Keeping Silambam spinning

By Marco Ferrarese

July 2014 FEATURE
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On Penang Island, a small group of dedicated Tamils fights the odds to ensure that an ancient martial art stays alive.Expert hands twirl the rattan stick so fast it draws circles in the air, and you know it’s moving closer to you when you start to hear sounds akin to scissors ripping fabric. You instinctively shield your face when you see the stick swirl up, and then shudder as it ricochets downwards. But you feel no pain; the tip of...

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Marco Ferrarese

is a musician, author and travel writer. He has written about overland travel and extreme music in Asia, and blogs at He also curates the Penang Insider, the smart guide for traveling and living in Penang, at His latest book, The Travels of Marco Yolo, is available in bookstores. Follow him on Twitter @monkeyrockworld.