Baling in a Time of BERSIH: Embodying Historical Transcripts as Enactments of Resistance
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In Baling, director Mark Teh uses published transcripts from the historical Baling Talks of 1955 to create a documentary performance that questions hegemonic narratives and provides pluralist perspectives on a significant moment in history. This chapter examines how the work juxtaposes the utterances of historical leaders with personal expressions of contemporary performers, to imbricate multiple fragments of truth and reconfigure their meaning as interconnected. By drawing attention to critical gaps and silences, Baling contributes to a deepening political agency and calls for a just democracy, synergised by the BERSIH (Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections) movement for reform in a context of political uncertainty. It offers a space to think and feel differently, and thereby review and reconnect with the fractures and frustrations of citizenship and country.
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