愛墾網特寫·新冠肺炎:人文景觀

告別了傷痕累累的2020
但病毒還是不願意走


就僅僅1年,不過是365天,從一個地方的一位受感染者,散播成全球每個角落都有遭殃者的八千萬人。新冠病毒啊———

(Photo Credit: Reuters / Tuesday, March 17, 2020:Makrina Anastasiadou and her tango partner "El Morocho" dance for the public at an almost empty restaurant after tango shows, classes and milongas, traditional tango gatherings, were suspended for at least 15 days, in Buenos Aires, Argentina March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Matias Baglietto / 愛墾網翻譯:今年三月,阿根廷現代舞蹈家與演員瑪姖娜(Makrina Anastasiadou.),在首都布宜諾斯艾利斯一家幾無顧客的餐廳,與舞伴摩洛克(El Morocho)在表演探戈舞。) 

(Ballet dancer and performer Ashlee Montague of New York wears a gas mask while she dances in Times Square as the coronavirus outbreak continued in Manhattan, New York City, March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly / 愛墾網翻譯:紐約芭蕾舞蹈家愛絲麗三月間,帶上氧氣面罩在疫情前人山人海、爾今空無幾人的時代廣場起舞。)

                                                                                         (本文于27.12.2020 6:15 pm 更新)

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Comment by 馬來西亞微電影實驗室 Micro Movie Lab on July 18, 2020 at 3:12pm


聽聽故事走景点


旅遊藝術及文化部長拿督斯裏南茜蘇克莉主張培訓跟多“說故事的人”,從日常生活細節處發覺能引人入勝的特色,“例如有人能生動地介紹炒粿條,能向遊客推介好吃的炒粿條,從那裏有得買粿條、制作過程,還有後面的精彩故事。”

“幾天前,有人來找我,主張用說故事的方式來推介大馬旅遊業,我想這是精彩的。我要求所有國會議員發掘選區內能言善道的人,想外賓介紹本地的精彩文化,例如以人名取名的地名,他是誰,背後有什麽故事。”

她說,她已經找了壹些可以訓練說故事的老師,以她的選區開始培育說故事的人才,“以種稻為例,他們可以講解種稻過程,也可以講講只有在8月出現的小魚,為何河裏有很多蝦,為何蝦以鱷魚背後的角質為食,這些故事都很精彩的。”

南茜也向國民介紹她的選區有螢火蟲景點,“我去到那裏也很興奮啊,只是那裏唯有晚上才有螢火蟲。” (25.6.2020《星洲日报》國内10版)


Comment by 馬來西亞微電影實驗室 Micro Movie Lab on June 12, 2020 at 2:18pm


“负责任旅游”·强化安全旅游品牌

杨顺兴(左二)巡视The Habitat,了解景点业者的准备工作。 杨顺兴(左二)巡视The Habitat,了解景点业者的准备工作。

(槟城8日讯)槟州旅游、艺术、文化及古迹委员会主席杨顺兴说,槟州是冠病疫情肆虐以来,全国首个落实“负责任旅游”机制的州属。疫情当前之际,他促请旅游业者予以配合,强化槟城“安全旅游”的品牌。

他说,“干净”和“安全”是槟城的品牌,也是游客有信心到此旅游的原因之一。疫情当前,各旅游景点须遵守标准作业程序(SOP),确保游客和员工的生命与健康不受威胁。

他说,“负责任旅游”倡导旅游业者、酒店业者、政府单位、当地人和游客的配合,将有关旅游景点打造成一个适合当地人居住、拜访,以及得以永续经营的景点。此理念于2002年在开普敦永续发展世界峰会召开期间被定义,从2007年起被全球旅游市场广泛接受,也制定了全球负责任旅游日。

“如今游客、政府和旅游景点业者须遵守立下的条规,以便有效抑制病毒传播。这不单是宣导防疫,也为建立游客访槟的信心。

“安全与卫生是赢取游客信任的重点。业者已做好万全准备,确保槟城旅游业能在对的时间点浴火重生。”

他今日联同槟州旅游景点业者公会(ATAP)主席庄学腾和虫鸣大地首席执行员吴家樑等人召开新闻发布会时发言。

鼓励推国内游优惠配套

杨顺兴也说,州政府早在全球旅游业受疫情影响而放缓前,就推出旅游复兴计划,通过数码、社交等各管道,守护槟城旅游品牌。

“我们4月起就通过各种圆桌会议,与旅游业者商讨对策。州政府也制定了槟州新常态行动小组和槟州旅游经济复苏顾问理事会,确保槟州旅游业能在新常态中顺利重启。”

强调安全和卫生的相关措施,相信能建立游客对到槟城旅游的信心。
强调安全和卫生的相关措施,相信能建立游客对到槟城旅游的信心。

他鼓励旅游、酒店和旅行社等相关行业携手,现阶段锁定国内旅游,推出优惠配套,如合理的短期周末旅游配套。

“或许上述措施短期内不会奏效,所以州政府提供免息贷款,缓解相关业者经济负担,确保他们能拥有足够资金重返轨道。之后州政府还会公布相关援助计划。”

