The Story of Minah, the ‘Jogho’ from Southern Thailand
Mastura, in her interest studying ‘U-Wei’s women’, chose Minah as a central character in her painting titled ‘Cerita Minah Seorang Jogho / The Story of Minah, the Jogho’.
Minah is a traditional Malay kampong woman living in Southern Thailand. By traditional here, it means following the lifestyles, beliefs and perceptions that was conventionally practiced by the Malays of Southern Thailand since generations. Minah is a wife that loves and cares for her husband, Pak Mat (Mamat), a bullfighter that owns a stable of prize-winning fighting bulls. They had three daughters and a son who is studying in Kelantan, a bordering state of Malaysia. As the story goes, Pak Mat, who earlier brought the family to Southern Thailand after some unfortunate events, had to face certain conflicts involving his brother’s death and the revenge he seeks for that, and which later caused him to be jailed. Minah was left on her own to make decisions important to Pak Mat and her family, as well as her brother-in-law’s family.
Southern Thailand is known as a troubled region. Fighting, rebellions, bloodshed, gangsters, religious and racial intolerance, poverty as well as prostitutions and games are familiar associations with the region and its towns or cities. Further readings on Southern Thailand will bring us deep into its historical, cultural and political discussions. An article on the matters mentioned came across when we flipped through the pages of a Milenia Muslim magazine, published by the Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (YADIM), August 2009 edition, from page 10 through page 19. The writer was however not named but described as Pengerusi Angkatan Pemuda-Pemudi Islam (API), Pulau Pinang, and the article was titled as ‘Tragedi Ngeri Umat Islam Selatan Thai’ (literally, A Frightening Tragedy of the Southern Malay Muslims). Some excerpts;
Tempat: Kampung Ai Saktia, Bukit, Narathiwat.
Responden: Maskah, (isteri mangsa)
Tarikh Kejadian: March 2008
Ustaz Aziz (48 tahun), mudir sebuah sekolah agama ditembak mati bersama anak lelaki sulongnya berusia 17 tahun kira-kira jam 4 petang di depan rumah kedai miliknya. Penyerang yang tidak dikenali melepaskan tembakan bertalu-talu secara mengejut dari sebuah kereta berwarna hitam…
Tempat: Kampung Ubei, Bannang Star, Yala.
Responden: Roqiah (Mak Ngah).
Tarikh Kejadian: Hujung 2008
… sejak hampir setahun yang lalu, suaminya, Abd Rahman, berumur 70 tahun ditahan di penjara Yala kerana dituduh menembak curi pasangan orang kenamaan Buddha yang pada ketika itu sedang melawat sebuah sekolah di Yala untuk memberi bantuan… kesedihan Mak Ngah bertambah beberapa bulan yang lalu apabila anaknya, Wan Ali, 27 tahun ditembak mati oleh pihak tentera kerana dituduh mencuri senjata di kem tentera. Dalam kejadian itu, Wan Ali bersama enam yang lain dipercayai dibunuh di sebuah pondok di Balau, Yala. Seorang daripada mereka dijerut mati di dalam sebuah rumah berhampiran pondok berkenaan…
And an artist-friend of ours, Fadzil Idris, who worked on ‘Jogho’ as the art director, told how he traveled back to the ‘Jogho’ locations in Southern Thailand a couple of months ago. Most places were quiet and there were not much activities around, especially comes the night. People were too afraid to move. Fadzil was also invited by U-Wei to be in the Wayang U-Wei. His revisits to the ‘Jogho’ locations were parts of his research on the Wayang-Uwei’s project.
Such were the conditions in which Minah and her family and relatives were living. A weak Minah wouldn’t be able to ‘see her husband and son being killed in front of the shop house’. A weak Minah wouldn’t be able to ‘always visit her old husband in the cell’ and wouldn’t be able to ‘hear that her son was murdered’… a strong Minah is willing to face challenges in the bullring.
Mastura likes Minah and wanted to portray her in her painting using some multimedia approaches and techniques.. It reminded her of her studies on the process of making artworks using multimedia, and she was thinking of portraying Minah in an animated format. She was referring to the concept-boards and storyboards familiar to the Faculty of Creative Multimedia students.
Armed with a remote control, a digital camera, pen and a notebook, she began looking for Minah in ‘Jogho’. Whenever Minah appeared in a significant scene of her choice, Mastura would stopped ‘Jogho’ and shot the scene. She replayed the scene to note down Minah’s dialogues. She had to sometimes replay her chosen scenes several times to properly listen to the Pattani / Kelantanese dialect.
Mastura then transferred what she captured into her computer and worked on the images using Photoshop and other related software. Satisfied with her selections and workings she then contacted a friend to print out the images on canvas. The canvas-printed images then were cut according to her desired sizes, later to be arranged and glued onto a bigger canvas surface, which was the painting’s surface. She then worked on the painting’s colors, matching them with the printed images and her collages of cloths and other embroideries. Minah finally appeared in Mastura’s paintings as a ‘Jogho’ of a ‘Jogho’.