A chance to confront death

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Nothing in life is more certain than death and taxes – the quote itself goes back to the 18th century – but while taxes
we can deal with, death is something rather hushhush. To performance artist Soonufat Supramaniam though, it’s a topic that needs exploring.

August is usually a month full of taboos for many superstitious Malaysian Chinese. That’s when the Gates of Hell open for a whole month. During the Hungry Ghost Festival, spirits roam the earth. Entertainment for these spirits – either in the more traditional form of Chinese operas or modern-day ko-tais with skimpily clad performers belting out the latest Lady Gaga and K-Pop – will take centre stage, along with food offerings, incense and effigy burning.

This year’s Hungry Ghost celebrations coincide with the George Town Festival, and Penangite Soonufat “Soon” Supramaniam is taking the opportunity to showcase a live art performance that explores the subject of death in his solo act, Nine Deaths One Life.


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