This article examines the performance of non-heteronormative modes of gender in Malaysia’s longest-running Malay sitcom, Senario. My close textual reading centres on two episodes to identify the show’s linkages with broader Malay socio-cultural attitudes about gender fluidity. Three facets of Senario’s non-heteronormativity are foregrounded: (1) the religio-cultural belief that gender fluidity, sexual deviancy, and non-heteronormative identities are ‘conditions’ that can be ‘corrected’; (2) that this gender ‘correction’ is a recourse that privileges the masculine, and (3) that heteronormative binary roles are sustained even when imagining inversions of gender. By correlating these performances with wider religious and cultural beliefs/practices, and historical developments, it is observed that Senario’s gender performatives were heavily influenced by, and inflected with, real-world biases towards non-heteronormative communities. This work represents a meaningful step towards addressing the present lacuna of critical scholarship on Malay television representations of non-heteronormative gender identities.
In late New Order Indonesia, industrialization generated among Jakarta’s intellectuals a sense of entrapment in an ‘onrushing century’ where the storm of progress had thrown their life into turmoil. What did it mean for them to find their urban experiences structured by this turmoil, which poet Afrizal Malna called an ‘architecture of rain’? Sensing that corporeal and material history may hold the key to this question, I look into why a section of New Order Jakarta’s intellectual class felt they were leading a hyper-fast, overheated life, and how they tried to come to terms with it. Focusing on thing-centred and embodied experiences, I use the tension between Jakarta’s social history and Afrizal Malna’s biography and literary work to spark a different understanding of contemporary Indonesian urbanism.
This article traces one narrative of anti-colonial violence on the Sumatra plantation through various Sinophone iterations and establishes the historical events on which it was based. The European anxiety about the defiance of the condemned Chinese men shows how this particular event turned into oral legend, religious observance, touring socialist theatre, leftist fiction, and a PRC Third World internationalist travelogue. In one moment of bravura, Chinese plantation workers rejected their status as colonial subjects. That gesture made them an emblem of the proletarian bona fides of the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia, and of the traumatic origins of Medan and other North Sumatra Chinese communities in plantation labour. By connecting the foreboding in the colonial archive with the eulogy in the Sinophone literary record, we can triangulate a fuller vision of resistance on the Deli plantations than is available from either one.
The article discusses an enigmatic Old Javanese bird named kalaṅkyaṅ. The avian species known by this name is identified as the white-bellied sea eagle, a bird common in the past in the coastal parts of Java. In the second section it is argued that the kalaṅkyaṅ bird is represented in Old Javanese poetry as the mirror image of the Javanese kawi (poet).