景点制定防疫措施

杨顺兴说,州内许多景点已制定防疫措施,为新常态时代做好准备。

他昨天巡视升旗山The Habitat生态公园后指出,该景点在复原期行管令生效前已执行防疫措施,包括定期在园区实施卫生处理、消毒及检测体温等工作。

杨顺兴促请旅游业者疫情当前,遵守SOP,强化槟城“安全旅游”的品牌。
杨顺兴促请旅游业者疫情当前,遵守SOP,强化槟城“安全旅游”的品牌。

“据该生态公园管理层汇报,控制访客人数也是该园区其中的标准作业程序,以确保遵守保持安全社交距离防疫指南。”

他认为,旅游业者进入新常态的过渡期非常重要,以确保槟城的旅游业能够全面恢复。

庄学腾:盼州政府尽快宣布

庄学腾说,业者已准备好严守标准作业程序重开旅游景点。该会大约60名会员,过去2个月多面对零收入的困境,如今已全面做好准备再冲刺。

他说,6月10日起人民可跨州通行,槟州旅游业者已经等了2个多月,今已做好一切准备。在联邦政府亮绿灯后,他希望州政府尽快进一步宣布,允许他们复业。

邱武林:尽管本地旅游被允许,但受限于一些因素,预计现阶段不会迎来大量渡假旅客。
邱武林:尽管本地旅游被允许,但受限于一些因素,预计现阶段不会迎来大量渡假旅客。

邱武林:料迎较多商务旅客

另一方面,跟旅游业息息相关的酒店业者,早前已获准在遵守标准作业程序的条件下重开,但直到9日有条件行管令结束前,因受到跨州限制而无法招待度假客。

尽管6月10日起进入“复原期行动管制”,民众获准在国内旅游。马来西亚酒店业者公会槟城分会主席邱武林说,由于受限于一些因素,预计这项开放可迎来较多在工作线上的商务旅客,而度假旅客则不会多。

他今日接受《大北马》社区报记者电访问时说,人们10日起获准跨州旅游是好消息,但现阶段酒店内如游泳池等设施仍未亮绿灯,不能让旅客使用,这因素会影响要度假者。

杨顺兴(右起)、庄学腾、吴家樑(左一)等针对槟旅游业情况召开新闻发布会。
杨顺兴(右起)、庄学腾、吴家樑(左一)等针对槟旅游业情况召开新闻发布会。

“再说,人们去度假,基本上会安排行程。但是,目现阶段仍有一些特定景点未获准重开,那想度假的人难道只是呆在房间而已吗?”

质疑45分钟接1千订单

对于浮罗交怡旅游协会(LTA)首席执行员再努丁卡迪昨晚指在首相丹斯里慕尤丁宣布允许跨州旅游的短短45分钟内,浮罗交怡的酒店接到1000项订单,邱武林有所保留,并质疑于上述数据从何而来,因为要获得订房数据并不是那么简单的事,况且对方能够在数个小时内就获相关数据,实在令人难以置信。

“若要获得酒店的订房资讯,我们得跟业者接洽,而且不是所有业者会予以配合,随便给出数据。这当中也可能牵涉到竞争法相关的问题。通常统计工作需授权给第三方来做,而且要符合特定条件。不知道他的发言和数据,究竟是谁授权?代表谁?资料又是哪来的?”

他希望发出相关言论者要负责任,免得让酒店业的员工产生误解,误以为酒店业景象大好却仍需采取减薪等措施。他说,其实有一些酒店,现在还是选择延迟重开,保持观望的。

作者 : 刘雯诗
文章来源 : 星洲日报 2020-06-08
Comment by 馬來西亞微電影實驗室 Micro Movie Lab on June 12, 2020 at 2:14pm


檳城旅業公會:國內旅遊作用不大‧外國客才能救市

冠病疫情肆虐,酒店業陷入困境。(配圖)

(檳城10日訊)檳城旅業公會主席拿督林民利認為,政府放寬行動管制允許國人跨州及國內旅遊後,對振興檳州旅遊業的作用其實不大,而且可能引發酒店業削價的惡性競爭,迫使支撐不住的中小型酒店關門。


他建議,政府應考慮放寬疫情受控制的周邊國家及地區旅客入境觀光,如新加坡、泰國、香港及臺灣,甚至龐大市場的中國,方能帶動國內的旅遊業,檳州旅業才能從中從中受惠。

林民利建議,放寬疫情受控制的國家旅客入境,擴大國內旅業的市場量,有利於酒店業。


林民利就政府實行復原期行管令後,接受星洲日報《大北馬》社區報記者訪問時,這麽說。

他說,雖然冠病疫情放緩,但是國人對國內旅遊仍有所顧忌及擔心,只有商務人員因經商及公事,才跨州下榻酒店辦事,因此酒店房客人數不多,市場量有限。

“檳州酒店面對旅客稀少的困境之際,或被迫削價爭奪房客,如推出酒店房租‘買’、‘買一送二’及各種廉價配套,以吸引房客入住酒店。”

