Presented by AGNI KOOTTHU (THEATRE OF FIRE)
Written & directed by Elangovan
Performed by Ahamed Ali Khan, Dew M. Chaiyanara, Faizal Abdullah, Gloria Tan, Hemang Yadav & Shaiful Risan
Production Manager: S Thenmoli
Sat 15 & Sun 16 Nov 2008, 8pm, $20, The Substation Theatre
Tickets available at The Substation box-office
SYNOPSIS: One night, the Police Coast Guard detects an unknown person swimming towards the direction of Singapore coastline with the aid of an inflatable trash bag. They fish him out of the sea. He has no valid travel document and is placed under arrest for attempting to enter the country illegally. It is explained to him that he will be charged for unlawful entry into Singapore and if convicted, he will face jail up to six months and liable to not less than three strokes of the cane on his 'royal arse', or fined up to $6,000.
During the interrogation, he confesses that he is actually the mythical figure Sang Nila Utama, the founder of Singapore in the 11th century AD. He further claims that he was returning from the Riau archipelago after visiting his subjects and had unfortunately entered a vortex at sea and was subsequently teleported into modern Singapore. The powers-that-be identify him as a potential global branding image for the Foreign Talent scheme and offer him immediate citizenship. But he demands that he be released first to understand his subjects better before accepting the citizenship. The authorities release him and give him free access to meet-the-people of modern Singapore.
Sang Nila Utama meets characters from all walks of city-life and unravels the discrepancies and incongruence that exist between the dominant official viewpoint and the articulations of the disenfranchised subalterns. Nila Utama has mixed feelings about acquiring citizenship but is surprised when he is accorded the highest honour and given an official position. He reiterates what he had uttered centuries ago: "If the animals here are as fine and as fierce as lions, this would be a good place to start a new kingdom."