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April 25- May 1, 2014

WHAT THE SEWOL TRAGEDY SAYS ABOUT SOUTH KOREA


Contents April 25-May 1, 2014

❖ View

❖ Weekly Briefing

❖ Life

Time to revamp 'pali pali' culture

Sewol disaster

Forced conversion, real terror

COVER IMAGE BY AFP


Contents April 25-May 1, 2014

❖ Life Bullies exposed

❖ Humour Honey, and now for a sequel

❖ Culture

❖ People

The architecture of socialist realism

From coffee cup rings to chopsticks


Contents April 25-May 1, 2014

❖ Entertainment

❖ Travel

Datebook

The price of fame

Histor, biodiversity on the Onoda Trail

Happenings around Asia

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WEEKLY BRIEFING

April 25-May 1, 2014

Sewol tragedy South Korean ferry MS Sewol, carrying 476 passengers most of them students from Danwon High School in Ansan Gyeonggi Province, sank off the coast of Jindo Island in South Jeolla Province on April 16. As of publication, 159 have been confirmed dead while 143 remain missing and 174 have been rescued. The ferry began to sink at about 8:55am. Accounts claim that the Sewol was experiencing malfunctions for some time, including a problem with the steering system two weeks before the accident. The 6,825-tonne ferry Sewol was built in June 1994 by Haya-

shikane Dockyard Co. in Japan. It was operated by a Japanese company for 18 years until it was retired in September 2012. In October of the same year, Chonghaejin Marine Co. purchased the ferry and remodelled it to increase its capacity to hold 921 people.

At 145 metres long and 22 metres wide, the Sewol was among the largest cruisers in Korea. The vessel received an inspection by the Korean Register of Shipping in February, and has operated on the Incheon-Jejudo Island route since March.

Full length: 146 metre Width: 22 metre Operator: Chonghaejin Marine Co. Maximum capacity: 921 Tonnage: 6,825 tonnes Route: Incheon - Jejudo Island (425 kilometres, 13 hours and 30 minutes) Maximum speed: 21 knots Freight capacity: 130 sedans, 60 5-tonne trucks and 200 shipping containers


April 25-May 1, 2014

WEEKLY BRIEFING


April 25-May 1, 2014

WEEKLY BRIEFING


April 25-May 1, 2014

WEEKLY BRIEFING


April 25-May 1, 2014

VIEW AFP

Time to revamp Pali Pali Culture The ‘hurry hurry’ culture has helped Korean companies become more competitive but it has also bred indifference to safety


VIEW

April 25-May 1, 2014

W

hat will it take for Korea to upgrade its safety culture? The question is being raised again as the entire nation is gripped with sorrow over the tragic sinking on April 16 of the ferry Sewol off the southern coast. Among the 476 passengers on board, only 174 have been rescued, with the remainder dead or still missing. But the disaster could have been avoided had the ship’s crew and the company that operated it paid more attention to safety. ED JONES/afp

Yu Kun-ha The Korea Herald Seoul

Rescue workers carry the body of a victim recovered by research and rescue teams from the sunken South Korean ferry Sewol upon arrival at Jindo harbour on April 20, 2014.


April 25-May 1, 2014

VIEW

TRUTH LEEM/afp

Relatives of missing passengers aboard the sunken South Korean ferry Sewol, struggle with policemen while trying to march toward the presidential house to protest the government's rescue operation on April 20, 2014.


VIEW

April 25-May 1, 2014

Investigators have tentatively concluded that the main cause of the tragedy was the crew’s navigational errors. Yet underlying them was a woeful lack of safety awareness. Gross indifference to safety, coupled with the government’s frustratingly slow rescue operations, also contributed to boosting the death toll, making the shipwreck one of the nation’s worst maritime disasters. The 6,825-tonne ferry, the largest of its kind in Korea, was on its way from Incheon to Jejudo Island when it capsized in waters off Jindo Island, an area with the second-strongest tidal currents in Korea. But Incheon-Jeju ferries normally change direction here. The ill-fated ship also altered course here. But investigators suspect that it did so

too abruptly, without slowing down, in a narrow sea lane between islands. As a result, the vessel lost balance and began to list. To make matters worse, the 180 vehicles and 1,100 tonnes of cargo on board were not tightly fastened. The sharp turn pushed them to one side, which further threw the ship off balance. At the time of the accident, the ship was being steered by a third mate with only one year of experience. Investigators found that it was the first time that the inexperienced female officer attempted to navigate the risky waters. Passing through such a dangerous zone requires caution. Therefore, the captain should have guided the novice officer. But he was outside the steering room when the ship was

thrown out of whack, illustrating his indifference to safety. Had the captain and other crew members taken proper safety measures after they realised the ship was in trouble, they could have minimised the casualties. But they behaved in a totally misguided and irresponsible way. After sending a distress call to the Coast Guard, the crew repeatedly told the passengers, mostly high school students on a field trip to Jejudo Island, to stay in the cabins. But this proved to be a terribly misguided instruction. It did not take long for water to begin to gush into the cabins as the ship continued to tilt. The crew finally told the passengers to abandon the vessel. But it was already too late. Those inside the cabins could


VIEW

April 25-May 1, 2014

not move because the ferry was too tilted. The crew should have tried to rescue the trapped passengers. But many crew members, including the captain, abandoned the ship, leaving the passengers behind. They totally forgot their responsibility toward passengers. What annoys us most is that about 70 per cent of the 29 crew members escaped the ship safely, while among the 325 students of Danwon High School in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, only 23 per cent were rescued. Last week, prosecutors arrested the captain, the third mate and the steersman who operated the wheel under the novice officer, on charges of carelessly navigating the ship and abandoning it in danger.

