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.
Jem elbowed his way into the hardcore music scene with a face and attitude that Australia had never seen. He recruited Sydney’s hardest Asian men - his brother Aaron, Dennis on guitar, Kane on drums, and his best friend Josh - and formed SPEED. The band was struck by the love it received once the music video dropped. The Sydney Hardcore scene took notice, but more unexpectedly the Asian community resonated with their music. With the rise of Asian hate crimes around the globe, SPEED mirrored how Asians felt. Their music became a calling card forAsians to get involved in the Hardcore scene or even start their own band to relinquish their untapped energy. The outcome? Everything good from multicultural Sydney, including street culture, fashion, Hip Hip, tattoos, and hard Asian men.
Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova leads a team of women who aim to launch Kyrgyzstan’s 1st ever satellite. As the program director at the Kyrgyz Satellite she built a team of unstoppable women who will make history. They learn the basics of engineering and apply those skills to build a nano-satellite that can collect and analyze data from outer space. Once they reach the final goal of securing a launch service provider, the satellite will be transported to the International Space Station and launched into orbit. In a country where young women face rigid gender stereotypes and even kidnapping that forces them to become wives, the women at Kyrgyz Satellite are pioneering a new space for girls in STEM. Do you want to support this program? Donate here: http://patreon.com/kyrgyzspaceprogram
A Dukun is an Indonesian term for shaman. Today, Dukuns in Indonesia like Ki Sawaung Rahsa and Ki Cokro Santri, have started revamping their spiritual offerings across digital platforms. If spirituality is energy and energy moves according to the mind, why can’t spirituality travel through objects we interact with everyday? This mindset got Ki Sawung Rahsa and Ki Cocro to widen their services, from traditional offerings like implanting gold needles into bodies to harness spiritual powers to consulting spiritual seekers via video call.
Pawang Hujans are rain shamans. In a country like Indonesia that experiences sudden monsoon downpours, Jendi Afriandi is hired to talk with spirits and keep outdoor events rain-free. Indonesians are deeply spiritual, and now that the country is easing COVID restrictions, this Rain Shaman is back at work. This is a day in his life. Would you hire a rain shaman for your outdoor event?
Kaset tapes were an affordable opportunity for Indonesian listeners to access contemporary Western pop culture – this unique culture would influence young local musicians to play Rock-and-Roll, but make that sound their own. Bootleg Kasets became so wide spread due to price and ease that it sparked a global debate about copyright in the international music industry.
Singapore Fish. To some, food, to others, symbols of divinity. In Singapore, owning a certain fish can be the ultimate display of wealth. Meet Eugene "Dr. Ark" Ng, a fish cosmetic surgeon who operates on a fish native to Malaysia: the Arowana, that fetches between anywhere between $250 USD to $100,000. Hailed as the pioneer and best of the best when it comes to beautifying Arowanas, we spent a day learning about how he works and why he's revered. The Arowana is an elegant, 3-foot long fish with shining scales. It once was known as a villagers common source of food, but now, it's held as a symbol of wealth and success. These fish are carefully cultivated and highly limited, with 1 out of 10,000 fish in a supply being especially "prized." What role does Dr. Ark play in all this? He's the doctor you bring your fish to when they need a clean up. With more precision handling the fish than most expert sushi chefs, he swiftly adjusted the fish's "droopy" eye and scales, proving why he is the GOAT when it comes to cosmetic fish surgery.
Ishigaki Island, Japan. Everyone's heard about people running into aliens. And everyone thinks generally the same thing: those people are crazy. Claims of encounters with extraterrestrials are usually dismissed as superstition or hallucination. So, when we heard reports of numerous and consistent UFO sightings on Ishigaki -- a modest, neighboring island to Okinawa in southwest Japan -- we arrived as skeptics. When we got to the island, we met Naoyoshi Watanabe, a resident who's heard of a creature with freaky features..."like some sort of mummified octopus, but with a face, arms, and legs." He says his friends came across the creature while fishing in the popular tourist spot, the "Blue Cave." Weirdly, about a week after they told Naoyoshi-san about their encounter and request to look into it, they'd forgotten about it entirely. When Naoyoshi-san's tried to follow up, they don't know what he's talking about. That's weird. But it's one story, and we weren't fully convinced. So we trekked up to the northernmost tip of the island to meet with Suekazu Maeda, a man who claims to regularly 'summon the vehicles of the legendary beings.' He was excited by captive audience, and walked us through his tried and true method - flashing a light into the night sky. Initially, nothing happened, just as expected: no outer-world being appeared. But then, almost as if on command, spheres of light as big as the stars were bursting into the night sky. Over the course of an hour, we were in awe as we witnessed around 8-9 flashes of light interacting with each other in the sky. We were shocked--it felt like being in a daze. Maeda-san, however, was unfazed. He's seen them before, many times, even heard them make noise. He only wishes he could see their faces.
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.
“You have to start your life on wheels.” Those were the words Anand Arnold was told by his doctor when he survived cancer after a successful operation at age 13. He thought about how he could move forward with this new reality and what it means to rebuild himself. This new version of Anand had to be stronger and somebody his family could be proud of. Since the operation, he has rebuilt himself and won numerous titles such as winning Mr. World 2016, winning gold for ""Best Poser Body Builder"" and silver for ""Best Body Builder (both wheelchair category) in Mr. Olympia 2018, and winning gold for ""Best Poser Body Builder"" and bronze for ""Best Body Builder"" (wheelchair category) at Arnold Classic 2019. From surviving cancer to becoming the 1st world champion bodybuilder from India, this is how Anand became India’s Wheelchair Terminator.
In a time when people told Nguyen Vu Truc Nhu (Katt) that 'this field is for men', she's coordinated stunts for Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods and has been nominated for the SAG award. Katt is now one of few stunt woman pushing the envelope for Hollywood-level stunts in Asia. She takes us behind the scenes and shows us the struggles to perform at Hollywood's highest level as Vietnam's first female stunt coordinator.
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.
Meet the artists behind your favorite Hong Kong Gangster films. Cowman, Wen Qiming, took the Hong Kong cinema to a whole new level with his 古惑仔 (Young and Dangerous) comic series. His story comes from what he's seen and the life he lives everyday, pulling references from real gangsters, his friends, and his city. “All of my Triad friends had tragic or fatal ends.” - Cowman