one love (reggae fest 2012, malaysia)

Dearest ______,

Last weekend found five of us in Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia. We took a plane ride up north for this year’s One Love: Reggae Fest (Malaysia), which featured some of the best reggae/ ska/ dub/ dancehall acts this region has to offer. Naturally I was with fellow enthusiasts and/or bandmates and of course it was nothing short of a laugh fest from the moment we all met up at the airport at 4:00 AM. You know how it is with boys- we they will always be like so.

Imagine if you will, what you know of reggae music and its many unique associations… Now take a look at this quaint, chic little place we booked for the night.

The Ryokan Chic Hotel, fashioned after the Japanese sense of scale and style, could not be farther from your average Rastafarian’s taste. The place was really nice though, I think we spent most of our 48 Malaysian hours indoors: sleeping, hanging out, etc. Plus, Rastafarians we are not.

This is Ray in a camouflage- print sweater. He used to do graffiti work involving monkeys (among other masked animals). Here he is now, faced with a whole mural of his previous fixation’s evolution. As you may gather, pink and black were the color schemes of this botique hotel… stark contrasts to the red, green, yellow of that night’s affair.

A Dyptich: Facial Mask.

Just so you know I wasn’t exaggerating about the non- stop hilarity of this short and sweet trip, might I elaborate with a few hilarious incidents… I warn those who are faint- hearted, though. Some of these conversations are quite naughty as they are just plain ridiculous.

The boys: Aaron (our trombonist), Pe (our friend), Ray (our percissionist), Jawo (our vocalist).

Episode 1: The Over- Eager Harlot (in the Hotel Room, after beers and a round of “Would You Rather”)

Jawo: So, Aaron… Would you rather… Suck another man’s peen, or-
Aaron: Suck. Next question!

A new friend representing the Philippines and his one- man Dub Reggae band, Royal South Sound System.
Who we loved on stage: Joe (previously of the huge Malaysian reggae band, Pure Vibracion)! RSSS for that amazing one- man show! We are Not All Stars for that skanking mosh pit! Jamie One Drop (with our friend Izat of Singapore- based band, Shine)! Our very cool friends from Straits Records, Sham and Firman for Dub Skankin Hi Fi!

Episode 2: It’s Always Sunny in… Ireland (at the Ovo Club, just getting started with the drinks)

Aaron: So this one episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was pretty hilarious… Blah blah blah…
Strange Irish Man Out of Nowhere: HAHAHA THAT’S ABSOLUTELY FUNNY!!! HAHAHA
5 of Us: Uhm… Okay.
SIMON: So why not let’s buy a proper jug of beer, aye? You wanna see a sketch I did over lunch today, quite funny, if I may say so myself. Well here it is then. You the bloody Parliament… Blah blah blah…
Ray (whispering): This guy is very agitating.
Me: He’s a little weird, right?
Ray: I have a phobia of Leprechauns!

Izat’s kicking kicks.
WaNAS with Joe.

Episode 3: The Exchange Rate (at the Ovo Club)

One of the boys: You know why everything in Singapore is half the price here in Malaysia?
Me: No, why?
Boy (pointing at a midget little person): Check it out…
Me: WTF, man!

And these episodes only cover at least 30 minutes of that whole trip. You can only imagine the rest of the entire time.

Oh Joe. You and your golden voice.

It was a whole lot of good vibes and fun, we hope to join the musical line-up at next year’s festival!
Join us then so we can make more episodes!


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Photography and text by Author unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.

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