Category Archives: Mind Philosophy

Shining the spotlight on the creative realm of the sublimely artistic and bringing the latest and breaking news from the art world

Dirty Politics in Malaysian Arts 龌蹉不堪的艺术界政治

by Winston Peng


I have found that Malaysia has a pool of great fine artists backed by highly successful gallerists, intelligent curators, insightful writers and prominent collectors local and foreign.

I have been spurring the idea that our unique cultural content is the answer to our quest to become an innovation-driven economy. Distinctive cultural motifs and content for example, can be infused into our car, building and packaging product designs as a collective, differentiation strategy at international scale.

Over the years, I have organised the Artists as Social Innovators forum that drew full crowd at the National Art Gallery to get artists to rethink and elevate their role in societal development. I have also organised and chaired the National Arts Symposium in 2015 that drew 200 panel members from 50 different professions to discuss the role of art in their value chain over 24 tracks to create awareness on the importance of art.

I have found that Malaysia has a pool of great fine artists backed by highly successful gallerists, intelligent curators, insightful writers and prominent collectors from locals and foreigners. They represent our minds and indeed our hope for the future.

Malaysia also have good artisans and cultural workers. Their little contributions fuel our RM100 billion tourism industry. They are the grass roots, level-headed people whom we see every day from the food we eat, crafts we buy, places we go, stories we tell and senses we feel. They make up a significant part of our culture.

However, like any good and growing ecosystem, there are negative elements that attempt to stifle our development. I am talking about a group of struggling and frustrated artists. They compensate their lack of imagination by being political and making a lot of noise in social media. Recently, they work with a group of wily curators and academics to dupe foreign foundations into funding their guileful mission to infiltrate national art institutions to paint a bad light on our country. They have planned for a series of public talks and discourse to celebrate their impending victory.

When this foreign entity that is currently celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Malaysia realised that they were officially funding an exhibition that is political and potentially painting a bad light on the family of our Foreign Minister, they advised the curator and the artists to consider their positions as it was not within the objective and curatorial scope. This is totally sensible. It is not surprising that a foreign foundation didn’t understand the intricacies of our national politics.

These artists then decided to take down their own paintings and resorted to blaming members of the public, then the foreign entity, then the national institution, except themselves. They gain publicity by claiming that they have been censored by powers. Finally, when truth unfolded, they panicked. Fearing a public backlash, they withdrawn from the exhibition entirely but continue with their treacherous acts in the social media to justify their injudiciousness.

This subversive group cannot comprehend or recognise that art is more than just about them. A fair question by a member of the public to the foreign entity was met with fascist-style clampdown and witch hunt with the help of their wily curators and hawkish academics. They had put up a provocative work in a public exhibition but were not ready for and could not accept fair public engagement. They turned a mere question into a terrible complaint and lied about the censorship of their artwork by illusionary powers. They failed to understand that international relations from the foreign entity was more important than their artwork and their continuous embarrassment to both countries.

Sadly, this is reminiscent of how foreigners who take interest in our art are first met by these group of loud ‘pasar malam’ like peddlers who are desperate for attention. Our foreign friends will eventually learn that they have been duped and worse, hands bitten off by these savages they try to feed.

Fortunately, Malaysia is blessed with cultural capital large enough to withstand these cultural traitors. I continue to place my faith in Malaysian artists who possess power and talent to take our nation to the next level.

我一直认为马来西亚独特的文化方式是我们追求创新型经济的答案。例如,特色的文化主题可融入汽车、建筑和产品包装设计,并作为国际规模差异化战略。

而多年来,我组织并号召艺术家作为社会创新者论坛,并在国家美术馆引起热烈回响,让艺术家重新思考和提升在社会发展的作用和潜能。我也曾策划2015年的国家艺术研讨会,并从50个各行业领域的专业人士中聚集200位小组成员,议论艺术在他们的价值链中的作用超过24跑道,创造我们对于艺术重要性的认知。

马来西亚有一批伟大的优秀艺术家,他们是由画廊艺术家、智慧策展人、洞察力作家与国内外的著名收藏家所组成。他们代表我们的心灵,同时是未来的希望。

我们也具备良好的工匠和文化工作者。他们努力建设累积我国让人瞩目的1000亿令吉旅游业。我们透过每天吃的食物、购买工艺品和所到之处,还有被告知和感受的故事,接触到各种草根性或上层社会的人,构成组合我们文化主要的部分。

然而,犹如所有蓬勃不断增长的生态系统一样,也会出现消极因素企图扼杀阻碍。我指的是有些垂死挣扎和沮丧的艺术家,他们通过政治和社交媒体的舆论噪音掩盖缺失的想象力。最近,他们联合一群狡诈的策展人和学者,欺骗外国基金会资助他们邪恶使命渗透的民族艺术机构,对我国造成恶劣影响。他们也计划透过一系列公开研讨会欢庆即将取得的胜利。

至于这个目前与马来西亚庆祝外交关系60周年的外国也实际意识到,正在资助一个政治上可能对我国外交部长家属造成不良影响的展览会,并建议策展人和艺术家考虑他们的立场,这并非资助的目标范围。当然,外国基金会不了解我国政治复杂性完全符合情理。

而这些艺术家决定取下自己的画,诉诸归咎公众人士、接着外国机构和国家机构,除了他们自身。他们宣称本身已经被权势力量干涉审查。最后,当真相水落石出的时候他们就开始恐慌,担心公众反感,并从展览会撤离,但继续在社交网络上玩弄着奸诈把戏,证实他们的盲目。

