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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

The camera never lies: World Press Photo winners capture life as we should know

Posted: 05 Mar 2014 06:00 PM PST

African migrants desperate for a phone signal, Syrian rebels attacking a government checkpoint, Filipino typhoon survivors rescuing religious icons – these are the pictures claiming top prizes at this year's World Press Photo.

A picture of African migrants standing on the shore of Djibouti City at night, their glimmering phones held aloft to catch a weak signal, won the World Press Photo prize recently for American photographer John Stanmeyer of the VII Photo Agency.

The silhouetted figures facing seawards are straining to pick up a cheaper mobile signal from neighbouring Somalia, hoping to establish a tenuous link with relatives abroad. "So many pictures of migrants show them as bedraggled and pathetic ... but this photo is not so much romantic, as dignified," says jury member Susan Linfield.

Djibouti is a common stop-off point for migrants heading from nearby countries like Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea in search of a better life in Europe and the Middle East. "It opens up discussions about technology, globalisation, migration, poverty, desperation, alienation, humanity," says jury member Jillian Edelstein of the photo, which was commissioned by National Geographic magazine.

Reuters photographer Goran Tomasevic, from Serbia, won first prize in the spot news stories category for a dramatic narrative series from Syria depicting a rebel attack on a government checkpoint.

France's Phillipe Lopez of Agence France-Presse won the spot news singles category with a photograph of typhoon survivors in Tolosa, the Philippines, carrying religious iconography in front of a field of rubble.

Getty's Brent Stirton, a South African, topped the category for single staged portraits with a picture of five blind albino boys from West Bengal, India. Dressed in matching pink shirts and blue trousers, they appear to gaze stiffly at the camera. – Reuters

Serbian photographer Goran Tomasevic, Reuters, won 1st Prize in the Spot News Stories category. Shot on Jan 30, 2013, the picture shows Syrian rebel fighters taking cover amid flying debris and shrapnel as a tank shell, fired towards them by the Syrian Army, explodes on a wall after their comrade was shot by sniper fire, during heavy fighting in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus. EPA/Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

French photographer Phillipe Lopez, Agence France-Presse, won 1st Prize in the Spot News Singles category. This picture taken on Nov 18, 2013, shows survivors of typhoon Haiyan marching during a religious procession in Tolosa, on the eastern island of Leyte. One of the strongest cyclones ever recorded, Haiyan left 8,000 people dead and missing, and more than four million homeless after it hit the central Philippines. The photograph, with a devastated landscape as its backdrop, had already been chosen by Time magazine as one of the top 10 images of 2013. EPA/Philippe Lopez/AFP

South African photographer Brent Stirton, Getty Images, won 1st Prize in the People Staged Portraits Singles category. This image taken on Sept 25, 2013, shows a group of blind albino boys photographed in their boarding room at the Vivekananda mission school for the blind in West Bengal, in one of the very few schools for the blind in India today. EPA/Brent Stirton/Getty Images

US photographer Sara Naomi Lewkowicz won 1st Prize in the Contemporary Issues Stories category. This portrait taken for Time magazine on Nov 17, 2012, for a series on domestic violence in the US, shows Shane and Maggie fighting as Memphis ran into the room in Lancaster, Ohio. As the fight continued to rage, Shane told Maggie that she could choose between getting beaten in the kitchen, or going with him to the basement so they could talk privately. EPA/Sara Naomi Lewkowicz/Time

German photographer Julius Schrank for Dutch magazine de Volkskrant won 1st Prize in the Daily Life Singles category. Taken on Mar 15, 2013, the picture shows Kachin Independence Army fighters in Myanmar drinking and celebrating at a funeral of one of their commanders who died that day before. The city is under siege by the Myanmar army. EPA/Julius Schrank/De Volkskrant

German photographer Markus Schreiber, Associated Press, won 1st Prize in the People Observed Portraits Singles category. This moment taken on Dec 13, 2013, shows a woman reacting in disappointment after access to see former South Africa President Nelson Mandela was closed on the third and final days of his casket lying in state, outside Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa. EPA/Markus Schreiber/AP

