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:
The Jazz Don’t Die: Blu Jaz Cafe Finally Has Its Entertainment Licence Renewed
Life in Arpeggio, Singapore
“Situated in the Kampong Glam district, Blu Jaz Cafe was not only a playground for live jazz music, but also a boundless space for all sorts of DJ-driven parties; Good Times, Pushin’On and Dub Skank’in Hifi Soundsystem were just some of the numerous collectives that coloured this sanctum with groove and grit. It was an institution of the scene, and its licence’s revocation, naturally, was a blow.
2020, however, marks a spring in the establishment’s step, as it’s recently revealed that it’s had its licence renewed. This follows a year’s struggle involving appeal letters and petitions to keep the music going, and the powers that be have had a change of heart.”
Enjoy Lanna culture in Chiang Rai
Bangkok Post, Thailand
“The diversity of Lanna art and culture will be presented through various forms of art during the “Art And Craft Market” at the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park in Chiang Rai from tomorrow to Sunday from 4-9pm.
Organised for the first time by the Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage, the fair will gather Lanna-style craft works and contemporary arts from local communities, educational institutes and hilltribe people in Doi Tung.”
Graphic poem postcards: reviving a lost art
““In the 1970s, poet Maung Pan Hmwe wrote poems on cards, and sent them to his friends. But he also sold these postcards at the eastern part of Bogyoke market,” San Lin Tun said.
Back then, artists painted on cards with watercolor. Today, postcards feature printed photographs. San Lin Tun’s 10 poems each detail a theme related to friendship, connection and communication – ‘Free Birds’, ‘The Peace Door’, ‘The Sea’, ‘The Kite and Friends’ are some of the titles. They are taken from his 2015’s poetry book titled Shirt and Other Poems.”
Why you don’t have to go to art and design school in Singapore if you’re broke and why I did
“So why did I go to art/design school? The gist of it is that my parents wanted me to go. It’s great that I didn’t regret the experience, had fun along the way, and met amazing people I now consider my close friends. But if external pressure is the only reason for you to pursue your university education, even if it is aligned with your passion, you might want to reconsider. There are alternatives to getting an education. It might take you being a bit more inquisitive and self-motivated than the average university student but ultimately that drive will give you an edge.”
When an Artist Flies
“Seckon: In 1992, I pursued my education at the Royal University of Fine Arts, studying painting and later décor. Back then, very few people knew about contemporary arts. When I first saw artworks crafted by foreign contemporary artists, I did not understand them but at the same time, I was also growing to like such concept because it reminded me of the drawing from my childhood.
Later, when I started painting pictures for shops and restaurants, I received endless complaints and criticism from the buyers. I could never satisfy them. That stressed me out, so I tried to relieve it by making artworks based on my feeling and imagination. Many foreigners were impressed by my new artworks when they saw them. Such respect motivated me to produce more. Moreover, I was also exploring and creating new styles although there was no gallery for it. My first recognised work is a cover for the Cambodia Gallery.”
Not Disposable: Kid lit elder statesman Augie Rivera talks marine life, PH’s trash problem in ‘Bayan ng Basura’
“What made you decide to chose a pawikan (sea turtle) over other sea animals for your book Bayan ng Basura? Did you come across research about Philippine pawikans that contributed to your decision to put them front and center, or was it something more personal?
In developing my story for Bayan ng Basura, I drew inspiration from real-life cases of animals that fell victim to environmental abuse and neglect. In past episodes of our long-running infotainment show Ang Pinaka (“The Most”) on GMA News TV, we did several “animals-in-the-news” episodes, and it was there that I came across the story of an Olive Ridley sea turtle caught off the coast of Costa Rica with a plastic straw lodged in its nostril.”
‘Panembahan Reso’: Rendra’s scathing New Order play recreated for the new age
“The August 1986 production itself was the first project Rendra undertook as his first public appearance, directing and starring in what was a barely veiled criticism of the regime while discussing the issue through the taboo subject of power succession.
These sentiments were at times very evident in the play, which the audience would immediately notice through the characters’ lines. Even in the things left unsaid, Panembahan Reso was a cautionary tale of how absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the message is as clear as day if you pay attention to each scene.
Art auctions — where to begin
The Malaysian Reserve
“ART is among the assets one can invest in, often appealing to a niche group of investors and thus, building a unique community.
Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers (HBAA) director Sim Polenn said the Malaysian art market is currently soft. However, the industry is gaining traction and purchases progressively via volume.
“As of last year, our auction house totalled in about RM8.3 million, whereas in the previous year, we recorded only as much as RM5.8 million,” he said.
So how does one get into the art scene in Malaysia?”
In Vietnam, economic success underpins literary boom
Nikkei Asian Review
“Perhaps one of the most famous beneficiaries of rising foreign interest is Khue, born in 1949, who enlisted at 16 in North Vietnam’s People’s Army and served as a war correspondent for the Communist Party newspaper Tien Phong during what most Vietnamese call “the American War.” She was recently awarded a Lifetime Literature Award by the Hanoi Writers Association.
“I have always wanted to write,” Khue says, “and as a young woman, I found solace in our folk tales, where we first learned to embrace the virtues of truth, kindness and beauty. But of course, all these beliefs were deeply challenged during the American War.””
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.