Marco Ferrarese

Marco  Ferrarese

Marco Ferrarese has covered Malaysia, the rest of Southeast Asia and India from his base in Penang since 2009. He holds a PhD in subcultural anthropology and his debut novel Nazi Goreng, a quirky subcultural thriller set in Penang, was published by Monsoon Books in 2013 and banned by Malaysia's Ministry of Home Affairs in 2016.

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Latest from Marco Ferrarese

New hiking trails in Malaysia wind through lush rainforest, past waterfalls, to a mist-shrouded world of abandoned colonial bungalows

Three new hiking trails in Taiping, in Perak state, take visitors through jungle and past waterfalls to hilltop colonial buildings that offer accommodation – just beware of the leeches.

Three new hiking trails in Taiping, in Perak state, take visitors through jungle and past waterfalls to hilltop colonial buildings that offer accommodation – just beware of the leeches.

18 Apr 2022 - 12:45PM
How Singapore’s underground music scene survives in a ‘hostile environment’ revealed in new film

Scene UnSeen, a new documentary set to debut at the Singapore International Film Festival, sheds light on the Lion City’s alternative music culture and bands’ struggle to develop.

Scene UnSeen, a new documentary set to debut at the Singapore International Film Festival, sheds light on the Lion City’s alternative music culture and bands’ struggle to develop.

25 Nov 2021 - 7:15AM
Malaysian Oscar hope Prebet Sapu explores race relations and shattered dreams in Kuala Lumpur’s dark underbelly

Filmed in black and white, Prebet Sapu, which explores race relations and shattered dreams in Kuala Lumpur’s darker recesses, will compete in next year’s Academy Awards.

Filmed in black and white, Prebet Sapu, which explores race relations and shattered dreams in Kuala Lumpur’s darker recesses, will compete in next year’s Academy Awards.

8 Nov 2021 - 3:02PM
Unesco biosphere reserve status for Penang Hill, Malaysia, a chance to draw visitors away from its cookie-cutter attractions to explore rainforest a million years old

Rainforest a million years old and botanic gardens in a reserve stretching down to the sea; Unesco designation creates an opportunity to draw visitors to Penang Hill’s natural attractions.

Rainforest a million years old and botanic gardens in a reserve stretching down to the sea; Unesco designation creates an opportunity to draw visitors to Penang Hill’s natural attractions.

1 Oct 2021 - 2:24PM
How planting fig trees could make Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo, Asia’s top wildlife tourism destination and help restore its forests

Wildlife tourism is hard work in Malaysian Borneo, requiring a slog through jungle with no guarantee of success, unlike an African safari. Planting fig trees could change that, say conservationists.

Wildlife tourism is hard work in Malaysian Borneo, requiring a slog through jungle with no guarantee of success, unlike an African safari. Planting fig trees could change that, say conservationists.

14 Sep 2021 - 2:25PM
Malaysian film director Edmund Yeo on adapting Banana Yoshimoto’s Moonlight Shadow, his star actress Nana Komatsu, and censorship at home

The Malaysian director’s adaptation of Moonlight Shadow by Banana Yoshimoto has been hailed by the Japanese author as a masterpiece of elegance. Yeo is full of praise for Nana Komatsu’s performance in the lead role.

The Malaysian director’s adaptation of Moonlight Shadow by Banana Yoshimoto has been hailed by the Japanese author as a masterpiece of elegance. Yeo is full of praise for Nana Komatsu’s performance in the lead role.

6 Sep 2021 - 9:31AM
Backlash to Train to Busan’s Hollywood remake from fans of the Korean zombie hit, despite the involvement of horror-film veterans James Wan and Gary Dauberman

Twitter commenters say Hollywood will ruin the remake, despite the involvement of Malaysian-Australian horror-film veteran James Wan, as producer, and Indonesian director Timo Tjahjanto.