上述颠覆黑白的群体无法理解或认知,所谓的艺术不仅是他们自己。公众人士对于外国机构一个合理的问题,被这些狡诈策展人和鹰派学者借题发挥成法西斯式的迫害和追捕。他们在公开展览会进行挑衅性的任务,但未准备好,无法接受公平公开的参与。他们将一个简单的问题演变成恐怖的抱怨,并幻想有权势力量对他们的作品进行审查。他们不了解外国机构对于国际关系的重视,当然比他们的艺术品更关键,他们终究在两国之间持续尴尬。

悲叹的是,这让人想起对于我们的艺术感兴趣的外国人,首先要遇见这些如小贩一般,急切引起注意而高声大叫“Pasar Malam”的一群,但我们的外国朋友最终会得知,他们被欺骗,更糟糕的是,手还被他们试图饲养的野蛮人咬伤。

庆幸的是,马来西亚拥有宽裕的文化资本,可以抵挡类似文化叛徒。我继续信奉马来西亚艺术家,他们具备力量和才能,将我们的国家提升到更高水平。

Uncovering The Taste of Luxury in Bangkok 曼谷奢华品味

by CK Lam


Bangkok has a global reputation for world-class restaurants, hotels, luxurious spas and modern shopping malls besides the many points of interest. We explored some at leisure during our trip to the capital of Thailand.

曼谷除了众多享誉全球的闻名景点,还有着世界顶级豪华餐厅、酒店,豪华水疗中心和现代化的购物商场。我们在泰国首都的旅行期间,探索了一些休闲生活方式。

The inviting lobby area of Dusit Thani Bangkok

LUXURIOUS STAY
Bangkok is home to many luxurious hotels and a stay at the 5-star Dusit Thani Bangkok on Silom Road was a perfect experience. This luxurious city-center property has travellers living up in style at its Dusit Room and Thai Heritage Suites which combined modern luxury and comfort with classical Thai accents.

Residents of the hotel are treated to relaxing greenery at the historic Lumpini Park, an oasis of serenity and greenery located opposite the hotel. On top of that, the biggest advantage is that the hotel is located within steps from the BTS Skytrain Station and MRT Subway Station – which conveniently connect you to your destination, shopping hubs and entertaining centers.

For those interested in designer items, head to the many retail shrines like EmQuartier, Siam Paragon and Central World Plaza. The EmQuartier is the latest opening to indulge in retail therapy. Leaning towards the more luxury side of Bangkok’s booming mall scene, the mall offers a list of designer brands like Chanel, Fendi, Jimmy Choo, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior, and Prada.

豪华体验住宿
曼谷是许多顶级豪华酒店的家园,其中位于是隆路 (Silom Road) 的老字号五星级曼谷都喜天阙酒店 (Dusit Thani Bangkok) 显得相当完美。这家市中心豪华酒店的都喜贵宾房和泰式传统套房,分别拥有现代豪华舒适与古典泰式风情。

住宿酒店的客人可以到历史悠久的Lumpini公园放松身心,这是位于酒店对面的宁静绿地。此外,酒店拥有最大地理优势:距离BTS轻轨站和MRT地铁站仅有几步之遥,方便快速到达景点、购物和娱乐中心。

而世界级奢华品牌的集中朝圣地如最豪华商场EmQuartier,暹罗百丽宫(Siam Paragon) 和中央世界广场 (Central World Plaza)。EmQuartier是开启品牌欲望的起点,商场倾向于曼谷蓬勃发展的奢华购物商场面貌,一系列设计师品牌如:香奈儿、芬迪,Jimmy Choo,华伦天奴,杜嘉班纳,古驰,迪奥和普拉达。

Chef Philippe whips up delicious Thai dishes at Benjarong Dusit Thani
Chef Philippe whips up delicious Thai dishes at Benjarong Dusit Thani

CULINARY DELIGHTS
Bangkok has charmed the palates of many foodies with its many distinct food and beverages outlets. If you prefer Thai flavours, the Benjarong housed on the lower lobby of Dusit Thani Hotel offers interesting modern contemporary Thai cuisines that are distinctly Thai at heart. The all-stars of Thai cuisine such as Kaeng Kiew Wan See Krong Neau Toon (sous-vide beef ribs in green curry), Pad Thai and Tom Yum are served here. The chef deconstructed the sour and spicy Tom Yum dish and had the ingredients and garnishing composed in a bowl with a table side pour of the soup. Among the highlights of the dessert include basil ice-cream with fresh pineapple and salty meringue, red rubies and jackfruit with coconut ice-cream, and the mango sticky rice. The revamped nitrogen mango sticky rice is refreshing combined with the accompanying mango sorbet.

Definitely worth checking out is Red Sky, Bangkok’s most iconic sunset look-out spot. Located at the 55th floor of the 5-star Centara Grand hotel, the fast lifts will zip you up to the rooftop restaurant and bar which offers 360-degree amazing city views. Wrap up the day with sunset cocktails and specialties from the menu which features fresh locally-sourced seafood and prime imported steaks. The Prime A3 Japanese Wagyu, and chef’s signature dish Red Sky Surf & Turf Tower are not to be missed. After the meal, sit back and relax with a glass of Royal Coffee. This signature speciality coffee on Red Sky’s menu has its flavour enhanced with cognac, brown sugar and whipped cream.