他說,其次是檳州酒店業尚須與國內熱門的景點如金馬侖、浮羅交怡、馬六甲等競爭,由於酒店營運成本提高,中小型酒店負擔不起將會倒閉。


他說,雖然政府暫停征收旅遊稅及服務稅,以減輕酒店業的經營負擔,但是對酒店業經營幫助不大,相反應擴大酒店業市場量,如吸引國外的旅客入境。

他說,環顧壹些國家如歐洲、韓國、中國及泰國等,疫情受控制後逐漸開放門戶讓旅客入境,可帶動旅遊業及刺激經濟的活動,這值得大馬仿傚,以期為檳州酒店業帶來強大的生機。(文章來源 : 星洲日報 2020-06-10)

Comment by 馬來西亞微電影實驗室 Micro Movie Lab on June 12, 2020 at 2:02pm

馬六甲旅遊業復蘇跡象‧酒店10天接4932預訂

自國內旅遊亮綠燈後,馬六甲酒店在過去10天就接獲4932間酒店客房預訂,顯示出旅遊業令人鼓舞的復蘇進展。

甲州文化、旅遊及遺產委員會主席拿督莫哈末再拉尼行政議員說,開齋節後一星期,州內多達20間三星至五星的酒店,開始接獲本地遊客訂房,而在首相丹斯里慕尤丁上周六宣布我國進入“復原期行管令”後,客房訂單即有更明顯的上升。


再拉尼說,州政府對此感到振奮,這意味著甲州旅遊業自疫情發生以來,有開始復蘇的跡象。

“這是我們始料未及的,這只是馬六甲酒店中的20間酒店負責人向州旅遊局報告的數據,不排除日後有更多酒店會提供他們所接獲的客房預訂量。”

再拉尼說,除了酒店外,其他旅遊景點也已經開始接獲訂單。

再拉尼是為“Melaka eXcess”主持推介儀式時,這麽表示。


推出App助提升定房量


他指出,當局推出的“Melaka eXcess”旅遊電商系統有助提升酒店訂房量,民眾可下載手機應用程式獲取許多旅遊資訊,也包括食品和日常用品。

“此系統開始發揮效果,尤其數家超市也表明加入售賣商品的意願。消費者可在此以便宜價格購買商品,從中受惠。”(文章來源 : 星洲日報 2020-06-12)

Comment by 馬來西亞微電影實驗室 Micro Movie Lab on June 11, 2020 at 6:26pm

ANDY CHUA:Over 100 Sarawak hotels are closing or have closed down

SIBU: Over 100 hotels in Sarawak have closed down or are in the midst of being wound up since the movement control order (MCO) came into force on March 18, says Malaysia Budget Hotel Association Sarawak Chapter's former chairman Lau Nai Meng.

Hotels have been badly hit as they were forced to close for two months – April and May – due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

“Hotels have had zero income during these two months, and the bulk of a hotel's expenses are rental, the salaries of workers and the utility bills.

"Hotels have had to pay all of these expenses even though they had no income at all, ” said Lau.

Most of them were forced to close down for good as they failed to get discounts on the rental from their landlords, he added.

Lau's advice to hotel owners thinking of shutting down their hotels for good was to continue to negotiate on a discount with the landlords.

“I am of the opinion that businesses that were not allowed to operate during the MCO, like hotels should be exempted from paying rental as they had no income, and shops that were allowed to open but saw poor business should be allowed to pay 50% of the rental, ” he said.

According to Lau, some of the affected hotels could not apply for the wage subsidy programme due to complications in the Socso contributions of their workers.

Under the programme, Malaysians earning less than RM4,000 a month are eligible for the subsidies, with the amount being dependent on the size of the workforce of the company.

Companies that employ more than 200 people will receive RM600 per retained worker, while those employing between 75 to 200 employees will get RM800, and those with fewer than 75 employees RM1,200.

"I hope hotels who have yet to register their employees, who are either full-time or part-time staff with Socso, will do so for their workers' benefit," he said.

Correction: The story has been amended. Lau Nai Meng was erroneously referred to as chairman of the Malaysia Budget Hotel Association Sarawak Chapter. He is, in fact, a former chairman of the association. (The Star, Thursday, 11 Jun 2020)

Comment by 馬來西亞微電影實驗室 Micro Movie Lab on May 24, 2020 at 9:36am

疫後振興·國内遊契會
HO WAH FOON:New tourism trend to emerge post Covid-19

(A Quiet Kota Kinabalu,Picture by www.iconada.tv


IN the past 22 years operating China-Malaysia tours, businessman Datuk Keith Li had always looked forward to the Labour Day holiday for this was one of the “golden” times to bring in many Chinese travellers and big profits.