Twitter commenters say Hollywood will ruin the remake, despite the involvement of Malaysian-Australian horror-film veteran James Wan, as producer, and Indonesian director Timo Tjahjanto.

1 Sep 2021 - 6:26PM
Indonesian filmmaker Edwin on his big win at Locarno Film Festival for pulp movie Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash and its message about his country’s machismo

Behind the gritty violence of Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is an attack on Indonesia’s history of toxic masculinity. Its director talks about its message, and reacts to the movie’s Swiss film festival win.

Behind the gritty violence of Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is an attack on Indonesia’s history of toxic masculinity. Its director talks about its message, and reacts to the movie’s Swiss film festival win.

19 Aug 2021 - 3:50PM
Malaysia to restart tourism first in Langkawi, with a new focus on ecology, sustainability and its Unesco Geoforest park

The resort island group will be the first in Malaysia to reopen to tourism, in September. However, many operators wish to move away from mass tourism and promote sustainability.

The resort island group will be the first in Malaysia to reopen to tourism, in September. However, many operators wish to move away from mass tourism and promote sustainability.

14 Aug 2021 - 10:47AM
Beloved Penang ferries given new life as tourist attractions after being withdrawn from service

Mothballed since ending service on the 127-year-old route between Penang and mainland Malaysia in 2020, the ferries’ fate was uncertain. After one partially sank, creative new uses were announced for the vessels.

Mothballed since ending service on the 127-year-old route between Penang and mainland Malaysia in 2020, the ferries’ fate was uncertain. After one partially sank, creative new uses were announced for the vessels.

8 Aug 2021 - 1:15PM
Malaysian-Chinese filmmakers find success in China – On Your Mark is the latest hit – thanks to their movies’ universal themes and visual storytelling

On Your Mark by Chiu Keng Guan topped the Chinese box office when it opened in June, and Sam Quah’s Sheep Without A Shepherd made US$190 million there. What’s the secret to their success?

On Your Mark by Chiu Keng Guan topped the Chinese box office when it opened in June, and Sam Quah’s Sheep Without A Shepherd made US$190 million there. What’s the secret to their success?

22 Jul 2021 - 2:45PM
Award-winning movie Barbarian Invasion heralds Malaysian ‘New Wave’ filmmaking revival with its teamwork and multilingual dialogue

Barbarian Invasion, the winner of the jury prize at Shanghai’s Golden Goblet Awards, highlights a lesser-known part of Malaysia and, unusually, represents its multi-ethnic society.

Barbarian Invasion, the winner of the jury prize at Shanghai’s Golden Goblet Awards, highlights a lesser-known part of Malaysia and, unusually, represents its multi-ethnic society.

29 Jun 2021 - 12:53PM
On ethnic-pop album Sky Songs, Malaysian singer Alena Murang continues her mission to preserve the music of her Dayak tribe in Borneo

Alena Murang, whose father is a Dayak tribesman and who has a voice like Enya’s, has released her eclectic second album Sky Songs, sung in endangered Borneo languages and featuring her playing the Dayak ‘guitar’, or sape, usually the preserve of men.

Alena Murang, whose father is a Dayak tribesman and who has a voice like Enya’s, has released her eclectic second album Sky Songs, sung in endangered Borneo languages and featuring her playing the Dayak ‘guitar’, or sape, usually the preserve of men.

19 Apr 2021 - 8:30AM
This world’s first zombie movie is bagging Best Horror awards with its indigenous actors and setting

Malaysian zombie film Belaban Hidup: Infeksi Zombie (Fight for Life: Zombie Infection) is the first with an indigenous Iban setting and actors that have never been in a film before.

Malaysian zombie film Belaban Hidup: Infeksi Zombie (Fight for Life: Zombie Infection) is the first with an indigenous Iban setting and actors that have never been in a film before.

