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Grace Chin & Michelle Tam talk about their Malaysian childhoods: What stories did they hear, and how ‘Asian’ or ‘Malaysian’ were they? And what does ‘Once upon a time’… in the future, mean for them?


What makes a good story for a child? Which versions do we consider as the most authentic? Is it only as true as the person telling it, and what does it say about the relationship between storyteller and listener? Michelle discusses how fairytales may be perceived and judged differently over a period of time, and how she got introduced to the notion of romance with a sobering reality check! (Duration 4:14)

Dongeng 01

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Michelle explains how she dreamt up a prince who seeks out a life partner who is a whiz behind the wheel (ver #1: Challenge Accepted), dating in an age of instant gratification and where google-fu stalker skills are normalised (ver #2: The Prince and the Pea (1 Wimax), and of a future where fantasies of ‘if she/he is a guy/girl I would so marry her’ could come true (ver #3: ‘Demi Moore’ meets Patrick Swayze ala Ghost). (Duration 6:07)

Dongeng 02

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Michelle discusses how she constructed these fantasies out of today’s realities, and what the origins and values of these stories were. In the future, will we be even telling stories to our children at all? Will the form or delivery of cerita dongengs matter then? (Duration 5:13)

Dongeng 03

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What makes a fairytale withstand the test of time? What ensures its longevity? Is it the simplicity of its language? Or the timelessness of the values it carries? Does anthropomorphism or how trendy a fairy tale was at the time of its heyday play a role in this? (Duration 4:03)

Dongeng 04

(Ed: There’s a bit of uhm and ahh-ing in the beginning, pls bear with us!)

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