Eerie images inside Fukushima’s exclusion zone five years after the nuclear disaster

Malaysian-born Loong said: 'The residents of these three towns in the red exclusion zone left so quickly they didn't even pack or take anything valuable with them' 

Daily Mail UK:

More than five years after the devastating tsunami and the 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck north-eastern Japan, causing the explosion of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, the Japanese town remains abandoned.

Since April 22, 2011, an area within 20km (12.4miles) radius of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant has been cordoned off from the public and listed as the red exclusion zone.

But now, Malaysian photographer Keow Wee Loong has entered into the exclusion zone to capture these eerie images.

Malaysian-born Loong said: ‘The residents of these three towns in the red exclusion zone left so quickly they didn’t even pack or take anything valuable with them

 Wearing a gas mask but no other protective clothing, Loong, 27, visited four of the evacuated towns in Fukushima

Wearing a gas mask but no other protective clothing, Loong, 27, visited four of the evacuated towns in Fukushima

There was also an empty DVD shop, full of discs dating back to 2011 - a reminder of the 150,000 people were forced to leave There was also an empty DVD shop, full of discs dating back to 2011 – a reminder of the 150,000 people were forced to leave.

Among the locations Loong explored during his time inside Fukushima, there was an empty supermarket full of merchandise dating back to 2011

The urban explorers wore masks as they entered abandoned houses, like this one in Futaba, that's untouched since the disaster in 2011
The urban explorers wore masks as they entered abandoned houses, like this one in Futaba, that’s untouched since the disaster in 2011

Clean laundry left half in washing machines show the panic that followed the disaster
 Clean laundry left half in washing machines show the panic that followed the disaster and there were plenty of valuables left untouched.
Loong explored various shops where valuables were left untouched

Wearing a gas mask but no other protective clothing, Loong, 27, visited four of the evacuated towns in Fukushima – Tomioka, Okuma, Namie and Futaba – in June this year with friends Sherena Ng and Koji Hori.

They were evacuated after the disaster on March 11, 2011, when a 50ft wave swamped the sea wall at the nuclear power plant, sparking equipment failures and allowing radioactive materials to escape.

It was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl and the towns have been completely untouched by humanity since then.

Loong’s images give an eerie insight into the panic that followed the disaster and show a city stuck in time as calendars remain on the same date, families’ clean washing is partially-removed from dryers and newspapers forever remain unsold.

Malaysian-born Loong said: ‘The residents of these three towns in the red exclusion zone left so quickly they didn’t even pack or take anything valuable with them.

‘If you visit any boutique or shopping mall in these towns, you will see the merchandise exactly where it was since 2011, nothing has been changed or moved.’

For urban explorer Loong, the abandoned sites were most disturbing as traffic lights were still working but there were no cars on the roads
The city of Fukushima was evacuated suddenly after the east coast of Japan was devastated by a massive earthquake followed by a huge tsunami
The packaged goods left on the shelf

The urban explorers entered the so-called ‘red zone’ – the site of maximum radiation – in the middle of the night to avoid being caught by the police.

Among the locations Loong explored during his time there was an empty shopping centre with shops full of merchandise, including newspapers and magazines, dating back to 2011

Among the locations Loong explored during his time there was an empty shopping centre with shops full of merchandise, including newspapers and magazines, dating back to 2011

Loong added: ‘I even found money laying around the pachinko parlour, books dating back to 2011, gold and other valuables all still in place.

Due to the high level of radiation, the adventurers only had a limited amount of time to explore all four towns and had to wear gas masks to protect themselves from the contaminated air.

Loong explained: ‘The radiation level in the red zone could go as high as 4.8mSv – 6.5 mSv according to the reading on the electronic signboard on the road.

‘Upon arrival in the red zone, I could smell chemicals and felt a burning sensation in my eyes.’

The urban explorers entered the so-called ‘red zone’ – the site of maximum radiation – in the middle of the night to avoid being caught by the police.

