Weekly Southeast Asia Radar: Puja Pantai in Selangor; young Cambodian singers talk old music

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:


Artists Jonathan Lim, at left, and Priyageetha Dia. Photos: Jonathan Lim/Instagram, Priyageetha Dia/Facebook
Artist removed from Singapore exhibition for threatening ‘snakewhore’ Indian woman
Coconuts Singapore

“NPE Art Residency removed the work of artist Jonathan Lim two days after his show, called On Common Ground & Public Forms, opened with Priyageetha Dia. It was there that one of Priyageetha’s friends apparently giggled while Lim’s guest speaker was making comments. The reaction seemingly offended Lim, who is of Chinese ancestry, who the next morning called the woman a “snakewhore” on Instagram and threatened to “obliterate” her and Priyageetha, referring to them as a minority “cult.” Both women are of Indian descent.”

[Read more…]


Photo: JP/Stefanus Ajie
Racing against time to preserve history at Lokananta recording studio
Jakarta Post

“Lokananta houses the approximately 5,670 master records and 53,000 vinyl records that the studio has produced since the 1950s. On those records one can find traditional songs, contemporary pop albums, or works by Indonesian legends such as Gesang, Basiyo, Titiek Puspa, Sam Saimun and Bing Slamet. Two of the most prized records in the studio are the live recording of the 1945 Proclamation of Independence and national anthem “Indonesia Raya” in its full three-verse version.

The studio is now facing the daunting task of preserving thousands of historical records, which have been kept for decades in sub-par conditions. Bemby Ananto, Lokananta’s production coordinator, said that several rooms in the studio were not yet equipped with air conditioning, which is vital to minimize humidity. “And since Lokananta is an old building, we have to be cautious at all times, especially during the rainy season,” he said.”

[Read more…]


A poster of 2017 American documentary series ‘The Vietnam War’. Photo via Tuoi Tre News
American producers pay Vietnamese musician for song in ‘Vietnam War’ docu-series after free ride
Tuoi Tre News, Vietnam

“The Vietnam Center for Protection of Music Copyright (VCPMC) said it had helped a Vietnamese musician, who wants to keep their name undisclosed, collect the VND700 million royalty from the production team of ‘The Vietnam War,’ a ten-episode American television documentary series about the war in Vietnam.

The series, written by Geoffrey C. Ward and directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, cost around $30 million and took more than ten years to make before its first episode premiered in September 2017.”

[Read more…]


The new and updated edition of Doreen G. Fernandez’s “Tikim” brings the author, the greatest champion of Filipino food, back in print for a new generation of food enthusiasts. Photo from ANVIL PUBLISHING
The ‘essential book on Filipino food’ is finally back in print
CNN Philippines

“But to search for copies of Fernandez’s work today, before it was reprinted this year, is to participate in a breathless treasure hunt. I remember spotting my first copies of “Tikim” and “Fruits of the Philippines” in a book fair, holding on to them for dear life before I paid. In my mind, her words are canon; her teachings irrefutable. It cannot be helped — not after, in “Tikim,” she shared that story about Inteng, who prepared the best kinilaw aboard a boat in Sagay; not after she wrote about noche buenas both personal and communal; not when she exhausted all the sensory ways to write about mangoes; and certainly not after she clarified mistaken ideas about Filipino drinking.”

[Read more…]


Malaysia’s indigenous Mah Meri tribesmen performing the ‘Main Jo-oh’ dance during the Puja Pantai event, a thanksgiving ritual for the spirits of the seas in Carey Island, Selangor. Photo: AP
Join Malaysia’s Mah Meri tribe in the Puja Pantai thanksgiving ceremony
The Star, Malaysia

“Ever wanted to be part of an indigenous community event that’s over 300 years old? On Jan 29, you can witness the Mah Meri tribe performing a seaside ceremony called Puja Pantai, a thanksgiving ritual, which offers prayers to the spirits of the seas in Carey Island, Selangor.

Puja Pantai is one of the important rituals still being practised by the Mah Meri and it is believed to appease the guardians of the sea and honour the protector spirits.”

[Read more…]


Photo via Khmer Times
What do young Cambodian singers think about songs of the past?
Khmer Times, Cambodia

“Sporting looks that scream nothing but hip-hop, you may never expect someone like him to listen to older songs but the rapper has revealed that 60s music plays a big role in his life. In fact, he has produced two songs “konlong slabpich” and “prolong poam saravan” both he based off of music from the 60s.

“It is incredible for listeners to be able to visualise things just from listening to the lyrics but Khmer 60s songs somehow have the power to do this. The melody never contradicts the meaning of the song, which creates valuable art for the next generations to enjoy,” Vitou said.”

[Read more…]


How queer DJs are moving beyond stereotypes about LGBT Thailand

“Thailand is a country rightly famous for its queer scene, but sadly it’s one which is often viewed through a reductive and fetishising lens: think sex tourism, ‘what happens in Bangkok stays in Bangkok’-style lads holidays, and transphobic jokes about Lady Boys. But, it should go without saying, this stereotyped view does Thailand a huge disservice. In December 2019, Wonderfruit festival — held in the southern city of Pattaya — staged an LGBT takeover which testified to the strength of the country’s thriving and multifaceted queer scene. Curated by Bangkok-based collective Go Grrrls, the ‘God Save the Queer’ stage provided a platform to some of the most exciting DJs and artists at work in Thailand today.”

[Read more…]


The stationmaster turned writer Ye Shan. Photo via Myanmar Times
Stationmaster turned writer
Myanmar Times

“One of his short stories titled Butaryone Kalay, ‘Little Train Station’ recollects the lives of stations officers, living far away from their villages. They even had to wait for the next wagons to be provisioned in drinking water. In the story, a parcel of Paratha is dropped from a train for the officers. The parcel is then grabbed by a stray dog. The protagonists then battle their way to their stolen lunch.

“It was a true account of real officers,” he said.”

[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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