If you are in the mood for a fine meal of wagyu beef and foie gras without all the pomp and circumstance of a fine-dining outlet, head over to the sumptuous buffet dinner at Espresso. The bistro in Intercontinental Hotel serves fairly international fare. You can expect free flow of the luxurious ingredients from the cooking station alongside array of seafood and assortment of sashimi
and sushi.

When night falls, dressed fashionably and venture out to the world’s first VOGUE Lounge. Located on the six floor rooftop of Mahanakhon Cube, the chill-out space with indoor area and vast al fresco terrace welcomed its first visitors in 2014. Its interior boasts a classic tricolour scheme of black, white and gold, with walls adorned with the brand’s expressive fashion & lifestyle magazine covers. On the other hand, the al fresco terrace is a perfect spot to chill amidst the nearby towering Mahanakhon Tower. For food and drinks, savor classic cocktails, fine wines and fashion bites created by Michelin award winning chef Vincent Thierry. I am drawn to the mini salmon cones with soft delicate salmon tartar accented by fresh salmon roe, almonds and zesty horseradish sauce.

舌尖极致美食
曼谷是许多美食家垂涎之地,集中许多独特美食和饮料餐店。如果热爱泰国风味,住在都喜天阙酒店的食客可前往酒店底层大厅Benjarong餐厅品尝各种走心的泰国美食。泰国美味佳肴最大亮点如Kaeng Kiew Wan See Krong Neau Toon(真空低温青咖喱牛排骨),泰式炒米粉和泰式冬荫功。厨师解构酸辣冬荫功餐点,把配料和饰菜组合到碗里再倒汤。至于重心甜点就是九层塔冰激凌搭配新鲜菠萝和咸香蛋白酥皮筒,石榴和波罗蜜搭配椰子冰淇淋,还有就是芒果糯米饭。而经过改良的液态氮芒果糯米清爽结合芒果汁冰糕。

红色天空(Red Sky)不容错过,这是曼谷最具标志性的日落观景点,位于五星级圣塔拉大酒店(Centara Grand)的55楼,快速的升降电梯到屋顶餐厅和酒吧,360度美妙的城市景观视觉享受。日落鸡尾酒和特色菜肴,包括最生鲜本土海鲜和上佳进口牛排的菜单。 Prime A3级日本和牛,还有厨师的招牌菜:红色天空海陆大餐(Red Sky Surf & Turf Tower)令人赞叹。而饭后来一杯皇家咖啡松弛心情,Red Sky的这款特色咖啡增添干邑,焦糖和生奶油的风味。

假如你迷恋香嫩的和牛肉和鹅肝,却苦于没找到精致餐厅,Espresso丰盛的自助晚餐将会是最佳选择。这家位于洲际酒店(Intercontinental Hotel)的专属酒吧餐厅供应国际美食。除了一系列海鲜与各式各样的生鱼片和寿司,还有更多令人惊艳的豪华食材川流不息从烹饪中心献上。

而在夜幕降临时,配合典雅时尚装扮,我们到世界上第一家VOGUE时尚酒廊(VOGUE Lounge)。在立方大楼(Mahanakhon Cube)6楼的楼顶,这个带有室内区域和宽敞的户外露台休闲酒廊在2014年迎来了第一批旅客。经典黑,白和金色的内部装潢,墙上装饰着VOGUE品牌风格时尚与生活方式杂志封面。另外,户外露台比邻高耸的Mahanakhon塔,创造完美视野环境。至于餐饮菜单,品尝经典鸡尾酒、精致葡萄酒,还有精美点心由米其林获奖厨师Vincent Thierry奉上。我被一道迷你三文鱼卷搭配细腻三文鱼酱,带有新鲜三文鱼籽,杏仁和香浓辣根酱的小食虏获。

A cosy section of Vogue Lounge.jpg

Classic cocktails, fine wines and fashion bites on from Vogue Lounge.jpg

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SPA & WELLNESS
No trip to Bangkok is complete without spoiling yourself with spa treatments. In the kingdom of beauty, health and pampering, one can visit the many spas and health centers that care for your body, mind and soul. Let Diwana Nurture Spa, and RarinJinda Wellness Spa Resort be part of your pampering journey. At both outlets are spa a la carte menus where one can pamper with custom-designed treatments. After the treatment, you will find yourself sipping tea and enjoying fresh fruits.

Health service and medical care centres are aplenty in Bangkok. The Vitallife Wellness Center, which is part of the Bumrungrad International Hospital, is one such place that can accommodate your health needs. Packages for health screening are offered to suit your needs. Here is also where you can get tailored vitamins and supplements to assist in revitalizing aging and also PRP platelet rich plasma treatment.

水疗法与健康
曼谷旅行少了spa水疗是一种极大的缺憾。在这个优美,健康和呵护的国度,透过许多水疗中心和保健中心的疗程,关爱你的身体,思绪和灵魂。尤其让 Diwana Nurture Spa 和RarinJinda Wellness Spa Resort 成为您舒适旅程的一部分。所有门店拥有水疗单点菜单,在那里尽情享受定制疗程。而在疗程后,还可以松懈自己心情喝杯茶和享受新鲜水果。

曼谷也具备规模性的保健服务和医疗中心。Vitallife Wellness Center 是 Bumrungrad International Hospital 属下保健机构,而其中健康检查套餐也将针对状况满足您的健康需求。除了可以获取定制的维生素补充,并协助恢复活力和PRP富含血小板血浆治疗。

Unforgettable massage experiences await at Diwana Nurture Spa.jpg

CULINARY CLASSES
There are so many top culinary classes in Bangkok whereby visitors can pick up some cooking skills. Enrol yourself in one of the cooking classes and learn how to dish out some Thai delicacies. With a visit to Naj Cooking School on Thanon Convent, just off of Silom Road, one can prepare the tom yum goong, pomelo salad and phad thai with surprising ease under the guidance of Chef Ohmmy Ayasanond. At the end of the class, it is a feast of cooked dishes spread on the table in its lavishly decorated restaurant.