The shipping company that operated the ferry also showed a lamentable lack of safety awareness. In the first place, it failed to conduct emergency safety drills for the ship’s crew. The ship had an emergency manual but the crew did not follow it. The company must have been negligent in checking the ship’s safety equipment as well, given that only one of the 46 lifeboats attached to the vessel could be launched. The company remodelled the ferry’s stern after purchasing it from Japan two years ago. It expanded the cabin to accommodate more passengers. This could have moved the ship’s centre of gravity to a higher position, making it more likely to topple over when tilted. The ferry disaster has also demonstrated how unorgan-

ised the government’s emergency response system remains. Had the Coast Guard moved promptly in the initial stage of the crisis, it could have reduced the number of casualties. The Coast Guard rescue team arrived late and the number of rescuers was insufficient. So it just rescued passengers and crew members who had gotten out of the sinking ship, without attempting to go inside to help the trapped passengers evacuate. Officials from various public agencies annoyed the families of the missing by working slowly and irresponsibly. So much so that the parents of the missing students issued a statement denouncing the government’s ineffectual rescue efforts. Since her inauguration, President Park Geun-hye has


VIEW

April 25-May 1, 2014

stressed that people’s safety is one of her top priorities. To demonstrate her commitment to safety, she changed the name of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security to the Ministry of Security and Public Administration. But it takes more than changing a ministry’s name to make Korea a safer society. The government needs to reform its emergency management system. More importantly, the government should strive to enhance Korea’s safety culture. Korea cannot become a safe place to live without first improving people’s safety awareness. What the nation needs to do is to upgrade its “pali pali” or “hurry hurry” culture, a legacy

of Korea’s rapid industrialisation that began in the early 1960s. Former President Park Chunghee, father of the incumbent president, sought to achieve economic growth as fast as possible to win the competition with North Korea. He pursued economic development in the same fashion as the military pursues the defeat of the enemy. Each year, he set an ambitious growth target and employed whatever means available to attain it. As getting things done assumed paramount importance, speed and efficiency often took precedence over safety. The late president’s approach has taken root in every corner of Korean society, fostering the “hurry-up mentality” among Koreans.

Yet the “pali pali” culture has both merits and demerits. Some experts assert that it has helped Korean companies become more competitive. They also cite it as a factor behind Korea’s rise as a global IT powerhouse. However, it is also indisputable that the hurry-hurry mindset has bred indifference to safety, the underlying cause of the unending series of manmade disasters in Korea. To make Korea a safer place to live, the hurry-hurry culture needs to be revamped. It should be brought home to people that they should not sacrifice safety even if they are in a mad rush to get things done fast. ¬


LIFE

April 25-May 1, 2014

FAROOQ NAEEM/AFPA

Pakistani Christians gather in a protest in Islamabad on Sept 22, 2013, against the killing of their community members in two suicide bomb attacks on a Church in Peshawar. the twin suicide bombing killed more than 70 people in what is believed to be the deadliest attack on Christians in the country.

Shyema Sajjad Dawn Islamabad

FORCED CONVERSION, REAL TERROR

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aught up in the frenzy of building bridges and belittling opponents, this current government, like its predecessors, has failed to pay any attention to the rights of minorities in Pakistan. As if forced conversions were not enough, the number of forced marriages of minority girls seems to be increasing too.


LIFE

April 25-May 1, 2014

Photo by Shazia Hasan

A report by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan states that every year an estimated 1,000 women belonging to minority faiths are forced to convert and marry Muslim men. The report reveals that 700 of these women are Christian and 300 are Hindu. The current government does not need to look too far to take note of what has been happening as the majority of Pakistan’s Christian population resides in Punjab, where most of these cases have been occurring. What is it that drives such groups of men to abduct helpless women belonging to a different faith, convert them and then marry them against their will? It definitely can’t be love and it certainly isn’t an effort to increase interfaith harmony either. I don’t think there is a dearth of single Muslim women in Pakistan

Six-year-old Jumna, who was being forced to convert to Islam, with her parents.

so then, why subject these girls to this brutality? Does an abductor actually believe that the forceful conversion and marriage of a minority woman is his ticket to God’s

good books? Does he not realise that he is not only abusing minority rights, but also women’s rights? Unfortunately, as pointed out in the report, the underlying is-


LIFE

April 25-May 1, 2014

sue for the minority community remains a lack of education. Not having the same access as Muslims to educational institutions, Christians and Hindus were left behind as the rest of the population succeeded and went forward. Scanty representation in political parties and the government also hampered efforts to safeguard their rights. The report states that, “Christian groups claim that discriminatory legislation and the exclusion of non-Muslims as equal citizens have encouraged hardline militant groups to target Christian communities”. Affected communities are beginning to give up hope that things will change. Where ensuring security from terrorists may require more so-

phisticated effort, securing women in their own homes should not be such a hard task. Imagine living in the constant fear of being kidnapped by some disillusioned man who believes abducting, converting and marrying a woman from a different religion may win him rewards in the afterlife. If it’s not religious disillusionment then it’s simply an abuse of power. Knowing you can subject someone to this and get away with it is also a driving force for some men. Even if the families of these girls file reports, it is very seldom that the police will do anything about it. Even if the case goes to court, a woman in the captivity of her abductor will be too scared to admit she was forcibly kidnapped or married.

