Street performance at Puncak Purnama protest gathering on 16 Aug 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, in collaboration with Intan Rafiza and  Aisyah Baharuddin.

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We stood holding each other’s arms, gradually increasing our grip until we were hurting each other. I could see my hand turn purple around Aisyah’s wrist, and I felt her iron grip on mine. I let go of Intan and tried to pry Aisyah’s fingers off, while she did the same to me. She’s strong. Both these women are really strong. Someone else took my hand, I think it was Rahmat. More people join in. There’s pushing and pulling, a human chain of love and pain, tearing each other with the effort of keeping together. I feel the bodies of my friends, close to me. It can’t go on much longer, but I want it o. I don’t want to let go and I don’t want them to let go. The grip, whether that of our dictators, or the love of our friends, leaves its mark. I wanted to feel that grip. The day after, my arms remember the ache.

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Kami berdiri saling bergenggam tangan, asyik kuat sehingga tangan saya yang memegang lengan Aisyah tukar jadi biru, dan saya turut rasa cengkaman besinya. Saya lepaskan Intan dan cuba mengumpil jari Aisyah, dan dia buat yang sama kepada saya. Dia kuat. Begitu kuat dua perempuan ini. Seorang lain mengambil tangan saya yang bebas, Rahmat kah itu? Lebih ramai sertai kami, membentuk jaringan badan manusia yang saling bertolak tarik. Kami terlerai dengan usaha kami untuk tidak berlepas tangan. Badan kawan-kawan mengepungi saya. Rasanya performans ini tidak boleh lama berterusan, walaupun saya inginkannya. Saya tidak mau lepas tangan dan tidak mau mereka lepas tangan. Cengakaman diktator kita, sama seperti cengakaman setiakawan rakan-rakan kita, meninggalkan kesan. Saya ingin rasakan cengkaman itu. Dan pagi ini, tangan saya masih sakit darinya!

 

 

Photos by Mimie Baharuddin. Video by Koon Tan.