Installation of Scarecrows

  • on the Paddy Field

Illustration by Ammi

Langkawi is highly illustrious for its historical connotations; sparkled with century-old mysteries by legendary story of Mahsuri. Being an archipelago of 104 islands, Langkawi has transformed itself into a popular tourist destination with crystal-clear beaches, duty-free shopping, natural wildlife and an island-packed luxury resorts. However, there's something missing and perhaps, not extensively mentioned; Langkawi island that is part of Kedah used to be the rice bowl of Malaysia.

In the early days, villagers' main occupation was by ploughing through the paddy fields under the scorching hot sun. Yet, their hard work was often interrupted by intruders; the birds that flocked into the paddy field to eat the seeds that were planted into the field. The paddy farmers erected scarecrows in the proximity of the field to deter any loss of any seedlings. It was known the scarecrow became an effectual co-worker of paddy farmers. They stood through thick and thin of any weather turbulences to ward off the birds.

Illustration by Ammi

Now, the turnaround of society has evolved at such tremendous speed that after many generations, the rice bowl of Malaysia has been taken over by other forms of economic propositions. Could you feel the great 'migration'? Do you still remember the epic legend of Mahsuri and her 7-generation curse to the island? While the legend remains in the hearts of many, the preference of occupation has 'migrated' from tiresome work of paddy farmers to other cosy jobs in the city. The younger generation has 'migrated' from the suburbs to be educated and put their hands on professional career for an easier life.

The once-distinguished paddy farming has slowly faded out, and the farming culture will only remain as a history for the future generations to remember.

This interactive installation that depicts transition actually represents a crossroad situation whereby farmers have to make a tough decision to continue as a farmer or to progress towards a professional career. This installation is an illustrative process of 'migration' from a farmer to his chosen professional field. It also demonstrates that generations of today are losing touch of hardship of older generations, however, the new generations would be experiencing different kinds of pressure from the hectic, modern society.

A glimpse of how a scarecrow will look like in the paddy field. But soon, it will be replaced with the "Migrated" scarecrows. All are welcomed to participate

Did you see the empty area of the paddy field? It's waiting for you to put up the "Migrated" scarecrow

Regular upkeeping of the paddy field is part of the process in preparing the outdoor installation of scarecrows