Saturday, January 5, 2019

Return of the Abominable Jungleman (a blast from the past)


Nchan et Christine ont poursuivi en Malaisie leur collecte de sons et de témoignages auprès de musiciens -- joueurs de gamelan traditionnel ou jeunes percussionnistes rencontrés aux franges de la ville. Dans la jungle toujours proche, ils ont suivi Antares, un musicien chinois sage et fou, arpenteur de tous les sentiers et joueur de flûte. Marié à une aborigène, il défend la forêt, les droits de sa tribu auprès du gouvernement tout en écrivant ses articles d'ethnomusicologie dans la hutte qu'il a tressée, au vert, relié au monde par un esprit transculturel -- et par Internet! ~ Christine Rodès


This is hardly an original statement, but it's worth repeating: the internet is the best thing technology has come up with thus far! Some insist nothing can beat the washing machine - but as I have never owned one, I don't have an opinion on that.

Earlier, I was cursorily checking visitor stats on my blog when I was intrigued by a Google search someone located in Muscat, Oman, had done on "magic river antares"... so I followed the link to the search results and found this YouTube video dating back at least 6 years but only recently uploaded.

Sometime in 2005 a colorful bunch of visitors had appeared at my home, wielding video cameras and recording equipment. Even before I could say hello, they were busy shooting video footage of everything that caught their fancy. They told me they were multimedia artists, collecting raw material from around the world and incorporating it in their trance-inducing son et lumière performances, featuring multiple images projected on huge screens to the accompaniment of live electronic music.

The group was called Sisygambis and they were performing at KLPAC. The music consisted of a mix of sampled sounds and synthesized effects played by Christine Coulange and Nchan Manoyan, who both looked like they might have stepped out of a flying saucer parked just down the road. Anyway, we spent some time cavorting at a nearby waterfall and afterwards they asked me to play some of my wind instruments. I got on so well with them they invited me to visit them in Marseille and perhaps collaborate on some art project with them.

Alas, in 2009, I received word that Nchan had died in a car accident - and that put an abrupt end to my cross-cultural conversation with Sisygambis. I liked Nchan a lot, not just because he had the most amazing bird's nest hairstyle and a wizardly goatee, but he struck me as truly an evolved soul and a very warm human being. Viewing the video above brought back a flood of vivid memories and renewed my soul connection with Sisygambis. I'm glad they are continuing their wonderfully stimulating multimedia projects.




[First posted 2 December 2011]

Monday, December 31, 2018

THEY SAY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG... (repost)

This 21-year-old would rather be alive than "good."

Malaysian Yong Vui Kong was only 19 when he was arrested in Singapore in June 2007 and charged with trafficking 47gm of heroin. He was sentenced in January 2009 under the Misuse of Drugs Act which carries a mandatory death sentence for anyone caught trafficking more than 15gm of heroin, 30gm of cocaine or 500gm of cannabis. Yong's lawyer Ravi Madasamy has urged a moratorium on the mandatory death penalty in Singapore until the outcome of his appeal is decided.

From the Online Citizen...

By Koh Yi Na

SINGAPORE, Wednesday, 9 December 2009 - In a surprise decision, the Court of Appeal has granted [Sabah-born] Yong Vui Kong, who faces execution for a drug trafficking conviction, an opportunity to have his appeal heard.

Following an hour-long hearing on Tuesday morning, the judges nullified his previous withdrawal of appeal and accepted Yong’s application for an extension of time. This would allow him to file an appeal against his conviction and death sentence.

Yong’s lawyer, Ravi Madasamy, had initially been pessimistic about securing the extension of time, given the nature of previous decisions and his own experience with capital cases. While he knew “the present judiciary is forward-looking,” he did not know how the Court would react to his arguments.

Therefore when the judge ruled in favour of hearing the appeal, he was pleasantly surprised, describing it as a “fantastic outcome.”

No date has been set for the appeal hearing, but it could be as early as next month, according to Mr Ravi. He has been informed by the registrar to go to court this Friday to set a date for it.

His execution is stayed pending the outcome of this appeal.
[Read the full story here and here.]


World Day Against The Death Penalty (Singapore)


Watch the entire forum on YouTube!

My personal view on the absurdity (not to mention the inhumanity) of trying to fight "the drug menace" by hanging traffickers...

Heroin is a psychic painkiller derived from morphine, a physical painkiller that gained popular use during the First World War for acute battle injuries. Every heroin addict I have met actually suffers from severe emotional trauma and feel they have to take something to numb their psychic pain.

Those of us strong enough to soldier on without painkillers can consider ourselves fortunate, but we don’t have to become unfeeling and soulless about our less robust friends.

Alas, almost every form of therapy for addictive personalities (whether the drug be heroin, alcohol, crystal amphetamine or cocaine) has turned out unpredictable with at least 50% of regressions. This leads me to conclude that, ultimately, addictive personalities become a burden on their families and communities only when the substance to which they are addicted becomes exorbitantly priced.

In effect, the more illegal the substance, the higher its street value. Having researched the subject for years I’ve drawn the inevitable conclusion that criminalizing any kind of drug is actually a racket – a game being played by very powerful crime syndicates working in cahoots with law enforcement agencies.

Sometimes I suspect governments deliberately allow a certain percentage of their youth to become addicted, so they won’t turn to political activism and topple an unjust system.

One can never be too cynical about big business, big government and big crime – because only too often it’s the same cast of control freaks switching roles. For example, it’s becoming clear that the most efficient drug smuggling operations on earth are being carried out by the CIA who work in tandem with the Mafia. The money is often laundered through innocuous fronts like the Vatican Bank and used to finance black ops to keep certain political dynasties in power.

It’s a very complicated subject but I’d like more people to start giving what I say some serious thought. Google the subject if you wish but be warned that your worldview will never again be the same!

In conclusion, I advocate the decriminalization of all drugs. No punishment, no crime. No official ban, no big profits, no thrill of rebellion against paternal authority from consuming illicit substances. Within a few years, no drug problem.

Those already hooked will be able to maintain their habits without turning to crime – and anytime they wish to quit they can be offered emotional therapy to heal their wounded souls. Every life has value.

[First posted 10 December 2009]