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Remembering and reimagining May 13: 50 years later

50 years. That’s how long Dr Lim Teck Ghee has kept his experiences of May 13, 1969 out of the public eye. Though his voice was calm and his words measured, they were underscored by a grave and profound terror that silenced the crowded hall of Gerakbudaya that night. He was one of three panelists at the screening of The Star R.AGE’s documentary May 13: 50 Years Later and discussion hosted by Imagined Malaysia.

“Tonight is the first time that I’m publicly speaking about my memories from that day – from those days of shame and infamy. May 13 not only scarred our national psyche to the core, but it has, for me, recurred frequently in my dreams and my nightmares,” he said.

An acclaimed writer and academician who has worked with the World Bank and United Nations, Lim was working as a graduate student at the National Archives in Petaling Jaya Old Town at the time, staying near Jalan Gasing with his wife. The couple would typically go out for supper together near University Malaya or at Satellite Restaurant.

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Discussion Notes: Researching riots and processions in the 19th century

As part of our efforts to encourage research for the upcoming blogging initiative, O for Other, we recently organised a reading seminar on ‘Riots and Processions in 19th Century Straits Settlement’. The reading seminar was facilitated by Simon Soon (Malaysia Design Archive and the Visual Art Program, Cultural Centre, University of Malaya) together with Syukri Shairi (Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia).

19th-century colonial Straits Settlements were port cities that attracted people from different parts of the world. As a result, cities were also sites of constant negotiations and contestations over many different understandings of space. This seminar will explore riots and processions as cultural events that characterized the colonial port city’s sensorial modernity. This will be discussed principally in relation to the ‘Taboot’ or ‘Tabut’.