We enjoyed the phad thai; a dish of lightly charred flat rice noodles, with shrimps, chopped sweet turnip, garlic, tofu, and egg, accompanied by Chinese chives, bean sprout, crushed peanuts and lime wedges. Its sweet-tart flavors are accomplished using tamarind juice, fish sauce and palm sugar.

All in all, my Bangkok experience basking in luxury gives me much lasting pleasure. Even before I reached my home destination, the facilities inside the Suvarnabhumi Airport departure lounge are enough to keep me comfortable and satisfied.

华丽烹饪课程
曼谷开设许多顶级烹饪课程,旅客也可参与学习一些烹饪技能,尤其是泰国美食。在是隆路(Silom Road)参观Thanon Convent附属的Naj烹饪学校,在主厨 Ohmmy Ayasanond的指导下,开始动手烹煮冬荫功,准备柚子沙拉和泰式炒米粉。在课程结束后,装饰华丽的餐厅桌子摆上了菜肴,完全是一个盛宴。我们喜欢泰式炒米粉,配料有扁平米粉、虾仁、萝卜丝、大蒜,豆腐和鸡蛋,还有韭菜,豆芽,碎花生和青柠。它的酱汁风味是使用罗望子果汁,鱼露和椰糖调味完成。

结论是,在曼谷体验奢华体验让人愉快无比。甚至在飞抵我家之前,素万那普(Suvarnabhumi)国际机场出发休息厅足以让我感到舒适和满意。

Discover the preparation of Thai cuisine at Naj Thai Cooking School.jpg

Nature Nurtured Contemporary Artists Capture Malaysia’s Natural Marvels

by Adline Abdul Ghani


If the 4K UHD displays and curved computer monitors of today are any indication, we take true-to-life images and immersive experiences very seriously. But the Nature Nurtured Exhibition at the Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery (BNMMAG) is a pleasant reminder that we don’t always need tech to experience truly moving images. Walking through the spacious exhibition space, which doesn’t burden itself with interactive touch screens, one can’t help but be awestrucked by hand-painted and hand-drawn images that are so life like, they look like the animals could leap out of the frame at any moment.

Nature Nurtured (2)-
Cloudy by Monica Lee (2016)
Nature Nurtured (3)-
Listen to the Falling Leaf – Crested Wood-Partridge by Tew Yew Kiang (2016)
Nature Nurtured (4)
A reflective corner of the gallery.

Upon entering the gallery, visitors are first greeted by the sounds of nature in the background, which sets the tone for the visual treat on display. The exhibition showcases 79 artworks in the prevailing genre of realism and is divided into five sections. It begins with the Earth’s three vital elements – Land, Water and Sky, which highlight the local flora and fauna that inhabit these realms. This is followed by the Corporate and Creative section, which showcases the Central Bank’s support of its staff’s creative spirit. And at the end, an activity area where children can colour, make green pledges, watch an informative video and admire Ramlan Abdullah’s whimsical sculpture entitled “Running Forest”.

Fifteen artists have taken part in the exhibition, sharing a mission to appreciate Malaysia’s greatest asset. They are: Abd Rasid Yusof, Adrian Ho, Charles Mawan, Choo Beng Teong, Dr. Neoh Chin Boon, Jaafar Taib, Johan Marjunid, Latif Maulan, Monica Lee, Moy Siew Ting, Ong Soo Keat, Sazri Russalan, Teh Yew Kiang, Yeap Tho Seng and Zaharuddin Sarbini.

And as the Central Bank has always been a strong supporter of the Malaysian Art industry, art appreciation among Bank staff is not a new phenomenon either. In the case of this exhibition, there is more than nature to be nurtured — there is also some nurturing of creative talent. Thirteen members of staff from different departments in the Bank have contributed 25 artworks displaying the marvels of Mother Nature.

The staff, namely Abdul Muid Latif, Muhammad Herman Rawi, Ikhwanizam Ibrahim, Kamisah Abd Kadir, Khairulzamani Hamzah,  Mohd Faizal Abdul Latif,  Mohd Ubaidillah Daud,  Myrzela Sabtu,  Nurul Fatin Shakira Helmi, Rebecca Choong Shu Wen,  Rina Abd Rahim, Shahril Nizam Abdollah and Tan Mei Yueh, display much energy and creativity in their work, which are generally less realist than the professional artists in the exhibition.

In conclusion, the exhibition is a comprehensive account of the involvement of Malaysian artists in preserving the fragile balance of nature. Through their eyes and efforts, we have a highly personalised record of Malaysia’s ever-changing environment.  And while ‘Nature Nurtured’ seeks to commemorate the natural marvels of Malaysia, as depicted by selected contemporary artists, visitors will instantly marvel at the natural talent that these artists possess. Furthermore, the works on display encourage us to ponder on nature’s wealth in biodiversity and inspiration, as well as the importance of both nurturing the environment and nurturing a love for the environment within ourselves.

