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:
‘Mak Jogi’: A tale of Melayu cultural diplomacy
Jakarta Post, Indonesia
Another week, another performance to enjoy at home to avoid worrying about the pandemic.
The Bakti Budaya Djarum Foundation has made Mak Jogi – Hikayat Jenaka Untuk Indonesia (Mak Jogi – Humorous Saga for Indonesia) available online.
Livestreamed on Indonesia Kaya’s website and YouTube account on June 13 and 14, the play was a recording of a July 2011 performance in Graha Bhakti Budaya in Taman Ismail Marzuki.
At its heart, Mak Jogi is a love letter to Melayu culture, with many cultural touches such as the costumes and the Sekapur Sirih dance that opens the performance.
Biennial Hue Festival 2020 gets an August date
VN Express, Vietnam
The biennial Hue Festival, a keenly awaited cultural extravaganza, will be held August 28-September 2 in Hue, five months after its original schedule.
With the country going two months without community transmission of the novel coronavirus and most of tourism spots reopening, organizers of the 11th edition of the festival decided to set the new date.
The grand opening ceremony of Hue Festival 2020 will be held August 28 at the Ngo Mon Square, honoring the traditional and contemporary cultural values of the former imperial town of Hue, home to the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), Vietnam’s last ruling royal family, as also other regions in the country.
Malaysian art galleries move exhibits online, target sales in a digital sphere
The Star, Malaysia
There is no better moment to reflect upon the importance of art than now. After three months of lockdown, resourceful Malaysian art galleries are finding ways to get pandemic-era creativity out to the masses.
As the art scene slowly begins to reopen during this recovery movement control order phase, several galleries in Kuala Lumpur have already set a path for long-term survival, with new exhibition strategies and a fresh way to approach to selling art in place.
There is always the virtual exhibition option, the hybrid online/private gallery visit, or the use of a gallery space with all the public safety requirements met to hold an exhibition.
Preoung Cheang, a devout classical art professor
Khmer Times, Cambodia
GT2: Can you give us your background and the inspiration leading you to walk in the path of classical dance?
Preoung Cheang: I am who I am today and the story begins with my grandmother. She is one of the magnificent classical dancer, teacher and one of the personal assistants to Queen Norodom Monineath. She always brought my sister and I to the classical dance performances at religious ceremonies. During the practices, I was always at the centre of the dancers. Sitting there with those goddesses dancing in a circle had always been my greatest pleasure. But one song that caught my attention was witnessing the dance with Hanuman as the main character. As the drumrolls and the song is played, I would run through the crowd just to witness a bit of the Hanuman (Monkey) dance. Even though I fell in love with Hanuman’s character, never did I see myself taking on the role. I had one goal when I was 8-years-old. I wanted to be a pilot.
Singaporean artists and creatives respond to non-essential survey claims
Bandwagon Asia, Singapore
The difference between ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ has been a frequent conversation in the age of COVID-19.
Most recently, local artists from various industries took to social media to express their frustrations and anger after a commissioned survey, posted by The Sunday Times, revealed that artists were considered the topmost non-essential job.
On 14 June, the Singaporean news publication published results of a survey, commissioned from Singaporean market researcher Milieu Insight, detailing public opinion on which jobs were essential, in the context of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Entitled ‘Essential, or not?’, the survey collated responses from 1000 respondents that were a “nationally representative sampling across age, gender and income groups.”
Cinemalaya 2020 is still on
Manila Bulletin, The Philippines
For local film enthusiasts, the annual Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival is a much-awaited show. For 15 years now, every August, people from all walks of life—from students to professionals, directors, actors, producers, and talent scouts—gather together to watch thought-provoking, culturally sensitive movies created by independent Filipino filmmakers.
But just like much of the arts and entertainment industries, Cinemalaya has also been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In an announcement released on March 21, the festival organizers revealed that this year’s show will be postponed until further notice.
It was sad news for its patrons, but their sadness was soon replaced with joy as the organizers dropped news that the festival would be happening online.
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.