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:
COVID-19: Art Moments Jakarta postponed
Art Moments Jakarta has announced its postponement to due to spread of COVID-19.
The three-day event was originally scheduled to take place at Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City on April 17 to 19.
On Monday, the organizer posted on Instagram that the rescheduled date would be announced shortly.
Covid-19: Malaysian performing arts communities crippled
Malaysian performing arts and theatre venues will take a big hit when the Government’s restricted movement order to contain the Covid-19 outbreak comes into effect on March 18.
Major performing arts venue the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) will be shutting its doors for the first time since it opened in 2005.
In a Facebook post, Joe Hasham, KLPac’s artistic director/co-founder said: “KLPac, TAS (The Actors Studio), and PenangPac regret to announce the immediate cancellation of all activities until the end of this month.”
“In this challenging time we are deeply saddened, but we are cognisant that our first priority must always be the safety and well-being of our patrons, our employees, both full time and freelancers, and to the greater community at large.
Junyee’s ‘Kwarantin’: Art in the time of COVID-19
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Pioneering installation artist Junyee couldn’t have timed it better if he had planned it himself.
He had been working on a large bamboo installation on the front lawn of Vargas Museum at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus, on the subject of the current COVID-19 crisis. The work, titled “Kwarantin,” was to have opened on March 14, but due to the “community quarantine” that was declared just the day before, the opening was canceled.
“My ‘Kwarantin’ was quarantined!” quipped the artist when we reached him in his studio in Los Baños, Laguna.
Parliament: Govt offers grants and subsidies to arts groups amid Covid-19 outbreak
The Straits Times
SINGAPORE – Arts groups can tap two new schemes to improve their skills and ease expenses amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to shows being cancelled or postponed.
About $1.6 million will be set aside for the initiatives, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng in Parliament on Friday (March 6).
One of the two initiatives is a one-time capability development grant to subsidise the cost of local courses.
Keeping Cambodia’s cultural flame burning
One afternoon in the 1950s, a touring troupe of lakhon bassac, a traditional form of Khmer folk theatre influenced by Chinese and Vietnamese operas, had just finished their performance in the Chhouk district of Kampot province. As the master of the troupe prepared to leave for another destination, a boy, probably 13 or 14 years old, appeared in front of him. The boy’s name was Long Chun, and he was the son of a logger in Takeo’s Tram Kak district.
The troupe master asked what business Chun had with him.
“Please accept me as your apprentice,” he said. “I want to learn arts.”
Myanmar Indie Rockers The Peacists Take Fans on a ‘Journey to the Stars’
Myanmar’s music industry is in the process of transforming from the CD era to the adoption of online music platforms such as the locally developed music app Tay Than Thar, and the streaming service Joox, which has become popular in many Asian markets. Local music fans are turning to streaming in favor of music stores due to its “one-touch” convenience. However, one local indie band took a more old school approach when it released its first full-length album on CD on Feb. 20, selling out all 500 copies.
The Peacists’ debut album, “Kyal Taryar Kha Yee Sin” (“Journey to the Stars”) includes eight tracks and the CD features artwork designed by local fashion brand Madnest.
“This album is more like a piece of art. When you listen to the tracks, I think it’s more like listening to poetry; the tracks are interrelated and all involve the theme of ‘stars’. Then, Madnest supported us with their aesthetic designs for the album art; it will take you to the stars,” said 25-year-old vocalist Aung Chan Min.
Music with a message
After releasing the viral anti-junta single Prathet Ku Mee (What My Country’s Got) two years ago, rap group Rap Against Dictatorship has not ceased to confront the government through their music, including well-known songs like 250 So Plo (250 Bootlickers), Before Darkness and To Whom It May Concern.
With over 12 band members, Rap Against Dictatorship recently released its latest single Sotus, which criticises abuse in universities. Although the band’s latest tune doesn’t directly attack the government, the song still associates Sotus with the military system.
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.