The legal system is thus failing the minorities every single day. The report appeals to the government to ensure adequate law enforcement and provision of security for the minorities. But before security is provided and law is enforced, it may be useful to perhaps investigate the groups and individuals who are brainwashing others to believe there is nothing wrong in such actions. If the police started reprimanding culprits in even a few such cases, it could lead to someone thinking twice before subjecting a woman through such pain. But until that doesn’t happen, belligerent men will continue destroying the fabric of this country in their own destructive ways. ¬


April 25-May 1, 2014

LIFE

Bullies exposed Singaporean novelist Jolene Tan exposes a darker side of schooling in Singapore Akshita Nanda The Straits Times Singapore

T

he novel begins with the funeral of a government scholar, who commits suicide after being bullied, and follows the effect of his death on family and friends. Though names of persons and places are changed, many of the incidents of petty cruelty and student violence in the novel are inspired by real life, says the 31-year-old.

"There was a boy in school, everybody knew the rugby players had taken him into a toilet and p***ed on him. Or this girl who everybody knew had had sex on a pool table, but it never occurred to me to think about what went on behind that knowledge," says Tan, who studied at Raffles Girls' Secondary School and Raffles Junior College before reading law at Cambridge and Harvard. "It never occurred to me to ask, did they want this to happen? Why is it that we all knew about it? Who made this knowledge public and how voluntary was that act?" Tan is programmes and communications senior man-


LIFE

April 25-May 1, 2014

ager of gender equality advocacy group, the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware). She is also one of the founders of the No To Rape campaign to repeal part of the Penal Code, which does not consider non-consensual sex within a marriage to be rape. She has written several non-fiction articles on rights issues for The Straits Times, worked for the Prisons Reform Trust in the United Kingdom and was a freelance editor in Germany. She returned to Singapore just last year after 12 years away, with her husband, a researcher in developmental biology. They have a two-yearold daughter.

A Certain Exposure is both eye-opening and entertaining. It runs the emotional gamut from pathos to black comedy, as Tan paints a portrait

of racism and class barriers which still exist in Singapore. "I want readers to enjoy reading the book. For me, reading is pri-

marily for pleasure," says the author, who began her literary career at age six. "I used to carry these notebooks around with


LIFE

April 25-May 1, 2014

me and write stories about my dolls," she says, recalling her first effort: Blinky And Rachel Go To The Beach. The younger of two children and the only girl, Tan has always been an avid reader, enjoying science-fiction and fantasy writers such as Anne McCaffrey and literary authors such as A.S. Byatt. Her mother taught at a primary school and her father, now retired, worked in an oil company. In secondary school, Tan and a friend wrote a fan letter to well-known Singapore novelist Catherine Lim, asking for advice on how to get published. "She handwrote this beautiful, encouraging

letter of reply," she recalls with a smile. However, in her teens, she says: "There came a point when I felt I had decent writing but no stories." While she was doing her master's in law at Harvard University—her undergraduate degree was from Cambridge— she began to rethink the events and canteen talk of her school days in Singapore. Incidents such as teasing less "manly" boys or making crude jokes about girls with sexual experience took on a different light. "Thinking back, I was this incredibly ignorant person. I would say to some person: 'Isn't this bad?' And they would

say: 'Don't take it so seriously.' I find it really alarming that there are all these patterns of behaviour that are normalised or seen as innocuous and fun. "If anybody has felt alone, seeing this kind of normalised brutality that they couldn't get others to take seriously, I'd like them to feel less alone and know that their feelings are not dysfunctional." She began work on A Certain Exposure in 2009, a year before American student Tyler Clementi committed suicide after pictures of him kissing another man were shared on social media by his roommate at Rutgers University.

The tragedy led to wide debate about cyber-bullying and harassment of people who were gay—the latter is considered acceptable in many countries, which can be immensely damaging emotionally and psychologically for the victims. Tan points out that in such a culture, people have to hide themselves to fit into social norms. "I've a long-standing interest in the question about how much of ourselves we can reveal, how much of ourselves it is safe to reveal. Even though it seems safe to hide ourselves, it's incredibly dangerous because we might disappear." ¬


HUMOUR

April 25-May 1, 2014

Honey, and now for a Sequel G

Jeremy Au Yong The Straits Times Singapore

The writer comes up with a sequel to the Singapore Tourism Board advertisement video that went viral recently—but for the wrong reasons

ive those marketing geniuses hired by the Singapore Tourism Board a raise. If ever there was a good example of an agency that wholly understands viral marketing, it's these guys. I mean, let's consider how much they spent on this video: nearly nothing.


