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Mak Yong, a Unesco ‘Masterpiece’ and one of Malaysia’s oldest forms of dance-dramas April 16, 2020 – Posted in: In The News

Dinesh Kumar Maganathan If you have ever wanted to discover the story behind Mak Yong, one of the country’s oldest forms of dance-dramas from northern Malaysia, this movement control order (MCO) period might be the best time. Traditional arts and culture organisation Pusaka, together with Walkabout Asia, has recently presented an online video series about Kumpulan Mak Yong Cahaya Matahari and community based in Kuala Besut, Terengganu. “Any time is a good time for Malaysians…

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Up Close and Personal December 5, 2019 – Posted in: In The News

By Regina Hoo Meet Rosnan Rahman, Malaysia’s only active male Pak Yong dancer. A USM architecture graduate, Rosnan was introduced to the world of Mak Yong by Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Mohamed Ghouse Nasuruddin, and took to it like a duck to water. “I fell in love with it — the authenticity and the uniqueness of music, costume, dance and history of Mak Yong is very different from other art forms within the performing arts…

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Mak Yong – a rich regional tradition under threat – Posted in: In The News

By Regina Hoo The ancient, ritualistic folk theatre Mak Yong was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in 2005 — a proud first for “any Malaysian item of cultural heritage”? But though it is an art form steep in tradition and heritage, Mak Yong surprisingly has no “real” history. Theories have been advanced to explain its origins, but none can be confirmed, says Prof. Datuk Dr Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof,…

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Magic in the Malay World January 4, 2018 – Posted in: In The News

The difference between divination and the divine is a fine one. South-East Asia is a region with strong beliefs in the spirit world, blending modern rationality and traditional knowledge. There is great reciprocity between the seen and the unseen – from spells to win back an errant lover to communing with the spirits, raising crops, curing illnesses and cursing enemies, magic is everyday practice for some of its polyglot inhabitants. In Myanmar, during British colonial…

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