Writing about The Piglets at Seksan

Once a month, usually the third Saturday afternoon, folks from the Kuala lumpur publishing world are to be seen hanging out at Seksan, an artist/architect’s tiny gallery at an event organised by Sharon Bakar. It is fascinating to watch various writers read out their works in front of various backgrounds. The one you see here had been missing for the longest time, but is now back.

Six Little Pigs at Seksan

Six Little Pigs, Photograph by Leon Wing

Sitting there, looking at the painting, this is what I thought:

Six little pigs hanging in the light like the first line of a nursery rhyme.  The light catches their blushed white coats, the gray sheen of their hooves, their doleful eyes, long eyelashes, and their pink-pouted snouts worthy of Angelina Jolie. What the light does not show is the six-pronged hook on which the piglets hang, their guts missing, their blood drained, their flesh skin and bones ready to melt over a slow-roasting fire.

It reminded me of ourselves, so blithe in our lives, so forgetful on the hooks on which we hang, bloodless, gutless, the lot of us, so distant from memory.

And then one of the poets, Omar Musa came up and recited these lines, :

We forget that

buds of shadow

spring from the simplest of desires,

that slave-ships surged through waves

so nobility could soak their throats in rum


sprinkle sugar in tea.

That blades bite bone in the holiest causes.

That lands are stolen, as are children at night,

and even with the best intentions, these things are not right.

And then his line that stayed with me:

We think because our life is performance and rehearsal at the same time, it is ok to forget.

I felt like a forgetful little piglet and was afraid, when I heard those lines. Curious, how words and images randomly juxtaposed could move the heart into such a sinking, especially when Omar Musa ended his poem with these lines:

This story has no ending.

We are in suspended motion.

We walk like ghosts,

Our feet knocking on the doors of the earth.