HUMOUR

April 25-May 1, 2014

A screen grab of the Singapore Tourism Board advertisement video that went viral

If you happen to be someone on a budget or someone who has just consumed a huge quantity of alcohol, then the only real option for you is to make something terrible. In some ways, it can be even more effective than making something good. You know what they say: Misery loves company.

It's clear they did not spring for any professional scriptwriters, creative directors or even anyone who had even the vaguest idea of what acting is. After all, they weren't trying to make a good ad worthy of an Academy Award, they were trying to make an effective one that would be shared online by tons of people. In advertising terms, there are only two sure-fire ways to do this: 1) Make an ad that is so clever/ moving/interesting/funny/outrageous that the viewing audience cannot help but share it with their friends and family, or 2) Make something so incredibly terrible that the viewing audience cannot help but share it with their friends and family. If you happen to be someone on a budget or someone who has just consumed a huge quantity of alcohol, then the only real option for you is to make something terrible.

In some ways, it can be even more effective than making something good. You know what they say: Misery loves company. This could not be truer today in modern Singapore. Very often, groups of friends will gather together after a hard day's work to engage in a ritual of trying to convince the other fella that you have a more miserable life. ("A pay toilet at work? That's miserable, but that is nothing compared to what my boss did the other day. You know what a bear trap is, right?") And we can also hardly experience something truly nasty without wanting to share the discomfort with everyone we know. ("Ugh, that is rancid. Here, taste this!") All of which leads me back to what I was trying to say at the beginning, which is that we've been had by the incredibly cheesy tourism ad about Singapore that so many people have been mocking recently.


HUMOUR

April 25-May 1, 2014

Here is an ad released quietly online, produced on a minimal budget and ostensibly targeted at Filipinos—who, if this ad is right, love advertising featuring people suffering from some sort of mental illness. Basically, the video features a young, married, Filipino couple on holiday in Singapore for their anniversary. The three-minute video follows the pair around the city as she goes excitedly gushes over various attractions exclaiming, “Honey, look!” and “Let’s go there!”, while he obliges. With nearly no effort whatsoever, these video makers have gotten thousands and thousands of people to watch it and share it. And they've gotten people like me to write about it for free. And they manage to speed up the spread by subsequently pretending that they don't want people to watch the ad.

I am basically in awe of the marketing genius at work here, which is why I want to offer my services in coming up with a sequel to the tourism video. When we last left our couple, she had just sprung an almighty surprise on him by pretending to give him a watch but actually just putting a small bit of urine on a stick and packing it in a nice box. In my ad, we catch up with the couple a few months down the road as they plan for a second trip to Singapore. In the name of simplicity, I have decided to call the couple Jim and Mary. (As with the previous ad, this one opens with them pretending to be busy working on their computers while actually messaging each other about the holiday. He is working in a little room while she appears to have set up her office beside a condo pool. She is wearing the necklace he gave her the last time. He is wear-

ing his same lame old watch having not received a new watch.) Message from Mary: "Excited by YOUR Singapore." Message from Jim: "I thought it's OUR Singapore." Message from Mary: "I thought so too, but the logo that plays before this scene says YOUR Singapore". Message from Jim: "Yes, that's right, but we are supposed to internalise the slogan. They are telling us that it is YOUR Singapore, so from our perspective, it is OURS. Get it?" Message from Mary: "I've no time to debate this with you. I need to take off my glasses to read this brochure of Singapore even though I am a woman in my early 30s and therefore statistically unlikely to suffer from long-sightedness." (Cut to a scene of them walking hand in hand in the Singapore


HUMOUR

April 25-May 1, 2014

zoo. Incredibly, the place is deserted.) Jim: "I like coming back to Singapore, there's always something new to see here." Mary: "Oh honey, I'm just happy we can bring our unborn child here." Jim: "Well, to foreshadow what will happen later, I am going to say that I'm sure Singapore will surprise us again this time. And tell me something: Why is it the moment we arrive here you start every sentence with 'Honey'?" Mary: "Oh honey, I don't know. Maybe there's something in the water. (Product placement opportunity) Honey, look!" (Cut to scenes of pandas eating bamboo and various other beautiful zoo images. The next time we see Jim and Mary, they are seated on a bench talking to each other when suddenly, Mary leaps up and drags Jim along.)

Mary: "Honey, let's go there!" Jim: "Okay, where?" Mary: "Here, some 5m from where we were just sitting down." Jim: "Wow, amazing". Mary: "Honey?" Jim: "Yes, dear." Mary: "Look at that!" Jim: "Those are the pandas. You pointed at them and said 'look' maybe five seconds ago." (Cut to them having dinner at a restaurant.) Mary: "Look, honey, I have something for you. It's a box in the shape of a watch with something inside that may or may not be a watch. Jim: "I have something for you too in this jewellery box that is most likely to be jewellery." Mary: "Honey, even though we are giving each other gifts now in this restaurant, let's not open them until much later for no good reason."

