordie might pronounce the Queen’s English, more the way an Uzbek might. So you could have a situation where ten Chinese of different dialect groups are sitting at a table reading the same Chinese (Mandarin) newspaper and all understanding it; yet if they tried to discuss the topics of the day with each other none would be understood.The process of Mandarin characters becoming each dialect group’s sounds and of these sounds then being transliterated into Roman script is called hanyu pinyin. And it is this that causes all the different spellings of the same thing or name, often making them hilarious to a simpleton such as me. Anyway, check these out, for they are all true and seen with my own beady little eyes. Would you feel comfortable casting off into the South China Sea aboard a ship called the Wan King? Makes you wonder what the captain and crew get up to during those long weeks at sea. I once took a shirt to a Chinese laundry in Old Town where the owner’s name was Oh Chit. I found this out by accident. “Is my shirt ready?” I asked. “Ya. Shirt ready, but burn hole in front.” “Oh shit,” I said. “Yes?” he replied. Would you have your kitchen extension built by a company called Wong Kei Construction? And would you trust the butcher at the top of my road, Lean Fatt, to 36
prepare your Sunday joint? Or buy cakes from the cake shop owned by his brother, Soon Fatt. And would you want local dentist Dr Phang to make you a set of dentures? Or be happy taking the medicine prescribed by Dr Quak? And how many before me, I wonder, have laughed at this sign: Dr Toh, chiropodist. Or been confused by this one: Chin Ear Nose and Throat Clinic. How could any male not have the greatest admiration for the fellow I met at the pub the other night: Kok Hung Loong. And I often wonder how many times my neighbour, Ah Chew, has had to go through the performance whenever she gives her name: Bless you—thank you—you’re welcome. There used to be a car dealer in Ipoh called Yew Fart Motors. I was with a Chinese friend who pointed it out to me by saying, “I know Yew Fart.” “So?” I replied indignantly. “Doesn’t everyone?” This next one is the funniest I have so far come across. It was on a sign above a video rental shop in Johor Bahru. The name, emblazoned in garish neon was, and I swear this is true: Fuk Yew Enterprises. Imagine them opening a branch in the UK. And imagine phoning them to ask if they have a particular title. Ring ring. Ring ring. “Uh?” (The Chinese always answer the telephone with “Uh?”) “Er, hello. Sorry.To whom am I speaking?” “Fuk Yew.” “Well, fuck you too.” Click . . . Graham McEune first visited Malaysia in 1977. He married a Penang girl and returned every two years for extended holidays until 1993 when whole family relocated to Singapore. He lived in Malaysia for eight years. Travelled extensively throughout SE Asia, writing along the way. Graham won the 2008 Sun Festival Award for Travel Writing. Upcountry was published late 2009 to rave (well, good, at any rate) reviews: "Honestly perverted, patronisingly charming, and disarmingly informative. Such sardonic wit is rare ... it is truly a breath of fresh air." "The funniest and most entertaining book ever written about Malaysia."
the bliss and madness of being human by ankur betageri (reviewed) Rebellious, ironic, impassioned, penetrating. These poems place the speaker in a crisis in which culture is at a cross-roads with consciousness. With Tagorean and Whitmanesque grace, Betageri's poems take the inner journey in their yearning for the natural and for the spiritual self. MICHELLE CAHILL Ankur Betageri's poems are a spirited defense of life, a celebration of our everyday being with all its vexing concerns and fleeting joys.They faithfully record the deep inner voice of a man eager to survive with freedom, beauty and dignity and dive straight into the core of our experience to come up with the secrets of our being on earth. Ankur's range is wide, sweep all-embracing and his treatment of his encounter with himself profoundly lyrical.These poems are ultimately meditations on existence, â€™summated words of a dispersed life/ glowing with the current meaning of the flow.' They vow 'to rescue from the rot the precious inner feeling' and to 'hug the fevered hearts and speak for all those still stammering.' Even while the poet seldom deals directly with history, history and evolution remain constant undercurrents in this enchanted universe of men, women, trees, birds and stones, and the poet's art resembles 'the tatters of the sky, impeccable in the stitches of embroidery' or 'jacaranda blooms, sun-beam injected'. K. SATCHIDANANDAN I was truly delighted on reading your poems. I believe that a good poem is one that is not entirely lost when it is paraphrasedâ€Ś. Your poetry is unpretentious and can manage several moods and can even be witty. This is in the A K Ramanujan line. The tone of each poem varies and conveys, with a lightness of touch, serious concerns. U.R. ANANTHAMURTHY
The poems of Nabina Das are lush with color and sound—and feeling—yet formally adventurous and precise. Her well-crafted poems provoke us to see and hear and even smell the realities she evokes. Part modern urbanite, part classical Indian lovepoet, her passionate eye and heart respond to the world with clearness of vision heightened by desirous longing. In one poem a New York woman is observed in her “Manohla Blahnik heels…at the languid deli” while in another the speaker tells her lover, “Look I’ve grown branches now the way it / happened in a Bollywood tale…”Straddling at least two continents the poems in BLUE VESSEL breath-in the enchanted air of orchid and jasmine, poppy and eucalyptus, all of it full of promise and erotic élan. Peg Boyers
by nabina das
Water on Ink Kilokri, Delhi
Shadows quarter the rain Youâ€™re wrapped in yourself The street flows on. Slivers. Faces squiggle in ivory ink Bush-birds stare at our eyes The slants hurt similes. Slow. Kilokri wets her palms Streetlight on the henna Night needs a mirror. Whole. She word ties her hair Petals think, slowly fall Morning drops its step. Quiet. All sketches on water by ink All words on lines by language All these un-fairy faces are I. Me.