He said: ‘Due to the high level of radiation, the town was filled with police so we had a limited amount of time to explore everything in all four towns. We entered the red exclusion zone in the dark around 1am, to avoid attention from the cops.’

Due to the high level of radiation, the adventurers only had a limited amount of time to explore all four towns and had to wear gas masks to protect themselves from the contaminated air 

Due to the high level of radiation, the adventurers only had a limited amount of time to explore all four towns and had to wear gas masks to protect themselves from the contaminated air.

Loong visited four towns - Tomioka, Okuma, Namie and Futaba - in June this year with friends Sherena Ng and Koji Hori 

Loong said: 'When I walked into the mall I felt an eerie silence, like time had frozen. The mall was completely empty with no people in it but all the merchandise in place and I could explore anywhere I wanted'

Loong said: ‘When I walked into the mall I felt an eerie silence, like time had frozen. The mall was completely empty with no people in it but all the merchandise in place and I could explore anywhere I wanted’

The urban explorers walked along an abandoned train station in Futaba, Fukushima, which was eerily devoid of life

The urban explorers walked along an abandoned train station in Futaba, Fukushima, which was eerily devoid of life. Among the locations Loong explored during his time there was an empty shopping centre with outlets full of merchandise dating back to 2011 – a reminder of the 150,000 people that were forced to leave the area following the disaster.

He said: ‘When I walked into the mall I felt an eerie silence, like time had frozen. The mall was completely empty with no people in it but all the merchandise in place and I could explore anywhere I wanted.

‘I always had a childhood dream of going into a mall alone when it is empty, so my dream came true, it was like deja vu, everything is exactly the way it is since 2011, the books marked with 2011, DVD movies of 2011.

‘This was one of the creepiest things I have ever seen, I have been to many places, but nothing like Fukushima, the traffic lights are still operating but there are no cars around.

‘It all reminded me of the movie I Am Legend, like stepping foot into a post-apocalyptic city.

Star Wars used for revival of wayang kulit, Malaysia’s old shadow puppet art form

Al Jazeera America:

The 7th installment of Star Wars is released on Friday in the United States. In 38 years, the science fiction film has grown into a global multi-billion- dollar franchise. In some places it has even influenced aspects of pop culture.

Now in Malaysia, a group of people are using it to revive interest in an old art form.

‘The Daily Show’ adds Ronny Chieng as a correspondent


Australian comedian Ronny Chieng has joined on as a correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Chieng, a standup comedian, joins new host Trevor Noah, who was named to the desk after Jon Stewart announced he was stepping down from Comedy Central‘s long-running late night satire news show.

Born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore and New Hampshire, Chieng embarked on a standup career after graduating with degrees in commerce and law from the University of Melbourne. He was recognized as one of the “Top 10 Rising Comedians in Australia” by several publications in 2012, and has opened for the likes of Dave Chappelle and Bill Burr. He made his U.S. television debut this year on The Late Late Show.

Comedy Central announcement:

RONNY CHIENG: Born in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and raised in Manchester, NH and Singapore, stand-up comedian and actor Ronny Chieng has been a rising star on the comedy scene in Australia where he moved to attend the University of Melbourne. Embarking on a stand-up comedy career after graduating with a degree in commerce and a degree in law, Chieng’s career began to take off in 2012 when he was named one of the “Top 10 Rising Comedians in Australia” by The Age, the Herald Sun and The Sydney Morning Herald and received the “Best Newcomer” award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for his debut stand-up special, “The Ron Way.”

Since then, Chieng has continued his meteoric rise, performing sold-out tours in Australia and appearing at numerous international comedy festivals, including the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. Last year, Chieng won the “Directors’ Choice” award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and “Best Show” at the Sydney Comedy Festival. He has appeared in and performed on numerous TV shows in his adopted home of Australia and has opened for both Dave Chappelle (2014) and Bill Burr (2015) during their nationwide stand-up tours in Australia. Earlier this year Chieng made his US television debut on “The Late Late Show.” Chieng is repped by Century Entertainment Australia and APA.

