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Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral ~ Keturunan Laksamana Tak Ada Anu (Kuo Pao Kun Festival) (Malay)

Date:25 - 28 September 2003

Venue:The Substation | Guinness Theatre

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In this interpretation of the text, the figure of Admiral Zheng He, both icon and iconoclast, undergoes further interrogation. Importing their own cultural background as Singaporean Malays into the work, the artists involved will seek the spaces in the text which will allow them to question their own hybrid and syncretic identities. Various composite layers will be added to Kuo’s already rich and multifarious text, which will include parallel texts from Malay historical documents, as well as extensions of various motifs, such as Zheng He’s position as a Muslim and the theory that the Malays of Southeast Asia were descendants of the Yunnan Chinese.

 

In addition, various questions will be asked about the process of intercultural work, especially in the realm of translation. Is the translated work a ‘castrated’ one, incapable of fully manifesting the original? Is a piece of translation considered the progeny, or the ‘afterlife’ of the text? How can one make meaningful connections between one culture and another without eroding one’s own ‘root culture’ and conceding to acts of assimilation?

Art originates from life. Theatre is like a mirror that reflects the people and happenings in life from a different perspective, encouraging us to look within ourselves and to observe the ways of others.

Kuo Jian Hong | Artistic Director