Packed with drama and humour, Swordfish + Concubine happens at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre from 2 to 5 November. Based on the classic Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals), the story tells of how the ancient kingdom of Singapura was saved from a swordfish attack by a boy and a smart and spirited concubine. Directed by playwright and author Kee Thuan Chye, the production celebrates Malaysian culture, with silat and gamelan music, as well as traditional dance and theatre forms like the zapin and wayang kulit, given a modern twist. Proceeds from the play will go toward helping the family of Malaysian musician Datuk Ooi Eow Jin, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Malaysia’s largest literary festival, the George Town Literary Fest, returns to Penang state from 24 until 26 November. Held at the World UNESCO Heritage site of George Town, this year’s theme is ‘Monsters and (Im)mortals’, and will see an impressive line-up of local and international writers, poets and performers like Belgian cultural historian David Van Reybrouck, Malaysian fantasy author Zen Cho and Indonesian poet and food writer Laksmi Pamuntjak, among others. Visitors can expect panel discussions, readings, poetry marathons, spoken word performances, workshops as well as dance and film screenings.
Call Of The Wild
Dubbed one of the toughest motor races in the world, the annual RFC Rainforest Challenge descends into the forests and rivers of Pahang state from 25 November until 5 December. The epic off-road 4x4 event is the finale to the RFC Global Series, and pits men, women and their mean machines from over 30 countries against the brutal Malaysian rainforest. Participants will face off against muddy and swollen rivers, soggy grounds, slippery ascents and descents, log bridge crossings as well as numerous obstacles to claim the title of toughest of the tough.
Thailand’s Loi Krathong festival is celebrated on the full moon evening of the 12th month in the Thai lunar calendar, which falls on 3 November this year. The festival pays respect to Lord Buddha and the goddess of water. Rivers, ponds and canals all over the country are brightened by lights from thousands of beautifully decorated baskets (krathong) which are floated out onto the water. In Bangkok, the Chao Phraya river is where the main festivities are held, along with traditional dances, music and fireworks.
All About Mud
Get down and dirty at Mudtopia Festival, happening at the Rotorua Arawa Park Race Course from 1 to 3 December. The inaugural three-day festival, which also features music and entertainment, will see a slew of mud-centric activities, including a Mud Arena with games, mud sports, mud pools and obstacle courses. There is also a fun Mud Run and a mud zone especially for the kids. Join in authentic health and wellness activities such as massages, spa treatments and group yoga, before jamming out to an impressive music line-up of local artists such as Shapeshifter, Anika Moa and Hollie Smith.
The story about a ballet-dancing dog with a big personality and even bigger dreams is sure to entertain kids and their parents alike. Adapted from the hilarious children’s book written by Anna Kemp and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, Dogs Don’t Do Ballet is a fun theatrical performance for all ages, happening on 1-19 November at PJ Live Arts at Jaya One in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, and at the Komtar Auditorium in Penang on 20-21 November. Join Biff, the dog, and a host of colourful characters as they incorporate unique storytelling with dance and song on stage, for an unforgettable experience with the little ones.
Every year on 22 and 23 November, ‘giants’ walk the streets of Angono, Rizal at the Higantes Festival. Dedicated to Saint Clement, the patron saint of fishermen, the highlight of the festival is the colourful procession of 10- to 12-feet-tall papier mache ‘giants’, accompanied by devotees dressed in local costumes or fishermen’s clothing and wooden shoes. Folklore has it that the parade was first done by locals as a protest against their colonial Spanish rulers, but it has since evolved into a festival on its own. Each barangay (district) typically presents three or four statues, and there will be dances, cultural performances and stalls in a carnival-like atmosphere.