Wednesday, August 19, 2009


A “diva”, according to Merriam-Webster English dictionary: 1. prima donna 2. Usually glamorous and successful female performer or personality. The word came from the Latin word “divus” which means goddess or a female deity.

The word came to the English language in 1883 and used for operatic prima donnas that time. The contemporary term “Diva” is believed to have started with Maria Callas – the Greek-American opera singer who earned worldwide fame in the 50s. Then there was Googoosh of Persia, Edith Piaf of France, Rocio Jurado of Spain and many others.

BISEAN will list and feature the divas of our great region.

How will we do it?

To lessen "subjectivity" like voice quality, singing style, fan-base, etc. -- We came up with the 5 most common criteria of a Diva. These will be the objective principles to be used in our pursuit to list the region’s ultimate divas:

1. Fame. Her name is known to at least 3 generations; a confirmation of her staying power.

2. Signature Song. A song that only her name is attributed to. No other singer dares to sing it without acknowledging her name.

3. Cultural contribution. Her music represents her nation’s identity and heritage; made an impact to the local music industry.

4. A goddess is never always available. She has no fan-base but commands respect from the public and fellow performers. Appearances are rare.

5. Real tragic drama. Her personal life is one big spectacle itself. The raw emotions of her real life resonate through her songs.

We need our reader’s involvement.

We have already prepared a short list, but we welcome contributions to list the Divas of Southeast Asia.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

MEET OUR NEW SONGBIRD: The Bare-Faced Bulbul

Ha! Our good neighbor Laos has revealed yet another new specie of song birds -- this is the Bare-Faced Bulbul -- only found among the tower-like limestones of the jungles of Savannakhet Province. It is the only known "bald" song birds in Mainland Asia.

It was discovered by Aussie scientists in December 2008 and published in Forktail in July 2009. These birds were noisily foraging around the camp, obviously haven't seen humans before.

How can a very odd creature with distinct features evade humans for centuries? Amazing! Well, maybe because the BFB's habitat is legally protected in Laos and is mainly harsh and inhabitable.

The Bare-Faced Bulbul's official name is Pycnonotus hualon. It is the 138th addition of the world's 137 listed species of Bulbuls. Bulbul maybe derived from the Turkish word "bulbul" which means "nightingale". And no, the Filipino word for "pubic hair" is of a different spelling so don't go smart a** with me =). Ha!

Although our region is faced with seemingly hopeless, endless string of endangered species; BISEAN cheer and celebrate this new discovery!

Thank you, Laos.


Monday, August 10, 2009


Here are our gorgeous delegates to the Miss Universe Pageant this year in Nassau, Bahamas. Live telecast of the coronation will be on 23 August 2009, Sunday.

Zivanna Letisha Siregar, 20, 5'10", Jakarta
JoannaBelle Ng, 21,5'8", Kota Kinabalu
Pamela Manalo, 22, 5'10", Manila
Rachel Kum, 24, 5'7", Singapore
Chutima Durongdej, 23, 5'10", Bangkok
Võ Hoàng Yến, 20, 5'10, Ho Chi Minh City

Zivanna was Indonesia's Elite Model Look winner. Võ Hoàng is Vietnam's Supermodel 2008 winner. Chances? Too early to tell. But with the current trending on how they choose a Miss Universe -- these two will fit the ranks.

But if they are looking for a real beauty queen, it's Philippines' Bianca hands down.

Good luck, girls! Bring home the pearls.


Monday, August 03, 2009

OUR ICONS: Corazon Aquino

Anyone born before or after 1986 knows who Corazon Aquino is. The gentle, soft-spoken, simple housewife who became the 11th President of the Philippines that year and started a “wave” of People Power revolts across the globe.

She is the first female President in Southeast Asia and one of the firsts in the world. Her name is not restricted to the Philippines, "Cory" *her nick name* is a democracy icon in human’s modern history.

Needless to say, the whole world knows who she is. And the forgetful ones scruffled the Internet in the past 3 days trying to get a refresher *she is the top search on the Net right now*.

And I bet if the Martians and Plutonians are reading Time Magazine, they know her too.

Southeast Asia and the world lost one of our greatest icons – Cory passed away last Saturday (01 August 2009) after a long battle with cancer.

BISEAN arrived in Manila this morning to brave the sea of people who will try to get a last glimpse of her at the Manila Cathedral tonight. We want to be part of history. We want to see her for the last time.

See her full biography here.


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