Monday, February 25, 2008


There could only be one award-giving body in the film industry; most recognizable in the whole world – the Oscars. It has just celebrated its 80th year and gave out a new batch of the “Bests” just this morning.

Whew! 80 years! Could you imagine that? That’s why this award is so prestigious and its trophy, a world icon. But how did Southeast Asian films fared in the Oscars' 80 year history?

The highest we’ve reached so far was when Haing S. Ngor of Cambodia bagged the Best Supporting Actor in 1984. Who could forget the film “The Killing Fields”? Haing S. Ngor is the first and only Southeast Asian to have won an Oscar. It’s quite ironic that Ngor survived the violence in Cambodia but didn’t in the streets of Los Angeles.

We could safely say that the Best Foreign Language Film category can be our easy chance to bag an Oscar – but you’re wrong! Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand have been submitting films in the past decades but never nominated.

The one and only Southeast Asian country to get an Honorary Award (a nomination) for Best Foreign Language Film is Vietnam in 1993. “The Scent of Green Papaya” (Mùi đu đủ xanh) by Anh Hung Tran is the first ever submission of Vietnam.

Haing S. Ngor of Cambodia and Anh Hung Tran of Vietnam

Pride of Southeast Asia


Sunday, February 24, 2008

"I am a Bisean."

I got so much respect for the nomadic peoples of the world. There is no single place they call home and roam around as if the whole world is their “proverbial” home. The Bedouins of the Middle East, the Mongols and of course, the Gypsies of Europe whom I share part of my blood.

My friends and I were talking the other day about our life being nomads. I have been doing it for the past 10 years and some of them have been doing it for 5 -- Living in Southeast Asia as if it is just one single country.

So how do you call the nomads of Southeast Asia?

The closest are our Sea Gypsies. The Badjaos of Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Indonesia are the largest group. The Mokens of Thailand (Chao Ley) and Burma are the 2nd biggest group. But we can’t call ourselves Badjaos or Mokens, can we? Because it is obviously ethnicity-based.

If we use the term SEA Gypsies, which obviously stands for South East Asia, we might be confused with the Badjaos, Orang Laut or the Mokens – we certainly don’t look like ‘em! Thank you very much.

So we came up with a solution: Let it be known from this day forth, that we are coining the word “Bisean” as the modern day nomadic peoples of Southeast Asia.

There. Take that!


Saturday, February 23, 2008


Awesome Eurasian beauty.

Kirby Ann Basken is a Filipino-Norwegian model. She was born in 12 August 1985 in Lørenskog, Norway to a Norwegian father and a Filipino mother.

In 2006, Kirby joined the Mutya ng Pilipinas – a national pageant in the Philippines choosing girls to represent the country at the Miss Asia-Pacific. The next year, she went back to Norway and won the Frøken Norge 2007 (Miss Norway) which she also placed 2nd place the previous year.

Kirby Ann is the 2nd Southeast Asian to win the Miss Norway title. Helene Tråsavik, a Thai-Norwegian won in 2005.

Kirby Ann appeared on the covers of FHM Norway, Cosmopolitan Norway and other Scandinavian fashion magazines. She also appeared in numerous covers and photo spreads in the Philippines.

More photos of Kirby here...

(Click photo for larger view)

Eurasians are the hottest people on Earth.


*Some photos courtesy of FHM

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Muzium Kesenian Islam Malaysia

With 10 years of extensive travel in the whole of Southeast Asia, I have never seen any museum quite like it. I will not play safe, so I’ll say it bluntly – this is utterly the best museum in our region. *no appeals would be entertained*

The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur is Southeast Asia’s largest museum of Islamic art. From curious gears to bedazzling jewelries, from ancient scripts to more bedazzling jewelries, and from exotic textile designs to yet more bedazzling jewelries!

You will see thousands of fascinating things -- The intricate details of Islamic designs from the Mid-East, China, India and Southeast Asia, the heritage, the weapons, the tapestries, the cool scale models, all of ‘em! And…have I mentioned bedazzling jewelries already?

There are 12 galleries and the exhibits are quite straight forward. No unnecessary banners and flyers, no fancy gimmicks -- Just pleasingly simple, well-lit presentation. At first, it looks plain...but if you look closely on the walls, the floor, the cieling... the intricate details are there!

The museum was officially opened on 12 December 1998 as a gift to the good people of Malaysia (and us, of course) from the Albukhary Foundation.

Location: Jalan Lembah Perdana in Kuala Lumpur. A few minutes walk from the National Mosque or the Lake Gardens. Visiting hours: 10am to 6pm; Tuesdays-Sundays and public holidays; Closed on Mondays. Entrance fee: 12 Ringgit (US$3.50/120 Baht) for adults, half the price for visitors below 18 y.o. and senior citizens. And FREE for kids below 6 (providing you don’t let them run around and ruin the exhibits! Ha!)

