Category Archives: EZ 46 – Mind Philosophy

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。

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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.

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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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