Weatherwisely at the Window I. The draft is strong, so is the tufty grainy rain glazed nothingness on the quiet eaves, scratching bird skin stopping to catch a moment dewed overnight. again II. My window is a sleepy acre that rolls over parking lots gardens and broken barbecue grills tokened in between arching White pines and terse birches â€“ no sticklers for seasons these. Meanwhile, the lament of early autumn continues III. Soaking between worms and scattered grains the rushing screen of fast cars, flattened raccoon bodies, the wind howling with its afternoon whiteness of a ghoul. The curve of his lips is the aperture 48
IV. But the onset of chill doesnâ€™t pierce those feathers or any airborne shadow over variegated homes kidsâ€™ cries at the flutter overhead to distant towns 20 treeless landfills undeterred amid hints of sunshine that sparkles and flints. I curl up on the window sill V. Seeing the sky wasted with the clouds, balded grass patches cope with the dust of autumn heat reminiscing the times when robins cooed and sighed
VI. In between the wide strips of a window blind you can see the rays of an eye-rubbing sun stretch across the brickwalls. Suddenly it’s warm and wet on the sky’s upside down side of egg-whiteness VII. Window, window will go, will go as far as the cars go, the stench goes and cherries as far as the night time cops go after voices in the alley window, window will know, will know how sleep descends without my blue lover in my room how cracks in the walls stack up their day’s stories for another moon.
Blue Vessel Like Pablo Neruda I want the body of an island
Rust and free Parts loafing in the surf
Or become a blue vessel Of forgotten strife, a chipped wall
Of rose petal and lime spits on A summer night when the river
Comes home all austere. For our ripples to whisper
Elemental Odes about salt and sleep Freshly dug up soil where
Limbs turn into blue vessels Remains of graffiti
You or I etched on the body Of our resident island.
madan lal Madan Lal was born in Talwandi Bhai district Ferozepur, India and gained his Fine Art degree from the Government College of Art, Chandigarth. He has exhibited across India, and has had two major shows in London and Stokholm.
frame of life
bull within 2
bull within 1
time and space
cultivation of light
urban mythology II
urban mythology 1
bayon angkor wat
Every so often a book appears that reveals and illuminates a project that might otherwise remain largely unknown by the outside world: â€˜Colors of Cambodiaâ€™ is such a book. This is a highly personal and passionate account written by Martin Bradley and illustrated by Pei Yeou Bradley of her encounter with a remarkable art-based project in and around Siem Reap in Cambodia, and how she was drawn into practical involvement with the children for whom the project exists. Richard Noyce, Artist, Wales 2012
firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.facebook.com/ groups/138402846288849/ http://colorsofcambodia.org/
a clash of innocents a novel by sue guiney
It’s not supposed to be cold in February, not in Phnom Penh. Deborah, a 60 year old American expat, is on her way back to the Khmer Home for Blessed Children which she has run for ten years. A young woman in her twenties is waiting for her. Another American, but with flip flops and a backpack, she asks, Are you Deborah Young? I’m here to help. So begins a story of hidden identities and questioned motives. Who is this young woman? Who is Deborah? Who are any of the displaced Westerners who find themselves raising the leftover children of Cambodia’s violent past? Against her better judgment and building suspicions, Deborah allows the young woman, Amanda, to stay. But when a sick infant is left on their doorstep, the horror of the young woman’s past catches up with her and infiltrates the orderly workings of Deborah’s home. The precarious well being of Deborah’s family of forty forgotten Khmer children is jeopardized, as is her own emotional life. Against the backdrop of Cambodia’s violent past and the beginnings of its new Tribunal for justice, a story of displaced souls unfolds. In Cambodia, innocents are everywhere. Everyone is innocent, or so they would like to believe – everyone, except the few who, for their own private reasons, take on the guilt of the many. A Clash of Innocents is the first novel in Sue Guiney’s trilogy of modern day Cambodia. It is available throughout Asia on-line, in both soft cover and ebook. The second book in the trilogy, Out of the Ruins, will be published in September 2013. Bio for Sue Guiney Though born and raised in New York, Sue Guiney has lived in London for over twenty years where she writes and teaches fiction, poetry and plays. Her work has appeared in important literary journals on both sides of the Atlantic, and her first book was the text of her poetry play, Dreams of May. Her first novel, Tangled Roots, was published in 2008. Her second novel, A Clash of Innocents, was published in September, 2010 and ushered in a new commitment to the people and culture of Cambodia. She has founded and continues to run a Creative Writing Workshop for street children in Siem Reap under the auspices of the shelter, Anjali House. Since 2011, Sue has held the position of Writer in Residence in the SE Asia Department of The University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOS). The second in her trilogy of Cambodian-based novels, Out of the Ruins, will be published in September, 2013.
