This Malaysian tradition will be extinct. Meet its last practitioner


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Mr Romli is the last living performer of ‘Awang Batil’ (The Brass Drum Storyteller), but by his admission, it’s not a ‘passion’ in most definitions of passion.

He doesn’t elaborate and is quite nonchalant about it. He just is. It’s identity.

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He regards it as a legacy and inheritance from his father who was one of the best performers in Malaysia’s northern region.

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Realising that this oral tradition and performance will end with him, Mr Romli compromised the performance’s authenticity. Times have changed, and he’s not one to uphold a tradition for the sake of tradition.

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He speaks to Isaiah Saw’s about his life, the performance, adapting to the times, and invites the camera to the scene of his son’s wedding.

Will this be the death of Awang Batil? Only time will tell.

Watch ‘Warisan Terluka’ by Isaiah Saw On Viddsee:

[Read: State honours for Mr Romli for ‘Awang Batil’]

Watch this documentary, ‘Pulau Ubin’ by Eugene Chin, about an island in Singapore that has only 38 inhabitants

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