Asia – A Week in Pictures 06 March 2011

March 7, 2011

I do enjoy a coincidence. The week after calls for prodemocracy demonstrations under the social media tag of “Jasmine Revolution” and the week before  the National People’s Congress (NPC), International journalists (and I of course include photographers under this title) are brought in by the authorities for “chat”. During the “chat” they are reminded of the terms of their journalist visas and how quickly these visas can be revoked if the rules are broken on illegal reporting. Also outlined are places that special permission is needed to report from, Tiananmen Square heading the list. Our picture of a member of the PLA leaving the Great Hall in Tiananmen Square appearing to almost step on the photographer with this low angle picture, as I said I do love a coincidence.


A military delegate from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) leaves the Great Hall of the People after a meeting during the annual session of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, in Beijing March 4, 2011. China said on Friday that its official military budget for 2011 will rise 12.7 percent over last year, returning to the double-digit rises that have stoked regional disquiet about Beijing’s expanding strength. REUTERS

Inside the Great Hall Jason shot this fantastic, Daliesque image of the headless conductor who appears to radiate waves from the central red star that has replaced his head. Another picture that caught my eye is the image of the patient watching the national address by China’s Premier Wen Jiabao from her hospital bed. I wonder if the remote is within reach as these speeches tend to go on for quite a long time and imagine that if you are in hospital in pain there is only so much economic news you can absorb at one time ? Moving away from Beijing and the NPC I am really drawn to Aly’s picture of the construction site which was shot to illustrate the housing inflation story in China (not an easy one at any stretch of the imagination). The metal reinforcement supports look like leafless trees, the solitary figure trudging through a lifeless, snowy landscape. 



The conductor of a military band performs during the rehearsal prior to the opening ceremony of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 5, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Lee




 A patient (R) watches a broadcast of China’s Premier Wen Jiabao delivering his government work report during the opening ceremony of the National People’s Congress (NPC), as she receives a traditional Chinese medical treatment to cure cervical spondylosis at a clinic in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province March 5, 2011. China is on course for another five years of robust growth although inflation threatens social stability and must be tamed, Wen said on Saturday. REUTERS/Stringer




 A construction worker works at a new residential building site in Shanghai March 3, 2011. New home prices in China rose 0.48 percent in February from a month earlier, down from January’s increase of 0.95 percent after the government stepped up its efforts to rein in housing inflation, a private data provider said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Aly Song

Staying in the region (and I have to be careful with my political geography here) Bobby Yip’s business picture from Hong Kong leaves us in no doubt what the subject is about. The balance of the lines and shapes of the composition and timing of the figures makes the picture almost good enough to eat. Nicky Loh and Pichi Chuang in Taiwan having fun shooting pictures of The State Ballet of Georgia (click on the link here for a MM show of his pictures) and 3D painting. 




 A man in a business suit walks down the stairs at the headquarters of Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong March 2, 2011. Asia-focussed Standard Chartered Bank Plc earnings met expectations, reporting a 52 percent rise in second-half net profit amid strong growth in emerging markets.   REUTERS/Bobby Yip




 Dancers from the State Ballet of Georgia perform during a dress rehearsal for Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial in Taipei March 2, 2011. The ballet tells the story of Odette, a princess who was turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer. The troupe will be in Taipei from March 2-3. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang




 A man poses for a picture with a painting during an exhibition by the Trick Art Museum of Japan at the National Taiwan Science Education Centre in Taipei March 4, 2011. The paintings in the exhibition are supposed to induce a 3D optical illusion when a subject takes a picture with it.  REUTERS/Nicky Loh


Moving south to the Philippines I couldn’t resist Erik’s picture of a tombstone toothed man weeping with open emotion as he receives a cheque from the government. It looks to me that years of stress and painful memories that have all been held inside are now flooding to the surface. The picture just makes the viewer want to know more.




 A claimant for human rights violations during the regime of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos cries while looking at his cheque at the Commission on Human Rights office in Quezon city, Metro Manila March 1, 2011. Victims of rights abuses under the regime of Marcos on Monday called on the new government to work for an amicable settlement over the late deposed leader’s assets and award them compensation. On Monday, lawyers started handing out $1,000 cheques each to 7,500 rights abuse victims under the Marcos regime, saying they could get more compensation if the new government could agree on a settlement deal.  REUTERS/Erik de Castro

On the sub continent, in India, a fire in Mumbai has made child star Latika of Slumdog Millionaire homeless. Danish and Vivek not only covering the roaring fires but hapless Rubina Ali too, all this after a full day covering refugees returning from the Middle East. The synergy of two aspects of the same festival that allows men to smoke marijuana while women pray that their husbands live a long time didn’t pass me by and was sure to make great pictures. Maybe the Mahashrivratri festival is the foundation of the saying that someone holds a candle for a person they desire? Regardless of all these random thoughts the two pictures produced by Ajay and Navesh are just wonderful. Just as wonderful is Navesh’s picture from the funeral of former Prime Minister Bhattarai – so respectful.