dusun nurture yourself with
asian arts and culture emagazine
remembering whiteness & other poems
by martin bradley
downloadable as a free pdf from http://correspondences-martin.blogspot.com/2012/04/open-publication-free-publishing-more.html
erin shirreff - no 16
benjamin senior - equillibrium
francesca dimattio - sèvres vase à bobèches
marcus coates - iron prominent, notodonta dromedarius (larva) self portrait
chen wei - broken tomato From emerging talents to the Modern masters of both Asia and the West, the premiere edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong will trace twelve decades of art history across its four sectors: Galleries, Insights, Discoveries, and Encounters. On display will be the highest quality of paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, video and editioned works from the 20th and 21st centuries, by more than 2,000 artists from Asia and around the globe. The show will also offer extensive opportunities for intellectual discovery, through discussions and presentations, creating a platform of crosscultural exchanges for artists, gallerists, collectors, and visitors.
ida ekblad - untitled
inari kitsune deity or messenger? dr julian good
These images of foxes are mostly from two Temples, the Toyokawa Inari Temple in Toyokawa, Aichii prefecture, Japan, and the Toyokawa Inari Temple in Aoyama, Tokyo. The jumping black fox is from the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto. Although the two temples are Buddhist, Inari is also a Shinto kami (deity in English), with a number of Buddhist deities thought to be original forms of Inari (Smyers:1999:153), including Dakiniten and Benzaiten. Although the kitsune, or fox, is commonly perceived as the assistant, or messenger of the deity Inari, there are many Japanese people who see the fox itself as the actual deity Inari, and not the messenger. As a messenger, the fox may be seen as playing a similar role to the Virgin Mary in Roman Catholicism, in interceding between the human and the divine. Although the kami Inari was once seen as a deity or goddess (it is difficult to translate Japanese words, such as kami, into an equivalent English form) of rice, Inari is now also seen as a deity of wealth and business. Since in the past rice was equated with wealth in Japan, this is a logical shift, or addition, in meaning. As both a Buddhist and a Shinto deity, Inari has been worshipped in Japan since the early eighth century or before (Smyers: 1999). One may often see small plates of tofu left in front of the fox in the Inari shrines and temples; these have been left by those who come to pray (either to the fox as Inari or to the fox as messenger), as it
is commonly believed that foxes like tofu. Often in the past tofu was left in fields for wild foxes, if eaten by the fox it was seen as a good omen. Worship of Inari is very dissimilar to that found in major religions such as Islam and Christianity, in that there is no major regulating institution or system of belief, scripture, or dogma (Smyers:1999). There is no strict moral code to be followed. Individual worshippers tend to bring their own belief systems into the practice. Although the photographs here are from the two temples mentioned above, one may also see such foxes all over Japan, at both Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines such as the Fushimi Inari Shrine, in Inari, Kyoto, or the Nezu Shrine, and Oji Inari Shrine, in Tokyo. Shinto Inari shrines will normally have large red torii gate standing at their entrance, often flanked by stone foxes, making them easy to spot. What must be remembered is that these foxes are not constrained as ‘Art’ or as constrained as much art is. They are kitsune the messenger, or Inari, depending on the individual’s perception. They are not art. They are not symbols. They are the fox. The best (and virtually the only, very little of substance has been written about the fox as an element of Inari worhip) reference for finding out more on this topic is:
Smyers, K: 1999: The Fox and the Jewel:University of Hawaii. Julian Good. BA (Stirling), PhD (Essex), PhD (Glasgow), CTEFLA, SEN(M) 92
9 lock road. #02-22 gillman barracks +65 6734 9537
The Nightman Cometh was an exhibition of especially posed studio photographs and a video from Yang Fudon’s ‘The Nighman Cometh’ recently shown at ShangART Singapore
T he Philippines
