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Malaysian artist explains asexuality with local condiment sambal

Malaysian artist explains asexuality with local condiment sambal

Sambal is a spicy sauce of chili peppers with a variety of other ingredients including garlic, fish sauce, shallots, lime, vinegar, and sugar. It is popular in Indonesia and Malaysia and a part of classic rice dish nasi lemak.

Artist Charis and Queer Lapis, an online LGBTI resource in Malaysia, used the classic condiment to help explain asexuality.

Some People Want Sambal: An illustrated analogy about asexuality uses the addition of sambal to rice to explain different sexual desires.

‘Some people don’t want sambal. Some want a little, and others want a lot,’ the illustrated guide begins. ‘There’s a whole spectrum of preferences for sambal,’ the guide goes on to say.

‘People who don’t have sambal are still people, after all. And though they may be different, they are every bit as human as people who have sambal.’

Importantly, different illustrations explain why people may not want sambal. It hurts some people physically or mentally, for example. Furthermore, people may not want sambal for religious reasons. What’s more, some people may have no desire for sambal.

Spicy fishy sambal is a popular sauce in Southeast Asia (Photo: Charis via Queer Lapis)
Spicy fishy sambal is a popular sauce in Southeast Asia (Photo: Charis via Queer Lapis)

The series was created by Malaysian illustrator Charis. ‘I make thoughtful images for stories worth telling’ the artist says on their website.

Charis also shared the illustrated guide on Twitter. ‘Is wanting sambal nasi-ssary?’ they wrote.