12 Apr 2021 - 10:23AM
Malaysian resort island Langkawi can avoid environmental disaster by making the most of flying lemur and other wildlife’s comeback during Covid-19 travel ban, scientist says

The resort island of Langkawi has been driven to the brink of ecological disaster by tourism. A Covid-19 travel ban has offered some respite, and the chance for a rethink – starting with conservation of the colugo, an ‘evolutionary missing link’ – a primatologist says.

The resort island of Langkawi has been driven to the brink of ecological disaster by tourism. A Covid-19 travel ban has offered some respite, and the chance for a rethink – starting with conservation of the colugo, an ‘evolutionary missing link’ – a primatologist says.

5 Apr 2021 - 12:15PM
George Town is back to being a backwater – it’s as if Penang’s tourism boom never happened. Blame the coronavirus travel curbs

The Malaysian island state has reverted to being a backwater. Hotels have closed, shophouses are shuttered, events have moved online, and five-star hotel chefs cook hawker food on the streets of George Town.

The Malaysian island state has reverted to being a backwater. Hotels have closed, shophouses are shuttered, events have moved online, and five-star hotel chefs cook hawker food on the streets of George Town.

7 Mar 2021 - 1:57PM
Malaysian female hip hop artist Sya, whose debut single is a satire of macho stereotypes, doesn’t fit rap’s alpha-male image

Malay rapper Sya talks to the Post about Southeast Asia’s hip-hop scene and how she’s challenging a status quo that’s ‘built on the basis of the patriarchy and toxic masculinity’.

Malay rapper Sya talks to the Post about Southeast Asia’s hip-hop scene and how she’s challenging a status quo that’s ‘built on the basis of the patriarchy and toxic masculinity’.

31 Jan 2021 - 7:32PM
Malaysian Chinese hip-hop given a voice by rapper Dato’ Maw through his ‘Cina Music’

Dato’ Maw is going against the grain with a new and hyper-localised spin on hip hop that he calls ‘Cina Music’, with tracks full of pride in his Malaysian Chinese heritage.

Dato’ Maw is going against the grain with a new and hyper-localised spin on hip hop that he calls ‘Cina Music’, with tracks full of pride in his Malaysian Chinese heritage.

25 Jan 2021 - 12:51PM
Blackpink’s Ice Cream without the sexual overtones? Malaysian bands release Islamic-friendly K-pop covers less likely to upset Muslims

Bands under Malaysian label Tarbiah Sentap Records are producing clean-cut versions of songs by K-pop acts such as Blackpink that are less likely to upset Muslims.

Bands under Malaysian label Tarbiah Sentap Records are producing clean-cut versions of songs by K-pop acts such as Blackpink that are less likely to upset Muslims.

10 Jan 2021 - 1:25PM
Malaysian-Chinese independent filmmakers lauded abroad but censored at home for movies about their country’s past and present

Independent filmmakers who ‘touch on the wounds and pain of the past’ in Malaysia have a hard time getting their films screened, even as they earn recognition at international festivals.

Independent filmmakers who ‘touch on the wounds and pain of the past’ in Malaysia have a hard time getting their films screened, even as they earn recognition at international festivals.

30 Dec 2020 - 1:22PM
Conservative Malaysia’s Oscars 2021 hope is Roh, a horror film made on a low budget – so why the unusual choice?

Malaysia wants to increase global awareness of its cinema, and the Oscar submission of a horror film is meant to inspire young filmmakers. Roh tells the story of a blood-soaked girl who appears at a family home in a Malaysian rainforest.

Malaysia wants to increase global awareness of its cinema, and the Oscar submission of a horror film is meant to inspire young filmmakers. Roh tells the story of a blood-soaked girl who appears at a family home in a Malaysian rainforest.

14 Dec 2020 - 5:51PM
14 Malaysian music queens you should hear, from Alena Murang to Yuna to the Amy Winehouse-like Dasha Logan

Yuna has worked with Pharrell Williams and Usher, Elite were a Malaysian Spice Girls, and Shh … Diam! are the poster band of the country’s LGBT community. Despite Islam’s proscriptions, female musicians are flourishing there.

