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Lao Sa Jia Sung, an itinerant Thai-Chinese opera troupe, has been performing Teochew Opera, an slight variation of Chinese Opera, since the mid 60’s. Some of them are part of the troupe since the early beginnings of the company.
Traditional Chinese opera is one of the oldest performing arts in the world. The opera dates back to China's early history with its importance ramping up in the 13th century during the Song Dynasty. This ancient art combines drama, music, literature along with acrobatics and martial arts.
It is hardly seen on stage in Thailand in the 21st century, except during the Vegetarian Festival, the Chinese New Year and other holiday periods, always around Chinese temples and shrines. Modern forms of entertainment, like TV Soap Operas and the Internet, are widely established within Thai society, thus it is very difficult for traditional opera groups to attract new public. Despite the difficulties in gaining new audience and, therefore, funding, Chinese opera resists disappearing and keeps performing in the Southeast Asian country.
Lao Sa Jia Sung recently performed during the eleven days of the Vegetarian Festival at the Chinese Jing Sia Ma shrine in the heart of Bangkok's Chinatown. The team, consisting of about 30 members, delivers a delightful daily show for its mostly Thai-Chinese audience, combining literature, theatre and musical performance, with plenty of old fashioned entertainment. They spend most of the time together, working full time for the company.
Performers spend several hours a day applying makeup backstage and getting into character. "With our commitment with this performing art, there is no room for tiredness", one of the performers says. They need to be physically and mentally ready since each performance lasts for about five hours.
Now, they are on the road again. The troupe will now travel around Malaysia for the next six months. They will come back to Thailand after the Malaysian tour. Despite their difficulties, the members of Lao Sa Jia Sung show strong enthusiasm and fight to keep alive this ancestral form of Chinese art and entertainment. As one of the performers stresses, “It's our way of life.”
TJ at the hair dresser in Yangon downtown.
After a first relationship with a man which came to an end five months ago, he met Internet another boy from Rangoon. They fell in love and now both are saving as much money as they can to meet face to face some day.
Most Egyptians approved of the recent decision of Egypt’s General Prosecutor Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud to order government authorities to block any "corrupt or corrupting" pornographic images or scenes inconsistent with the values and traditions of the Egyptian people, and the higher interests of the state.
An official in the prosecutor's office said the order followed a protest by Salafists, who have launched a campaign called "Pure Net" with the goal of prohibiting pornographic websites.
The campaign is backed by several prominent Salafist preachers as it calls for the prohibition of adult websites in Egypt on grounds that such sites violate Egyptian customs and values.
SOUNDBITE 1 (Arabic) – Coordinator of “Pure Net Campaign, Cairo University”, Mohamed Hossam:
“The Campaign of pure Net is a youth plan to ban the porn sites. It seeks to ban all porn sites to preserve Egyptian behavior as east community which rejects the presence of this phenomenon inside the community.”
SOUNDBITE 2 (Arabic) – Software Engineer for Web Applications, Ahmed Abu-Baker:
“The banning of porn sites is available for any country, and any government can do that as well by blocking the actual host of the websites or even by blocking the website itself within the IP.”
Mahmoud sent official letters to the Communications and Information Technology Minister, the Interior Minister and the head of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority on Wednesday, November 7, ordering them to block pornographic websites.
He wrote that such websites show images that are contrary to the values and traditions of Egyptian society and the national interest according to the statements of his spokesperson Adel al-Saeed.
Most Egyptians support the decision to ban porn sites, highlighting the fact that Egyptian society is conservative by nature and the decision will serve to preserve Egypt's social norms and values.
SOUDNBITE 3 (Arabic) – Egyptian citizen, Khaled:
“I think that the decision of the General-Prosecutor to block the porn sites is very good decision because a big category of the Egyptian society use the internet so it is illogical to let all the sites available for all the people particularly the porn sites.”
SOUNDBITE 4 (Arabic) - Egyptian citizen, Mohamed Ibrahim:
“Actually it is a very good decision because it is illogical that I have internet at my home and my young child enters on it and goes to such porn sites to see inconsistent scenes so I see it is a very good decision.”
Meanwhile on the part of liberal critics, the decision was met by uproar and concern about the possible impact such legislation might have on the freedom of expression.
They believe that the general ban may pave the way for more Internet regulations to come.
In May 2009, Egypt's High Administrative Court declared a ban on pornographic websites. The move was based on a lawsuit filed by Islamist lawyer Nezar Ghourab.
The court said such websites help spread vice, which destroys traditions, beliefs and morals, and therefore the country’s interests as well as social and national security.