(Cut to a scene of them opening their gifts much later against a scenic city backdrop. Jim has predictably bought her some jewellery.) Mary: "Honey, here's my surprise for you. We're having twins." Jim: "Why can't this news come from a doctor like normal people? Also, it would be nice to get a watch once in a while. I am spending all this money on you and you keep giving me messages." Mary: "Oh honey, I thought it would be a nice Singapore surprise." Jim: "I want a divorce." ÂŹ


April 25-May 1, 2014

CULTURE

The architecture of socialist realism

Hotel and TV tower in Old Czechoslovaki


CULTURE

April 25-May 1, 2014

Augusto Villalon Philippine Daily Inquirer

sardarapat battle memorial museum of armenia

Manila

E

ach civilisation expresses itself through language, ideas and cultural individuality, and architecture is one of the many expressions of diverse cultural realities. Visible in the varied structures built by different cultures stalinist high-rise in moscow

is the wide architectural range—from stone temples, mud and straw huts, Gothic churches to royal palaces, a building process that evolved through the years into today’s malls and skyscrapers. Each structure or place is a marker of what once was a people’s simple daily lifestyle or lavishly built in the imagery projecting a government’s national aspiration. The strong imagery of socialist realism, so evident in the architecture of the era,

survives in the post-socialist world that covers a large area including Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and China, reaching as far overseas as Cuba in the Caribbean. The heavily symbolic architectural forms celebrate socialist ideals and achievements with strong, sturdy forms in poses that inspire the citizens to achieve greatness by working hard to achieve the common goals.


April 25-May 1, 2014

old soviet socialist realism exalting labour

CULTURE


CULTURE

April 25-May 1, 2014

Symbolism

Symbolism is evident in huge sculptures of heroes and representations of powerful leaders. The famous statues of Chairman Mao installed in all Chinese public squares are a well-known example of this genre. Architectural monuments, designed to recall significant historical events, likewise inspire citizens to greater heroism. Public buildings, many of them large and imposing, reach for the sky. Vertical details frame narrow windows. Slender spires rise past facades and rooflines to stretch the buildings skyward. The overall effect is commanding and certainly awe-inspiring. Also imposing are the enormous government buildings and presidential residences, many of them grand and palatial, again symbolic of the power wielded within these structures.

The grand urban designs also convey power: Buildings line both sides of avenues, broad and straight, where thousands of soldiers can parade as seen in most socialist cities, but this phenomenon is not confined to socialist capitals. The Champs-Élysées of Paris has the same kind of Napoleonic splendor. Buildings of power follow the long tradition of symbolic architecture, such as London’s Houses of Parliament, still in use today as the centre of British government, or Mussolini’s buildings in the EUR district of Rome. Another example of symbolic and powerful architecture is the Royal Palace at Versailles, representing the supreme power and luxurious excess of Louis XIV. Today the excesses of Louis XIV have become

one of the best-known anecdotal footnotes of French history, and Versailles has evolved into one of the premier tourist destinations of France. A world away is the collection of temples of Angkor, once a symbol of power and excess of the Khmer kings, another premier tourist destination that also is revered as the national symbol of Cambodia. Will the architecture of socialism, like Versailles and Angkor, survive as a testament to the political system that built them? Architecture is a permanent record of an era and of the people who lived in that era, and structures from the socialist realism era form an important, although unrecognised, collection of globally significant 20th-century architectural heritage whose intrinsic worth is, in general, not publicly appreciated.


CULTURE

April 25-May 1, 2014

Threatened

These structures are under threat. “Under rapid changes of material and functional demands and general neglect, the buildings and places of the socialist period are experiencing the irreversible process of degradation. Many of them are already, or will be, lost in the near future,” says the International Council of Monuments and Sites (Icomos), the international organisation of heritage professionals. “The architectural and urban heritage of the socialist period is subject to vast political, social and economic changes, and receives little recognition as valuable heritage by authorities, the public and even by experts. “These buildings and places are witness to the life and experiences of the former Eastern side

of the Iron Curtain,” says professor Jörg Haspel, president of the Icomos German Committee. “For most of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the post-World War II period was a climax point for introducing socialist ideology, a political regime and economy alien to the historical nature of their regions.” The political and social achievements of the era were creativity reflected in the structures, buildings and places constructed during that period which served the dual purpose of transmitting the socialist message through the impact of public art and imposing architectural monuments. This is forgotten heritage architecture that deserves international appreciation and is definitely worthy of deeper study. ¬


PEOPLE

April 25-May 1, 2014

Stephanie Lee The Star Kuala Lumpur

From Coffee Cup Rings to Chopsticks

photos from hong yi's facebook page

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alaysian artist Hong Yi is known for her iconic portraits of, among others, Yao Ming, Zhang Yimou, Adele and Aung San Suu Kyi How often can one catch the attention of an international star? One Sabahan did and she even got the chance to “act� with him. The superstar was Hong Kong action maestro Jackie Chan and the privileged lass was Kota Kinabalu-born Hong Yi, the artist-architect known for her iconic portraits of, among others, Yao Ming, Zhang Yimou, Adele and Aung San Suu Kyi.


PEOPLE

April 25-May 1, 2014

It was Hong’s extraordinary work–featuring ordinary items like basketballs, flowers, bamboo sticks, socks and candles–that prompted Chan to get her to help him mark an important milestone in his life. “Jackie’s art director contacted me about two months ago to ask me to do a piece for his 60th birthday,” recalled the 28-yearold, who is now in Shanghai. A few weeks later, they met in Beijing. Chan told Hong that he was impressed with her artwork on Zhang, the famed Chinese film director-producer, which used socks hung on a bamboo pole. “But he said it was my Jay Chou video featuring coffee cup rings that piqued his interest and moved him to contact me,” Hong said. “I spent a long time thinking about what material to use to present an exceptional martial arts star and one of the world’s most well-known faces,” she said.

