Tanah•Air  水•土:A Play In Two Parts

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16 – 20 Oct 2019

8.15pm – 11.15pm

Malay Heritage Centre

Performed in Malay and Chinese, with Malay, Chinese and English surtitles


Tanah•Air 水•土:A Play In Two Parts looks at the dispossession and loss of the indigenous Malays and Orang Seletar of Singapore. "Tanah" (land) and "Air" (water) were their homes (Tanah Air) until the arrival of foreign interventions, displacing them from both. The deep sense of loss continues to be felt today.

"Tanah" is inspired by Isa Kamari’s "Duka Tuan Bertakhta". Set in 1819 Singapore, a young girl loses her home on the sea and is forced to come ashore. As she navigates around the various parties who stake their claims to this land, she questions her identity, and struggles to find her footing on this land she calls home.

"Air" is a verbatim performance that looks at the displacement of the Orang Seletar, an indigenous community of Singapore, and how as Singapore evolved, they had to resettle in Johor, only to face the threat of being displaced again with the impending development of their customary territories.

What happens when a community’s ties to their land are severed? How do we know when to fight, negotiate, or simply succumb to agents of power?

Creative Team

  • Adib Kosnan (Co-director for "Air")
  • Koh Wan Ching (Co-director for "Tanah")
  • Director Kok Heng Leun (Co-director for "Tanah" & "Air")
  • Sound Designer Bani Haykal
  • Set Designer Akbar Syadiq
  • Lighting Designer Lim Woan Wen

Kok Heng Leun, Koh Wan Ching (Tanah) and Adib Kosnan (Air)

Director's Assistant
Chng Yi Kai

Neo Hai Bin (Tanah) and Zulfadli Rashid (Air)

Zulfadli Rashid

Set Designer
Akbar Syadiq

Lighting Designer
Lim Woan Wen

Sound Designer/"Live" Performer
Bani Haykal

Costume Designer
Max Tan

  • L-R: Wendi Wee Hian, Jereh Leung, Deonn Yang, Chng Xin Xuan, Lian Sutton
  • L-R: Roslan Kemat, Dalifah Shahril, Suhaili Safari, Farez Najid

Chng Xin Xuan, Roslan Kemat, Koh Wan Ching, Jereh Leung, Wendi Wee Hian, Farez Najid, Suhaili Safari, Dalifah Shahril, Lian Sutton, Deonn Yang

Biographies of the Creative Team

Production Team

Tay Jia Ying

Production Manager
Ng Siaw Hui

Technical Manager
Muhammed Muzzamier Bin Abu Bakar

Technical Crew
Muhammed Muddatsier Bin Abu Bakar, Nasrulhaq Bin Ramlee, Joel Manuel Fernandez, Tang Yeow Seng, Darren Lee

Marketing & Publicity
Nicole Lim, Amanda Leong

Khaw Han Chung


Stage Manager
Lam Dan Fong

Assistant Stage Manager
Ang Cheng Yan

Tan Yan Ying

Surtitle Operator and Crew
Vanessa Poh Yu Jun

Surtitle Translation
Shelly Bryant (Chinese to English)
Adib Kosnan (English to Malay)
Zulfadli Rashid (English to Malay)


Stage Manager
Nadia Binte Noordin

Assistant Stage Manager
Mariam Arshad Abdullah

Rees Safina Mohd Shahar

Surtitle Operator
Sarina Binte Sahari

Multimedia Operator and Crew
Loh Wanqi

Surtitle Translation
Hing Jia Wen (Malay to Chinese)
Adib Kosnan (Malay to English)

Siti Rusydia

Inspiration for "Tanah" & Text Source

"Tanah" is inspired by "Duka Tuan Bertakhta" written by Isa Kamari.

"Tanah" Text Sources

  1. 《悲君统治》("Duka Tuan Bertakhta") written by Isa Kamari, translated by Chan Maw Woh and Wing Chong
  2. "Syair Dagang Berjual Beli" written by Tuan Simi
  3. "Syair Tuanku Prabu di Negeri Singapura", writer unknown, translated by Khalid Bin Supandi.

Voices of/from the Orang Seletar Community

Salim bin Palon, Latih binte Akon, Lel bin Jantan, Entel bin Buruk, Mina binte Buruk, Eddy bin Salim, Jefree Bin Salim

Mini Exhibition "Orang Seletar: Beyond the Water's Edge"

Created by
Chan Kah Mei, Ilya Katrinnada, Ruslina Affandi

Images of Present-day Orang Seletar by
Jefree Bin Salim, Ilya Katrinnada, Youths of Kampong Sungai Temon

Translated by
Teo Pei Si (English to Chinese)

Exhibition supported by
Malay Heritage Centre, National Library of Singapore, Canon

Official Media Partner for exhibition
Our Grandfather Story

Special Thanks

Annaliza Bakri, Azhar Ibrahim, Harith Redzuan, Kelah bin Lah, Muhammad Danial Bin Rosli, National Archives of Singapore and Noorashikin Abdul Rahman.

Villagers of Kampung Kuala Masai, Kampung Pasir Putih, Kampung Simpang Arang and Kampung Sungai Temon.

Volunteers, media and friends who have supported the production.

Jointly Organized with

Malay Heritage Centre

Supported by

National Heritage Board Chinese Language & Culture Fund Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Pek Sin Choon Pte Ltd

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