Posts Tagged: Asia

Entartete Kunst XIX

THAILAND // JUNE 2015

Love in the Age of Intolerance XIX

THAILAND // APRIL 2017

The Walls Are Screaming XXXV

CAMBODIA // MAY 2017

Orgasms Are Great VIIII

INDIA // JUNE 2016

Humans Outside New York XXXX

NEPAL // APRIL 2015

Entartete Kunst XIII

Cambodian dancer at Phare Circus in Siem Reap

CAMBODIA // MAY 2017

Humans Outside New York XXX

INDIA // AUGUST 2016

The Walls Are Screaming XVIIII

Ferdinand Marcos was president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, when he was overthrown by a revolt – dubbed the People Power revolution – and forced to flee into exile to Hawaii, where he died in 1989.

His body was returned to the Philippines in 1993 and has since been kept in a refrigerated crypt in a mausoleum in his hometown of Batac, Ilocos Norte, 470km north of Manila.

In 2004, Transparency International, the anti-corruption watchdog, named Marcos the second most corrupt leader of all time, behind Indonesian authoritarian ruler Suharto.

Despite public opposition, Marcos was buried in a heroes’ cemetery in the capital in a ceremony shrouded in secrecy in November 2016.

Text by Al Jazeera

Guest post by Andrew Marshall

THE PHILIPPINES // JANUARY 2017

Love In The Age Of Intolerance VIII

THAILAND // OCTOBER 2016

Humans Outside New York XXVII

A couple of young glue sniffers on the streets of Phnom Penh.

Never forget, eight men have the same wealth as the fifty poorest percent on the planet.

CAMBODIA // APRIL 2001

Animal Farm VIII

And everything was made for you and me
All of it was made for you and me
‘Cause it just belongs to you and me
So let’s take a ride and see what’s mine

‘The Passenger’ – Iggy Pop

CAMBODIA // JUNE 2003

Love In The Age Of Intolerance V

When Burmese teenagers go out on a date, they often visit local temples. There they sit dreamily holding hands, the matching jackets or shirts adding some cute poignancy to the scene, quite in contrast to the harsh daily realities they are likely to face.

BURMA // NOVEMBER 2015

Animal Farm VI

I want to break free.

MALAYSIA // DECEMBER 2015

Humans Outside New York XVI

Jayalalithaa Jayaraman, former actress, illustrious state minister of Tamil Nadu and leader of the AIDMK party passed away today. For her 68th birthday, her sixt-eight most devoted followers had her face tattooed on their arms. The tradition harks back to the turbulent politics in the state in the 1970s. These three gentlemen in the photograph also have tattoos of MGR, Jayalalithaa’s predecessor, applied during a mass ceremony in 1977. India never disappoints.

INDIA // July 2016

Humans Outside New York XIII

“I met these black coal kids in a port along the Thai-Burmese border. I asked them for a light, then a picture. They agreed to both, posed and smiled, all except the small one who was afraid. Then they all climbed onto the back of the old blue truck stacked to the sky with bags of coal and they were gone. Except for the small one, who stood, left behind, in a puddle.”

THAILAND. // MARCH 2015

Animal Farm II

Most people in Asia don’t give much of a fuck about animal welfare. Notable exceptions are some ethnic minorities in India. Of course, the Hindus love their cows but that’s mostly religion and politics and India had more vegetarians than the rest of the world put together..

But outside the Indian subcontinent, vegetarianism  is rare; only Taiwan has a large vegetarian minority. Animals are there to be eaten or to be pulverized into medicine. Before they are consumed, they are either caught in the wild or bred on farms and in factories, transported and killed as cheaply as possible.

One day they will fight back.

CAMBODIA // MARCH 2014

Fuck Everything IV

This fucking city
Is run by pigs
They take the rights
Away from all the kids

Understand
We’re fighting a war
We can’t win
They hate us
We hate them
We can’t win, no way!

 ‘Police Story’ – Black Flag

THAILAND // OCTOBER 2016

Punk Never Die

Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

The Ballad of East and West – Rudyard Kipling, as seen from a hairdresser’s in Mawlamyine.