But for this year, there is no anticipation.

The raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic engulfing more than 200 countries globally is forcing life, business, as well as tourism to a standstill.

With country lockdowns seen almost everywhere, most people cannot move from one place to another. Without passengers, leading airlines, including AIRASIA BHD, have to halt operations and are screaming for government help.

Hotels, another function of the tourism industry, are bleeding. Many empty hotels have closed their operations temporarily or for good, and workers have been asked to leave or take no pay leave.

Local hotels are estimated to have incurred total revenue loss of more than RM1.5bil since Malaysia imposed the movement control order in March.

In the local travel and tours segment, 30% to 50% of cash-tight travel companies have closed down while the more established ones are struggling, according to Li.

Sweet attraction: Li says in-bound tourism may start to recover only in October.
Sweet attraction: Li says in-bound tourism may start to recover only in October.

“My business has fallen from near zero in January to zero now. May golden week this year is hopeless for tourism. I have asked all my staff to take no-pay leave until business returns. In-bound tourism might start to recover only in October, ” Li tells StarBizWeek.

“Why October? International tourism is about bilateralism or multi-lateralism. Even if Malaysia is able to lift control soon, other countries may not. This is a global pandemic, not regional, ” the Chinese national explains in a WhatsApp interview.

Due to lingering concerns over safety, most would-be tourists are likely to choose domestic travel and nearby destinations once the pandemic is over.

A recent survey in China, which has wiped out its Covid-19 epidemic in March, showed that more than 90% of respondents would choose domestic tours in their immediate travel plans.

The booking statistics for the May golden holiday provided supporting evidence for the trend, said the survey jointly organised by the China Tourism Academy and Trip.com Group.

The survey report, published in China Youth Daily, was conducted on 15,000 people mostly aged 18 to 45, in nearly 100 cities across mainland China.

Taking cognisance of local tourists’ preference after Covid-19 crisis, China’s travel agencies – in their attempt to stay afloat – have diversified into selling delicacies to live-streaming culture talks that feature history and well-known personalities.

New landscape

Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB)’s chairman Y.K Pang sees a new tourism landscape after the pandemic, which has posed unprecedented challenges to industry players and put global tourism to a halt.

After a major HKTB-organised web seminar on April 24, Pang said in a statement: “The tourism landscape will be reshaped. In the post-pandemic world, we will see a shift in preference and behaviour among travellers – the public health conditions of destinations, and the hygiene standards of transportations, hotels and other tourism facilities will become a top priority.

“People will prefer short-haul breaks and shorter itineraries; wellness-themed trips will become a new trend. It is an ideal time for us to review and rethink Hong Kong’s position in the global tourism market.”

Last Friday’s tourism web conference was participated by 1,500 representatives from travel agencies, tourist sites, hotels, airlines, the retail and dining industries, as well as Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions and cruise sectors.

In discussing the future of short-haul tourism, speakers shared that domestic travel will be the major preference shortly after the pandemic. Outbound travel will resume soon after.Regional competition is seen to be fiercer than ever, as the tourism authorities and travel trade of various destinations and countries are now gearing up for intensive promotions.

Raymond Chan, HKTB’s regional director for South-East Asia, believes in the potential of the Muslim travel market.

He shared how HKTB has been stepping up its efforts to grow the Muslim travel segment as part of the recovery plan in South-East Asia.

It is learnt that mainland China is also attaching increasing importance to the Muslim segment to widen its reach.

The tourism seminar also heard that the young and middle-aged groups in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan would be the most eager to travel.

Green tourism and the outdoors will be favoured, while short-haul travel will be preferred due to financial constraints and lack of holiday leave days.

For the mainland Chinese market, which has gradually resumed economic activities, the seminar was informed that the Chinese will become more price-conscious and they will pursue value-for-money holidays.

“After prolonged confinement during the lockdown, most visitors will place greater emphasis on health and nature, ” said the HKTB statement.

When choosing destinations for future trips after the Covid-19 crisis, tourists will favour those that pose low risks to health.

The meeting and incentive market is expected to continue to slow down as many activities have been postponed or will be held online.

It may take a longer time for the long-haul markets to recover as governments are focusing on containing the outbreak within the region.

“A longer time is expected for these markets to recover and outbound travel may resume in the last quarter of this year at the earliest, ” said HKTB.

Within the region, HKTB expects Asian tourists to be the first to visit Hong Kong after the pandemic.

As consumer sentiment is more positive in Canada, France and Germany, outbound travel in these markets is expected to recover at a faster rate.

Vacations to be more expensive

Even though there is expectation that people may start travelling from the third quarter of this year, recovery may be slow.

A recent study by the University of South Florida revealed that 63.8% of travelers will reduce their travel plans in the next 12 months, according to an online report by Tourism Review News.

More than 50% of respondents surveyed by the US university had cancelled their business travel due to the coronavirus.