The Nature Nurtured Exhibition is open for public viewing at the Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery from 19 January to 18 June 2017. The BNMMAG is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm and admission is free.

I’M Perfect Creation Bronze Sculpture Opening 美丽与丑陋创作

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Finally after 4 years, Asian award winning artist Ch’ng Huck Theng, presented his final bronze sculpture ‘Pahlawan’ (Warrior in English) in his series ‘IMPerfect Creation’ in PinkGuy Gallery KL. Guest of Honor was Minister of Transport Dato’ Seri Liow Tiong Lai together with Datuk Dr. Wong Lai Sum, Dato’ TS Yong, collectors and friends from the art scene. Dato’ Seri Liow praised the artist for his endeavor for creating a Malay sculpture from the inspiration of legendary heroes such as Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Lekir, Hang Kesturi with the intention to remind fellow Malaysians that there is always a need to have a common ‘hero’ or a common ideology to unite the different races. A beautiful limited edition hard cover book ‘IMPerfect Creation’ was launched during the evening.

在历经4年后,国内外皆满载荣誉的亚洲当代艺术家庄学腾,带着他最新的青铜雕塑作品“Pahlawan”(战士),在吉隆坡 PinkGuy Gallery 举行的 “美丽与丑陋创作 IMPerfect Creation”个人展览会上亮相。

为这项别具意义的展览会主持揭幕礼的荣誉嘉宾为交通部长拿督斯里廖中莱,连同拿督黄丽心博士与拿督 TS Yong,出席者也包括各方的收藏者与艺术界的朋友等。

廖中莱高度赞扬艺术家擅长创作马来雕塑,并从传奇英雄如Hang Tuah 、Hang Jebat,Hang Lekir 与 Hang Kesturi 等汲取创作灵感,这是有意提醒马来西亚同胞,我们需要有一个共同的“英雄”或共通意识形态,以团结维系不同的种族。另外,展览会现场也推介了制作精美的《美丽与丑陋》限量版画册。

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Connecting Captains Capturing Contemporaries Beijing 捕捉现代典雅掠影北京

When I first stepped foot in Beijing 20 years ago, it was a big city with a perfect blue sky and most of its inhabitants did not know how to drive. Traffic was pleasant with the exception of thousands of bicycles either on roads or parked like sardines in open spaces near offices or metro stations.

I still remember my customer then Mr. Jia Wujun (贾武军) who had come to pick me up from the airport. While it was a perfectly normal day for me, it was his first day behind the wheels. He was as stiff as a stick as he handled the steering wheel with full concentration moving at the speed of a snail. He and his five brothers were farmers before but decided to take a leap of faith to dabble in a small seafood business when China opened its doors to the international market.

20年前踏上北京时,那还是个拥有完美蓝天的大城市,而人民对于开车显得相对陌生。路上交通非常顺畅,除了成千上万的单车在道路上或密集停泊在办公室与地铁站附近。

当时我的客户贾武军前来机场接我,对我来说这是平常的日子,但却是他第一天开着汽车,身躯挺直僵硬得像根棍子,全神贯注操作着方向盘,以蜗牛速度移动。他和5名兄弟在这之前都是农民,但在中国开放进入国际市场的时候,信念飞跃,决定参与小型海产品业务。

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Mr. Jia Wujun (left), Ch’ng Huck Theng (right)

Today, Jia is one of the leading seafood importers in China who owns a factory in Thailand importing big volumes from all over the world in order to satisfy huge local demands. Not remotely a surprise, considering his connection with Thailand, he took me to one of the three Thai restaurants he now proudly owns. Thai Mei (泰美) is a new venture that serves authentic yet not-too-spicy Thai cuisine.

The Chinese have become a lot more well-off although the capital of China today is choke up with traffic jams and hazardous environment where sometimes one will find it difficult to see and breathe. If one would prefer to spend some quality time with fresh air and a ‘peace’ of mind, then award winning hotel Sunrise Kempinski Beijing where I was invited to speak in the China’s Business Family Heritage Forum 2016 (2016中国家族企业传承) would definitely be a good choice to stay. Although the Chinese wealth is exploding and with the expectation of its second generation to continue this fairy tale, many families are facing issues of successions as children inheriting the family business face difficulties in differing cultural upbringing and being raised in a total comfort and well-protected environment. The forum’s primary focus was to bring together foreign companies that have succeeded in passing the baton through generations; to share researches done by local academics; and to explore the success stories of Chinese companies that have performed well in both domestic and international platforms.

如今,作为中国领先的海产进口商之一,他在泰国拥有一家工厂,从世界各地进口产品以应对大量需求,因他与泰国间拥有的商业关系,因此他领我去参观其拥有的3家泰国餐馆之一泰美(Thai Mei)时,我并不感到意外。这是家全新餐厅,提供口味正宗却没那么辣的泰餐。

纵然首都北京面临严峻交通拥堵和雾霾环境问题,如果随着生活趋向富裕的中国人愿意花费一些时间享受新鲜空气和沉静氛围,那么获奖酒店-北京日出东方凯宾斯基酒店是不俗的住宿选择。我在受邀出席2016中国家族企业传承论坛会议担任主讲者期间曾入住该酒店。中国的财富处于爆发阶段,也期待第二代可以坚守家业,但许多家庭依旧有着不同的继承问题,因为家族企业新一代在迥异文化教育和处于舒适良好保护环境,面临竞争困境。论坛主要是聚集成功进行世代更迭的外国企业;还有地方学者分享研究,并且探索国内与国际平台上表现亮眼的中国企业之成功案例。

