Southeast Asia’s first and only festival of ideas The Cooler Lumpur Festival returned for its seventh year from 30 September to 6 October 2019 at its home ground Publika. This year, the festival took on a theme that aimed to celebrate those amongst us who do their part in combating the major concerns of our time – recognising these everyday heroes as #SuperCanggih.
This year’s theme celebrated the everyday heroes who are doing extraordinary things that contribute to making the world a better place. In standing up to try to overcome some of the daunting and overwhelming issues we face, they stretch the chances of hope for change – making them the SuperCanggih beings of our time. Apart from the insightful panel sessions and interactive workshops led by experts in their respective fields, the festival brought back some favourites including artisanal food fair The Belly Good Food Market, alternative book publisher’s pop-up market KLAB and evening skills-based sessions Nite sCool.
With that, let’s take a look at the top highlights from the past week.
A staple event of the festival, Journalism Campus made its return. This time, in collaboration with New Naratif, the series of interactive workshops, panel discussions and talks touched on the state of today’s media. The journalistic-centric segment saw speakers from the likes of Andreas Vogiatzakis, Group Chief Executive Officer of Star Media, to discuss a range of topics from photojournalism in the age of Instagram, to the issues around fake news.
[WORKSHOP] SUSTAINABLE FASHION: MAKING CLOTHES FROM REUSABLE MATERIALS
While fast fashion seems to be the most popular choice for how we shop and clothe ourselves, it has also contributed to increasing amounts of waste, cut into the sustainability of materials, and contributed to unethical production and labour practices. These are areas of focus for UK artist and designer Eliza Collin, as her work is concerned with issues surrounding production in relation to materials and people.
Participants joined in her two-hour workshop to explore the vast issues of sustainability on a personal and cultural level, and participated in a collective exercise of upcycling and finding alternative ways of making clothes from reused materials brought by the participants themselves. This workshop was presented in collaboration with the British Council Malaysia, and was hosted by Biji-biji Ethical Fashion.
[WORKSHOP] NOTHING TO HAID – A MUM AND DAUGHTER CONVERSATION
As mothers, we want to do everything humanly possible to make sure our daughters live happy, healthy lives which includes loving themselves, being confident, and more importantly, staying safe. However, in achieving this, there’s one area we tend to avoid talking about – sexual education.
Makchic, together with SPOT, organised a Mother-Daughter workshop to get the conversation started. The objective of the workshop was to create a safe, non-judgmental place to discuss the intimate details of human sexuality, to encourage a healthy discourse about it, and to empower young girls with the right knowledge.
[PANEL] SUPER CANGGIH DEFINERS FORUM
Here comes a band of powerful creators from Asia who uses their art to elevate issues that impact society and culture. Attendees got to catch these PIXERF ambassadors’ photography exhibition throughout the whole festival week and attend a forum, with the four extraordinary visual creators who have shaken up the photography industry and culture at large.
Xyza Cruz Bacani humanises migrant workers in Asian cities through her black-and-white photos. Nadirah Zakariya reframes the idea of womanhood with raw, personal and bracingly honest portraits. Tom Potisit uses fashion photography to bring awareness to unspoken issues in Thailand. Yaman Ibrahim makes it his mission to represent the Malaysian point of view in the photography scene.
Participants were also invited to walk the streets of Kuala Lumpur with these four inspiring photographers to capture some extraordinary moments to open up new perspectives through their lenses.
[WORKSHOP] DISTANT THOUGHTS
Every once in a while, do we make it a point to stop and think about things that are distant from here and now? Notably, in the history of humans, these “Distant Thoughts” have brought breakthroughs in science and technology many times.
In this workshop with Japanese app developer Isana Kashiwai, participants experienced an interactive lecture using the audience’s body scale, was tested in short and sweet quizzes, and posed questions and received answers about “distance”.
[SCREENING] SCIENCE FILM FESTIVAL
In collaboration with the Goethe Institut, The Cooler Lumpur Festival screened two selections from the Science Film Festival:
- Decoding The Weather Machine – In this documentary, NOVA cut through the confusion around climate change. The festival’s audience joined scientists around the world on a quest to better understand the workings of the weather and climate machine we call Earth, and discover how to stay resilient— even thrive— in the face of enormous change.
- The Exploitation Of The Forests – In this film about global hotspots of deforestation, Manfred Ladwig and Thomas Reutter’s investigative research revealed that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) does not remove the eco-label from companies accused of processing illegally harvested virgin forest. Audience got to sit through and understand the links between FSC, illegal logging and the expulsion of indigenous people living in the forests.
For more information, check out the website at https://www.goethe.de/prj/sff/en/index.html.
Don’t fret if you missed these screenings! You can catch Decoding The Weather Machine on Netflix for some late-night binge-watching.
Around the world right now, there are more than 70.8 million people who are forced to flee home due to war, persecution and danger. In search of safety, hundreds of thousands have chosen to cross the ocean, risking their lives to seek for a safer home and a better life.
SALT was a unique and immersive dining experience offering a glimpse into the journey of a refugee courtesy of PichaEats. With no guarantee of whether you can reach the shore safely, participants stepped into a refugee’s shoes for 20 minutes, and experienced first-hand, the struggles faced by refugees during their escape. At the end, participants were treated to a feast prepared by Syrian refugee Chef Nesreen.
[COMMUNITY BUILD] ME.REKA X IGNITION LAB
Passersby were able to donate a total of RM10 to build furniture ranging from shoe racks to chairs that are necessary for the upkeep and betterment of two selected orphanages.
The built-up furniture has since been delivered and made its home in the orphanages since Monday, 7 October.
[POP-UP] TUNE PROTECT EASYMART
As a first-time partner of the festival, Tune Protect set up a convenience-store concept booth that showcased the brand’s products and services of which passersby were able to redeem attractive merchandise. Apart from that, the brand also hosted a travel photography workshop led by travel and wedding photographer Vinoth Raj Pillai of The Real VRP who shared his tips and tricks on how to capture envy-inducing wanderlust photos.
[PANEL] WE DIDN’T START THIS FIRE
Issac Cheng is the vice-chairman of Demosistō and is currently a year three student in Sociology at Shue Yan University. He was inspired by the protests against the National Education curriculum, and went onto join Demosistō when he was in secondary school.
Attendees joined in on the conversation with Isaac to understand the various pressure points unfolding in Hong Kong. The panel was followed by a Q&A session led by Isaac himself.
[POP-UP] BRITISH COUNCIL X INSTITUT KRAF NEGARA CRAFT SHOWCASE
British Council in partnership with Institut Kraf Negara held a craft showcase that featured a wealth in local craft heritage made by Institut Kraf Negara’s students, from intricate weaving to bespoke furniture pieces.
[PANEL] BUILDING A CHALLENGER HOTEL BRAND IN AN EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE MARKET
citizenM is a big time disrupter in the traditional hotel industry, known for its luxury hybrid hotel catered to today’s modern travellers that work to eliminate these travellers’ frustrations. Over the weekend, Vice President Asia of citizenM hotels, Toni Hinterstoisser hosted an in-depth session sharing the brand’s approach to cut through the crowd and emerge victorious from its tech strategy, interior design aesthetic and unique communication lingo.
For more information on the festival, log on to www.coolerlumpur.com and follow The Cooler Lumpur Festival on Instagram (@CoolerLumpur) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/CoolerLumpur/) to check out what went down.
Hope to catch you at next year’s festival!