Story: Most Egyptians Approve of Prosecutor’s Order to Ban Porn Websites
Local News Agency: Middle East Bureau / VCS
Shooting Dateline: November 9, 2012 and Archive
Shooting Location: Cairo, Egypt
Publishing Time: November 10, 2012
Video Size: 104 MB
1- Various external shots of Egypt’s Supreme Courthouse
2- Medium shot of the Egyptian flag on the top of the headquarters of the Supreme Courthouse
3- Medium shot of Prosecutor-General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud speaking during a meeting (Archive October 14 )
4- Medium shot, the attendees during the meeting (Archive October 14 )
5- SOUNDBITE 1 (Arabic) – Coordinator of “Pure Net Campaign, Cairo University”, Mohamed Hossam:
“The Campaign of pure Net is a youth plan to ban the porn sites. It seeks to ban all the porn sites to preserve the Egyptian behavior as east community which rejects the presence of this phenomenon inside the community” 6- SOUNDBITE 2 (Arabic) – Software Engineer for Web Applications, Ahmed Abu-Baker:
“The banning of porn sites is available for any country and any government can do that as well by blocking the actual host of the websites or even by blocking the website itself within the IP.” Various shots of Egyptians searching the internet
7- Wide shot of Traffic movement at one of Cairo streets
8- SOUDNBITE 3 (Arabic) – Egyptian citizen, Khaled:
“I think that the decision of the General-Prosecutor to block the porn sites is very good decision because a big category of the Egyptian society use the internet so it is illogical to let all the sites available for all the people particularly the porn sites.” 9- SOUNDBITE 4 (Arabic) - Egyptian citizen, Mohamed Ibrahim:
“Actually it is a very good decision because it is illogical that I have internet at my home and my young child enters on it and goes to such porn sites to see inconsistent scenes so I see it is a very good decision.” 10- Various shots of Egyptians searching on the internet
11- wide shot of traffic movement at one of Cairo streets
12- Wide shot of youth sitting on the internet at internet café
13- Wide overview shot of the Nile River in Cairo
Tensions Rise as Egyptian Courts to Rule on Defaming Christianity and Islam in Two Separate Cases
In the aftermath of massive protests and violent reactions to the anti-Islam video "The Innocence of Muslims," an undercurrent of tension boils just below the surface as issues of religious defamation rise to the forefront, as seen in two recent court cases in Egypt.
One case involves a young Egyptian Coptic Christian, Alvert Saber, who is being accused of blasphemy and advocating atheism for posting clips of the infamous video online. Saber, who denies posting the clips, is not only accused of insulting Islam, but Christianity as well. Human Rights activists call for his release and advocate for his right to freedom of expression. His trial is set for November 14th.
Abou Islam, head of Umma Islamic channel and chairman of Islamic Enlightenment Center, is accused of publicly and scornfully insulting Christianity after allegedly tearing-up and burning a Bible on Sep 11 outside the US Embassy in Cairo, which he did in response to the film. Islam stated that the book was not a Bible, but a book of Terry Jones, a controversial US evangelical preacher who oversaw the burning of a copy of the Quran in a small Florida church.
Included is video footage of the protests, where violent backlash broke out along with some peaceful demonstrations in several locations including Egypt, Lebanon, Malaysia and Tunisia.
On Wednesday, October 17, Cairo courts adjourned the trial of Alvert Saber, an Egyptian Copt accused of blasphemy for posting clips of the anti-Islam video on the Internet, to the session of November 14.
Saber, who denied he posted such clips, is not only accused of insulting Islam, but Christianity too.
Saber’s mother said that the police broke into their apartment illegally while she wasn’t here.
SOUNDBITE 1 (Arabic) – Hamdy al-Asiouty, member of Saber’s defense staff
SOUNDBITE 2 (Arabic) – Kariman, Alber Saber’s mother
The defense staff of the young man said that their client said he was persecuted in custody by one of the prisoners under orders of a police officer.
The prosecution investigations revealed that the defendant used Islam and Christianity to promote his extreme thoughts on the Internet, mocking God and his prophets and calling for atheism.
A number of human rights activists and supporters call for the release of Saber as he has been practicing his freedom of expression.
Story: Trial of Egyptian Copt for Posting Anti-Islam Video Adjourned to Nov 14
Local News Agency: Middle East Bureau / VCS
Shooting Dateline: October 17, 2012
Shooting Location: Cairo, Egypt
Publishing Time: October 17, 2012
1. Medium external shot of the court in Cairo
2. Various shots of Kariman, Alber Saber’s mother, outside the court
3. Pan left, Saber’s mother entering the court
4. Various shots of crowds of people and reporters at the corridor inside the court, waiting to see Saber while being taken out of the courtroom
5. Pan left, Saber being moved from the courtroom to another room amid tight security and throngs of people and reporters
6. SOUNDBITE 1 (Arabic) – Hamdy al-Asiouty, member of Saber’s defense staff
7. SOUNDBITE 2 (Arabic) – Kariman, Alber Saber’s mother
8. Medium shot, crowds of reporters and cameramen in a corridor at the court
9. Long shot, crowds of people, reporters and cameramen and Saber’s mother trying to enter the room he was taken to
11. Various shots of Saber’s mother coming out of the court, speaking on the cell phone
12. Wide external shot of the court
The UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi held meetings with top Lebanese officials on Wednesday, October 17, in Beirut over the Syrian issue.
Mourners gather to honor the late king Norodom Sihanouk who died of a heart attack Monday, at the age of 89. His body was returned from China, where he had been receiving medical treatment.
On Wednesday, October 17, Cairo courts postponed the trial of Alvert Saber, a young Egyptian accused of blasphemy for posting clips of the anti-Islam video, "Innocence of Muslims" on the Internet. The trial will be held November 14th.
Backup batteries for radio and Internet are essential in the desert.