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Hotel Sunrice Kempinski Beijing

Although distantly located away from the city, the hotel offers a near perfect environment for those who wanted to be free from noise and air pollution as described by hotel manager Sebastian Thomas. Its interior has an impressive architectural design served with immaculate facilities especially the fitness centre and the hotel pool. The breakfast menu provides a delicious spread of choice ranging from the East to the West. The hot Chinese soup noodles and healthy yogurt were simply my choice to start the day. One should also try the signature in-house grilled fish and the braised sea cucumber with rice (小米煮辽参) in the Magnolia Chinese restaurant. The double-boiled hasma in papaya (木瓜炖雪蛤) dessert would be an excellent choice to call it a day. The welcoming dessert presentation in my room, I must say, was the best I have seen so far.

酒店虽然远离城区,但不具噪音和空气污染,犹如酒店经理Sebastian Thomas描述-已接近完美,有令人留下印象深刻的建筑设计与完善的设施,尤其是健身中心和泳池。早饭菜单中西餐点兼具,而温热中式汤面和健康酸奶是我开始新一天的选择,还有兰香阁中餐厅著名的烤鱼和特色菜“小米煮辽参”,接着来一碗甜点“木瓜炖雪蛤”更是令人心满意足。至于送到房间的迎宾甜点,对我来说是至今最好的美食体验。

Beijing is a big city conveniently connected by its subway system taking away most travellers’ nightmare of being stuck in traffic. Walking around Wangfujing, this famous shopping area no longer gave me the feeling of old China that it once used to be, but rather disappointingly modern Western brand outlets now occupy the traditional Chinese buildings. Perhaps one of the most interesting scenes for tourists is the street food where exotic creatures such as live scorpions, sea horses, centipedes and worms are offered as snacks to those with strong stomachs. There is also another pedestrian shopping area in close proximity to Tiananmen Square: Beijing Qianmen Street located directly behind Zhenyangmen offers visitors a glimpse of buildings from the late Qing dynasty. Although the main street is filled with typical big brands one could find in any city, restaurants located at the side lanes provide an interesting selection of, said to be, old, traditional and authentic Chinese food.

身为首都大城市,北京交通方便且有完善的地铁系统,使大部分游客免除困在道路交通的恶梦。走入王府井,这个著名购物区浓浓的怀旧感已消失,取而代之的是现代西方名牌占据了传统的中国建筑物,让人有点失望。或许对于游客来说,比较有趣的场景是街头小食包括 : 活蝎子,海马,蜈蚣和虫子等猎奇小吃。至于天安门广场附近的另外一个购物区:正阳门后的北京前门大街景区,也有许多清朝末期的建筑物。主街道充斥着一般餐饮大品牌,但侧边小巷的小餐馆倒是有着传统与老式的中餐。

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Beijing Qianmen Street
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Mary Goh (left)

Mary Goh, manager of the hotel and also a Singaporean, is not only capable but also full of experience from spending most of her adult life in the hospitality industry in China. When we met for lunch, I must admit that I was a little sceptical when the restaurant served us Peking duck especially after tasting the Signature Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant (全聚德)the night before. However I was pleased to congratulate Mary that the roast duck served at her restaurant was nothing but exceptional. The duck meat was not fatty and the crispy skin was simply delicious especially when the meat is wrapped with freshly made soft pancakes. Another interesting dish immaculately presented and nicely cooked was their God Mother’s Traditional Fried Rice (老干妈炒饭).

北京新侨诺富特酒店的蓬莱阁中餐厅以北京烤鸭而闻名。酒店经理Mary Goh是新加坡人,但她已经在中国酒店业中度过大部分生活时光。午饭的聚餐,当酒店餐厅奉上名菜北京烤鸭时,我是有点质疑的,特别是前一晚品尝过不负盛名的全聚德餐馆之后。可是,尝过才发现这个烤鸭肉无丝毫油腻脂肪,酥脆外皮是纯粹的美味,特别是鸭肉还裹上新鲜软薄煎饼。另一道有趣的主食是现在享誉国外的老干妈辣酱炮制的“老干妈炒饭”,香喷喷的嗅觉诱惑。

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Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant

Although the Temple of Confucius located on Guozijian Street may not be as popular as the other sites such as the Imperial Palace, nonetheless, it is a well preserved heritage site that pays tribute to the greatest scholar and philosopher of China – Confucius. It is interesting to know a little more on how Confucius influenced the world through his teachings and are still very much respected to this very day. Furthermore, one can just walk over to the Beijing Imperial Academy located next to the temple where some of the top officials were educated in the olden days. Wu Dao Ying Hu Tong (五道营胡同) nearby, typically known for its small lane is popular for its interesting curio and coffee shops.

国子监街的孔庙可能不如其他宏大遗迹如故宫,但依旧是保存完好的文化遗产。这也是致敬中国最伟大的学者和哲学家孔子,而孔子的思想和教学对世界的影响相当深远,至今仍然受到各方崇敬。此外,我们可以移步到寺庙旁的北京翰林院。那里曾经是带有浓厚学术色彩的文学教育官署;而旁侧的五道营胡同,因趣致的古玩店和特色咖啡馆都集中在小巷胡同而受到欢迎。

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Temple of Confucius
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Wu Dao Ying Hu Tong

Within walking distance is the newly built Overseas Chinese History Museum of China. It is a museum dedicated to collecting and showcasing the history and current status of Chinese immigrants. The museum provides important information about the Chinese people who are scattered all over the world contributing to the politics and economies in countries where they now live in.

