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Friday, 17 August 2012

HISTORY AS AN IDEOLOGICAL FIELD OF CONTESTATION. (POST "WEARING HISTORY & INDEPENDENCE")

A ghost (actually, our intern, Syan) of a WW2 Japanese soldier, seen here helping out with the Gong during a 'Garden of Sound' jam session at MGTF USM. Here, a historical 'text' (in cultural study or semiotic term) has been displaced from its usual context, to unveil how history (especially those taken as 'official') are embedded with  ideologies. Are there really historical 'facts' about the 'Japanese Occupation' period in the pre-Independence Malaya, or are there merely 'interpretations' of events. Whose 'interpretations' are dominant, considered 'the truth', whose are being prescribed by the general public at large?
The cut out figures of what appear to be historical characters (or markers) placed in front of MGTF USM, have been extended into cosplay characters interpreted and designed by M. Hanif. The interplay between how the designed outfits and historical characters (or cultural texts) are played out with the physical setting of MGTF USM plus its contemporary audience, create an interesting inter-textual dialogue.
What if there is a reading of history that does not conform to the official interpretations of 'Japanese Soldier' during its occupation of Malaya.
Whose 'history' and 'heritage' are we subscribing? Whose version? Pulau Pinang went through many periods, including Japanese Occupation. Also, there was this Tok Jannatun, from Sumatra, who came to settle in Batu Uban way before Francis Light. What happened to Penang history according to the interpretation of his descendents? 
If this is not a fictional re-imagination of history, based on this picture, how will such history be told by the descendent of this Japanese soldier, in contrast to the descendent of the Malay girl?


If history is a open field of ideological contestation,
and culture is an objectification of that, 
then
forgive me for wanting to reclaim my 'history' and 'heritage', 
before they are taken away
by this monster we all like to call

pem-BANGUNAN PESAT

(not pemBANGUNan DARI UMPAN & LENA MIMPI BENDA)


Related reading :
http://hasnulsaidon.blogspot.com/2011/09/coming-soon-to-petronas-gallery.html

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