This piece discusses how colonialism - which we usually discuss the macro effects of it (like the devastation it causes to a community, ethnicity or race), does actually affect our personal lives. It's hard to discuss in my mother's language how I feel because all my mother and my aunt speak are Malay and my tongue stiffens, not sure how Malay can be used to talk about my feelings, if we can even use it to talk of feelings.
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Malay-Muslim and then... not
There's almost little to no understanding from most people that being Malay and being Muslim are not mutually exclusive. This poem talks of how I am asserting my identity as a Malay that can never be compromised by faith or spirituality.
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Bujang *Apok is a collaborative piece between Atiq Lukman, Norah Lea and Zeha H that was created for Diva Agar's Soul Lounge. Like the Soul Lounge, the piece shows how we navigate through Singapore as Malay, queer bodies. It touches on race, religion, sexuality, identities and love.
Trigger warnings: Religion trauma, gender dysphoria, depression.
Inner Minah addresses how lower-middle class malay kids have always been perceived to be deviant and how the subculture of minah and mat grows through assimilation and fictive kinships. In this particular poem, Zeha talks about their yearning for their childhood where a saturation of this culture has affirmed and validated them through similarity in financial statuses but also calling out middle-higher class malay kids who are way too comfortable with looking down on minahs and mats but are too quick to say that their "inner minah" jumps out when they are angry. Zeha still struggles with rekindling these same friendships they cherish because their identity now calls for more effort, awareness and energy that Malay and its vocabulary may not have the capacity for.
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