步行到下个景点-中国华侨历史博物馆,这家博物馆致力于收集和展示中国移民的历史和目前地位。馆内提供了散落在世界各地华人信息和重要记载,体现他们在目前生活的国家政治和经济领域方面所做的贡献。

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Overseas Chinese History Museum of China

Hunting for antiques in China used to be an exciting affair. Nowadays, genuine Chinese antique pieces are scarce and predominantly either too common or new reproductions that are purposely made to look old. Beijing Curio City (北京古玩城), covering an area of 5.8 acres, is Asia’s largest antique trading centre and also probably the best place to venture if you are looking to add to your antique collection. Within walking distance is the famous Panjiayuan Antique Market where most sellers display items for sale on the ground. A typical Chinese visitor will not only have certain knowledge of what he/she is buying but also exceptional skills in bargaining. Nevertheless, this is an interesting place to be where one will find life-sized Buddha, porcelain, books, paintings, stones, jade and many more. Don’t be anxious or stressed if you’ve bought pieces that are not within the period claimed by the sellers. One must remember the saying of ‘Good things do not come cheap!’

The 798 Art District would be a perfect choice if one wishes to dab in modern and contemporary creations and innovations. Formerly an industrial site that housed many state-owned factories, this area was eventually converted into a place for artists and cultural organisations in 2002. Today, 798 is a holy place for art and cultural lovers where museums, art galleries, cultural centres, themed cafes and boutique restaurants are housed under one single roof.

Beijing is a large city with limitless attractions. While its biggest attraction such as the Great Wall and the Imperial Palace remain the stars of the city, there is a sense that the original attitude, experience and culture of the Chinese people are gradually diminishing. Hopefully it will not end up as a Chinese body with Western souls.

在中国寻找古董或古玩曾是令人感觉激奋不已的事,但现今真正有价值中国古董作品却是稀缺的,主要是太常见,还有许多蓄意做旧的赝品。而占地5.8英亩的北京古玩城,为亚洲最大型的古玩艺术品交易中心,也是最佳的冒险乐园,走走看看。有名的潘家园古董市场就在不远处,大多数贩商在地面上展示出售的物品,精明典型的中国游客不仅需要具备一定的知识,购买时还要有讨价还价的特殊技能。然而,相当有趣的地方,在那里会找到许多大大小小的佛像、瓷器、书画,石头,玉器和更多小玩意。还有千万别被贩商干扰心思而焦虑,必须谨记“便宜没好货”的说法。

如果想要感受当代创作和创新思维,798艺术区将是一个完美的选择。前身是工业区域,安置了许多国营工厂,但在2002年被改头换面作为艺术家和文化组织的基地。今天,798成为艺术和文化爱好者的圣地,有着多姿多彩的博物馆、艺术画廊、文化中心,主题咖啡馆和精品餐厅皆在一个屋檐下。

北京是可发掘无限景点的大城市,虽然最大的吸引力还是万里长城和故宫这些明星景点,但中国人原生的态度,经验和文化正逐渐减弱,希望最终不会内里尽是西式灵魂,残留中式驱壳。

Swedish Artist Showcases the Art of Words 递送艺术箴言

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Swedish-born contemporary artist Thomas Broomé has been actively exhibiting his three-dimensional text art since 2006. Using 3D printing technology and power of calligrams to create drawings and sculptures, text is transformed into key furniture pieces from Hermès. His installation at Hermès Liat Towers, Singapore, connecting the visual and visceral, is inspired from the concept of ‘home’ and objects from the Hermès home universe. Viewers get to engage in a cosy apartment consists wholly of words that draw, shape and describe in rather deranged repetitive detail of each object.

 Hermès’ signature Pippa folding chair has the word “CHAIR” repeatedly printed on it, while the Hermès home valet has the word “VALET” encircling its outline – creating an atmospheric between the real and the false and multi-layered visual play with the eye. Other items including the steps and carpets are divided into two and three dimensions. ModernMantra (Hermès Home) turns our observation into fine line tickling the visual sense between words, visual engagement and reality.

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 “It is about the perception and the difference between what we know and what we see – and how sometimes the two are confused in our perception of things,” – Broomé.

ModernMantra (Hermès Home) continues the series of windows specially commissioned from guest artists around the world, which will be on display at Hermès store at 541 Orchard Road, Liat Towers, Singapore.

