Asia – A Week in Pictures February 13, 2011

February 14, 2011

First, congratulations to Pakistan Chief photographer Adrees Latif and Bangladesh based photographer Andrew Biraj for their competition awards this week.  Adrees is the winner of the photojournalism category of the ICP Infinity Awards 2011 for his pictures shoot during the floods in Pakistan last year.  Andrew won third prize in the singles category of daily life in the World Press Photo Awards for his picture of an overcrowded train in Bangladesh.


Marooned flood victims looking to escape grab the side bars of a hovering Army helicopter which arrived to distribute food supplies in the Muzaffargarh district of Pakistan’s Punjab province August 7, 2010. Pakistanis desperate to get out of flooded villages threw themselves at helicopters on Saturday as more heavy rain was expected to intensify both suffering and anger with the government. The disaster killed more than 1,600 people and disrupted the lives of 12 million.  REUTERS/Adrees Latif


An overcrowded train approaches as other passengers wait to board at a railway station in Dhaka, November 16, 2010. Millions of residents in Dhaka are travelling home from the capital city to celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday on Wednesday. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha to mark the end of the haj by slaughtering sheep, goats, cows and camels to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail on God’s command. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

In  the same week that Thailand and Cambodia faced off after shelling each other over the land surrounding the 900 year old  Preah Vihear temple, separatists killed three Buddhist monks in the south and  Prime Minister Abhisit decided to pose for pictures with veteran German rockers The Scorpions as they carried out their farewell tour. ( I am not sure who gained the most credibility from this meeting). Also,  newly formed Thai airline PC Air staged a photocall for their transsexual staff applying makeup to make them even more beautiful.  In Damir’s picture the boredom of the Cambodian troops is brought across by the posture of the soldiers, the dull colours broken by the flash of orange from the monk’s robes in the window.  I will let Chaiwat’s picture speak for itself as the direct eye contact challenges all the senses.


A Buddhist monk looks through the window of the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple as Cambodian soldiers pass the time at the border between Thailand and Cambodia February 8, 2011. Thai and Cambodian troops stood on high alert on Tuesday after clashing in disputed jungle around the Hindu temple, as both sides face intense regional diplomatic pressure to lay down arms.   REUTERS/Damir Sagolj


An instructor cleans the face of transsexual flight attendant Dissanai Chitpraphachin, 24, during a make-up training session at PC Air office in Bangkok February 9, 2011. A newly formed Thai airline PC Air wants to make a different from their competitors by hiring the transsexual flight attendants. Be pretty and be feminine are the qualifications the men, known locally as “ladyboys,” transgenders and transexuals, should have to join a new charter airline that will begin the operation in early April. The airline has recruited four ladyboys, 19 female and seven male but said they will need to employ more of transsexual on their flights in the future. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

Afghanistan based Ahmad Masood produced a stunning set of pictures about the increase of incidence of  HIV and AIDS  cases, as members of the Medecins Du Monde try to help ease the miserable existence of opium addicts, seen here  living under a bridge in  Kabul. The eye moving from the highlights to the shadows of the frame until it settles on the pityful scene, heads close together in the cold shadows of the bridge one addict helps another to inject, an act that could be interpreted as a gesture of goodwill.


An Afghan drug addict injects another addict under a bridge inhabited by drug addicts in Kabul February 7, 2011. Studies suggest Afghanistan currently has a “concentrated HIV/AIDS epidemic” — concentrated within a growing population of injecting drug users. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

Just over the border in Pakistan a picture by Akhtar which could be one of loneliest pictures I have probably ever seen.  A mirror above a grubby sink in an empty room reflects the image of a lone ambulance worker standing by a body of a man police suspect has been murdered.  This contrasts with the noisy shouting from the picture by Fayaz after militants destroyed tankers that were carrying fuel for NATO forces bound for Afghanistan. Both images are stark reminders of the day-to-day challenge people face In Pakistan.


An ambulance service worker stands next to the body of a Greek national in a morgue of a Karachi hospital February 9, 2011. Police said the man, identified as Mr. Imeridis, had an injury at the back of his head, and while initial indications suggested that he was murdered, the case was being investigated.  REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro


A resident walks near burning oil tankers which were set ablaze by an bomb explosion in Peshawar, northwest Pakistan February 8, 2011. Four trucks carrying fuel supplies for NATO in Afghanistan caught fire after small bombs planted underneath them exploded in a market on the outskirts of Peshawar, witnesses said. There were no casualties. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

On Pakistan’s other border a daily parade, a colourful demonstration of the goose stepping prowess of Pakistan and India border forces that probably strikes fear into the heart of neither man nor beast but makes a great picture for Mohsin.  Also in India a series of pictures shot by Parivartan just before the start of the cricket world cup highlights the industry behind the manufacture of cricket bats and balls. Follow the link here to see the full production.