gerry alanguilan Gerry Alanguilan, known elsewhere as Doroteo Gerardo N. Alanguilan Jr., is a Filipino comic book writer, artist and publisher. He is an Architect by profession, and a member of the San Pablo Chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines. However, he prefers to be a storyteller through the creation of comic books. Gerry has written and/or drawn comics like Wasted, Timawa, Lastik-Man, Crest Hut Butt Shop, Johnny Balbona, Humanis Rex!, Where Bold Stars Go To Die and ELMER. The latter two he published from through his own Komikero Publishing. ELMER was eventually picked up by SLG Publishing for publication Internationally in 2010. Editions Ca Et La at the same time released a French Translation in Europe. He has been an inker of comics for DC, Marvel and Image, and has worked with Leinil Francis Yu and Whilce Portacio on titles like Wolverine, X-men, X-Force, Superman, Batman, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Wetworks, Grifter, High Roads, Silent Dragon, Ultimate Avengers: Crime and Punishment, Superior and currently Ultimate Avengers Vs New Ultimates: Death of Spider-Man. Gerry has adapted and illustrated various short stories by classic authors for Graphic Classics including “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Judge’s House” by Bram Stoker, “The Plague of Ghosts” by Rafael Sabatini and many more. He is interested in promoting and preserving the artwork created by the many great Filipino comics illustrators of our past.You can find galleries of artworks by the likes of Nestor Redondo, Alex Niño, Francisco V. Coching, Rudy Florese, Alfredo Alcala and many others at his Philippine Comics Art Museum Online.
hatter sample 2a
hatter sample 01
rodney p. yap
the coming of spring prelude to the third world war
pleasure and discomfort
'infiltrating the main
securing security within kingdoms and borders
mammoths and seahorses
'restricted picnics the decadence of histo-anthropoliti culture
generations of women adapting the attempts to proliferate
tower of babel
growing a peach tree
the lion and the lily
by nazlina hussin
“Peter, do you want to try out torpedo soup tonight?” “What?” “T-O-R-P-E-D-O soup” “What is it?” “It is an Indian soup” “Really? I thought Indians do not make soup” “This is Indian style, made out of the bull’s testicles and other naughty bits” “Cannot be, Indians do not eat beef!” “It is Indian Muslim” “Ah…! It is Muslim soup then” Duh! ‘Sup Hameed’, located at Upper Penang Road in George Town has been serving hot, spicy and meaty soup for over 40 years in George Town. When I say meat, it means all parts of the animal! Yes, including the dangling organ between the legs of a male bull. The phrase “one gun and two bullets” are often used to describe the soup. For the uninitiated, this sounds really extreme, on par with fish eye balls, the pig’s womb or the goat’s bladder. This establishment that sells torpedo soup enjoys a brisk business when night time comes. They conquer the whole sidewalk, putting out tables, chairs and tents to display their wide range of grubs to grab. Between fish head curry, murtabak and mee goreng mamak, one will find the cart that offers a variety of soup, Indian Muslim style. Each bowl is served with slices with “roti benggali” - very white fluffy bread with thick upper crust.You can ask the man who sells the soup to remove the crust for you, or you can dip the bread, crust and all, into the hot piping soup and slurp your way to the pinnacle of a local comfort food. The kinds of meat served include chicken, beef, goat, quail and mutton. How to order? Here’s how it works.You tell the Mamak, the type of soup you want. He will choose a few pieces of the meat or body parts that you ordered. Chopping it or leaving it whole – as you wish. Then, he will pour the corresponding flavoured soup into a bowl (in this case, soup made using beef stock, coriander, black paper and other mysterious Indian spices). Pinching a meagre amount of cut spring onion and fried shallots, and sprinkling them over the soup with the white roti benggali on the side, your meal is now ready. Prices start from RM6.00 for a small bowl.You can ask for extra meat, extra-long bits or with the “bullets”. By the way, Peter declined my offer for dinner. I brought my son instead who gagged when he saw the bits being held high up by the proud Mamak. Needless to say, it was only a visual experience for us. The cows that had the pleasure of being serviced by the bull would be so proud.
Nazlinaâ€™s food website: http:// www.pickles-and-spices.com Nazlina also holds cooking classes four days a week in George Town, Penang. Check out http://www.penang-cooking-class. com
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