On the future of tourism, writer Kevin Eagan of Tourism Review News believes that “travelling will become a luxury again”.

“The coronavirus will probably make travelling more expensive and thus also more climate-friendly. Cheap flights at cut-rate prices will soon be the thing of the past. The future of tourism encompasses substantial changes, ” Eagan wrote.

He predicts the tourism industry will shrink by 50% in 2020, and this means a significant loss of jobs and revenue.

“As a result, it may be expected that the flight tickets will cost more, hotels will raise prices - travelling will probably become more expensive when the travel restrictions are lifted.

“The risk of infection with the coronavirus is reducing the available space: keeping a distance between people is expensive. Thus travelling becomes a luxury again, ” Eagan explained.

The immediate future will see empty rows of seats to prevent infection in airplanes and trains.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that passenger numbers could fall by a third, and ticket prices could rise by half, if a “decongestion” were to be implemented.

But ultimately this would be determined by supply and demand, IATA boss Alexandre de Juniac was quoted as telling Tourism Review News.

Hence, future vocations will be expensive as tourists will have to pay more money for the same services. People without money will be left behind in the world of tourism. Now not everyone can fly.

www.thestar.com.my Saturday, 02 May 2020)

Comment by 馬來西亞微電影實驗室 Micro Movie Lab on April 29, 2020 at 11:24pm

CREATIVITY IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS

The outbreak of Covid-19 has shaken the world to its core, leaving the creative industries in an unprecedented situation. We catch up with creatives in quarantine, and explore the different ways that brands and studios are adapting.

Comment by 馬來西亞微電影實驗室 Micro Movie Lab on April 29, 2020 at 10:38pm

Life after Covid-19: Can the show go on for Malaysia's performing a...

KLPac is planning to cut its audience capacity by half once the MCO is lifted. Photo: KLPac

It is no surprise that the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent movement control order (MCO) – now extended until April 28 – imposed by the government has left many casualties in its wake.

With many institutions forced to temporarily put down their shutters, the economic diagnosis is not looking so well for them.

One industry that is utterly devastated by this predicament is the performing arts industry. Indeed, performing arts venues and theatre companies solely rely on rentals, classes and ticket sales for their survival.

With almost no financial aid from the government and entirely dependent on sponsors, or sometimes even dipping into their own bank account, the fate of Malaysian theatre makers and their beloved arts scene does not seem promising.

Major theatre venues like the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac), PenangPac and the Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC) are already gutted by their losses, especially with these venues shut since the start of MCO on March 18.

With 41 shows either postponed or cancelled due to the MCO, KLPac’s total loss projected – from mid-March until October – is estimated at more than RM630,000. PenangPac has lost an estimated RM120,000 (March to June cancellations) and DPAC stands to lose approximately RM250,000 (March/April shows) by the end of this month.

“We are very concerned about our primary revenue streams. Venue rental, ticket sales from productions and Academy courses have all been impacted, ” says Joe Hasham, KLPac’s co-founder and artistic director.

DPAC will implement a social distancing policy and disinfect its premise before and after every show. Photo: DPAC
DPAC will implement a social distancing policy and disinfect its premise before and after every show. Photo: DPAC

Datin Jane Lew Siew Ting, DPAC’s founder, shares theatre veteran Hasham’s sentiments.

“We have zero income in March and April, and probably very little income from May till July as well. This high level of uncertainty makes it hard for most of our clients to plan for the near future. And thus, how we are going to sustain, operationally, will be a huge challenge right now, ” admits Lew.

As the MCO weeks pass, no work is forthcoming. This state of anxiety is prevalent with independent theatre companies too.

There are only so many online theatre shows – DIY and free – that most of these indie companies can sustain.

“The problem is no matter how you restructure, we are still in the middle of waiting. We don’t know what is going to happen. We might have to start from zero again if show cancellations continue, ” says Seng Soo Ming, 39, founder of Seremban-based Pitapat Theatre.

He aims to shift the Pitapat company’s direction, with small-sized touring shows to make ends meet when the storm settles.

Seng Soo Ming says Pitapat Theatre will adapt to smaller-sized shows with potential touring opportunities. Photo: Pitapat Theatre
Seng Soo Ming says Pitapat Theatre will adapt to smaller-sized shows with potential touring opportunities. Photo: Pitapat Theatre

Kelvin Wong, founder of the collective Theatresauce, is hopeful that his company’s upcoming 2020/2021 season can still proceed as planned. Theatresauce's news season is supposed to run between October 2020 and June 2021. An average of RM150,000 is usually spent to hold three mainstage productions, and three showcases for the emerging directors lab.

But the 34-year old theatre lecturer/director sees the lack of funding and private support during the pandemic as a crippling situation.

“Institutions providing grants have pulled out because of the pandemic, which is unfortunate, given that there is no better time to question, challenge and create than right now, ” says Wong.

“This is making us rethink if we should press on with our initial plan, or wait until the following year”.

