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Still from The Unseen River via Saigoneer

Weekly Southeast Asian Radar: The Philippine accent; Hockhacker remains defiant

ArtsEquator’s Southeast Asia Radar features articles and posts about arts and culture in Southeast Asia, drawn from local and regional websites and publications – aggregated content from outside sources, so we are exposed to a multitude of voices in the region. In the weekly Southeast Asia Radar, we publish a round-up of content that have been scoured and sifted from a range of regional news websites, blogs and media platforms.

Here is this week’s Southeast Asia Radar:


Photo: Shahrin Yahya/The Edge


New creative hub Tun Perak Co-Op on a mission to preserve KL’s lost stories
Options The Edge, Malaysia

When the government announced the country’s transition into the Recovery Movement Control Order in June, museums, along with other recreational and commercial activities, were allowed to reopen. It was the news Beatrice Leong and Teoh Ming Jin had been waiting for.

Leong had been renting two vacant heritage shophouses in Jalan Tun Perak since the beginning of the year, but plans to launch an event space, Tun Perak Co-Op, with Teoh, fell through when the number of Covid-19 cases escalated.

When the green light was finally given, the pair had less than two weeks to set up their first show.

The major rush job required all hands on deck — a conservator travelled from Penang to break down the walls, electricians and designers were roped in at the last minute to furnish the two floors and framers had to work until the morning of the opening to put up the artwork for Kide Baharudin’s debut solo exhibition, Pe’el (which ran from July 17 to Aug 2).

Photo: Didtita Simcharoen via Coconuts Bangkok
Verses of Defiance: After arrest, Thai rapper Hockhacker to ‘push the boundaries’
Coconuts Bangkok, Thailand

Dechatorn “Hockhacker” Bamrungmuang was leaving his Bangkok home two weeks ago to take his wife to work when he discovered police cars blocking the way and officers ready to take him into custody.

The Rap Against Dictatorship founder’s crime? Six criminal counts that included inciting rebellion, aka sedition, stemming from his involvement with the largest protests to roil the kingdom since the 2014 coup.

“My wife was so quick. She instantly went online live with her phone. Then the police read the arrest warrant to me,” Dechatorn said. “I called my brother-in-law to take care of my 1-year old baby. My wife called her office asking for a day off. Then we went to the police station together.”

The charges stemmed from his appearance at July 18 rally at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument that drew a massive crowd numbering well over 10,000. The group has been staging free shows at numerous protests nationwide – and irking the highest authorities along the way.

[Read more…]


Still from The Unseen River via Saigoneer
Envisioning the Mekong’s Future Through the Eyes of 5 Regional Filmmakers
Saigoneer, Vietnam

The future of the Mekong Delta is uncertain. The river and the people that rely on it are facing the impact of climate change, extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels, saline intrusion, hydropower, over-fishing, pollution and mainstream dam construction upstream.

But that’s just an overview. It doesn’t tell you who lives there or the problems they’re facing. It doesn’t tell you the stories of the people who have lost their homes as dams collapse, or what happens to their livelihoods when the river becomes barren.

This is an issue that the Mekong 2030 project, created by the team behind the Luang Prabang Film Festival in Laos, aims to address through a series of five short films envisioning the Mekong River in a decades’ time.

“We wanted to embark on a production project that could showcase diverse perspectives on a common issue,” said Gabriel Kuperman, the festival’s founder and director of artist development. The project was initially conceived of in May 2019, with the first screening taking place in February this year.

[Read more…]


Courtesy of Eddy Susanto via Jakarta Post


Eddy Susanto puts Java as the center of the world in his works
Jakarta Post, Indonesia Post

Eddy Susanto is an avid reader and researcher of cultural phenomena around the world that resonate with similar occurrences in his beloved Java.

The artist first gained notice through the work he exhibited at the Bandung Contemporary Art Awards that illustrated the arrival of Islam in Java by “appropriating” a composition by German Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer.

In depicting Islam’s mid-14th century arrival in Java with the arrival of the Renaissance in Europe in the late 14th to early 15th centuries, Eddy uses Javanese script to combine the telling of the former in the Babad Jawa chronicle with images from Dürer’s The Men’s Bathhouse.

[Read more…]

Philippine English is legitimate, says Oxford English Dictionary editor
ABS-CBN News, The Philippines

MANILA — Contrary to what many Filipinos think, Philippine English is a legitimate variety of the English language, according to an expert.

Dr. Danica Salazar, world English editor for the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), stressed that Philippine English is “not slang, not wrong, not carabao English, or any other derogatory word that’s been used over the years.”

She said that just like British, American, Australian, and Singaporean variants, Philippine English plays an important role in the historical development of the language, which OED seeks to document.

“What OED does is it tells the history of the English language through the development of its words, and that story is not complete if we don’t tell the part that Philippine English plays,” she said in a recent webinar organized by the Philippine Embassy in Spain.

[Read more…]

ArtsEquator’s Southeast Asia Radar is compiled every week. All sources and credit belong to the original publishers and writers. Click here for past editions of Southeast Asia Radar.


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About the author(s)

Nabilah Said

Nabilah Said is an award-winning playwright, editor and cultural commentator. She is also an artist who works with text across various artforms and formats. Her plays have been staged in Singapore and London, including ANGKAT, which won Best Original Script at the 2020 Life Theatre Awards. Nabilah is the former editor of ArtsEquator.

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