Here’s an insider’s look into Kee Moo, where queer performers found friendship, belonging, freedom, and safety. As a group of friends bonded by both sexuality and music, they share their journeys to self-discovery–and what their favorite pop stars like Whitney, Beyonce, and Britney taught them. In Thailand, “Katoey” was a word used to describe transgender people. Now it encompasses all queer people, ensuring greater inclusivity. Kee Moo is a powerful example of diversity within the Katoey community, consisting of performers who share how being confident and courageous can be perceived as attention seeking and abnormal in Thai culture. With the help of their favorite musical “divas”, these five stars create their own fulfilled, authentic, and proud lives. Whether it’s learning that people make mistakes from Lindsay Lohan’s tumultuous career, to “being different is better than being the same” from Lady Gaga, here’s an insider’s peek into how pop culture helped these queer Thai artists persevere and step into their own light.
This Asian indie film is production company A24’s first to hit $100M at the box office. How did ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ surpassing award winning movies like ‘Uncut Gems’ and ‘Ladybird’? The Asian community has called the film relatable and representative. It incorporates familial expectations, speaks to multiple communities including immigrants and LGBTQIA++, and centers an Asian, female lead. A big draw to this sci-fi, comedy, drama is that it brings us into a world that is new to all and unknown to many: the multiverse. ‘Everything Everywhere’ has become A24’s highest grossing film of all time, already doubling what ‘Uncut Gems’ made. After this success, the director duo Daniels have announced this week that they are signing with Universal.
Chinese-Australian sculptor NC Qin turns fragile glass into weapons and armour. Qin is petite, mighty, and determined. She believes weapons are elegant. Qinn’s art, which she describes as brute, is inspired by Chinese history, Greek mythology, and especially the bedtime stories her dad would share. She quickly became obsessed with kingdoms and heroes, but noticed that there’s always a flaw that causes the hero’s downfall. Qin began tying this into her practice as a sculptor by reflecting on her own flaw: pride. Though today Qin is known for sculpting glass, she first began sculpting with light in high school. She performs in 8200 kilos of glass and nothing else, even though it’s considered risqué to be nude in public. Rebellious and respectful, Qin explains working with a contradictory material like glass, both fragile and solid, can "reveal--and obscure" enough. She says the sensitivity and complexity of glass has taught her more about vulnerability, preciousness, and how to listen.
If you lived in Seoul and earned the average income, it would take you 19 years to buy a home in Seoul. Women still have to choose between career and family. Unemployment rates are high and job opportunities are low. Between inflation and social norms, the younger generation don’t believe that the benefits of having a child will outway the costs. And as a result,the country’s population is at risk. In fact, SK’s population is 51 million and yet, it has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. Even the government’s $37B investment in families with children couldn’t reverse the trend: the rates of both fertility and couples tying the knot are at an all time low, and the country is anxious.
A giant screen fell onto a dancer at a live performance for HK Boyband Mirror last Thursday, paralyzing him from the neck down. Another dancer was also injured. This comes only two days after 13,000 fans signed a petition urging organizers for the band to prioritize safety due to a previous incident, during which MIRROR’s member Frankie Chan Ruihui fell off the elevated platform. Authorities reported initial findings on Friday saying a metal suspension cord had snapped. The design and construction team responsible for the stage at Red Pavilion is facing blame for neglecting safety inspections. MIRROR has now canceled the rest of their tour.
In Asia, KFC rules supreme over McDonald’s, holding double the market share of their biggest competitor. But there’s a reason why. KFC is an OG in the Asian market, opening up its first store in the Philippines in 1966. Since then, it’s spread to the rest of the continent. But the reason KFC is so successful is not just how long it’s been around: KFC caters to local flavors, bringing to life cultural favorites and then combining them with their addictive staples. You can get a KFC chicken biryani in Sri Lanka, a shrimp donut in Thailand, and Christmas isn’t complete in Japan without a bucket of KFC chicken. But it’s not always beef between KFC and McDonald’s. In fact, they often influence each other’s growth. Over the years, McDonalds has come up with its own menu of Asia-specific items. And while KFC is declining in its home country, the United States, it’s crushing the international market. Its success in Asia comes down to one main thing: being good at listening.
Satica Nhem is a singer/songwriter hailing from Long Beach, California. Growing up watching MTV, she didn’t see Asian-American artists that looked like her. Now she expresses herself through music while navigating and embracing her identity as a Cambodian-American. Satica was born to refugee parents who survived the Khmer Rouge and made a home in the US. She developed a love of music early in life, learning the guitar and writing poetry as an emotional outlet as a teen. She composed her first song at the age of 13. Her music reflects her life: her roots in the LBC and Cambodia, the strength and resiliency of her family, and overcoming traditional standards of beauty to embrace her own beauty.
Myanmar’s military junta announced on Monday that it has executed 4 prisoners for conspiracy to commit acts of terror. They are the first executions carried out by the regime since 1998. The 4 men executed at the Insein prison were: Kyaw Min Yu, or Ko Jimmy, a prominent pro-democracy leader, Phyo Zeya Thaw, a rapper and former lawmaker from Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, and Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw who were convicted of allegedly killing a military informant. The regime did not disclose exactly when the executions took place, and refused to return their bodies to their families. The military government seized power in a coup in February 2021. Since then, a massive pro-democracy movement has gained momentum, as well as a fierce crackdown. According to the advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) Burma, which monitors arrests and killings, the junta has killed more than 2,100 people and detained over 11,800 since the coup. The executions have sparked pro-democracy protests in Yangon, as well as outside Myanmar’s embassies in Bangkok and Tokyo.
