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Dictators and Communists at Singapore's M1 Fringe Festival 2012

A strong platform for small and high-quality art, the M1 Fringe Festival returns to look at art and faith, and invariably casts light on Asia’s social fabric today.


Asia is complex and diverse, deeply rooted and yet always changing. In this one festival you get a broad sweep of some of the keystones of Asian society through performing and visual art works, alongside works from outside Asia. 


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‘Inside Out’: Singapore’s Migrant Workers Turn Photographers

Turiyah Mansyur is a slight woman from Kendal in Central Java. Aged 30, she’s been in Singapore 14 years. She loves taking photographs and has a naturally artistic eye.

Mansyur is one of the participants of "Inside Out", a project that aims to bring about greater understanding between migrant workers and their host society, through photos taken by the workers.


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‘Requiem’: For a Dream and a Legacy

“Each came for a reason and died taking a chance … some stayed on for the glory, the money, the thrill. Others returned, again and again, because it was the place to be … all lived for the next picture; it could be the best one of all. It is for their photographs, not their dying, that the world remembers them.” 


These are the words of Tad Bartimus, award-winning American columnist and Vietnam War correspondent quoted in “Requiem.”


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'Nadirah': Playing Powerfully on Race and Religion

“Ninety-nine point six,” says Farouk, the president of his university’s Muslim society, devout Muslim and friend of [lead character] Nadirah, vice president and equally devout Muslim whose mother is about to marry a Chinese-Christian who won't convert to Islam.


Ninety-nine point six of Malays in Singapore are Muslims. This is a unity that must be preserved, Farouk stresses, outraged at the marriage.


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Newton Circus: Pricking People’s Conscience with an Exhibition

Walk by the busy corner of Cecil and Boon Tat streets in Singapore’s Central Business District and you might notice something different. A big sign there reads "Newton Circus" but doesn’t point to the Newton Circus we all know. Instead it is the sign for a new, forward-looking type of company. Both "for profit and for people and planet," Newton Circus’ business is doing good -– and being a viable corporation at the same time.


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Singapore Fringe Festival Courts Controversy

In 1993, performance artist Josef Ng sparked nationwide uproar when he snipped off his pubic hair in public as part of a protest against entrapment of gay men by Singapore police. His performance, “Brother Cane,” so outraged the authorities that the Media Development Authority subsequently severely restricted performance art in Singapore.A decade later, the ban was lifted and now artist Loo Zihan is restaging this attention-grabbing act again, this time as “Cane”, in the long-running platform for small, high-quality art acts and works: the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.


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A Question of Heritage: What’s Worth Saving in Singapore?

We have bid goodbye to our kampongs and the communities that went with them; we have said farewell to our street hawkers and the food heritage they embodied; we have seen countless old streets and buildings -- too numerous to count and generic to name -- get swallowed up by urban planning; and then we also watched things we thought had become priceless landmarks of the city fall to rubble.


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Lessons for Singapore's Indie Community from Post Museum

When the Post-Museum first opened in September 2007 in two small shop houses in Little India, the artistic, creative and left-leaning communities in Singapore were delighted. This was a home for them. Comprising exhibition and performance space, artists’ studios, offices and Food #03, a social enterprise café, Post-Museum hosted events, programs and edgy initiatives covering issues such as sexuality, civil society, social issues, independent film, art, music and literature and alternative culture; often pushing the envelope and providing a platform for things that were a challenge to engage in openly in mainstream Singapore.


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