“In many ways, they are. We can be so terrible, and we have the means to be so, I mean look at this world – animals aren’t destroying it, we are. We are the prime animal that is all about greed and corruption.

Again, we can create so much good but we choose to destroy and choose to consume. And we are all involved in this and we admit that we are consumers and users. 

Sometimes the way we (humans) treat each and look at each other can also be so terrible, but at the same time animals can be so much better than us because of the stuff that we do. 

I am the director of the theatre/play ‘Kandang’ (Cage). It is a Bahasa Malaysia version of George Orwell’s novel ‘Animal Farm’, about a group of farm animals who fight off their human master, and tries to create a place where all animals are equal, free, and happy. 

In the end, however, the animals themselves (the pigs) betray the rest (the horse, the chicken, the sheep, the ox etc) and the farm ends up as bad it was before.

The babi (pigs), let’s use that word. Even pigs are actually not as bad as we are, and how we treat each other. 

In the theatre play, you can see how the pigs play the ‘political game’ – using fear to make people follow and do all sorts of things. 

It’s not just here in Malaysia, but you can look at America too, and what President Trump is doing creating fear in the minds of Americans. 

Kandang/Animal Farm, is not focused on politics or the ideology of a political party, but the leadership in culture – ‘budaya kepimpinan’, a theme my late father really explored. When it comes to leadership in culture, is it about power or responsibility?

It’s really about the conversation on where do we want to go as a nation and what are we going to do. For example, my father would ask a question: ‘It doesn’t matter who’s up there, but once you’re up there, what will you do (to make things better)?’ 

Because sometimes we talk about power, we talk about perks and we talk about position, as opposed to responsibility and trust (amanah). It’s a responsibility to everyone involved. Ultimately, as a whole nation, from the different types of animals, we are all on the same boat – so what are we going to do?

That’s the thing about human beings, we can be so beautiful, we have the potential to be….custodians of this world. We can be the best, but for some reasons, we tend to be the worst”.

– Humans of Kuala Lumpur

KANDANG is a Bahasa Malaysia play/theatre (with subtitles) of George Orwell’s novel ‘Animal Farm’, about a group of farm animals who fight off their human master, and tries to create a place where all animals are equal, free, and happy. 

KANDANG is set to open its curtains on 25 April and will end its run on 28 April in klpac’s Pentas. If you want to know more about Kandang and other klpac’s upcoming shows, follow @klpac on facebook and stay-up-to-date. 

Photostory by Mushamir Mustafa and Sue Jiun

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(This post was first published on April 15th 2019)

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