On March 27, the Inxo Arts Fund 2020, organised by Inxo Arts and Culture (L) Foundation, announced that it was suspending this year’s programme (a total of RM100,000 in grants meant for 10 arts projects).

In a rare spot of positive news, the Cultural Economy Development Agency (Cendana) recently outlined a recovery package to benefit artists and cultural workers in the performing arts, visual art and independent music sectors. The announcement made on April 8 includes a food aid package and the "Create Now Funding Programme", which is an immediate response grant of up to RM1,500 per individual artist/cultural worker and RM3,500 per collective/arts organisation.

'A revamp of Theatresauce’s business model is also imminent – and being in quarantine gets us to think a bit more about business sustainability,' says Kelvin Wong from indie company Theatresauce. Photo: Filepic
'A revamp of Theatresauce’s business model is also imminent – and being in quarantine gets us to think a bit more about business sustainability,' says Kelvin Wong from indie company Theatresauce. Photo: Filepic

On April 14, Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara (JKKN), or National Department for Culture and Arts, launched an online arts and culture competition called Arts Online @#stayhome.

The bizarrely-timed competition, running till April 22, covers various arts disciplines such as theatre, poetry, classical dance, singing, storytelling and even silat. To encourage signups, JKKN is providing cash prizes (up to RM1,000). This may not be the sort of well-informed financial support needed in the performing arts scene right now but at least, it is a small step in the right direction.

The recovery packages being introduced now are mostly one-time hand-outs. Long-term arts and culture recovery strategies have yet to be introduced by the government.

June Tan, a producer at the Five Arts Centre in KL, says at this point, uncertainty is the biggest factor affecting them.

“Fundamentally our work is very much located in a live event. So the need to be in a space together is still very much our impulse. We can only figure out what Covid-19 and social distancing means to this, and what changes we need to make, in the upcoming months. At this point, our other work – researching, writing, archiving are still ongoing albeit at a slower pace, ” says Tan, 45.

Meanwhile, creative arts bazaar platform Riuh had to postpone its Panggung Riuh event to July 4 and 5, and cancelled its upcoming Riuh Raya event scheduled for next month. This is the first time in three years since it started, that there will not be a festive season Riuh. One edition of Riuh usually hosts a minimum of 60 creative arts brands, and can generate up to RM220,000 in revenue.

Of course, these concerns are not unfounded.

Around the world, governments have stepped in to assist their respective arts and culture industries. In Singapore, S$55mil (RM167.7mil) was recently designated for the arts sector through the country’s Resilience Budget. An additional S$1.6mil (RM4.8mil) was set aside earlier for a capability development grant and a subsidy scheme to reduce rental and associated costs.

Khairi Anwar, the artistic director of Anomalist Production, admits the theatre scene will be in a vulnerable state in the months ahead, and it will take plenty of (creative) rethinking and re-adjusting to keep the arts going. Photo: Filepic
Khairi Anwar, the artistic director of Anomalist Production, admits the theatre scene will be in a vulnerable state in the months ahead, and it will take plenty of (creative) rethinking and re-adjusting to keep the arts going. Photo: Filepic

On March 31, the Arts Council England also rushed out a £160mil (RM863mil) emergency fund to support organisations and individuals in the creative sector affected by the coronavirus. From that amount, £20mil (RM108mil) will be set aside for freelance cultural workers.

On March 23, Germany launched a €50bil (RM236bil) aid package targeted at freelancers, artists and small businesses. The package aims to preserve the country’s artistic and cultural industry.

However, the Malaysian government’s economic stimulus package called Bantuan Prihatin Nasional, while promising to leave nobody behind, seems to have excluded a tailored financial support package for the arts industry.

Easee Gan, a writer, director and co-founder of local theatre group Muka Space, points out that many arts groups are self-funded, and many practitioners are freelancers.

“To produce a show after this may be more difficult, especially since we will need to look for sponsorship. Will there be funding left for arts and culture? With no small projects (theatre workshops, arts teaching sessions) and theatre show income coming in right now, you have to say a lot of independent arts companies will need some form of support or (financial) jumpstart to reopen, ” says Gan, 33.

Gan reveals almost all of Muka Space's projects for 2020 have been written off. Two theatre projects have been cancelled and one postponed until December. As a pet project, Muka Space's publicity campaigns for its first two theatre book publications, written by co-founder Deric Gan, have also hit the skids.

"My brother Deric was supposed to launch two (Chinese) books related to (local) theatre. They are published by Muka Space. The cancellation of Bookfest Malaysia 2020 in KL has left us with no choice but to promote and sell the books online," says Gan.

"In the months ahead, many people in the arts, already known for their ingenuity, stubbornness and resourcefulness, will have to come together to map a way forward. Creativity doesn't just stop (because of a bad situation)," he adds.

Catch-22 situation

One of the last major arts festivals not to be cancelled yet in Malaysia is the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival at KLPac, which is scheduled in August. The fate of the fest hangs in balance and a decision will be made later this month.