A Pakistani Ranger (R) and an Indian Border Security Force officer goose-step during the daily parade at their joint border post of Wagah near Lahore February 10, 2011. Nuclear-armed Pakistan and India have agreed to resume their official dialogue broken off after the 2008 attack on the Indian city of Mumbai, the Pakistani foreign ministry said on Thursday.  REUTERS/Mohsin Raza


A worker colours pieces of leather which will be used to make cricket balls at a factory in Meerut, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Delhi, January 31, 2011, as cricket equipment makers race to meet a demand surge ahead of the Cricket World Cup. The factory produces around 600 balls a day, and each costs retailers 60-600 rupees ($1.30-$13). BDM, a family cricket equipment business for almost 90 years, has made bats, balls and other equipment for most of India’s top cricketers, and international stars such as Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya and the West Indies legend Brian Lara. India’s top cricketers are revered in a country where the sport is almost a religion. Devoid of heavy machinery, the workshop is filled with the thuds of hammers on leather, banging of cork into cores, and the tinkle of needle on steel as dozens of men furiously stitch together 600 balls every day. The workers are paid 5,000 rupees ($110) a month, plus performance-related bonuses.  REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma


Worker file the edges of cricket bats to a smooth finish at a factory in Meerut, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Delhi, January 31, 2011, as cricket equipment makers race to meet a demand surge ahead of the Cricket World Cup. BDM, a family cricket equipment business for almost 90 years, has made bats, balls and other equipment for most of India’s top cricketers, and international stars such as Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya and the West Indies legend Brian Lara. The company produces an average of 150,000 bats and 220,000 balls every year, using willow from England and India’s northern Kashmir region. Ten percent of its products are exported, mainly to the cricketing heartlands of the UK, Australia and neighbours Pakistan and Bangladesh. REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma

Celebration in China as Carlos shoots a splendid feature on the traditional  Chinese wedding of New Yorker Rebecca Kanthor and her Chinese husband Liu Jian. The New Year holiday celebrations came to an end with firworks in Taiwan. Pichi’s picture rubbishing the commonly understood practices of keeping your pets indoors, not handling fireworks after they have been lit and smoking near boxes of them. Joy too as the first snow showers blanket Beijing sending Grace out to Tiananmen Square. What is nice is the matching composition of fire and ice in the two pictures.


Rebecca Kanthor and Liu Jian walk along a empty street after their traditional Chinese wedding in Dong’an at the central province of Henan, February 9, 2011. Rebecca Kanthor moved from New York State to China eight years ago, where she met Liu Jian, a young musician from the central Chinese province of Henan. After several years together they decided to get married in a traditional rural wedding. In the ceremony, the groom arrives on a horse while his bride is carried around the town by four men, announcing the marriage. Liu is the first person from Dong’an to marry a foreigner. Beyond headlines about climate change and trade relations, Rebecca and Liu’s union is symbolic of the growing cultural integration between China and the United States. Since the 1972 visit to China by U.S. President Richard Nixon, the two countries have developed what is arguably the most important relationship among major powers with huge economic implications. Now, three decades in, the United States and China have settled into what some describe as a “mature marriage,” bound together by mutual interests and mutual respect.     REUTERS/Carlos Barria


A man lights firecrackers outside a shop on the first day back at work after the Chinese New Year holidays in Taipei February 8, 2011. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang


Paramilitary policemen clear snow from Tiananmen Square in Beijing February 10, 2011. The first snow this winter fell in Beijing on Wednesday night and continued into Thursday morning, which was recorded as the latest first snowfall for the city in 60 years, Xinhua News Agency reported. REUTERS/Grace Liang

Features and ice were also the hallmark of the file from Japan and Korea. Yuriko’s image of the band member playing the flute in the snow bought back childhood warnings from adults about not licking lamp posts that were covered in frost (urban myth says your tongue gets stuck). I just love the snow on the peak of the cap and just as my mind starts to wonder how cold the flute is and if the frost urban myth is true, the giant eyes in the background suddenly come into focus…. and the band played on.  In Korea, Truth photographed a luxury hotel for pets, her picture looks like a bank of microwaves on sale in an electrical shop.  This brought to mind another urban myth about a woman who used a microwave to dry off her dog after bathing it and the scene in the lumber yard in the film Kickass…..distressing results. I also wonder what people think of the notion of pets being pampered at the price of $180 a day?