Hong decided to use chopsticks–a symbol of Chinese culture–to represent the man. Also, Chan is known to have used the utensils in his fight scenes in movies such as The Fearless Hyena and The Karate Kid. “As Jackie is also an environ-

mentalist, I chose disposable bamboo chopsticks to show that discarded materials can be reused and made into something meaningful and beautiful,” she added. A total of 64,000 chopsticks were collected in a month in China for the project.


April 25-May 1, 2014

PEOPLE

“loves to paint, but not Bound in varied Hong Yi's Jay Chou PORRAIT MADE FROM COFFEE CUP STAINS. with a paintbrush”. bunches, the chopsticks Hong even appeared were hung perfectly with Chan in the video, onto a steel frame to where the duo did a duel project Chan’s portrait. with chopsticks. “This was a hanging She said the moment felt piece that had to be surreal, seeing how it all suspended with steel started from the one vidcables, so I had to make eo she uploaded two years sure it was structurally ago on YouTube – of Chistable for those chopnese basketball legend Yao sticks,” she explained. Ming’s portrait painted On the left of the with a basketball. ¬ portrait, Hong hung 60 cross-sections of bamboo filled with skewers and chopsticks that formed the Chinese word “long” (dragon), which reflected Chan’s Chinese name, Chen Long. Hong presented her completed “I was incredibly honoured work at Chan’s concert in Beijing on to present my art video to the April 6, on the eve of his 60th birth10,000 people at the concert day. It was a star-studded turnout and talk about the piece,” rethat included Jay Chou, Wang Lee called the artist nicknamed Hom, Coco Lee and Lang Lang. Red who famously said she with chinese superstar jackie chan.


April 25-May 1, 2014

MAKING JACKIE CHAN'S PORTRAIT WITH CHOPSTICKS.

PEOPLE


April 25-May 1, 2014

MAKING JACKIE CHAN'S PORTRAIT WITH CHOPSTICKS.

PEOPLE


April 25-May 1, 2014

MAKING JACKIE CHAN'S PORTRAIT WITH CHOPSTICKS.

PEOPLE


April 25-May 1, 2014

HONG YI'S PORTRAIT OF CHINESE CONTEMPORARY ARTIST AI WEIWEI MADE OF SUNFLOWER SEEDS.

PEOPLE


April 25-May 1, 2014

ENTERTAINMENT

The Price of fame A former Thai supermodel reflects on her successes and failures


April 25-May 1, 2014

ENTERTAINMENT


April 25-May 1, 2014

ENTERTAINMENT


ENTERTAINMENT

April 25-May 1, 2014

Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul The Nation Bangkok

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fter years of being in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, former Thai supermodel Rojjana “Yui” Phetkanha is once again wooing the media, this time with her “tellall” book “Khud Ruang Lub Sub Ruang Jing” (Real Life Yui Rojjana). “I’m very excited to see the press again,” Yui told reporters at a press conference outside MBK Centre just days after her book’s launch at the 42nd National Book Fair and 12th Bangkok International Book Fair.

“Your presence here inspires me to take the next step forward. I’m a case study for the proverb, ‘never hit a man when he is down’; I have struggled with failure so many times and at the same time have been fortunate enough to

"I have struggled with failure so many times and at the same time have been fortunate enough to have a lot of chances. Don’t give up, sail on!"


ENTERTAINMENT

April 25-May 1, 2014

have a lot of chances. Don’t give up, sail on!” The past few months have seen a major turnaround for the 37-yearold former model who last September was rescued by police from the streets and taken to a Bangkok psychiatric hospital where she was treated for her longstanding bipolar disorder. One of her saviours from those dark days is Anusorn Jaruwattananukool, the managing director of Anusorn Organiser, APK Artist Management and APK Publishing. “I was given a second chance after everything went wrong with my life and I think Yui deserves one too,” he told the crowd. “I’ve helped

her find a job instructing a new crop of young generation models and in publishing this book, which is a honest autobiography covering both the highs and the lows.” With the Thai penchant for soap operas, it comes as no surprise that the 130-page pocketbook, which is richly illustrated with photographs, is already on the best-selling list. The book recounts briefly Yui’s childhood in Ubon Ratchathani where she was raised by her grandparents before winning Thailand’s Elite Super Model competition in 1994 soon after she turned 18. With support and help from Thai-British model and

actress Tarini “Fiona” Graham, Yui quickly rose through the ranks and was soon gracing catwalks alongside Kate Moss, Elle McPherson and Naomi Campbell. Chosen as the face of Chanel’s Allure fragrance, Yui also modelled for Christian Dior and Raph Lauren. “Yui had great natural beauty,” recalls Graham. “It wasn’t easy for such a world-famous perfume brand like Chanel to take on a model from Asia as a presenter.” With the Storm Model Agency, Yui earned from US$20,000 to $200,000 per event and was much in demand for the haute couture shows in London, New