Hasham says KLPac have had three rounds of engagement with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and a wishlist has been presented to the Government.

The situation could potentially get worse. On April 3, Health DG Datuk Noor Hisham Abdullah did suggest that the Government might continue to ban or discourage mass gatherings for the rest of the year, even after the MCO is lifted.

A live audience is at the very heart of the performing arts. Theatre through digital media cannot replicate this experience.

While the performing arts scene has to stage shows for its very survival, it may also suffer from a loss of footfalls or worse, complete audience absence.

“It will definitely take some time for people to feel safe coming back to the theatre again, ” says Lew, 49.

“After Covid-19 and the MCO is over, we foresee that people will not see theatre and the performing arts as a priority, at least not in the first few weeks or months, ” she adds.

Closed theatres will take months to recover, and admittedly, the masses won’t have shows on their minds.

Panggung Rakyat is a traditional-based series of live events and workshops initiated by Cendana. The cultural agency has launched its arts recovery package focusing on immediate response grants. Photo: Cendana
Panggung Rakyat is a traditional-based series of live events and workshops initiated by Cendana. The cultural agency has launched its arts recovery package focusing on immediate response grants. Photo: Cendana

“People have been in isolation for a month, so their priority will be more personal, such as getting together with the family or regaining economic stability, ” says Khairi Anwar, founder of Shah Alam-based theatre company Anomalist Production.

The extra ringgit, to Khairi, will be used wisely in these difficult times and the performing arts will be viewed as a luxury to most.

“Besides the economy and trade getting disrupted, which would affect our audience’s spending power, it could also affect our sponsors and their capacity to continue supporting us. And that would also have an effect on us and the artists we collaborate with, since the focus will be on ways to pay the bills and a temporary shift from working in art, ” says Tan.

“With no exact timeline of when we can expect things to go back to normal, event planning is on hold, and there is no way to move forward. The reasonable thing to do, at least for us, is to work around it and come up with alternative ways/format, where applicable, to ensure we still reach our objective, to support the creative industry, ” says Marissa Wambeck, deputy manager at Riuh.

Whatever the circumstance, the show must go on. As it stands, no one seems ready to throw in the towel yet. Many have already entered into recovery mode, carefully planning their next move for a post-MCO Malaysia.

“Faridah (Merican) and I have maintained an optimistic view of the performing arts over the past 31 years of our involvement with The Actors Studio, KLPac and PenangPac. We will not allow the Covid-19 episode, as horrific as it is, to dampen our enthusiasm, ” says Hasham, 72.

To regain confidence from the public, theatre and event venues have assured a strict adherence to guidelines set by the Health Ministry once they are allowed to be operational. That means temperatures checks (staff and audience members), sanitising stations and even regular exercises to disinfect the theatres and spaces. Some venues will also cut down their seating capacity.

“Social distancing will remain intact until it is 100% confirmed that all is clear. The number of seats in each of our theatres will, while the initial clearance period is in effect, be cut to 50% capacity. We will be doing everything in our power to make certain that our patrons are safe and secure, ” assures Hasham.

Romantic date nights at theatres might be temporarily ruled out until the Covid-19 storm has cleared.

The Sentul Depot in KL, which is regularly used by crowded Riuh events, will be hard hit by new rules on social distancing. Photo: Filepic
The Sentul Depot in KL, which is regularly used by crowded Riuh events, will be hard hit by new rules on social distancing. Photo: Filepic

“We will enforce distance-seating by having an empty seat between each audience member. Audience numbers at DPAC per show will drop, but these are necessary steps to be taken, ” says Lew.

Christopher Ling, artistic director of local collective theatrethreesixty, says the entire global theatre scene cannot expect things to return to pre-virus normalcy that quickly.

“Residual fear has to be combated with rational measures to protect our theatre community and the audiences we live for. This may mean certain measures put in place by the MCO to remain in place for a few months after it has come to an end, ” says Ling.

Starting from stratch

Khairi, 28, is also considering new ways to attract audiences. Reducing ticket price is definitely on the table, although he is not too keen with the idea as it would affect payment to cast and crew.

“We need to slowly make ourselves relevant to the public at large. Maybe make a show about the MCO? If we can afford it, maybe do a few free shows so that people can come and watch without the uneasy feeling of spending RM50 to watch a play, ” says Khairi.

“In the short term, small to medium scale venues, of 100 pax and below, may be at the forefront of the local theatre scene in the months to come.

“Early 2021 should hopefully see the return of the large-scale venues, invigorated by their time encouraging and supporting the work of their smaller cousins this year, ” predicts Ling, 46.

“Larger venues may want to consider opening up their venues in new, unconventional ways in this new continuing age of social distancing. Reducing rental rates whilst reducing audience capacities may not make financial sense but it would certainly result in venues being used by a broader cross-section of the performing arts community.

“Also bearing in mind that these changes are only temporal until the new normal is ready to be adopted, ” he adds.