Argentinean photographer Emiliano Lasalvia won 1st prize in the Sports Action Singles category with this image that shows Pablo Mac Donough of Dolfina falling from his horse during the Argentine Polo Open in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec 1, 2013. The picture was provided by La Nacion newspaper. EPA/Emiliomo Lasalvia/La Nacion

This picture taken by Dutch photographer Carla Kogelman on July 19, 2012, won 1st Prize in the People Observed Portraits Stories category. Entitled 'Ich bin Waldviertel', it shows two sisters, Hannah and Alena, living in the rural village of Merkenbrechts, northern Austria. EPA/Carla Kogelman

Swedish photographer Peter Holgersson won 1st Prize in the Sports Feature Stories category with this picture of Swedish athlete Nadja Casadei feeling better just before her last treatment in Lidingö, Sweden on Dec 19, 2013. Casadei has participated in the World and European Championships in heptathlon. In autumn 2013, she was diagnosed with cancer and by Jan 2014 she completed her chemotherapy. She has continued to train throughout her illness, hoping to be healthy and ready by the summer for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. EPA/Peter Holgersson

Italian photographer Alessandro Penso, OnOffPicture, won 1st Prize in the General News Singles category with this image taken on Nov 21, 2013, of a temporary accommodation for Syrian refugees in Sofia, Bulgaria. Military Ramp, an emergency centre in an abandoned school, provides housing for about 800 Syrian refugees, including 390 children. EPA/Alessandro Penso/OnOffPicture

US photographer Steve Winter, National Geographic, won 1st Prize in the Nature Stories category with this shot of a cougar walking a trail in Los Angeles' Griffith Park, captured by a camera trap on Mar 2, 2013. To reach the park, which has been the cougar's home for the last two years, it had to cross two of the busiest highways in the US. EPA/Steve Winter/National Geographic

This picture taken on Aug 10, 2013, by photographer Fred Ramos, El Salvador, won 1st Prize in the Daily Life Stories category. It shows clothes found on Feb 1, 2013 at 3:45pm at a sugar plantation in Apopa, San Salvador. The items are believed to belong to a missing girl aged between 17 and 18 whose time disappearance is still unknown. The North Central American Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) is one of the most violent regions in the world. In many cases, clothes that are found become the only means to identify victims. EPA/Fred Ramos

US photographer Tyler Hicks, New York Times, won 2nd Prize in the Spot News Stories category with this moment showing a woman and children hiding in the upscale Westgate mall in Nairobi after gunmen opened fire on Sept 21, 2013, killing at least 39 people in one of the worst terrorist attacks in Kenya's history. They escaped unharmed. EPA/Tyler Hicks/New York Times

This image for Time magazine, by French photographer William Daniels, Panos Pictures, won 2nd Prize in the General News Stories category. Taken on Nov 17, 2013, it shows demonstrators gathering on a street in Bangui, Central African Republic, to call for the resignation of interim President Michel Djotodia following the murder of Judge Modeste Martineau Bria by members of Seleka. EPA/William Daniels/Panos Pictures/Time

Polish photographer Andrzej Grygiel, PAP-Polska Agencja Prasowa, won 2nd Prize in the Sports Action Singles category with this shot of a competitor at a slalom contest during the International Ski Championship in Szczyrk, Poland, on Mar 24, 2013. EPA/ Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

French photographer Denis Dailleux, Agence Vu, won 2nd Prize in the People Staged Portraits Stories category for this image of Ali, a young Egyptian bodybuilder, posing with his mother in Cairo, on Feb 3, 2011. EPA/Denis Dailleux/Agence Vu

MoveMint keeps it real

Posted: 04 Mar 2014 08:00 AM PST

New programme form homegrown hip hop initiative.

AS a homegrown hip hop initiative, The MoveMint first started gaining attention in the local entertainment scene with its foundation event – Think You Got Skillz (TYGS).