Southeast Asia’s most fascinating and best presented museum is the MUZIUM KESENIAN ISLAM MALAYSIA (its local name). Believe me. You gotta see it. You’d come out inspired, educated and overwhelmed with what you just saw.

When you’re in Kuala Lumpur, check their ongoing exhibitions here.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Aside from the fact that this is the only beer brewed in Laos; and its cultural significance to the Laotians (and backpackers, of course)… this liquid amber *that didn't sound right lol* is surprisingly very good! Clean taste, a hint of grass/wheat and a light finish. I just can’t pinpoint the other odd undertone is has but I’ll let you know soon.

BeerLao has been winning medals since 2003 in the international beer circuit. The most recent was in Paris. It is also named as the “Best Beer in Asia” by Time Magazine in 2004. Who would imagine a world-class beer coming out of Laos? Well, don’t bother…it’s already here.

Beerlao was first produce in 1995 by the only brewery in the country, the Lao Brewery Company in Vientiane. LBC has been producing other beer brands since 1971.

Beerlao is made from local jasmine rice, Pilsner malt imported from France, Hallertauer Magnum hops and dry yeast from Germany, and spring water. They are now taking beer-making seriously. It is now exported in Australia, America, Canada, Cambodia, France, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Thailand, Vietnam, and the UK.

It comes in 3 variants: the Beerlao Original with 5% Alc./Vol., Beerlao Light with 2.9% and the divine Beerlao Dark with 6.5% party points. A regular bottle costs 5,500 Kip (US$0.50/ 21 Baht / 2 Ringgit).

When you come to Laos, try this beer. So when it’s time to leave, it would be your magic carpet. With just one bottle, you will be transported back to the streets of Vientiane or Luang Phrabang, enjoying on the banks of the Mekong River watching the sunset.

BeerLaoTreasure of Southeast Asia.


*Photo courtesy of Peter Garnhum

Monday, February 18, 2008

PERFECT SPECIMEN: Shirota Yu | しろた ゆう

One of Japan's most beautiful faces.

Shirota Yu is a famous recording artist in Japan. He is a member of the famous all-boys stage acting group called D-Boys. He is also a model, an actor, a music writer and a seasoned surfer; spanning his fame to Taiwan, Korea and Southeast Asia.

Shirota was born in Tokyo on 26 December 1985 to a Japanese father and a Spanish mother. His family moved to Barcelona when he was 2 and returned to Japan when he was about 8 ad stayed for good. He speaks Spanish, Japanese and English fluently.

His last name can also be written as "Yuu".

More photos of Shirota here...

Eurasians are the hottest people on Earth.


Shirota’s Official website and his blog.

*Photos courtesy of

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Starting 25th of February, BISEAN would be blogging from Beijing, China.
It would be our new base till December.

This means less travel to Southeast Asian countries (except Thailand), less parties in KL, Singapore, Bali, Saigon, Manila, etc. But of course, BISEAN would still be blogging about everything Southeast Asian.

Sofia and Morgan was offered modeling contracts in China.
BECAUSE I JUST BOUGHT IT! *the agency, I mean*

Thanks for your time.



We already made a blog entry of this heavenly food last year. It was listed on the “Our Cultural Treasures & Icons” group because it wasn't written with the recipe. You can read it here.

Although Indonesians has their own version, this particular recipe is Malaysian style. Maybe we'll have the Indonesian recipe soon.

Due to popular demand, here’s the recipe. You might wanna try it on your own because this is truly Southeast Asia’s culinary gem.


Preparation Time 30 min
Cooking Time 30 min
Serves 8


For the rice:
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 (1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt to taste
1/2 whole bay leaf
1 cup long grain rice, rinsed and drained

For the garnish:
2 boiled eggs
1 cucumber
1/2 cup raw peanuts (or already cooked)
1 cup dried anchovies

For the sauce:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tsp chili paste
1/2 (4 ounce) package white anchovies, washed
2 tbsp white sugar


1. The faster way is to use a rice cooker. Stir together coconut milk, water, ground ginger, ginger root, salt, bay leaf, and rice then cook it.

2. Meanwhile, de-shell the eggs and cut into half or quarters. Peel and slice the cucumbers.

3. In a skillet, use a little oil over high heat. Fry the peanuts, when it’s cook and red – add the dried anchovies. Cook till crispy. Keep stirring. Set aside.

4. For the Sambal (chili sauce) -- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet. Stir in the onion, garlic, and shallots; cook until fragrant, about 1 or 2 minutes. Mix in the chili paste, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the chili paste is too dry, add a small amount of water. Stir in remaining anchovies; cook for 5 minutes. Add sugar and salt (to taste); simmer until sauce is thick, about 5 minutes.

See photo how to serve it.

*Thanks to Ariff for the photo.

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