York, Milan and Paris. But with fame and fortune came parties and drugs—uppers, mainly cocaine, to stay awake for long photo shoots and downers to get to sleep. She eventually returned to Thailand, broke, in 2004. Yui was subsequently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and for at least five years underwent therapy at various psychiatric hospitals, including a drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation facility in Chiang Mai. “I met her after she was discharged from Somdet Chaopraya Institute of Psychiatry though she was still on medication. She looked normal but tended to


ENTERTAINMENT

April 25-May 1, 2014

Yui modelled for Chanel, Christian Dior and Raph Lauren, earning up to $200,000 per event

be slow on the uptake. When she started working and forgot to take the pill, I saw her opposite sides —extremely glad and extremely sad, both of which are clear signs of bipolar disorder,” says Anusorn. “Sometimes she insisted on being alone. At others, she would want to drink. Often she slept round the clock and missed her appointments. She said that she didn’t want to go out on a job. But all of these could be resolved by taking her medications. “I lost everything when I took drugs,” Yui confirms. “It affected

my work; I was late a lot and didn’t do a good job. I became another person. “Now, I am better and can work again. I’d love to do an advertising campaign or a fashion shoot.” The book also covers her personal heartbreaks, like the male model she adored only to discover he was gay. She recalls actor Leonardo DiCaprio throwing a bucket of ice over her head after she warned a model friend about him and, perhaps more importantly, she also writes about her child. “A lot of people asked me about my child while I was undergoing rehab so I decided

to tell the truth in my book. My daughter is now 12 and while I miss her terribly, I don’t want to hide away from the facts anymore. “Her father and I are no longer in contact though I do know he has remarried. I would love to know how my daughter is doing,” she says. Today Yui earns a modest income training fashion models and in her leisure time reads monk W Vajiramedhi’s dharma books. “I tell my young charges not to believe what other people tell them and to stay far away from drugs,” she says. ¬


TRAVEL

April 25-May 1, 2014

History, biodiversity on the Onoda Trail Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro, Philippines

Lyn rillon

Leti Boniol Philippine Daily Inquirer

T

he mountain is only about five kilometres from the wharf here, but the deep forest marked by century-old trees proved lush enough to provide good cover for several Japanese soldiers who stayed on the island for 30 years, in the belief that World War II was far from over. Lubang Island has since become a popular tourist destination for its Onoda Trail, a network of pathways that Japanese intelligence officer Lt. Hiroo

one of the several caves in the jungle of lubang island where Onoda hid.

Onoda and his group took to escape their enemies during World War II. The trail extends from the village of Vigo in Lubang town to the neighbouring Looc town and would take three days to traverse. One loop of about 8km could take tourists half a day to reach. On the island are abundant fruits, wild animals and clear streams that had sustained the Japanese stragglers for years, with Onoda staying on the island even after his compatriots had left or were killed. Century-old trees fenced in by new side growth and fruit-bearing trees and plants heavy with jackfruit, cashew, coconut, guava, banana and pineapple compete for the tourist’s attention. Wild boars, wild chickens and


TRAVEL

April 25-May 1, 2014

after 30 years in hiding, onoda surrenders.


TRAVEL

April 25-May 1, 2014

small jungle animals may be a rare sight, but snakes would suddenly dart out from the undergrowth to cross one’s path. Bird calls break the quiet as they flit above, foraging for food, building their nests and mating, sometimes inside nearby caves as in the case of fruit bats.

Eco-friendly signposts

The trail may date back to the 1950s, but the signposts on it are definitely from more recent, eco-friendly times: “Beware of wildlife crossing the trail. This is their home,” says one. “The forest is a habitat for birds and other wildlife. Stay on the trail to minimise im-

the jungle: home to the japanese straggler for 30 years.

pact,” says another. One sign cautions: “Avoid making unnecessary noise. We are visitors and the forest is home for many kinds of wildlife.” Inside the forest are meandering streams that, according to Onoda who was only 22-year-old then, he and the other stragglers used for bathing, drinking and washing their clothes. The group occupied the Lubang forest from 1945 to March 9, 1974, when Onoda, by then 52 and the only one left from the group, surrendered to a Philippine Army official. “During the 30 years on Lubang, the only thing I always had plenty of, was water,” writes Onoda in his book “No Surrender”, which dramatically details how the stragglers survived the war in the jungle. “The streams on the island were … so clear you could see the bottom,” he writes in the book published in 1975. Huge marble boulders and slabs greet visitors on the uphill trek of more than three kilometres from a


TRAVEL

April 25-May 1, 2014

junction that separates the Onoda Trail from the road leading to another village. After about 10 minutes’ trek is the first cave where the Japanese stragglers were said to have occasionally slept, cooked, and hid their arms and ammunition.

