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Artists give Malaysian Twist to traditional Chinese Ink Paintings

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Malaysia, April 11, 2017: While traditional Chinese ink paintings are usually associated with scenic landscapes such as mountains, hills, rivers, bamboo forest, pine trees or flowers, a group of local Chinese ink artists have given a Malaysian twist to such Chinese paintings.

They are featured at the Ink Sense Chinese Painting Group Exhibition at contemporary art space L’Atelier Rouge in Jaya One in Petaling Jaya. Six artists are participating in this exhibition.

Collectors and art enthusiasts can spot a distinctly Malaysian flavour or theme in this exhibition, with some works proudly drawing inspiration from traditional kampung settings, rubber trees and batik prints.

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At the show, Ng Yen Tee, 45, whose background is western art, has four artworks based on traditional Malay wooden houses. In her “harmony-centred” works, Ng contemplates on the idea of “home” – for a family and a multi-cultural nation. She uses three colours in her batik designs to symbolise the three dominant races in Malaysia. She also infuses her paintings with a dark ink texture to create a strong contrast for these colours to make each painting “visually more attractive”. Six years ago, she took up Chinese painting lessons from an art teacher in Klang.

Graphic designer Yon Chuk Yim, 48, feels that Chinese ink artworks need not be restricted to traditional themes. She explores a mixture of contemporary techniques, such as color splashes, and overlaying colors over ink.

Yon, whose mentor is Yee Sze Fook, a full time artist, likes to paint on the whim rather than follow a theme.

Veteran artist Shirley Chu Siow Eng, 67, born in Fujian province in China, Chu migrated with her parents to Malaysia when she was five. Choosing rubber trees as her theme, she recalls her younger days when her father explained how rubber plantations provided jobs and resources for the local economy.

Chong Buck Tee, 67, a graduate of the Malaysian Institute of Art 1972, who is one of Malaysia’s foremost Chinese brush painting artists, with a career span of more than 30 years, who has won numerous awards at home and abroad and is currently the president of the Bakti Art Centre in Ampang, and advisor of the Selangor and Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Shui-Mo Art Society, loves to paint landscapes. At this exhibition, his striking work, Mystic Landscape, has a refreshingly modern feel. “My works are imaginary but based on what I have seen – either from my travels or from pictures,” says Chong.

Others taking part in the exhibition are Dr Kok Ming Fong and Karen Ng.

– Prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself

 

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Muslims in Malaysia Rally In Kuala Lumpur To Keep Status

Mahathir’s new government won a stunning victory in a May 9 general election amid anger over a massive corruption scandal.

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Malaysia, Malay
Protesters rally near a mosque to celebrate the government's decision not to ratify a U.N. anti-discrimination convention, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Dec. 8, 2018. Thousands of Malaysian Muslims are rallying against any attempt to strip ethnic Malay majority of their privileges. VOA

Tens of thousands of Malaysian Muslims rallied Saturday in Kuala Lumpur against any attempt to strip the ethnic Malay majority of its privileges, in the first massive street gathering since Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s alliance won a historic vote in May.

The rally, backed by the country’s two largest opposition Malay parties, was initially aimed at protesting a government plan to ratify a U.N. treaty against racial discrimination. Critics allege that ratifying the treaty would end Malay privileges under a decades-old affirmative action policy. The plan to ratify was eventually abandoned, but organizers decided to proceed with what they called a “thanksgiving” rally.

Rare racial clashes

Racial clashes have been rare in multiracial Malaysia since deadly riots in 1969. A year later, Malaysia instituted a preferential program that gives Malays privileges in jobs, education, contracts and housing to help narrow a wealth gap with the minority Chinese. Ethnic Malays account for nearly two-thirds of the country’s 32 million people, with large Chinese and Indian minorities.

Malaysia, Malay
A protester covers his face with headbands reading “No to ICERD” during a rally to celebrate the government’s decision not to ratify a U.N. anti-discrimination convention called ICERD at Independent Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Dec. 8, 2018. ICERD stands for International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. VOA

Saturday’s rally came less than two weeks after more than 80 people were arrested in a riot at an Indian temple in a suburb outside Kuala Lumpur. The government was quick to stress that the violence was the result of a land dispute and was not a racial riot. Still, the government warned Saturday’s rally-goers not to make any provocative statements that could fan racial tensions.

Mahathir said the government allowed the rally as part of democracy, but warned against any chaos. The rally was held under tight police security, but ended peacefully after rain started to fall.

Former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has been charged with multiple counts of corruption, was among opposition lawmakers at the rally.

In the streets, 55,000

Police said there were at least 55,000 people on the streets. Many wore white T-shirts and headbands with the words “Reject ICERD,” referring to the U.N. treaty, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The protesters gathered at three locations before marching to a nearby historic square, chanting “Long live the Malays” and “Crush ICERD.”

malay
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, right gestures to Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, to move in closer for the group hand shake as Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, left, watches during the opening ceremony of the 28th and 29th ASEAN summits at National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. VOA

“Yes, we did not ratify ICERD, but we are still here to say that we are still against it,” said shopkeeper Rosli Ikhsan. “Even if the government has said they won’t endorse it, we are still protesting with all our might from all of Malaysia.”

Mahathir’s new government won a stunning victory in a May 9 general election amid anger over a massive corruption scandal involving Najib and his government, but many Malays still support Najib’s party, the United Malays National Organization, and the Malaysian Islamic Party, which controls two of the country’s 13 states.

Some analysts say Najib and his party were using the rally to shift attention away from corruption charges against Najib, his wife, his party’s president and former government officials.

Also Read: Syrian Stranded at Malaysia Airport in a Political Limbo

“For me, ICERD is bad,” university student Nurul Qamariah said at the rally. “It’s bad because it will erode the position of Malays. This is a country for Malays. We want Malays to be superiors, but why do these people want to make Malays the same level as Chinese and Indians?” (VOA)