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Thomas Broomé,这名瑞典的当代艺术家,以3D文字展现流动婉转的艺术。自2006年开始,他利用3D打印技术和图形诗的优美成像力量创作图纸和雕塑,使文字箴言转化为爱马仕(Hermès)的家具配件主导设计。而灵感来自“家”的概念和爱马仕万有家园定义,他在新加坡 Liat Towers的爱马仕精品店内独具匠心的创作,撼动人们观感与内心。参观者可从舒适的空间观赏到由文字单词绘制、塑造和描述的每个物件,显得繁琐且重复细节。

爱马仕著名的Pippa折叠椅上反复印有“CHAIR”字样,家居多功能衣架上则以“VALET”单词围绕其轮廓,这也在真假映照多层视觉效果之间酝酿了一种氛围。其他物件包括台阶和地毯也分为平面与立体。 单词作画形式(Modern Mantra)将我们的观察扭转为浮动的视觉接触,陷入了虚实相间、亦真亦幻的意境。

“这是关于认知与视觉感受之区别-这两者有时会对我们在看法和判断上形成困惑。” Broomé表示。

Modern Mantra(爱马仕之家)将继续推出特别委托世界各地客座艺术家制作的设计橱窗系列,在新加坡乌节路541号的Liat Towers爱马仕店展出。

Seeing Perfection through IMPerfection- Bronze Sculptures Exhibition 透过不完美端量完美

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Rupert Myer (left), Ch’ng Huck Theng (right)

When the moon and stars are aligned, the perfect night is created and in this case, an IMPerfect night of art, wine and friends.

The ‘IMPerfect Creation’ was held in Melbourne’s SpACE@Collins gallery recently featuring award-winning Asian contemporary sculptor Ch’ng Huck Theng’s bronze sculpture creations. Pronounced as “I am perfect”, it was his first solo exhibition in Australia and successfully sold seven out of the 11 pieces on display. The 11 interesting artwork pieces carries its unique story, meaning and philosophy inspired by different people and happenings around the artist.

The opening night was officiated by Rupert Myer, Chair of the Australian Council of the Arts and was attended by more than 150 people, all who were the artist’s close network of friends.

In Myer’s speech, he said:  “This new perspective that Ch’ng introduces is the concept of beauty and ugly – in which beauty cannot be seen if one cannot see ugliness. Ch’ng strikes me as not just a business man, he’s an artist and editor with an inquisitive mind. I know this as he interviewed me for his magazine, Essenze, where he seemed to understand my full story even though the interview was just a short one. Rupert continued by comparing Ch’ng’s concepts and philosophy with Australia’s great including artist Arthur Boyd and Albert Tucker. He is a brilliant and talented man.”     

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The evening was catered by Humbling Eats, one of Melbourne’s finest caterers for fine cocktails.

“The sculptures show us social behaviour that we encounter daily, or that we ourselves act out consciously or unconsciously. Each piece tells a deep story and most are from my experience too,” said Ch’ng.

Some of the pieces are more personal to him. “Princess Liberty for example, depicts the time when my daughter went to study in university in Australia. So she’s riding a horse which also represents the plane, but I named it Princess Liberty because even though she’s away from home and grown up, she’s still daddy’s little princess.

I hope that my art will make us look deeper into our own hearts when faced with issues and problems,” Ch’ng said.

It takes Ch’ng almost six months to create one sculpture and the heaviest piece named “Angel of Love”, weighs more than 100kg.

Ch’ng is currently one of the leading artists and sculptors in Malaysia as this year marks the artist’s 22 years in art. His works are collected not only in Malaysia but around the world by respected institutions that include the National Visual Art Gallery Malaysia, Singapore Art Museum, Hong Kong University Museum & Gallery, Shanghai Art Museum and Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA) in Paris. 

The Collectors

星月映照的完美夜晚,“IMPerfect”铸造了这个以艺术,葡萄酒和朋友齐聚的沉醉之夜。

“IMPerfect 创作”在墨尔本的SpACE @ Collins艺术画廊举行,这是屡获殊荣的亚洲当代雕塑家庄学腾的青铜雕塑作品展览会。这是他在澳大利亚首次个展,名称发音为“我很完美”,并在11件展品中成功卖出其中7件。而全部 11件的趣味艺术作品带有环绕着创作者身边人与事的独特故事,意义和哲学灵感。

开幕仪式由澳大利亚艺术委员会主席Rupert Myer主持,逾150人出席参与,显现艺术家丰富绵密的人际网络。揭幕礼贵宾Rupert Myer表示, 庄学腾的作品以新视角解析美丽和丑陋的概念 – 如果一个人看不到丑陋,同样看不见美丽。

“庄学腾的不仅是一名商人,同时具备艺术家和主编的好奇心,我们相识于他主导编辑出版的杂志-御智(Essenze),作为被采访的对象,他似乎理解我全部故事,即使是简短急促的会面,也印证他是一个闪耀和才华横溢的人。”

墨尔本最佳精品鸡尾酒供应商之一 Humbling Eats 也承担晚会餐饮。

“雕塑作品还原了我们每天遇到的社会行为,我们本身有意识或无意识地表现出来,每件作品都叙述一个深刻的故事,大多数都来自我的经历。”

至于一些更是属于庄学腾个人生活片段。“比如“自由公主”的雕塑,描绘我女儿前往澳大利亚大学念书的时刻,雕像的女孩乘坐的马儿也代表飞机,而命名为自由公主,因为即使她长大与离开家,她仍然是爸爸的小公主。”

他希望自己的作品能让大家在面对问题时更深入地解析本身的心情。而耗费他约6个月时间创作的雕塑作品“摩登老子”,重量超过100公斤。

庄学腾是马来西亚当代领先的艺术家和雕塑家之一,今年是他迈入艺术创作生涯的22周年。另外,不仅在本土,世界各地艺术博物馆皆有收藏其作品,包括马来西亚国家视觉艺术画廊、新加坡艺术博物馆、香港大学博物馆和画廊,上海艺术博物馆和巴黎国立高等美术学院(ENSBA)。

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An appreciation dinner with all the collectors from the IMPerfect Creation Exhibition.