“I wish they would portray me more as an artist,” says Nadi, a female tattooist and owner of Moon Blue Ink in Korea. Despite the negative stereotypes shown in Western media, Nadi is one of many young Koreans who have fully embraced tattoos, and is making them her own. From the first time she saw a tattoo by chance on the street, and saw how the drawing on the person’s body moved as they moved, she knew tattooing was her calling. But when she started, there were no apprenticeships or classes to take. She had to find tattoo artists and ask them to teach her. Her shop has now been open for 7 years, every day she explores her style while providing for her family. Now, she and her husband hope to expand Moon Blue to a location abroad. She hopes that it will help her son expand his horizons too.
Droupadi Murmu took office as India’s first president from a tribal community – which makes up about 8% of India’s 1.4 billion people. Born in the Santhal tribe, Murmu was the first woman in her village to go to college. She was a teacher before getting involved in politics, and as governor of her home state of Odisha, she has been vocal about issues among marginalized tribes. The Adivasi, or indigenous people in India have long been at the bottom of the country’s socioeconomic ladder, facing physical, sexual and economic exploitation. Murmu follows outgoing president Ram Nath Kovind, who was the 2nd ever president from the Dalit caste - the lowest caste often referred to as untouchables. She is the 2nd woman ever to be president in India, and both the youngest and first president born after India’s independence. Murmu is by the BJP – the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She claims she won the election by almost double the number of votes against the opposition candidate, Yashwant Sinha, an outspoken critic of the Prime Minister. Meanwhile,others say she only won by a small margin, andis being used by the BJP tosecure the indigenous vote in 2024. Indian Presidents do not have the executive powers of the Prime Minister, but are expected to play a key role in political crises, such as when a general election is inconclusive.
Humaira Chuhan fell in love with somebody outside her Pakistani culture. But when she told her dad about her interracial relationship with a Black man, she faced a traumatic rejection and was almost disowned. She channelled her experience through art and shared it on the Blindian Project - an online community supporting Black and Brown people in interracial relationships. Soon, she got floods of DMs from people with similar stories, making her believe even more that love is love, no matter what!
The Rohingya people have faced persecution under the Burmese government for decades. Now they've fled to the struggling state of Bangladesh, who are carrying the weight of a million refugees. How did this happen? What's going to happen to these stateless people next?
Stefan He Qin didn't think his life would go this way. At 24, he had scammed 140 million from investors, family and friends. We captured the only interview he did, 3 days before beginning his 7.5 year sentence at Fort Dix Prison.
Cheung Tze Keung may have been the ballsiest gangster in history. He extorted Hong Kong billionaires for over $300 million dollars and spent lavishly on mansions and luxury cars before gambling it all away.
When Faye Wong began her career, she was restricted to drive her creative career the way she wanted. She would move out of Asia to New York out of frustration, but Faye would return home to dominate the Canto-pop scene with a brand new attitude. This is the true story behind the ‘Diva of Asia', who would retire at 35 to play mahjong.
Tony Leung is considered Asia’s most successful actor. Born in Hong Kong, Tony grew up without a father, he found refuge in Hong Kong cinema during his youth. Connecting with his emotions through cinema would end up paying off for Tony, who would take up acting because his friend, Stephen Chow, told him to audition. This is the story of an acting legend: “the man who can speak with his eyes.”
The Police force in Pakistan is changing. Women only make up 1.5% of the police force in Pakistan, but Neelam Shaukat is trying to change that. She's training the next generation of police women to protect communities, in ways that aren't possible without more women. In Swat Valley, a conservative part of Northern Pakistan where honor killings still happen, Neelam is one of few female police chiefs. There she and her crew of other police women have to be ready for everything from supporting domestic violence survivors, to being ready to protect if a terrorist strike happens. This is a day in her life.
The Hungry Ghost Festival, also known as the Getai Festival, is an ancient part of Taoist culture where spirits are honored. It happens every year, during a time when the gates of the afterlife are believed to open up for a month and our spiritual ancestors come out to partake once more in the life they once lived. This festival is special, because here the entertainers are singing not just for the living, but also for the dead. Family members bow to shrines of their ancestors and people perform for wandering spirits. There is bias beneath the surface of a seemingly harmless festival: Getai singers are often stigmatized as lowly and disreputable. Some younger members of the Getai community are trying to change that, with genuine passion and appreciation for their culture and ancestors, as they sing and dance for those they cannot even see.
Meet Jihuan “Green Xia”, the young Chinese “sneaker king” with a net worth of 1 billion RMB (156M USD). His path to success wasn’t easy and his grind is certainly something to respect.
On March 26, 1991, five innocent boys trek out into the woods. They never make it back. The police brushed it off, saying they'd simply run away. But when days turned into weeks with no sign of the boys, their parents decided to take matters into their own hands. The parents started a nation-wide search to trying to find their kids, and the story spread like wildfire. Soon all of South Korea was on a wild search, looking for the group who became known as "The Frog Boys" based off a report that they had originally been searching for frogs. 11 years goes by, and then one day, a hiker finally comes across the Frog Boys.