A member of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces performs in the snow in front of a snow sculpture resembling an owl during an opening ceremony of the 62nd Sapporo snow festival in Sapporo, on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido February 7, 2011. About 250 snow and ice sculptures are exhibited in the one of Japan’s popular winter events which is held until Feb 13. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao


Dogs look out from their pet hotel rooms at luxury pet care centre “Irion” in Seoul February 9, 2011. The centre, which has a hospital, luxury hotel, kindergarten, grooming room, training room and a store, all for pets, opened on Wednesday to cater to the rapidly increasing numbers of pet lovers in South Korea. The price of a room at the pet hotel ranges from $36 to $180 each day. REUTERS/Truth Leem

 Two images I decided at the last minute to include both portray a sense of menace but for different reasons, one because it’s completely obvious and the other because the potential menace of the subject is hidden. The soldier looking down the barrel of Soe Zeya lens, his eyes either side of the barrel of his gun gives me the impression from that stare that the soldier would have no qualms about shooting me what so ever. The second image taken by Jakarta based Enny Nuraheni at first glance looks like a learned aging gentleman sitting in a pensive pose, only his bitten finger nails giving away any other clues. He is in-fact Abu Bakar Bashir who faces charges of financing and setting up a terror training camp and considered the spiritual leader of the shadowy Jemaah Islamiah movement. He was found not guilty on appeal of terror offences in two previous trails that linked him to the 2002 Bali bombings.


(Top left) A soldier holds a gun during an opening ceremony of the Safari garden in the new capital Naypyitaw February 12, 2011.   REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

(top right) Radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir sits in a courtroom for his trial in South Jakarta February 10, 2011. The trial of the firebrand Indonesian Islamic cleric on terror charges opened on Thursday and was swiftly adjourned on a technicality. The trial opened under tight security in the capital, but was ajourned until Monday after judges granted a defence request for a postponement on technical grounds.        REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni

Five pictures that need to be included in the weekly round up for no other reason than I like them. The abstract zig zag composition of the picture of the fires in Australia, the cool tones and perfect balance of Hanai-san’s picture from Nissan, the swirling magic of Tim’s picture from Singapore, the corners are so important as they hold the picture in, Babu’s picture that only makes sense once the scale of the figure is understood by the viewer and lastly a moment captured during the chaos of an ad hoc Philippines press conference, the bodies of the crushing media part momentarily to reveal the subject bathed in light reminisant of the high renaissance – move over Rubens, Erik de Castro is here!


A bushfire burns close to a vineyard in Roleystone, near Perth February 6, 2011. Fire authorities in Western Australia said on Monday that bushfires around Perth had destroyed more than 40 properties and at least one firefighter had been injured battling the blazes. No serious injuries or deaths have been reported and hundreds of locals spent the night in emergency shelters. Picture taken February 6, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Pichugin


Men walk past a Nissan Motor Co logo at the company’s global headquarters in Yokohama, south of Tokyo February 9, 2011. Nissan Motor Co is expected to report a smaller decline in quarterly profit than its domestic rivals as a slew of new model launches helped Japan’s No.2 automaker beat the industry’s sales growth in key markets.   REUTERS/Toru Hanai


People ride on a merry-go-round carousel at a Chinese New Year carnival in Singapore February 7, 2011. The Lunar New Year began on February 3 and marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese zodiac.  REUTERS/Tim Chong


Philippines’ Health Secretary Enrique Ona announces the death of former Phillippine Armed Forces (AFP) chief of staff and defense secretary Angelo Reyes during a news conference at Quirino Memorial hospital in Quezon city, Metro Manila February 8, 2011. Reyes was declared dead at a Quezon City hospital on Tuesday, after sustaining a single gunshot wound in his chest. Reyes’ lawyer Bonifacio Alentajan said the incident happened at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, where Reyes reportedly visited the tomb of his mother, local media reported on Tuesday.      REUTERS/Erik de Castro


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