Patrioeightiesma is an exploration of the existing subcultures in 80's Malaysia with the hopes of rescuing abandoned memories through a subtly erotic, nakal revisiting of the past, and how it’s influences have trickled down to our current state of affairs and functionality. We celebrate what was by laying out what it has come to be. Below, Jo reimagines a fictional retelling of the moment.
Reading Time: 2 minutes
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 “o’ Erwa my darling angel bug, play some music for us.”

All the worlds come hurrying alive at Lun’s house. Erwa gently slides the piring hitam out of its paper cover and puts it onto the vinyl player. Tick, tick, hi, ho, it begins to spin and spin. Blood gets hot and breath gets short. Erwa’s velvet eyelashes fluttered to the bone-teasing tune permeating the heavy smoke-filled air.

Would you care for a rokok? The girls and their perfumed hair and manicured fingers; never-ending stories. Kaylynn strings a pearl necklace around Lun’s neck.

The bell rings, once, twice, ring, ring, hi, ho. In the twilight, time unclasps itself as Lun’s guests begin to arrive. Shh, look as the guests bathe in an unknown ritual of walking through the door shaded with electric blue streamers. Feel it brush against a heavy leather jacket, a flowery polyester shirt, a pair of white knee-high socks, a bare midriff and a pair of seashell earrings.

Lee settles a punch bowl of sirap onto the dining table. The lychees and pineapples swirl around in a watery red mosaic of basil seeds. “Telur katak!”, Omar teases Lee. Omar takes out a crumpled pack of rokok and offers Lee one. The lighter flickers once, twice, hi, ho, briefly illuminating Omar’s heavily-lined dark eyes. Omar throws his lighter to Lee in a playful gesture. Kaylynn stands at the other end of the table and picks at a star-shaped melon ball. Lee, with a cigarette dangling by the side of his mouth, stands at the head of the table. Nara arrives at the table with her mee goreng (extra tauhu as Nadhirah requested!) on a silver platter. Nara’s shadowed baby blue eyes flutter––once, twice, hi, ho, are you mesmerized yet?

I think Nara stole a chunk of cloud blue from the sky. What an unconscious brazen act! Lun, with a beaded bag resting against her left thigh, walks over and greets Nara with a girlish peck on her soft blushed cheek. Together, they examine the various foods laid on the linen-covered table. In a singsong tune, Lun goes, “… nasi hujan panas, tri-coloured Neapolitan cake, rendang ayam, kuih-muihs in pandan greens and artificial pinks…” Nara rearranges the decorative glass fruits so that the glassy banana sticks out of the bowl like a tropical obscene phallic, with a wink and a crooked grin that followed almost naturally.

Look, Sya is petting Roslan’s head affectionately. Red plastic hearts shade his intoxicated eyes. I hear he write sonnets about Sya’s beautiful pout and the way the baby hair at the nape of her neck curled inwards. The mattress would drag itself to Sya and Roslan if it could. An epileptic froth of mad ecstasy, drunken gossip floating in vain, the fright of a blurry touch, the pause of one last kiss. The party is in full swing. Erwa and Nadhirah are dancing, like a pair of thin crescent moons. Their gestures are slow and dreamlike. The white slip-on dress Nadhirah is wearing has a slit that reaches to her lower back like a glistening wound against copper-tones. Her head of bleached hair with red tips swayed to the tune like translucent amber sealed in dreams. 

Photographed by Curly.