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Chinese Whisper
Chinese Whisper
Chinese Whisper

Chinese Whisper

Single-channel Video
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My great grandfather came from Shantou, China with his family to Penang, Malaysia in the 1920s. Teochew was spoken among my dad and his siblings, my grandparents and my grandaunts. My understanding in Teochew is limited as I only learn and use the language through listening and speaking in extended family gatherings. Despite going to a Chinese school, Teochew were not taught in classes and we was forbidden to use it as it is consider a dialect.

“天頂一粒星, 地下開書齋”( A star in the sky, a school beneath it) is a children rhyme I vividly recall from my late grandmother. In the video, the lady that started to recite the rhyme is my cousin aunt whom is in her 70s and my dad (in his 60s) and me (20s). According to my cousin aunt, there are various version of the rhymes, but it always start with the same 1st sentence- 天頂一粒星, 地下開書齋”

about the artist /

Okui Lala is an artist and cultural worker. Her practice spans from video and performance to community engagement. Okui‘s work explores themes of diaspora, home and belonging through the performances of domestic acts or vocational labour.Previous presentations include shows at the Singapore Biennale, Festival/Tokyo, Para Site Hong Kong and National Art Gallery Malaysia. Okui also facilitates photos and video workshops with nonprofit organizations, unions and different communities in Malaysia and Japan.

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