I’m so excited to welcome these new members of The Daily Show team,” Trevor Noah said in a statement. “Now I get to share my stress with other new people.”

The new season of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah premieres Monday, September 28 on Comedy Central.

Epic Prank: Malaysian professional autosports/drifting champ Leona Chin pranks driving instructors

Auto Evolution: 

See the girl in the screenshot above? Her name is Leona Chin Lyweoi, she’s in her late 20s and, despite appearances, she’s been drifting since 2006. Hardly believable, more so when you take into consideration that Leona claimed top spot in Category 1 Ladies on multiple occasions.

The Malaysian professional motorsports athlete (and entrepreneur) is the type of woman that prefers the smell of burning rubber over getting her nails done at the beauty salon. Speaking of beauty, she hardly looks as a 28-year-old woman, especially when disguised as a high school student on her first driving lesson.

Leona Chin, together with social experiments and pranks specialist MaxMan.TV, were approached by a Malaysian driving school that thought it would be funny to prank their newly employed instructors.

Without further beating around the bush, make-up artists transformed our drift queen into a “Fast & Furious nerd” with a big desire to get her driver’s license. Geeky glasses, pigtails, a love-hate relationship with the clutch pedal and unassuming driving instructors are on the following video’s menu.

However, the highly modified Nissan Silvia (S15) used to make this prank happen isn’t exactly an ordinary vehicle for training. She told a driving instructor that it’s her brother’s car, but little do this guy and the other instructors know that Leona is about to scare the hell out of them with her top-class hooning skills.

12 Days of Princess: Southeast Asian celebs pose as Disney Princesses

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Audrey Magazine:

As a woman of Southeast Asian decent who grew up watching Disney movies, I often saw the two worlds clash. In fact, I saw it clash every time I looked in the mirror.

Throughout my childhood, I had difficulty identifying with any of the Disney princesses (the closest I got was Mulan) and it made me question if I was worthy of being a “princess.” As it turns out, many others shared my feelings. More and more artists are now taking an initiative to use their talents to challenge the classic princess image. A couple concepts I’ve seen include re-imagining Disney Princesses as different ethnicities, and even gender bending the princesses into princes.

Well it looks like Disney Channel (Asia) wanted to join the movement. They’ve created their own spin with their new campaign called “12 Days of Princess.”

In collaboration with 12 different Southeast Asian celebrities, Disney Channel (Asia) set out to recreate each artist into an iconic Disney princess. Their list of artists include Filipino actresses Sarah Geronimo and Kim Chiu, as well as Malaysian musicians Daiyan Trisha and Marsha Milan Londoh.

In addition to the campaign, Disney Channel (Asia) hosted a contest for viewers to have a chance to win an exclusive calendar featuring the remixed princesses. Check them out below and tell us which one is your favorite!

Malaysian musician and actress Marsha Milan Londoh as Queen Elsa:Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 2.59.07 PM

 

Filipino actress and singer Sarah Geronimo as Rapunzel:Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 2.58.14 PM

 

Thai singer Gam Wichayanee as Maleficent:
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Indonesian actress and model Sandra Dewi as Cinderella:Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 2.49.21 PM

 

Filipino-Chinese actress Kim Chiu as Mulan:
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Thai International Model Tori Holbrook as Pocahontas:Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 3.18.20 PM

 

Bandmate from Thailand’s girl group Olive, Oranicha Krinchai, as Ariel:Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 3.18.32 PM

 

Actress Wawa Maripha from Thailand as Belle:Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 3.18.48 PM

 

Fellow Olive bandmate from Thailand, Nitcharee Kijviriya, as Jasmine:Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 3.19.03 PM

 

Thai Model and Actress, Natpassara Adulyamethasiri, as Merida:Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 3.19.22 PM

 

Malaysian musician Daiyan Trisha as Snow White:Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 3.19.39 PM

We ran into a road bump while looking for Tiana’s model. Some speculate it’s Filipino actress Kathryn Bernardo, and others say that it’s Thai actress Chalida Vijitvongthong.  Neither actress show confirmation that it’s them. Can you help us find out who this mystery lady is? We’d love to hear what you think.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 3.17.13 PM

