Our Scars Tell The Story – Tales from the Scars
Visually if you see someone disfigured, or had a limb amputated, its easy to know that there are tales from the scars that haunt them daily.
Do you stare? Or avert your eyes? Scars demand a response, as all compulsion do. As adults, we soldier on and race ahead to sometimes live insipid lives. Falter when we should instead, inspire.
It is good when actors share their emotions. It is not a confession less many are confused. Different people respond differently. The opening up of wounds is a nasty thing to do. Too much to deal with emotionally.
Fa Abdul wrote the play based on real stories (with some fictional bits for the drama). It is the actors that breathe life into the characters they played.
What are the Scars?
Scars are scars are scars. Are these akin to tribal markings rites of passage? Milestones like the first time you burn your fingers playing with matches? Or that tattoo Ian had when he was drunk at 17. It was the shape of a peanut with IAM inside the outline. We joke about it, years later, when I met Ian. He was widowed by then and I could barely make out his thick Manchurian accent. The gist of which, Ian said,
“God can be contained in a nutshell!”
I remember tracing my finger on the sickle-shaped scar that curls around Red’s torso when he and I were children. We named the scar “Pink Caterpillar” not knowing that the same surgeons who saved his life also butchered his tiny frail body. When we were older, we would discuss that scar as if it was a friend from our childhood.
“How’s Pink?” I’d ask.
“He’s getting on, lost another caterpillar leg since you last asked,” Red would guffaw.
“My father. He said at a relative’s wedding. You can marry a fat woman, a thin woman, a tall woman, a short woman. It’s quite alright. As long as you don’t marry a career woman…”
Then he looked straight at me. The career woman who put food on the table educated her younger siblings and married them off.
Everyone at the wedding laugh. I laugh too. A little too loudly.
Inside Our Scars
What if the scars are on our insides? What if the cuts and scabs form internally? And the internal organs are cut and ripped apart every minute of the day, never quite healing. Just barely forming scabs before the same process happens again and again. Repeatedly.
When I was in my twenties, I met a man who talked so I listened. I listened and I listened. What he told me, I wished he didn’t. His mother prostituted herself so she could feed him and his baby sister. He only realized why so many Uncles would visit their shanty room every day in the afternoons when he turned 10 and was teased in school.
When I saw the anguish on the young actor’s face, I remember my friend. It’s the same story. Yet it is different. Only worse. Much much worst. The shaking and trembling are heartbreaking. I feel his wretchedness.
So Cool Meh?
Looking at that incredibly handsome man with his Robert Downing Jr goatee, it’s quite impossible to think that he is actually an introvert. He looks too cool. He looks too proud. He’s a womanizer. He’s gay. He’s so many personas to so many people. Surely that cocksureness is from being spoilt as a child?
It’s strange that we judge badly all the time. The quiet aloof man, he has been bullied his entire life. Step upon as a child. Bullied in school so badly that he only drank tap water. His classmates put a handful of sand in his food every day at recess time.
I overheard a married asking another if she tried Buddy Men. I was intrigued. The journalist in me grew Dumbo ears. The women are in their 40s, drop dead gorgeous and moneyed. Is loneliness not a scar tissue surely? All that luxury? What suffering? I asked.
A wise retired journo said to me, “And to spend the rest of your life collecting baubles, plan for lunch dates, and continuous grooming with every nail, hair, and pore squeaky clean, only to return to an empty house every night. Now, do you want this kind of existence?”
Lonely, Mister Lonely
Bikar’s wife died from cancer too. Cervical. Now listening in on the narration, I now understand why widowers remarry FAST. When Aunty M passed on, someone wanted to match me to Uncle M. I was horrified. I grew up calling him Uncle. There must be another formula to work on. Another equation surely to help all these widowers. The other night waiting for the lift in a KL, an elderly widower smiled at us. I was quiet. My friend was friendlier as she sometimes is.