Birds’ nest soup

Further up is Cave 2 where swallows, locally called balinsasayaw, have built their nests and were now hatching their small ones. Several were flying outside the cave, dancing in the air like their name suggests. The birds’ nests are highly valued and are used for making nido soup. Downhill and then farther up are Caves 3 and 4, with Cave 4 considered the biggest among four caves, according to tour guide Rexon Tividad, 28. Cave 4 is about 18 metres deep, he said, quoting an Australian spelunker he had guided recently. Cave 4 was closed recently, said Lubang tourism officer Gina

Julaton, because of too many bats inside. Cave 5 is farther away and more difficult to reach, Tividad said. The caves have been formed from marble described by tour guide Gerry Villaflores as black tiger because when wet, their blue and purple stripes resemble one. Several 30-centimetre-long stalactites stand at the mouth of Cave 1 and may be several thousands of years old, Villaflores said. Because of the marble boulders, the mountain has been called “Puting Bato (White Rock)”. Strewn around the area are several marble slabs that Vigo village councilor Manuel Villaflores said had been cut years ago by miners and traders who brought them to Romblon. The local government stopped that trade when it took over control of the area, Villaflores said, adding that a Taiwanese trader had once asked for a permit to mine the area using destructive methods, but the council denied it.

Tourism master plan

Julaton said Lubang would like to develop the Onoda Trail and Caves for its distinctive historical and ecotourism character as part of its tourism master plan created in 2011. “We have developed the trail and put up handrails using tree branches, but without cutting trees,” she said. An open hut has been built to serve as a rest area for trekkers going further up to the caves, with electricity provided up to this point. Julaton noted the “great curiosity and enthusiasm among Filipinos, Japanese and other visitors to know more about the life story of Onoda”. She added: “The world deserves to know that this site has a historical significance during World War II on Lubang Island.” The town has so far trained 16 tourist guides to educate tourists in the care of the forest. It plans to develop the trail as a hiking and camping site, and to use Onoda’s survival story as part of an adventure trek.


TRAVEL

April 25-May 1, 2014

How to get there:

Fast facts

Lubang town in Occidental Mindoro is a fourth-class municipality located about 75 nautical miles southwest of Metro Manila in the Philippines. It is one of several towns that constitute the Lubang Group of Islands. Population: About 25,000 Livelihood: Farming and fishing Best time to go: October to May There are no banks nor ATMs on the islands.

From the airport, if taking public transport, proceed to Taft Avenue in Manila to get a bus or van going to Calatagan (ride of about 3 hours) or Nasugbu (about 2 hours) in Batangas where ferry boats carry passengers to Barangay Tilik, Lubang, Mondays through Sundays.

day, but fare rates are regulated by the municipality. Visitors should register with the Lubang Tourism Office at the municipal hall. User’s fee per site is 25 pesos. Tour guides are a must.

Bus fare: 180 pesos (US$4) Van: 350 pesos ($8) Boat fare: 400 pesos ($9)

Travel tips:

Ferries in Calatagan and Nasugbu take two to three hours to reach Tilik in Lubang. From Tilik, tourists can hire tricycles, vans and boats. No public vehicles ply Lubang’s roads. All vehicles are for hire per route or per

Bring insect repellants and antiallergy medication for bites or allergies from trees or leaves. Bring water and food. Wear rubber shoes with good traction and long-sleeved tops, light mountain pants and hat. Bring extra batteries for cameras. Leave heavy stuff at home. ¬


DATEBOOK

April 25-May 1, 2014

√

ÂŹ Malaysia Jeff Dunham Disorderly Conduct Tour 2014 Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham will finally make it to Malaysia for his first stop in his first ever tour of Asia. His television specials and series have been the highest rated programming in Comedy Central history, his DVD sales have reached seven million units, his videos have received half a billion views on You Tube, and his live concerts have become mega-events played in front of sold-out arenas worldwide. Dunham has, of course, plenty of help on-stage: his entourage of signature characters who are there to challenge and chastise his every sentence. They may have all been conceived and hand crafted by Dunham, but his characters, who are anything but dummies, have now taken on a life of their own.

When: May 20 Where: Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre


DATEBOOK

April 25-May 1, 2014

√

ÂŹ Manila We The Kings American pop punk band, We The Kings, returns to Manila to perform at the Skydome in June 2014. To be brought to Manila by Pulp LIve World, the band will promote its latest album, "Somewhere Somehow".

When: June 7, 8pm Where: Skydome, SM City North Edsa, Quezon City Tickets available at SM Ticket outlets nationwide


DATEBOOK

April 25-May 1, 2014

¬ Tokyo Psy and Big Bang in Tokyo PSY, the mega-hit star of the 'Gangnam Style' fame, will perform at the Tokyo Dome with Big Bang in May. This show forms part of the YG Family's (a concert of YG artists that also includes BIGBANG, 2NE1, EPIK, HIGH, LEEHI and WINNER) 2014 World Tour. The world tour also covers South Korea and China.

Where: Tokyo Dome When: May 3, 2014


April 25-May 1, 2014

DATEBOOK

√

ÂŹ Japan/Taiwan Yoshiki expands classical world tour Legendary X-Japan star Yoshiki is bringing his classical world tour to Taipei, Taiwan (June 13), Tokyo (June 16) and Osaka (June 17) in Japan. These three dates will follow Yoshiki's concert in Bangkok, Thailand on June 10. Yoshiki, a classically trained pianist known best as leader of the globally renowned rock band X-Japan, will perform original, classical songs from his recent solo release "Yoshiki Classical", which debuted at the top of the charts worldwide.

Tickets for the Yoshiki Classical Tour are on sale via Yoshiki.net.


April 25-May 1, 2014

DATEBOOK


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