Varuth Hirunyatheb

Weekly Southeast Asia Radar: Hikayat Raja Babi; new media and freedom

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: @heidishamsuddin/Twitter
This 200 Year-Old Malay Folklore That Was Almost Lost Is Now Retold In A Beautiful Picture Book
The Rakyat Post, Malaysia

Some of you may have heard of ‘Hikayat Raja Babi’, some of you may not – both are understandable as the tale itself is nearly 300 years old and somehow got lost in the shadows of more prominent Malay folklore such as ‘Puteri Gunung Ledang’ or the recently controversial ‘Dayang Senandong’.

But 2020 marks the time for the tale of a prince cursed to be born in the body of a pig to finally be in the spotlight – this time as a beautifully illustrated picture book in English called ‘The Malay Tale Of The Pig King’.

We can thank local indie publisher, Buku Fixi, award winning children’s book author Heidi Shamsuddin and Indonesian artist Evi Shelvia for reintroducing the 18th century tale to the modern world.

[Read more…]


Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images



On this day 36 years ago, Filipino artist PACITA ABAD made a whole lot of people, mostly men, very angry.

In 1984, Abad was one of ten recipients for the Ten Outstanding Young Men Awards, a prestigious recognition for young men awarded by the Junior Chamber International Philippines.

Before 1984, women were not eligible and no woman was even considered — until Pacita Abad.


Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb


Championing unbiased media
Bangkok Post, Thailand

On May 22, 2014, a coup d’etat by the Royal Thai Armed Forces was declared. At that time, well-known film director Chulayarnnon Siriphol, director of Ten Years Thailand, who was reading and watching the news from traditional media — newspaper and television — realised that the media was not reporting on the real events that he saw on social media and the internet. It was at this time that it dawned on him that traditional media was under some control of the junta government.

To retaliate against controlled media, Chulayarnnon used newspapers to design collage artworks which he aimed to create daily until there was a national election. It took Chulayarnnon five years to complete his mission as elections were finally held on March 24, 2019.

[Read more…]


Photo: CJ
Vietnamese short to compete at Venice Film Festival
Tuoi Tre News, Vietnam

‘May nhung khong mua’ (Live in Cloud – Cuckoo Land), a Vietnamese short film, will compete alongside 11 others at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival’s Orizzonti Short Competition category this September, the festival’s organizers recently announced.

The short, directed by Vietnamese filmmakers Vu Minh Nghia and Pham Hoang Minh Thy, depicts the love story of a woman who works at a wedding dress shop and a local busker.

In just 19 minutes, ‘Live in Cloud – Cuckoo Land’ combines a series of unexpected events revolving around the two main characters which highlight the feelings of exile they experience despite living in their homeland.

[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

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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