ISSUE Magazine

“Sampah Masyarakat” by Lee Lian Kong

Jalan Doraisamy, 2am, Friday – Society’s trash is dancing. Higher than the rest, freer than most, they dance with exhilaration and emotion.

The warm air with the pitch black sky and the buzzing yellow street lights set the stage for KL’s urbanites who have come out to play in these night cathedrals. Girls are dressed like harlots while men hold a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Sheraton Hotel loomed in the corner among the neon signs of trying-too-hard club names. The residents of ‘Asian Heritage Row’ are night clubs with no class yet pretending to have it, playing Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and other identical Top 20 songs mixed with stale dance beats which puncture the silence and stillness of another Friday night. This was KL at night – romantic, vulgar, beautiful.

Liyana Kamal was one of those who had come out to play. With her work week at the law firm done and a plan made with the lot, she and her boyfriend headed out into the night.

Their club is the one at the end of the stretch with a black-and-red boudoir-wannabe interior, selling a bottle of Heineken at RM20 a pop to the city’s lowlifes, their regular customers. Its saving grace was the DJ, who was a dickhead but played the best underground house music in KL. On the second storey balcony — a result of the management’s fuck-all attitude towards DBKL rules — one can watch the night change to day. While the city woke up outside, its people going to work, last night’s party raged on inside.

“Nah, ambik your half.”


Liyana eased the drink down with a quick swig of water. By now, half or full moons would already have been swallowed by the rest. Professionals by day, party animals by night; they’re the regulars who had been in this scene of lines and moons for years. Some by choice, some as a hobby. Either way, complete psychos.

Tonight’s chemical affair welcomed them with a tingly cold enveloping their skin. Heads became lighter as thoughts turned rosier. Liyana ran her hands over her arms and thighs, slowly and softly, up and down, up and down – her personal tried and true litmus test to know whether it had kicked in, as she hovered between clear-headedness and ecstasy. It was positive. Now, every touch felt like good sex, every glide a sensual, poignant, wonderful experience.

She turned to her girlfriend next to her, who was smiling knowingly. She’s there too.

“Dah?” her boyfriend asked.


There are things that they say make us equal: Death, Voting. As Liyana danced as if it was the most natural thing to do, it seemed that they had forgotten Rave. In this temporary, borrowed utopia, artificial social classes mean fuck-all – here, we are all equal. There was no money that could save you from the agony of a bad come down.

Perhaps what was more important was that Rave stripped us to the naked, passionate persons we were. We moved by dancing, we had sex by making love, we thought in poetry. For the next three hours, we were no longer the dried up cubicle workers, the disappointments of families, the dull, conditioned middle class.

Sampah masyarakat or freer people?

Liyana, dancing with her hands in the air to ‘cucuk langit’, poetry in her every movement — just threw her head back and laughed.


Image by WordsManifest for ISSUE Magazine

This entry was written by issuemagonline and published on 14/02/2013 at 14:33. It’s filed under Essays, ISSUE9, Musings, Writings and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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