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Malaysia Design Archive  Design . Arts . Culture . Politics (By appointment only)

http://www.malaysiadesignarchive.org/

Today we are at the National University of Singapore Museum for a closed door meeting on 'New Research Networks in the 21st Century: Museums, Universities and their Collections'. The meeting is organised by the Goethe Institut. We got to share of the role of the archive as a ground-up initiative in facilitating research and building a community interested in alternative historical and critical narratives on visual culture beyond heritage discourse and frameworks tied to national patrimony.

Tomorrow night, a fundraising concert and dinner at the KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall for the promotion and eventual establishment of a cultural centre to promote the use, preservation and appreciation of Chinese dialects in the heart of Chinatown. Many of you might know that Mandarin currently taught in Chinese vernacular schools is not the 'mother-tongue' of the many Chinese communities that make up a significant segment of the Malaysian population. This new initiative aims to recover, record and disseminate cultural knowledge of the diverse forms of Chinese language dialects (Teochew, Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, dll) that make up multicultural Malaysia. Come sapot!

Selamat Pagi, old copies of Qalam, Mastika, Dewan Masyarakat, Nadi Insan are currently parked at our archive by Nazir of @tintabudi. Those interested in undertaking research or having a look at some of these periodicals from the 1960s - 1970s are welcome to come read them.
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We are open by appointment only. Don't just drop in. More often than not, one of us is around the corner. So write to us before you come!

Visit on Sunday by Park Joo Woon, curator from the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. She was in town as part of a whirlwind research trip across different parts of Asia for a contemporary art exhibition in Korea next year.

FIELDNOTES: In the meantime, our third member was in Penang where he met pioneering architect Lim Chong Keat. Chong Keat gave a sprawling account of the history of town planning in this northern state, including the controversial Central Area Planning Unit (CAPU) project that he put together as part of the Komtar complex development. He also addressed some of the debates surrounding the heritage industry and made an effort to point out that he was the founding president of Penang Heritage Trust. Nevertheless, he remained critical of the superficial understanding of heritage that predominates current discourse on heritage preservation and appreciation. He insisted that heritage cannot be imposed and defined through edicts, instead it must arise through a community's volition. The photograph shows a scale model of the Singapore Conference Hall and Trade Union, designed by Chong Keat in 1965.

Thank you to our wonderful storytellers Serene, Gayathry, Effa, Syahida, Nazir, Nadira, Maryam for sharing your amazing journey towards social and personal transformation last night at 'Living Library: Aktivisma'. We would also like to thank our ever lovely Zhongshan neighbours @miraclewatts and @tintabudi for letting us use their spaces for the event. You guys rock!
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Thank you for enriching our understanding of the history of design and visual culture in Malaysia. Moving against increasing professionalisation of design practice, slavish imposition of industry standards, and uncritical adoption of the creative economy as a national cultural agenda are voices and approaches to understanding our visual environment that are complex, inclusive, and always multiple. The archive is here to push the discourse towards this goal. Selamat Hari Malaysia.
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#livinglibrary #aktivisma #storytellers #malaysianstories #designarkib #socialchange #design4change #designhistory #visualculture #politics

Selamat Hari Malaysia from all of us here at 'Living Library: Activisma', which just started. This is Oath Stones: Does Malaysia Even Exists? presented by Nadira Ilana, addressing the compact leading to the formation of Malaysia and its abnegation by the Malayan social and political elites.
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#livinglibrary #harimalaysia #nadirailana #malaysianstories #negaraku #designarkib #malaysianhistory #sejarahku #malaysianheritage

The anthropologist David Graeber suggested in The Utopia of Rule that bureaucracy has become such a hallmark of modernity that it is puzzling that anthropologists have not undertaken an ethnography of forms that we have to fill up to undertake any decisions.
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Do forms then define our identity and essentialise us? Can we also through forms reread the many facets of different identities we once assumed? Effa Desa explores this today at 'Living Library: Aktivisma'. Come join us from 8.30 - 10.30PM at Malaysia Design Archive.
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#livinglibrary #forms #modernity #bureaucracy #designarkib

Ms Gayathry Venkiteswaran was unlawfully dismissed from her job as a journalist at The Sun newspaper on 11 January 2002. The letter she received showed her how vulnerable we are in the hands of impersonal corporate decisions. It's never personal from the view of those in the boardroom, but the effect it has on those retrenched are always personal and emotional.
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For tomorrow's 'Living Library: Aktivisma', Gayathry will share with us this letter and will speak of her retrenchment as a turning point in her life. It became clear that she should channel her energy towards a cause and that cause was press freedom. Part of losing the job and fighting in the courts was understanding how small we are in the face of corporate/state power but at the same time how powerful we can be when together in solidarity.
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Learn more about this story of transformation, of what it means to find a collective voice outside of empty campaign slogans such as 'We are all Malaysians'. Celebrating the country's diversity also means moving beyond feel-good inclusive multicultural portrayals of Malaysia into working hand in hand to address the entrenched systemic violence and injustices in our society.
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#livinglibrary #pressfreedom #malaysianstories #activism #politcalaction #together #collective #bureucracy #negaraku

For tomorrow's 'Living Library: Aktivisma', Nazir Harith Fadzilah of @tintabudi will be focusing on the role that books played as cultural objects of historical significance in shaping the ideals of Malay nationalism and in creating a forum in which ideas of modernity are contested. He will be sharing this through a book in his personal collection, Za'ba's anthology of essays titled 'Asohan Budi' (Cultivating Kindness), published in 1958.
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Visitors will be given an overview of the life and work of Za'ba and asked to consider how a book is a point of collaboration between different creators, a point of conversation between readers and the writer, as well as a point that encapsulates the spirit of an age.
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#designarkib #livinglibrary #zaba #asohonbudi #tintabudi #modernity #historyofbooks #malayletters #malaysianstories #negaraku #livinglibrary

The tudung is today an article of clothing loaded with cultural and religious significance within certain segments and classes in Malay society. What happens when a woman, who does not come from a background within the Malaysian political or economic elite, chooses to no longer wear it?
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How does she negotiate between her public choice in how she dress and a vocal segment within society that insists that her choice is morally wrong? What does it tell us about shifting cultural norms in relation to the female body over the past decades and what role does fashion (because let's face it, it's trendy) play in cultivating this new ideal?
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Join Maryam Lee on Friday for 'Living Library: Aktivisma' together with our other storytellers who are here to share with you their own stories of change. Of finding ourselves, our own names, our own values and our ways of relating to each other in the world. 8.30PM-10.30PM at MDA.
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#fashion #tudung #feminism #womensrights #malaysianstories #choice #whatwewear #ootd #activism #livinglibrary

Everyday objects can tell us stories about the stirring of a movement, the transformation of a world. This is a pyjamas given to Serene Lim and handmade by her grandmother.
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Serene will be bringing this along to show us on this Friday's 'Living Library: Aktivisma'. She will invite visitors into her story circle to examine her chosen artefact closely, studying not just the details in the fabric and stitching but also how it gives meaning to her lifework.
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Serene will share how being part of the feminist movement brought her closer to her grandmother, as well as giving her a new perspective on grandmother's pain and strength of being a widow with 7 children in the 70s.
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This intimate bond also taught her something about the everyday experiences of women who came before as well as the significance of homecraft, in communicating care and hope between generations.
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'Living Library: Aktivisma' is happening this Friday, 15 Sept 2017, from 8.30PM - 10.30PM at Malaysia Design Archive. JOM!
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#designarkib #serenelim #pyjamas #feminism #homecraft #livinglibrary #aktivisma #grandmastories #malaysianstories #harimalaysia #livinglibrary

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