Arts & CultureLIFESTYLE

CausewayEXchange in Ipoh

Ipoh was treated to incredible performances, slams and talks as CausewayEXchange was held in Ipoh for four days in August recently.

First held in 2010, the CausewayEXchange (CEX) started with a group of passionate Singaporeans who were keen to learn and broaden their understanding of neighbouring historical cities as well as developing or creating new audiences and opportunities for Singapore’s creative fields.

According to the founder Shawn Lourdusamy, CEX aims to continuously look for cross border exchanges to enrich the understanding of how the role of the arts can be expanded to help address various conditions in society.

“CEX has chosen Ipoh this year instead of the more well-known and culturally established cities of Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown. Its rich heritage holds many learning and experiential touchpoints for Singaporeans as well as opportunities for expansion,” said Shawn.

The first day of CEX saw an amazing performance called the Fusion Faction by Flame of The Forest (FOTF) and The Pandavas Fusion Band (TPFB). Formed in 1986, FOTF is the love project between two brothers Krsna and Govin Tan who inherited the band from their father Kenny Tan and sought to update the concepts and philosophies bestowed upon them by their predecessors from the 80s. During their performance on August 24, it was great to see and hear Classical Indian and Folk Music permeating their songs. The performance by TPFB was also a memorable one. Inspired by reggae, rock, blues, fusion, Indian and others, TPFB was formed in 2012 and has been travelling around the world to present their music, using both classical and modern instruments.

During the CEX festival, visitors were also given the chance to attend workshops such as the Writing Workshop: Trends in Contemporary Poetics by poet Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingde and Tse Hao Guang. Participants during the workshop were given a set of published poems by award-winning authors and together with the two facilitator, they explored the limits of language, experimenting with structure and voices that will not only aid in idea generation but also help participants to gain control over their aesthetic expression.

Another highlight during the four-day festival was the CEX Slam 2017 Edition. Held on August 26 at 22 Hale Street’s heritage gallery, the slam was between 10 poets coming from Singapore and Malaysia where poets recited their poems and scores were given by appointed judges. Nearly two hours later, not only Malaysia won the group category, we also scored the individual section; all thanks to Dhinesesha Karthigesu where he received almost perfect scores during the battle.

The famous Teater Ekamatra from Singapore also took part in the festival where they presented four different performance entitled Projek Suitcase: A Monologue Festival held for two days on August 26 and 27 at Sarang Paloh and 22 Hale Street. Equipped with only a suitcase, four different storytellers spun their tales. Among the monologues presented were Balik by Farah Ong, Noor Effendy Ibrahim and Zulfadhli Rashid, Half A Dot by Norisman Mustafa and Khairudin Samsudin, Mama Lekas Pulang by Elnie S Mashari, Molizah Mohter and Aidlin ‘Alin’ Mosbit and ISTILLWANTMYPR by Shida Mahadi and The Art of Strangers.

Sketch artist, Yip Yew Chong also took part in the fest where he painted a few new murals at Jalan Panglima and Jalan Bandar Timah. Aside from Yip’s mural, the Band Of Doodlers painted doodles on the walls at PORT. Band Of Doodlers was founded in 2012 by Mas Shafreen to promote collaboration amongst doodlers through an accessible art form.

Among other events held during the fest were the exclusive screenings of Singapore Heritage Short Films at Yasmin At Kong Heng, book reviews (The Chronicler: One Man’s Diary of Life and Journey of 190 Years: The Eurasian Catholic Community)

During the closing ceremony on August 27, state exco for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Communications and Multimedia, Dato’ Nolee Ashilin thanked the organiser for choosing this heritage filled and historical city of Ipoh to be their host for 2017.

“Singapore, in particular has remained one of Malaysia’s strongest markets in terms of tourist arrivals of 12.93 million in 2015 alone. With steady growth of 3.2 per cent annually, we are expecting the graph to go upward by next year, especially so, since we are in the midst of our biggest tourism campaign to date called the Visit Perak Year 2017,” added Nolee.

As the official media partner for CEX, Ipoh Echo hopes to see them again next year!

Ili Aqilah

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