 Rubina Ali, who acted as  young Latika in the oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire”, jumps as she inspects the ruins of the shanty she lived in Gharib Nagar slum in Mumbai March 5, 2011. A fire gutted the slum, a large shanty town which is home to thousands of residents next to Bandra station in Mumbai’s suburbs, on Friday evening. The makeshift shack where Ali lived was also destroyed in the blaze.  REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui




 People watch from a nearby building as a fire burns in a slum in Mumbai March 4, 2011. A fire gutted a large shanty town, home to hundreds of residents, next to Bandra station in Mumbai’s suburbs. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash




 An Indian evacuee from Libya looks out from the arrival hall after arriving at the international airport in Mumbai March 4, 2011. Over a thousand evacuees arrived on specially chartered flights from Libya, The Press Trust of India reported. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui




 A Hindu devotee offers prayers to Hindu Lord Shiva inside a temple during the Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh March 2, 2011. Hindu women across the country celebrate Mahashivratri, better known as the Lord Shiva’s wedding anniversary, in hope that their husbands will be blessed with long lives. REUTERS/Ajay Verma




 A Hindu holy man smokes marijuana at Pashupati Temple in Kathmandu March 1, 2011. Hindu holy men from Nepal and India come to the temple to take part in the Shivaratri festival which falls on March 2. It is one of the biggest Hindu festivals dedicated to Lord Shiva and is celebrated by devotees all over the world, with holy men smoking marijuana and some smearing their bodies with ashes and praying. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar




Nepal’s Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal pays his final respects to the body of Nepal’s former prime minister and founder of the Nepali Congress Krishna Prasad Bhattarai during a tribute to him near Kathmandu March 5, 2011. Bhattarai died at the age of 87 on Friday night. During the political movement of 1950 to overthrow the Rana autocracy, initiated by the Bairgania Conference of the Nepali Congress on September 1950, Bhattarai was in charge of armed group Congress Mukti Sena fighting in Gorkha district, local media reported. He later stuck to his position supporting the monarchy and remained inactive in the political movement that brought down the government headed by then King Gyanendra. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Staying on the sub continent but moving to Kashmir and then onto Pakistan, more funerals are taking place. Danish Ismail’s picture of the grieving woman for an innocent man who got caught up and killed in a grenade attack shows us her grief is no less felt than the sadness of those who mourn the high profile killing of Christian Bhatti covered by Mian Khursheed. The composition of both pictures structured around a diagonal cross. Athar’s picture of an angry crowd brandishing crosses in a primarily Muslim country, to me a a frightening image as the country is swept towards violent chaos.




 A woman cries during the funeral of Showkat Ali Khan, a Kashmiri civilian who succumbed to his injuries after a grenade explosion, in Srinagar March 1, 2011. Police said two civilians including Khan and two policemen were injured when suspected militants hurled a hand grenade at a group of policemen who were on patrol which missed the intended target and exploded on the road late on Monday evening in Srinagar. Khan succumbed to his injuries in a hospital early on Tuesday, police added.     REUTERS/Danish Ismail




 Relatives, friends and residents carry the casket, with petals and wrapped in national and party flags, containing the body of Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti for burial after prayer at his native village Khushpur, located in Punjab province March 4, 2011. Shouting “death for killers”, thousands of Pakistanis on Friday buried the country’s only Christian government minister who was killed for challenging a law that stipulates death for insulting Islam.        REUTERS/Mian Khursheed




 Christians are silhouetted as they hold crosses during a protest in Karachi on March 3, 2011, to condemn the assassination of Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti. Pakistan is being swept towards violent chaos by a growing wave of Islamist extremism, newspapers said on Thursday, a day after Taliban militants killed the country’s only Christian government minister. REUTERS/Athar Hussain


Another funeral, shot by Simon Baker, this time of the five month old Baxtor who died in the Christchurch earthquake seemed to be the point in time to mark the fact the authorities had given up hope of finding any more survivors in the rubble. A sad and quiet image of a man carrying the tiny casket of a child, the grief on his face hidden by the harsh shadow which eventually leads the eye down to the coffin and the childlike image of the car on one of the child possessions.




