As I write this note, hunger is my companion and my familiar. I’m in the first few hours of fasting a complimentary fast, because it’s a special day for Muslims. As the hajj pilgrims spend the night and gather on the dusty, arid landscape of Arafah’s sands, the rest of us are encouraged to conduct our own remembrance. We share the hardship from a distance – their sleepless night to our hungry day.
I’ve been fasting enough years now to know the routine. Whatever meal I had in the dark won’t last for more than a few hours. No amount of water swallowed in sleepy haste will stay in my mouth the rest of the day. My body slows down gradually, each cell preparing to conserve energy once the last of the food is gone. I am tired, wan and sleepy – my brain grows sharper and my thoughts more coherent. It’s my tongue which weighs down with stupor.
Hunger is the least of my concerns. It becomes white noise – gnawing and persistent, but bearable.
But the five minutes before the break of fast – when the end is oh, so nigh – are the hardest.
For all of it being such a sharp reminder, its liveability makes hunger that enigma of experiences: Are there limits to hunger? When is it too much, and when is it just right?
IN THIS ISSUE
We examine the different, ripe manifestations of hunger, how we live with and despite it — the hunger for another body, for memories, for escape — and how they almost constantly translate into gastronomical desire. It makes sense that when we are void of bread, we become the circus. Your body, after all, is always telling you something.
ISSUE: HUNGER features the surrealist visions of photographer Bryan Lim and his exploration of visual storytelling. We also have interviews with visual artist Zahra Zainal as well as the director of Tropfest Southeast-Asia 2014, Joe Sidek.
- Floating bits of ephemera: an interview with Bryan Lim
- “I want to push it as far as I can, for as long as possible”: an interview with Zahra Zainal
- A Sincere Hunger for Something Bigger: Talking Tropfest SEA with Joe Sidek
This edition’s theme has inspired collaborations from all corners, some of them indulging in memories of food, the others examining different forms of hunger, none of them any less visceral:
- Café Vinaigrette by Raina Ng & Syar S. Alia
- Me, My Sex(ing) and I by Al Zaquan & Raina Ng
- The Sky Speaks to the Ground and We Are All Buried by Dhiyanah Hassan, Syar S. Alia & Syazwina Saw
On the solo contributions front, we have music, poetry and fiction, all ready for you to sink into:
- That Skinny Slut by Kamarul Anwar
- Joga, a Bjork cover by Sulyn Ooi
- We All Scream: spoken word poetry by Ashvina Naidu & Melizarani T. Selva
And with that, we invite you to roam our pages — shhh, take your time — and dig in.
Poster photography and design by Syar S. Alia