Artist Bio: Irena Taib

Irena Taib is most known back home in Malaysia for starting a band with her sisters who lived by the sea— a memorable enough endeavour by local standards, even without the goat in their group photos. It was only after ending up on the same lineup as Ellie Goulding (UK) and Franz Ferdinand (SCO) that…

A Case Of The Mystifyingly Deemphasised Moor

In my first experience with Shakespeare Demystified (SD), I walked away from Othello feeling like a contact lens was missing. A new friend texts me. He’s an American educator, visibly black. He lives in Ipoh and commutes to KL. His text: “Ever since I arrived, I’ve noticed how socially dysfunctional Malaysians can be about race.”…

After the music dies, art still keeps the beat

At festivals, isn’t what happens offstage that makes an impact? The energy of a festival always seems to come down to its line-up— but should this be the case with Urbanscapes? Let’s take a closer look at a few reasons why the non-music aspect of Malaysia’s longest-running creative arts festival deserves more attention. First an…

A meltdown and a triptych and back by Malaysia Day

Once upon a time, I wrote a fair bit. I read what I wrote onstage: bits of head and heart on paper that fluttered in shivers when held up to a mic. Flyers around town had my name on it even though I wasn’t in a band. And then I was in a band— in…

Projek Serambi (3/3) — Dari Kampala Ke Kuala Lumpur

If we imagined universities as a microcosm of society, what could we say about Malaysia based on our campuses? If we used how we interact with each other in classrooms instead of grades as our mirrors, how would that reflect upon us? This is the final part of a three-parter story.   Clare’s story is…

Projek Serambi (2/3) — Summertime

Clare traded in the dancing, parties and music of her childhood for the life of a foreign student: four years long, seven thousand kilometers away. It was also awfully quiet. Then, she found her voice. This is the second part of the story.    Clare is celebrating the end of a seven-hour Immigration debacle with a…

Projek Serambi (1/3) — Not Dead Prez

A portrait of a girl who is certainly not Dead Prez, a wonderful playlist of soukous music, and 24 year olds who don’t really care about fitting in. The first of three parts.    Clare and I are the same age, born ten days apart. She has been living-slash-studying in Kuala Lumpur for the past…