 A man carries the casket of five-month-old Baxtor Gowland, who died in last week’s earthquake, during a funeral service in Christchurch February 28, 2011. New Zealand’s earthquake-shattered city of Christchurch prepared to bury the first victim on Monday of last week’s devastating tremor that killed at least 148 people as aftershocks forced the evacuation of scores of people in hillside suburbs.   REUTERS/Simon Baker

 Looking around the region for something to cheer me I was buoyed by the hat trick of pictures from Japan shot by Yuriko. I like the image of under pressure Prime Minister Kan and his Finance Minister Noda as they appear to be sitting in the plush seats of an empty cinema waiting for the afternoon matinee to begin. Next up the perfectly diced and sliced picture of the businessmen walking in the streets, the eye dancing around looking for some colour, finding none is then happy to settle on the line and monochromatic design. And lastly an image that puts me in mind of a manga segment from a Tarantino film with its strong shapes and simple bold colour, who cares that its from a photovoltaic power generation expo.  




 Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan (R) and Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda attend a budget committee meeting in the lower house of parliament in Tokyo February 28, 2011. Kan’s government was trying to enact on Monday a $1 trillion budget for the fiscal year starting in April but had no prospect of passing bills needed to implement the spending in a divided parliament. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao



Pedestrians are reflected in a fountain outside a business complex in Tokyo March 1, 2011. Japanese wage earners’ total cash earnings edged up 0.2 percent in January from a year earlier, posting an 11th straight month of gains buoyed by a big rise in special payments, labour ministry data showed.  REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao



A woman is silhouetted next to a solar panel display by solar module supplier Upsolar at the fourth International Photovoltaic Power Generation (PV) Expo in Tokyo March 2, 2011. More than 600 companies in the solar energy business from 18 countries are taking part in the March 2-4 expo, which showcases firms and products related to photovoltaic power generation, according to the organiser. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

 Trying to continue to lift my spirits further my mind turns to our Cricket World Cup live blog and England’s exciting win against South Africa (not pausing for a moment to think about the England v Ireland result).  I can’t help but admire the height that Shaun Tait has managed to reach as he celebrates his wicket admiration too for Dinuka for capturing the moment too. The picture very comfortable in its almost square sahped crop. And from the same match the understatement of the week, rain stops play. Thank-you Andrew, spirits fully lifted now.




 Australia’s Shaun Tait celebrates taking the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan during their ICC Cricket World Cup group A match in Colombo March 5, 2011.   REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte




 Groundsmen cover the field as it rains during the ICC Cricket World Cup group A match between Sri Lanka and Australia in Colombo March 5, 2011.  REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

 To the last section of this week’s round up “just because I like it”; first up comes Masood’s picture for breaking the photographic rule about not having objects coming out of people’s head in the background. The tree exploding from the boys head is like a giant exploding chewing gum bubble, the humour obvious to anyone who has experienced a giant bubble exploding over their face (it’s been a long time for me but it made a lasting impression). I like simple the opposites of Kham’s pictures from the Vietnam economy from construction sites to paddy fields. Amit’s picture of the shopper in the supermarket in India raises more questions than it answers about food inflation and wealth distribution. I am big fan of a detail picture that gives the viewer insight into what is going and Sukree’s picture from the bronze smelters certainly ticks all those curiosity boxes. Finally, a simple picture from Damir of Muslim boys learning the art of prayer.




Afghan boys joke with each other as they make bubbles with chewing gum in Kabul March 2, 2011. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood




Workers assemble steel reinforcing bars at a construction site in Hanoi March 2, 2011. The government has cut Vietnam’s total investment target this year to 39 percent of the country’s gross domestic product or below, from an initial plan of 40 percent, Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh said on local Tuoi Tre newspaper. REUTERS/Kham




A farmer plants rice on a paddy field in Phu Dong village, outside Hanoi March 1, 2011. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus China, Japan and South Korea plan to establish a rice reserve to help protect them from volatile commodity prices, an official said on Monday after a meeting of the group’s economic ministers.  REUTERS/Kham




 Customers shop at a food superstore inside a mall in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad March 3, 2011. Indian food inflation eased in mid February following a drop in prices of vegetables and milk, but high headline inflation would keep the pressure on the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to raise interest rates this month. REUTERS/Amit Dave




 Workers melt and hammer bronze in one of the few factories that still produces hand-made bronzeware in Bangkok March 4, 2011. Bronzeware production in Thailand has become increasingly rare and most factories have opted for modern and cheaper production methods and materials. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang




 Muslim boys pray at an Islamic school where they live and study the Koran in the village of Lam Mai in the troubled Yala province March 1, 2011. Yala is one of three Muslim-dominated provinces bordering Malaysia where more than 4,300 people, both Muslims and Buddhists, have been killed in a low-level insurgency since 2004.   REUTERS/Damir Sagolj





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