The idea was to take hip hop back to basics in these parts with some of the scene regulars throwing their weight behind TYGS. As a grassroots event, it has nurtured a new way of thinking and fresh attitudes in the hip hop scene.

"TYGS was a product of necessity," says rapper Vandal, founder of The MoveMint and TYGS. "A platform was needed to enable emerging artistes to have an outlet and gain valuable experience interacting with their peers. So TYGS came into the picture and it all started with rap battles and showcases."

After a break, TYGS is back this year with a new programme to take to the masses. The TYGS Training Ground Battle Event is happening on March 23 at Free Space in SS2 Mall, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. The battle event will see "five elements" unleashed with some new twists and turns. There will be a DJ Battle for the first time to go along with the Beat Battle, Beatbox Battle, BBoy Battle and the Emcee Battle, which include battles in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. All TYGS Battles are one-on-one.

Organised by The MoveMint, TYGS #Training Ground Battle Event starts at 1pm on March 23 at Free Space, SS2 Mall in Petaling Jaya in Selangor. More info:

Dancing under the moonlight

Posted: 04 Mar 2014 08:00 AM PST

Malaysian traditional dance culture is set to glow with a five-day fiesta.

THIS year is quite a big one for the country, what with it being Visit Malaysia Year.

And though we pride ourselves on our glorious beaches and majestic forests, nothing comes close to being proud of our traditional and cultural elements.

For the longest time, our traditional dances have been imprinted into the fabric of our nation, often performed during births, deaths, weddings, celebrations and healing rituals. Such dances had a more spiritual function and they still do, but unfortunately, Malaysians seem to have completely forgotten about them, or simply couldn't care less.

"It is likely that the typical citizen of Malaysia is more aware of tango or salsa than of joget or zapin, especially in the urban centres of the country," lamented Joseph Gonzales, dean of Aswara's Faculty of Dance.

That is when the idea hit him when he was approached by the Tourism and Culture Ministry. Why not highlight Malaysia's traditional dances, five to be precise, one on each night, and flare the limelight once more on these once glorified traditions.

Folk favourite: The zapin ghalet dance form, which possesses a slow and graceful tempo, is a romantic nod towards Malaysian traditional dance music's rich identity.

Folk favourite: The zapin ghalet dance form, which possesses a slow and graceful tempo, is a romantic nod towards Malaysian traditional dance music's rich identity.

Called Fiesta Of Traditional Dances Of Malaysia – Dancing in the Moonlight, this five-show performance, starting on March 5, will be staged literally under the moonlight at the Lake Gardens' Panggung Anniversary in Kuala Lumpur.

"The wealth of Malaysian traditional dance culture is unbelievable and very few organisations present traditional dance performances per se, for audiences.

"My idea was to showcase and produce five different shows over five nights – each one having been a successful production in itself that was previously staged," he added.

Gonzales also pointed out that a performance such as this has not been previously done in the traditional dance genre.

Boasting a troupe of 80 dancers, not all the dance performances will be purely traditional. Gonzales said the first performance, inspired by the animal kingdom, will possess some elements of contemporary dance while for the zapin night, it will be an amalgamation of older and new zapin dances.

"The asyik night is possibly the only night where there could be the greatest purity since most of these dances are older and very rarely performed anymore.

"They have their origins in the court traditions of the nation and are therefore more steeped in customs and practices of the royal palaces," he explained.

Of the closing act on the final night, which will feature traditional dances reinvented by a new generation of choreographers, Gonzales said it gives Malaysians "an idea of what the future holds for traditional dances. This is indicative of the need to keep traditions alive, constantly reviving and reinventing them to be relevant to contemporary tastes."

Fiesta of Traditional Dances of Malaysia – Dancing in the Moonlight will be on at Panggung Anniversary, Lake Gardens, Jalan Kebun Bunga, Kuala Lumpur, from March 5 to 8. Performances at 8.30pm daily. Free entrance. For reservations, call 03-26971777/4505/5313 or 019-231 9179 (Jeffri).


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