 

The Malaysian entrepreneur who bought AirAsia for 26 cents and turned it into a multi-billion dollar airline

Air_Asia_Tony_Fernandes

Next Shark: 

Even with the recent mysterious disappearance of AirAsia flight 8501 dominating world news right now, it can be hard to identify with the reality of such a surreal situation. While the hopeful search for the missing flight goes on, here’s the story behind the rise of AirAsia from an entrepreneur who bought $11 million in debt for 26 cents and made into a multi-billion dollar empire.

AirAsia is rated as one of the best budget airlines in the world, having won the Skytrax World’s Best Low Cost Airline for the sixth year in a row as of August 2014. Like the current state of its sister company Malaysian Airlines, the Kuala Lumpur-based airline was once government-owned and virtually run into the ground until one brilliant entrepreneur turned the the diseased company into an empire.

In 2001, AirAsia only had two rickety Boeing 737 jets, 250 employees, one route and $11 million of debt. Entrepreneur and current CEO Tony Fernandes bought the dead company with several partners for one Malaysian ringgit — the equivalent of 26 cents at the time — and assumed the company’s massive debt under his holding group Tune Group.

Tony Fernandes was born in Malaysia but was educated at the London School of Economics. Before buying AirAsia, he had no experience working with planes. If you think the AirAsia logo looks familiar, you are right. A good deal of Fernandes’ charisma and style seems to come from his years working at Richard Branson’s Virgin Communications in the mid-80s as a financial controller. He eventually moved to Warner Music International in London, and then later to Malaysia, where his experience as a music executive gave him a sense of entrepreneurship and a feel for the Asian entertainment markets.
How did he turn a failing AirAsia into the now $1.5 billion-a-year company? The answer is almost annoyingly simple — he basically copied the same business model as Southwest Airlines for cheap tickets, good service and quick turnarounds for flights to keep planes in the air. The company reached profitability in 2002, and over the next 12 years, AirAsia expanded their flights to affiliates all over the region to become one of the the most efficient, low-cost airlines in the world. AirAsia now has over 10,000 employees while operating 169 Airbus A320 and A330 jets that transport 230 million passengers a year.
Virgin 1

In 2007, Fernandes told INSEAD Business School’s Knowledge:

“What does the market want? Nine times out of 10, when you go for what the market wants, it’s something that’s different … But we weren’t the first to invent low-cost travel, we weren’t the first to invent a low-cost hotel … We’ve taken it to another level, but we’ve been a bit Japanese in taking it, and adapting it, and making it better for our part of the world.”

Fernandes’ company actually looks a lot like the Virgin Group model — he is basically gearing himself up to be the Malaysian Richard Branson. His holding group, whose logo looks very Virgin-inspired, also manages Tune Hotels, Tune Tones, an Asian basketball league, the Queens Park Rangers Football Club and the Caterham Group, which covers a slew of automotive racing and technology companies. Fernandes’ net worth was estimated to be $650 million in February by Forbes Asia.

While the mysterious tragedies of disappearing flights in Southeast Asia may leave questions for most, for an entrepreneur as tenacious as Tony Fernandes, it’s likely AirAsia will weather the storm as he gets to the bottom of it.

 

 

 

 

Artist Profile: Malaysian artist Vince Lowe overcomes dyslexia, creates art to inspire the world

vincelowe

RocketNews 24:

 

Childhood can be difficult–dealing with homework, classmates, teachers, parents, and sweaty, screaming gym coaches is enough to frustrate anyone. But add a learning difficulty like dyslexia to that mix and “difficult” becomes a drastic understatement. For many, the frustration of being mislabeled as lazy or simply shunned for having difficulty in school can turn into a lifetime of trouble–but that doesn’t need to be the case. In fact, with just a little understanding and some patience on the part of teachers and family members, young dyslexics can turn into extremely successful and talented adults, as Malaysian artist Vince Lowe so ably proves!