“I’m terribly lonely. My wife died and I live on the 10th floor. My name is Sam. I only eat bread and kaya for dinner. I can’t cook to save my life. Will you visit me?” he said with any pause nor punctuation.
There are Three of Us
“Is she adopted?” asked BG.
I dropped my fork, it clattered on my Mee Goreng. “Why do you say that?”
“She is fair. Her mother is not.”
“That’s an unkind assumption,” I said.
“They have different colors,” she stated flatly.
Me, myself and I. We were equally disgusted with such bigoted and prejudiced opinion and prefixes. We screamed (in our head) and continued to eat dinner reluctantly.
Did Ivan Gabriel wear a Predator Scar Symbol? I don’t know. What I do know is this. Ivan, the actor is not dark. He shines!
Not Quite Sleepless in Seattle
The totally unsettling event was I slept through most of the narrative and woke up exhausted.
Yes, there is always scarring from food. Expanding waistlines and cake eating. I watched Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again that afternoon and so get the Food and Love Connection. There are 3 Ways to Getting Fat.
“How many ways?”
“Three. Food, beer and penis.”
“No religion is not one of the three ways.”
Fight to Stay Married
The other day, I was speaking to a young lady, recently separated. I asked if she started dating again. She said her girls, aged 4 and 10 don’t approve.
Only the Chinese, sadly, do this.
I know as I have visited most of the nursing homes. The urine smell clings muskily to the air. The beds placed close together that they are almost touching. Old men and old women live in open dorm style “room” in the lounge area of converted rented semi-detached houses. The homes, where these mothers and fathers, grandmother and grandfather “retire” to so that someone could watch over them 24/7. It’s perfectly fine. You can visit once a month. Don’t worry. They are kept occupied every day. They get to watch TV and chit-chat. Oh, it’s just the water. We give them water. About half a cupful three times a day. Its so they don’t go to the toilet so often especially at night.
Ten monologues, ten lives and ten itching scars waiting to be scratched.
‘Tales from the Scars’ is a collection of ten intimate stories based on real-life episodes, often buried within layers of complexities. It is a raw, forthright, funny and dead-serious addition to the well-known ‘Tales Series’ by writer/director Fa Abdul.
This edition of the series includes ‘Brown Man in a Hood’, ‘The Widower & his Pubic Hair’, ‘The Leftover’, ‘A Flat Chest & an Aching Heart’, ‘Prostitutes, Pimps & Refugees’ and five other earthy stories which will delight many and offend some.
Join us this August as our nail penetrates under the scab, removing the dead skin of our scars, reaching that tender and raw part of our flesh and experience a sense of relief, pain and pleasure…
Not a Review:
I have not written a review of the narratives. Rather my response is a reaction to the opening up of old wounds which are private and personal to the actors. Apart from the agony and pain of unmentionable grotesqueness of the scar, sometimes shame associated with such great fear and trauma is its crippling effect. I applaud the actors for their acting and sharing. Thank you, Fa Abdul, for reaching out to the Lost.
May we all find our way home.
Director | Fa Abdul | Writer | Fa Abdul
Cast | Ida Suhaini | Rezuriff Zee | Nilesh Babu | Sharmen Glenn | Ivan Gabriel | Sabrina Ameen | Philip Yeoh | Karam Tab | Deeviya Nambbiar | Thenmathy Ramasamy
Produced by | Big Nose Productions | Presented by | Penang Performing Arts Centre
Show Dates | 10 – 12 August 2018 | (10 & 11 @ 8.30pm, 11 & 12 @ 3pm)
Ticket Price | RM35 (early bird until 16 July) | RM37 (TAS card/ Students/ Sr/ OKU) | RM40 (normal price) Group Sales | Free 1 ticket for 10 tickets purchased under normal price
Call Penangpac Box Office at 04-8991722/2722 for tickets.
Feature photo of the cast | Fa Abdul | Promotional photos | penangpac
Photos of actors | Max Teoh Yeam Chuan
If you love Japan Get Saving up to 50% When You Book Here!