BURMA // NOVEMBER 2015

You Know You Want One III

You Know There Ain’t No Devil, It’s Just God When He’s Drunk.- Tom Waits

SRI LANKA // MAY 2016

Humans Outside New York V

Public bench, private pain.

Bangkok, where one is never alone, can be the loneliest place in the world.

THAILAND //  2016

Humans Outside New York II

Every inch of wall, floor and ceiling space of Helga’s Folly is covered in paintings, frescoes, murals, photographs, mirrors, sculptures, giant candles and antiques and resonates with the spent souls of past bohemian visitors, including Gandhi and Paula Yates, though not at the same time. There’s an evident obsession with  death and whimsy visible in the décor, and the 20th century in all its terrible beauty, as perceived by the old moneyed classes, dominates the off-kilter ambience. A definite highlight is an encounter with proprietress Helga De Silva, who makes an appearance every now and then, dressed to the nines like Count Dracula.

If you are looking for conventional accommodation, don’t stay here.

SRI LANKA // MAY 2016

Humans Outside New York

“Yet, that was where it happened, in the palace of the widows on the shores of the Ganges in the oldest living city in the world, the city which was already old when the Buddha was young, Kasi Benares Varanasi, City of Divine Light, home of the Prophetic Book, the horoscope of horoscopes, in which every life, past present future, is already recorded. The goddess Ganga streamed down to earth through Shiva’s hair… Benares, the shrine to Shiva-the-god, was where I was brought by hero-Shiva to face my fate.”
Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie (1981)

Benares, 7pm. Every evening, locals and visitors gather on the city’s main ghat on the banks of the river Ganges to witness the Ganga Aati prayer ceremony. The air is heavy with thick smoke from clay cups burning ghee and the smell of burning human flesh that drifts down from Manikarnika Ghat, a hundred meters down river. A naga sadhu, a Hindu ascetic, his body and dreadlocks covered in ash taken from the dead, sits on a platform, blessing passers-by, asking for money, smoking a chillum filled with bhang, low quality marijuana that keeps you high through the night.

We sit on the stairs and enjoy an esoteric experience. A man wearing a earring in the shape of a cross, his emaciated head crowned by a purple turban, introduces himself, “I burn dead bodies for twenty-five years”.

Without anyone asking, he tells his story, the way he’s told it a million times. His far away stare, his monotonous tone and his golden earring hypnotize us. “This is where Shiva’s mother was burned and since then the fires have been burning. The bodies are cleaned with seven oils. This place was not built for human beings. 250 to 300 hundred bodies are burnt here every day. Lepers, monks and children are not burnt. The chest and the pelvis don’t burn.”

He wants money to pay for sacred wood that poor people can’t afford. The wood has special characteristics – it kills the smell of burning flesh, it continues to burn, even when it rains. It costs between 250 and 900 rupees a kilo. Next, he wants money for old peoples’ hospices. Spiritual blackmail is next – if we give him money we will have good karma, I ask him if it possible to buy karma. He says no, but karma is better if you give money. Then of course, he has a wife and four children, two boys and two girls, and we should help. Mostly though he urges us to contribute to his opium fund, as his need for the precious stuff gradually reveals itself in his eyes.

On the way through the old city we pass a cheap guesthouse with Om signs painted on its purple walls. In the city’s narrow alleys, dogs, cows, men, women and children go to sleep. The sacred fire has been burning for 4000 years, the drug dealers are still out to offer us Chinese opium, LSD and beer, all in one breath. “Which country?” the most brazen one says demands. “Gundaland”, my companian replies. “I’m from Mafialand, we can do business together,” the drug dealer replies fiercely.

The Ganges, the country’s holy river in the eyes of its Hindu majority, is so outrageously polluted, it looks like black treacle in the night. But by morning pilgrims will happily bathe in it, drink its putrid waters and swim-race behind the wooden colored boats.

A kid sits on a horse on the other, barren side of the river.

INDIA // AUGUST 2016

 

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