Weekly Southeast Asia Radar: Rashomon in KL; Burmese cartooning pioneers

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:

Cambodian film director Rithy Panh is interviewed by the press during the Berlin International Film Festival. Photo: Berlin International Film Festival.
Cambodian Film Director Rithy Panh Wins Top Award at the Berlin International Film Festival

Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh was awarded this year’s Berlinale Documentary Award for his film “Irradies” (or Irradiated).

Panh received the prize on Feb. 29 at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, also known as Berlinale. Contacted Sunday night as he was about to board a plane, Panh wrote a short message saying that he was “tres heureux,” (really happy) to have won this prize.

“Irradiated” combines film and photos, color and black-and-white, creating layers upon layers as if images were lifting from the screen in multi-dimensions, reflecting the fact that those who live through nightmares such as the Khmer Rouge regime may function in today’s world but will always be haunted by the tragedies they lived through. The 88-minute film is presented with a French soundtrack and English subtitles.

[Read more…]

The digital image of Sultan Syarif Kasim II’s crown is stored at the Asean cultural heritage archive. The Sultan of Siak Sri Indrapura (1915-1949) handed the crown to Indonesia after its declaration of independence in 1945 as a grand gesture of the sultanate submission to the Republic of Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of Asean Cultural Heritage Archive)
Works Begin to Digitize Asean Cultural Heritage With Japan’s Help
Jakarta Globe

Jakarta. Countries in Southeast Asia have received assistance from Japan to digitize their diverse cultural heritages to ensure that they can be passed on to future generations.

Japan has provided the financial assistance and technological supports by Tokyo-based tech company NTT Data for the ten countries grouping in the Asean to run the project.

The bloc’s socio-cultural deputy secretary general Kung Phoak said digitizing cultural heritage is pivotal in evoking a greater sense of belonging among Asean.

Passed on from one generation to another, cultural heritage has always been depicted as part of Asean’s identity as a diverse yet inclusive society. However, the bloc has to face the stark reality that cultural heritage is extremely susceptible to damage – be it from natural and man-made disasters or degradation. Other challenges include the physical distance, which makes it inaccessible for the Asean people in different countries.

[Read more…]


Photo via the Malaysian Reserve
‘Rashomon’ — will the truth prevail?
The Malaysian Reserve

A SHORTHAND for the lie of objective truth is what timeless classic Akira Kurosawa’s “Rashomon” will dive into this month at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) and it is sure to intrigue audiences.

Not surprisingly, lecturers of philosophy have taught on the “Rashomon” effect, known as the effect of perception, truth and reality.

The story is set in a traditional Japanese era, where a samurai is murdered and his wife assaulted.

A woodcutter then discovers the body, while a bandit admits to the murder.


nothing’s for something. (Photos by Hideto Maezawa)
Where does a performance begin?
Bangkok Post

Where does a performance begin? This is the question I kept asking myself during TPAM Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama this year.

TPAM was founded in 1995 as Tokyo Performing Arts Market before it relocated to Yokohama and changed its name from Market to Meeting in 2011. Since the involvement of the Japan Foundation Asia Centre, which was set up in 2014 to initiate more collaborations between artists in Japan and Southeast Asia, the platform has seen an increase in the presence of artists from this region. It is considered one of the most influential performing arts platforms in Asia. In fact, Thailand’s three-year-old Bangkok Performing Arts Meeting (BIPAM) models itself after TPAM. But whereas BIPAM places less focus on showcasing performances and more on creating dialogues within Southeast Asia through panel discussions, talks, table meetings and speed networking — activities fashioned after TPAM Exchange — TPAM gives more equal weight between its performance and exchange sections.

[Read more…]


Photo by Ha Nhat Quang.
In ‘Tình Tính Tang,’ a Progressive Metal Take on Vietnam’s Folk Melodies

“To understand progressive metal, we can use the metaphor of a table,” Dzung pointed to the tiny coffee table beneath our drinks. “In a pop song, for example, people will only see that ‘oh, this is a table,’ but in progressive metal, you’ll get to know the intricate patterns of the wood surface, how the glossy finish is applied. Everything goes into detail with more texture and more layers.”

[Read more…]


Photography Stefan Khoo | Photography Assistant Alif
Singapore’s new generation are forging a creative renaissance

Singapore is a young city known for being clean, safe and orderly, with good public housing and public transport and, as far as concrete jungles go, lots of lush, green space. As a Southeast Asian hub, it’s also a multicultural melting pot. For people hoping to go down a creative path however, living in Singapore hasn’t historically been all roses. For starters, it’s a very small market, making it competitive and difficult to build an economically viable audience. It’s also officially the most expensive city in the world. To survive in Singapore you need to work hard; rent is high and for most, the reality of slowly learning a craft and building a successful creative practice is a luxury they literally cannot afford. Another big influence on lives here, is the hard-line government, which has a zero-tolerance drugs policy, and prohibitions on public protests. There’s also the mandatory two years of full-time military service for the post-high-school male population.

[Read more…]


Cartoonists U Ba Gale (left) and U Ba Gyan (right)
Pioneers of Burmese Cartooning
The Irrawaddy

The BAC’s most famous alumnus is Ba Gale, also known as Shwetalay. He learned from the British in other ways as well. As a young man he subscribed to Punch, a British comic publication founded in 1841. Ba Gale’s first published cartoon appeared in a Rangoon college magazine in 1915, when he was 22. Newspaper editors in Rangoon immediately recognized Ba Gale’s talent.

Later the same year, the Rangoon Times ran a Ba Gale piece, making it the first newspaper to publish a Burmese artist’s cartoon. Earning 10 to 15 kyat per cartoon, Ba Gale set upon making his living as a cartoonist. In addition to the Rangoon Times, his drawings appeared in Thuriya (The Sun), a paper run by young nationalists.

[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.

About the author(s)

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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top