Yuna has worked with Pharrell Williams and Usher, Elite were a Malaysian Spice Girls, and Shh … Diam! are the poster band of the country’s LGBT community. Despite Islam’s proscriptions, female musicians are flourishing there.

12 Dec 2020 - 3:44PM
Comparisons to K-pop’s Blackpink don’t bother Dolla: Malaysian girl group say ‘we are quite different’ but that it’s a compliment all the same

Malaysian K-pop fans have accused girl group Dolla of being a poor copy of Blackpink, but the girls don’t see themselves that way and say they are very much a Malaysian pop band.

Malaysian K-pop fans have accused girl group Dolla of being a poor copy of Blackpink, but the girls don’t see themselves that way and say they are very much a Malaysian pop band.

8 Dec 2020 - 9:18AM
When the gamelan met gabber: Bali-based duo fuse blistering beats with Indonesian folk music

Gabber Modus Operandi are mixing the high tempo Gabber with metal, punk and traditional Indonesian genres. Vocalist Ican Harem and DJ Kasimyn talk about dancing, having fun making a record deal in the toilet.

Gabber Modus Operandi are mixing the high tempo Gabber with metal, punk and traditional Indonesian genres. Vocalist Ican Harem and DJ Kasimyn talk about dancing, having fun making a record deal in the toilet.

15 Dec 2019 - 12:00PM
Punk rock and heavy metal in Pakistan stays defiantly underground, starved of venues and lacking fans

Pakistan’s hardcore punk and heavy metal bands lack places to play in, and fans to hear their music, as big corporations dominate the country’s music scene. ‘The whole idea of independent music is gone,’ says one musician.

Pakistan’s hardcore punk and heavy metal bands lack places to play in, and fans to hear their music, as big corporations dominate the country’s music scene. ‘The whole idea of independent music is gone,’ says one musician.

12 Nov 2019 - 10:29AM
How Penang’s art scene was killed by Instagram tourists and gentrification, sparked by a single mural

A street art revolution transformed the Malaysian island into a celebrated artistic hub in the early 2010s. But its art scene became a victim of its own success, now catering to the whims of Instagram tourists and hipsters.

A street art revolution transformed the Malaysian island into a celebrated artistic hub in the early 2010s. But its art scene became a victim of its own success, now catering to the whims of Instagram tourists and hipsters.

23 Oct 2019 - 10:09AM
What’s behind ‘Malay power’ music – ethnic-Malay neo-Nazis playing punk and metal with a dark message

Malaysia was an early follower of heavy metal, and some underground bands, apeing a notorious British white-power band, adopted national-socialist icons and preach racial supremacy in their lyrics.

Malaysia was an early follower of heavy metal, and some underground bands, apeing a notorious British white-power band, adopted national-socialist icons and preach racial supremacy in their lyrics.

26 Jul 2019 - 10:39AM
The secret world of punk on the Singapore-Johor highway

Singaporeans head to Johor for a more authentic punk music experience, while Malaysians head south for a greater choice of imported merchandise and the self-produced albums of Singapore punk acts, writes Marco Ferrarese 

Singaporeans head to Johor for a more authentic punk music experience, while Malaysians head south for a greater choice of imported merchandise and the self-produced albums of Singapore punk acts, writes Marco Ferrarese 

3 Jun 2016 - 6:52PM
On the Tiger's trail in Anthony Burgess' Kuala Kangsar

Sixty years after the Malaysian town of Kuala Kangsar was characterised in Anthony Burgess' first novel, Marco Ferrarese tracks down some old haunts. Pictures by Kit Yeng Chan.

Sixty years after the Malaysian town of Kuala Kangsar was characterised in Anthony Burgess' first novel, Marco Ferrarese tracks down some old haunts. Pictures by Kit Yeng Chan.

5 Mar 2016 - 10:20PM