Tag Archives: multiculturalism

Metropolitan Skin

Metropolitan Skin Street photography is my outlet to perceive life. I try to get my head around the complexity of cultures that drawn together in Australia. It is fascinating how people with different backgrounds express their identities. I have learned a lot about Sydney just walking around on the main streets and back lanes, at dawn and dusk, day and night.

My latest slide show exhibition is just about those theme I have been working on for 3 years. Robert McGrath, Vitek Skonieczny and I take turn showcasing how we see the city at World Square. In their words:

Metropolitan Skin is a photographic exhibition, presented as a slide show. It presents the differing visions of urban engagement by three photographers – Robert McGrath, ‘Pong and Vitek Skonieczny.

Robert McGrath
Screening between Monday 16 March – Wednesday 25 March
persona | passion | communality
Through his photo essays, Robert has photographed a wide range of milieus and activities across Sydney. He is interested in photographing events which draw people together based on a common activity, talent or passion. How people present at such events, says a lot about how they see themselves, which we experience as their persona.

Screening between Thursday 26 March – Saturday 4 April
fusions | unready | entropy
‘Pong is particularly aware of the many groupings that are uniting in modern Australian cities. These groups often only exist within a sheer layer of each other. Weaving between those layers, ‘Pong juxtaposes aesthetics and understandings to create a truly contemporary view of our urban environment. He has a strong sense of visual irony which allows him to reveal the amazing world of human minutia within the “unexpected” city.

Vitek Skonieczny
Screening between Sunday 5 April – Sunday 12 April
cellular | organism | lifeblood
To Vitek, the city is alive. He shows human activity transforming the inanimate city into a living, breathing, shifting life force. The flow of its people and the patterns they trace, is the lifeblood of his constantly evolving ecosystem. He sees the massing of people into an unconscious, yet structured organism, flowing determinantly towards a mysterious, yet predetermined destination.

The show is curated by Robert McGrath and there will be some that I have put on this blog but some that haven’t seen the light before. Metropolitan Skin is on at World Square upper level (big screen) and lower level (on Sony plasma screens) until 12 April.

Back in Cabramatta


When I first visit Cabramatta six years ago, it was Moon Festival celebration. For the first time in Sydney, I felt I recognised crowded Asian punters, just like home.

Cabramatta has large Asian communities from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. That gives a special character identified with Southeast Asian culture. This time it ramping up for Lunar New Year. Another celebration is on the way.

Sydney Songkran 08

Thailand Grand Festival 2008, Sydney

13-15 April is Songkran Festival, traditional Thai New Year. Thai community in Sydney has the celebration called Thailand Grand Festival in Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour. Last year I explored the Buddhist ceremony and the entertainments on stage. This year is pretty much the routine with merit making and blessing in the morning then stage shows in the afternoon. No Aboriginal welcoming protocol has a presence here, just the Premier representative. Do we need a black fella to officially open every single event in Australia or, at least, just an acknowledgement?

The best improvement this year must be Singha Beer tent and the promotion girls are willing to table serve the customers while gulping some beer with her friends along the way. It feels like home. Of course, there are loads of food. Many of them you cannot find in typical Thai restaurants in Sydney. Other than that is largely tourism promotion.


Buddha bath

Performance from Ubon Rachathani University

Packed in the massage pavilion by the rain

Waiting for the rain to stop on the stage

Bored mouth organ master playing the instrument while waiting in the rain


Visual screen operator waiting for a command

The only water fight found at the festival

The hi-light performance would be Joe Louis Traditional Thai Puppet Theatre. Unfortunately, the show has to stop due to the rain. The best Thai attitude is still applied here by stating it is the shower of the angels even though everything is on hold for a while. Nevertheless, when weather is clear, the event continues and the crowd is back again despite of the soggy ground.

Resumed performance by Joe Louis Puppet

Coming down to meet the crowd

Getting to know you

Big fans

Participating the show

I would like to use the word Songkran on this post which unofficially unannounced in the event. It is the best we can get on such a special occasion away from home in Sydney.

Sydney Chinese New Year Parade 2008

Another the City of Sydney’s selling point of parties is Chinese New Year Festival, the largest outside Asia, they claim. Although the city does not have to try hard to reflect its multiculturalism, Chinese New Year Festival, which runs 1-24 February, is the biggest push to showcase the vibrant cultures of ethnic minorities. The parade is full of colourful oriental glitz and glamour and noisy drumbeat without firecrackers because of safety issues. The crowd is loving it. The streets are cleared almost immediately as if it never happened. Welcome to Chinese year of the rat, Sydney style.

The New Sister

Marrickville has got a new relationship with Bethlehem. They are now sister cities. The new sister has joined other cities including: Funchal from Portugal, Keelung from Taiwan, Kos from Greece, Larnaca from Cyprus, Safita from Syria and 6 October from Egypt. It caused a stir from the Jewish community but the Council voted into her favour. All the sisters celebrates like an extended family.


Displays at Sister Cities Multicultural Event.


Opening music performance.

Beijing Opera

Beijing Opera

Beijing Opera performance representing Keelung from Taiwan.



Traditional dance performance by Cyprian Dance School representing Larnaca from Cyprus.

Palestinian Poetry

Poetry reading by Saleh Saqqaf representing Bethlehem from Palestine.