I went to watch Chow Kit Road! Chow Kit Road! with a close friend. We both more or less belong to the urban elite English-speaking Klang Valley demographic, and we were both a little worn out by the end. The play had gone on too long, we said, a common problem of local musicals, and why was the tech so poorly run that we couldn’t understand a lot of the text, and what were they actually trying to say, we said. The rest of the audience in the stalls, however, had come out in force to support the artistes, and had laughed often and applauded warmly. As we filed out, I thought about the difference between my reaction and the rest of the audience’s.…

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