Legendary tale of Hang Tuah gets a new spin

Categories Flash Backs, Local

Saw Teong Hin tried his hand at adapting Hang Tuah’s story using the ancient martial arts form.

Many know of silat as a traditional martial arts form that belongs to the Malay civilization. To think of it as a theatrical performance piece is rather rare but in the hands of acclaimed director Saw Teong Hin (Puteri Gunung Ledang), it became a vehicle to showcase the most epic bromance known to Malaysians – the friendship between Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat.

Photo credit: Lim Soo Peng

Saw Teong Hin’s “Silat – Our Heritage for the World” was commissioned specially for George Town Festival and tells the story of the two legendary Malay warriors. It starts at the beginning of their friendship and follows them till their infamous confrontation. With the 18th-century Fort Cornwallis serving as a backdrop, Saw combined silat, wayang kulit, traditional orchestra and sajak narration for a highly entertaining production.

He did not hold back on the big names as well, calling on board choreographer Aida Redza to lend her magic touch to the dance sequences, Saidah Rastam to score the music and using Malaysian National Laureate Prof. Dr. Muhammad Hj Salleh’s words as narration.

Photo credits Neoh Chee Jin

Saw Teong Hin worked on Emily of Emerald Hill for GTF 2010 and Hai Ki Xin Lor for GTF 2014 which later became a movie slated to show in cinemas starting 4th May 2017. Internationally acclaimed cinematographer Christopher Doyle (In The Mood For Love, Chungking Express) also worked on the film starring Frederick Lee, Sue Tan, Chin Teo, John Tan and Singapore’s Neo Swee Lin.

Photo credits Lim Soo Peng

Silat was performed at Fort Cornwallis during George Town Festival 2012. George Town Festival, one of the major Asian Arts festivals in Malaysia, is organised by Joe Sidek Productions Sdn Bhd.

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Ching Yee Tang

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