Hasham knows a thing or two about dealing with disasters and silver linings.

“The history of The Actors Studio has given us the strength to continue, ” says Hasham, referring to the flash floods that hit The Actors Studio at Plaza Putra in KL in 2003.

That venue was lost, but The Actors Studio regrouped and moved on to the KLPac venue in 2005.

“We did not, at any time, think of throwing in the towel. We were presented with a devastating challenge (in 2003) and we just had to continue.

“To other groups the only advice we can offer is ‘if you want it and need it badly enough, you will find ways of making it happen’. There is no magic formula. It’s up to you, ” concludes Hasham.  (14 Apr 2020 By DINESH KUMAR MAGANATHAN & TERENCE TOH in The Star)

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Comment by 馬來西亞微電影實驗室 Micro Movie Lab on April 12, 2020 at 5:16pm


疫後振興·綫上教育

UNESCO ICT Prize laureate ThingLink supporting teachers amid the CO...

Helping Romanian teachers create online resources In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, classes in Romania have been suspended as of 11 March 2020.

To ensure the continuation of education, the Finnish education technology company ThingLink, laureate of the 2018 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa-Al Khalifa Prize for the use of ICT in Education, is collaborating with the educational technology hub AR Studio based in Budapest to help teachers create curriculum aligned resources for online learning.

This includes training educators to create virtual lessons, interactive videos, and other resources that capture teacher’s instructions to students.

The ThingLink software enables teachers to enrich content such as video lessons with text, voice or video notes explaining key concepts and vocabulary or linking to sources and relevant materials.

"We are fully committed to work with AR Studio and support their initiative to quickly equip Romanian teachers with both essential tools and skills for online content creation", says Ulla-Maaria Koivula, the founder and CEO of ThingLink.


For the next months, AR studio is giving free access for teachers to their facilities including free access to the ThingLink software so that teachers can record video lessons to share with their students.

The content created by individual teachers and AR Studio will be freely accessible to teachers in Romania ThingLink Launches 'Donate Lesson' Option to Support Global Teacher Collaboration. ThingLink also announced a new feature allowing teachers to make materials freely accessible for their colleagues and their students around the world.

This new feature, called “Donate lessons”, enables teachers and eLearning account holders on ThingLink to share their images, videos or virtual tours to a free database of curriculum-aligned learning materials. When sharing content, teachers can choose which level and subject their work belongs to, as well as add keywords to help categorize it appropriately.

Each submission will be reviewed by members of the ThingLink community. Once the submission is approved, the author will get an approval notification and Thinglink’s Global Educator badge.

“With the new donate feature, our hope is to bring together the global educator community, and to show how despite – and because of – the circumstances, teachers in different countries keep innovating new ways for connecting and working with their students”, says ThingLink CEO Ulla-Maaria Koivula. The founder of the Finnish education technology company hopes that these innovative practices will carry on after the situation normalizes, “bringing more flexibility for working and studying remotely.” (10/04/2020  UNESCO)


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Learning mustn’t stop with Covid-19

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2020-05-27 愛墾纳達FB

Comment by 馬來西亞微電影實驗室 Micro Movie Lab on April 11, 2020 at 3:36pm

墨西哥城一處因疫情而空空蕩蕩的購物中心。(聯合國駐墨西哥辦公室圖片/Alexis Aubin)

國際勞工組織《監測報告第二版:2019冠狀病毒病和勞動世界》(英文) 將2019冠狀病毒病描述為“第二次世界大戰以來最嚴重的全球危機”。(國際勞工組織 2020年4月8日 )

所有領域的領導當前的處境,照理應該是“蠟燭兩頭燒”。

一頭是新冠病毒處處藏;一頭是全球危機無方向。

可是,除了極少部分的例外,很多領域的領導卻在“等著看”。

好像疫情一過,整個天空都是燦爛的陽光。

他們可能因為長袖善舞,過去事業做得好墊下基礎,經得起眼下的重重挑戰,談獨善其身綽綽有餘,所以有能力天天在等待機會,讃揚新任政府“開明”、“勤奮”與“迅速”。

但是,不是每一位(其實絕大部分)的生意人,都是那麼人脈暢通。

實際上,在過去兩年早已倦態畢露,現在一邊要提心吊膽自己家人,還有職工與顧客的安危;一邊對於已經火燒眼眉三個月的全球危機,居然絲毫沒有一點頭緒。

民間各生產領域的領導們,誰來給予你的同行會員應有的領導?

當然,也有不讃揚政府,一直很努力在抨擊政府的領導。

除了好聽與不好聽的話,現在真正需要的是行動;最關鍵的是少動嘴,多想法子突圍。

蠟燭兩頭燒,恐怕燒不了多久。何况是全球世紀危機。

愛墾網 是文化創意人的窩;自2009年7月以來,一直在挺文化創意人和他們的創作、珍藏。As home to the cultural creative community, iconada.tv supports creators since July, 2009.

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