Alberto Prieto via Urbanist Hanoi

Weekly Southeast Asia Radar: Eisner Winner Erica Eng; Pinoy rap and Duterte

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:


Image: Courtesy of Erica Eng/Instagram
Malaysian Comic Artist Erica Eng, 21, Wins The Coveted Eisner Award
Tatler Malaysia

A year ago, Erica Eng began writing the script for her hand-illustrated comic, Fried Rice in her dorm room at college. Then a collection of rough vignettes based on her memories and feelings, Fried Rice marked Eng’s return to pencil and paper after working mostly in digital art.

It tells the story of Min, an aspiring artist from a small town who visits her cousin in Kuala Lumpur, with big dreams of moving overseas. Fried Rice was Eng’s first major story, a water-coloured love-letter to her teenaged self.

It has since caught the attention of an international community of artists, earning a prestigious Eisner Award nomination for Best Webcomic in 2020. The Eisner Award ceremony, regarded as the comic industry’s equivalent to the Oscars, is part of the annual Comic Con event in San Diego, which was cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was announced recently that Eng is the winner in this category.

[Read more…]


Photo: The Necessary Stage/Facebook


Theatre company evicted from home of 20 years lays out ‘nomadic’ plans
Coconuts Singapore

After being kicked out of its home of 20 years, a local theatre company says it will embrace a “nomadic” lifestyle and needs help finding spaces.

Alvin Tan, who owns The Necessary Stage, today unveiled plans to adapt to the crushing consequences the pandemic has had on Singapore’s performing arts following news it would join those to lose their venues.

After being given an August 2021 deadline to leave the Marine Parade Community Center, the 53-year-old impresario said he was looking for temporary spaces after determining a National Arts Council offer to move into another venue as unworkable.

“The replacement offer was Goodman Arts Centre which unfortunately is not ideal for The Necessary Stage, and so we made alternative plans which [are] more nomadic in nature. It’s not a bad thing considering the pandemic [isn’t] ending soon,” he wrote online today.


Photo: Le Story, via Khmer Times


New bookstore aims to be hub for authors and readers alike
Khmer Times, Cambodia

The managing director of new bookstore ‘Le Story’, which opened in central Phnom Penh in June, has said the shop will have publications to meet the needs of both local and foreign customers, especially students.

Reth Chanbopha is one of the four founders of Le Story who said the main purpose of the bookstore is to create a hub for both readers and authors to meet and communicate.

“Le Story is designed not just to sell books, but also to be a place where writers and readers can sit and discuss the stories. We are also going to have weekly programmes where we will invite authors to share their knowledge and experience to the public. We will make announcement in advance via our social media channels to let people know how to get involved,” said Chanbopha.

[Read more…]


Photo: JL JAVIER, via CNN Philippines
How Pinoy rap addresses the Duterte administration
CNN Philippines

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Hip-hop has been the language of dissidents ever since its early days. To rap is to express outrage, a scream of catharsis against the backdrop of widespread grief. “There’s nothing else to feel but grief and anger. The killings are still continuing. Four years of bloodshed, it’s about time we begin acting and moving.” says BLKD, who was instrumental in the creation of Kolateral, a 12-track hip-hop album chronicling the devastating effects of President Rodrigo Duterte’s longstanding “war on drugs”. Preparations for the project began as early as 2017 as a collaborative effort between researchers and musicians. Several families who have lost their members to the drug war were interviewed, and their stories are reflected throughout the album.

“One of the things that we were hoping to achieve in Kolateral was to combat disinformation. Personally, I believe the families that were left behind deserved to have their stories heard.” Factual accuracy and adherence to the truth were essential in the creation of the album. Here, numbers and data help paint the picture of a larger narrative.

The opening track, “Makinarya”, sums up the current status-quo.

[Read more…]


Photo: Alberto Prieto, via Urbanist Hanoi
Q&A: Nguyễn Quí Đức on Tadioto, Creative Pursuits, and How He Fell for Hanoi’s Charms
Urbanist Hanoi, Vietnam

Countless are the number of hours Hanoi creatives have spent sipping whisky and contemplating the world at the famous drinking hole that is Tadioto.

Gatherings of the artsy and the wanna-meet-artsy folk huddle in the dimly lit smokey bar, and if you’re lucky you will spy the man behind it all, the impeccably dressed cheeky hipster that is Nguyễn Quí Đức.

Born in Da Lat, Đức’s family fled from Hue to the US, where he spent his late adolescence and many adult years working as a radio journalist and writer. Since his return to Vietnam, he has dedicated his time, spirit and certainly a chunk of his liver to the Hanoi arts community, creating a space for young artists and musicians to host events, play with ideas and, most importantly, be together.

[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 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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