LATEST ISSUE! VOLUME 28 (2017)

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A homage to art and the makers of art in Sarawak!

Sarawak has always found pride in its distinctive peace and harmony within a multicultural setting; the nature and culture of the land have implicitly nurtured many unique and outstanding talents. Whether it be the music they play or the paintings they draw, the resonating sound of art derived from these local artists undoubtedly adorn their home and origins.

Though it has been a laborious and challenging task, the undertaking to produce and publish “Resonating Sound of Art” has greatly elevated our understanding towards art especially on where it stands for the people of Sarawak. Like music, it is borderless, it is an international language and we hope that it encourages the younger generation to take pride in their culture and identity. We present to you the sound of art from Sarawak!

Get to know Sarawak’s artistic talents in the performing and visual arts! Feat. film director Bjarne Wong, the eccentric musician ARABYRD, Sada Borneo and At Adau who bring Borneo to the world through their fusion music, Chinese indie pop rock band SLaP!, comic artist Jian Goh, abstract artist David Chew, pianist, journalists and more!

It came in a dream...some say it was a farmer’s, some say it was the dream of a witch doctor. Distraught from failing to find a cure for his dying wife, a spirit appeared in his dream one day and told him to look for a type of wood called Adau; and with it, he is to make a lute to play a song that will cure his sick wife. From then, sape’ - the instrument carved from a single bole of wood with only 2 or 3 frets was created and used for healing ceremonies.

In the last century, sape’ has gradually developed into a social instrument played by many not just to preserve its rich culture and heritage, but also as a contemporary form of entertainment. When it comes to sape’, very few people are seen with such respect as Mathew Ngau Jau who was proclaimed as a national living heritage by the Malaysian government and is known to many as the ‘Sape Master’. The article uncovers the glory of sape’ through an in-depth interview with the master himself, one of his most prolific students Alena Murang and Mr Julien Cottet who has left his native France to stay in Sarawak to pursue his love for sape’. Find out how Sarawak’s very own unique traditional instrument now offers each of them a dream of their own.

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Alvin Wee (born and bred in Kuching) is a full-time music producer currently based in Los Angeles. He graduated from world’s premiere musical college – Berklee College of Music, he is the music producer/ mixing engineer/ recording musician behind international blockbusters’ soundtracks such as ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’, ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’, ‘Kingdom Hearts’, ‘13 Hours’, ‘Money Monster’, ‘Resident Evil VII’, just to name a few. In 2016, the song he helped lend a crucial hand in producing – “Arena Cahaya” (‘Ola Bola’ theme song) won “Best Original Song” in Asian Oscars – Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival Awards. Who better to delve into the subject of “Resonating Sound of Art” than the expert himself? Find out what it is like to create music from behind the scene as we speak through sounds with Alvin.

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When it comes to arts, one cannot dismiss the significance of literature/journalism study. One of the most common misconception surrounding this field of study is how it offers little to none good career prospects. Contrary to that popular belief, the job opportunities for literary study graduates is in fact, very extensive. A language degree holder can be found in almost any industry as he or she specializes in communication skills (both spoken and written) and analytical thinking skills. These are two expertise that are much needed in just about any commercial businesses particularly for public relations, advertising and marketing. Due to their great ability in reading and writing, some also wind up as legal advisors or speechwriters for politicians. Aside from professions in the academic field, everything under the media sector such as copywriting, news reporting, publishing, advertising, digital media, script writing, films and television, are potential career paths for literature graduates.

For another Sarawakian talent, Sarah Yeo who is a degree holder of Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism) started as a reporter and writer and found her passion in documentary production. Sarah is now a producer for multiple award winning productions. Get to know investigative journalism, a day in the shoes of a producer, and ultimately what makes the art of journalism substantial and valuable.

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Sarawak is blessed, truly blessed, with a variety of traditional arts & crafts. These are the heritage of various ethnicities, each with its own unique characteristics, proudly intertwined with the culture of its people. As we progress and push towards becoming a developed nation, traditional arts and crafts has taken a backseat in the national psyche. Particularly amongst the urban youth, it is deemed a relic of the past; tedious things their grandparents did in the kampungs, or worse, mere trinkets for tourists. They are seen to be to labour intensive, require too steep of a learning curve with meagre economic potential to support one’s livelihood. Some might ask if there are modern methods to produce these traditional pieces. However, the more essential question that might be asked is, why are these traditional arts and crafts so important?

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