Despite his unhappy school days, Vince has gone from a “bad kid” to a well-respected professional with art skills that are simply amazing.

 Before we let you get a look at Vince’s art–and believe us, it’s nothing short of fantastic–we have to tell you a little bit about his story.

 

▼Okay, one sneak peek. Here’s his take on the most beautiful woman in history.

Posed shot of Kimbo Slice Credit:  Tom Casino/EliteXC  D120008

 

Vince explains on his website that, as a kid, he struggled desperately at school. No matter how hard he tried, he simply found himself unable to complete his homework on time. Now, you might think that’s just an excuse–his teachers certainly did. According to the artist, he was punished nearly every day in elementary school for not finishing his homework, which we think should have a been a sign of a deeper problem, but then again, we’re not teachers. Of course, the punishments didn’t end when he moved up to junior high school–but he did become a target for bullies.

With all the abuse he was taking from both teachers and peers, it’s understandable that the youth eventually became sick of school and found himself hanging out with the “gangsters,” as he called them. While we’re sure that there are some gangsters with hearts of gold, it doesn’t really seem like the typical path to success, we would say. However, that’s obviously not the end of the story for Vince, who was eventually confronted about his poor behavior by a friend from elementary school.

Realizing he wasn’t headed down the right path, Vince refocused himself to concentrate on his studies, working hard to turn his life around. In the end, he found…well, not success. “But very unfortunately, I couldn’t change a thing, and in the end I still failed,” he wrote on his website.

 

▼Yeah, this how we would feel too.

hulk1

 

Fortunately, he had some smart parents who realized that the young man might need to change his focus a little and decided to give the youth a shot with art and music. And then everything just clicked–Vince found himself not just completing tasks but excelling at them as well. Eventually, Vince became a full-time illustrator and later a creative director at an advertising agency. Which bring us to his latest project working on campaigns spreading awareness about dyslexia.

 

▼And after that, how about something on the dangers of smoking?

wolverine1

 

As Vince writes on his website:

When my creative director briefed me on the job, he showed me a video of how the letters blink and move when a dyslexic reads them. I was shocked, stunned and speechless. At that moment, I found out that I was a dyslexic too! The learning disability I had experienced wasn’t normal to everyone, [the] majority of the people don’t see letters jumping, moving or blinking when they read. I was absolutely taken aback; I did not know what to feel. Then came the second turning point in my life.

 

The turning point was realizing that there was a reason he had struggled in school–and that he wasn’t alone. And with this information came a drive to help others. Vince has helped create the campaigns you see below which are aimed at raising awareness to ensure that other kids and their parents won’t go through the same ordeal.

As he wrote on his website: “I believe that successful awareness campaigns will help change many children’s lives, which will guide them to the better and brighter side of being dyslexic.”

 

cat1

 

Here are a few of the “scribble” posters Vince illustrated specifically for the campaign. The posters show some famous dyslexics and prove that having a learning disability doesn’tmean you’re stupid at all. Unless you think Einstein was lacking in the intelligence department.

 

Dyslexia _einstein

Dyslexia _picasso

Dyslexia _picasso

 

In addition to the campaign posters, Vince has also put a ton of his illustrations online on Behance for public viewing. We’ve chosen a few our favorites, but you will definitely want to spend some time looking through his portfolio.

 

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joker1

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If you’re looking for some insight into his “scribble” art, Vince explained that as he scribbled he discovered the potential in his doodles–much like a dyslexic finding his or her own personal strength. We have to say that it’s a beautiful metaphor–and one that he’s brought expertly to life! Take a look at this series of illustrations to see Vince take a kernel and turns into a full, gorgeous drawing.

 

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jimi2

jimi3

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Finally, as stunning as Vince’s scribbles are, that’s not the only style he’s mastered. Going in a completely different direction, here’s a piece from his “Monster Babies” series.

 

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You can see more of Vince’s art on his Behance page or buy prints on his website, which you should waste no time in visiting!