The Most Breathtaking Photos of Indonesian Village Life You Will Ever See

 

“I am an amateur,” Herman Damar humbly told us when we asked about his incredible photography skills. Despite Damar’s insistence that he is just a self-taught photographer, no one can deny his natural ability and talent. In fact, it’s obvious to anyone after just a short glance at his work.

Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, Damar often shows the everyday lives of rural Indonesian villages in his work. His photos capture children playing together, villagers swimming in the river and even elders at work.

“I am interested in photography because I want to capture every moment, especially the beauty and life of Indonesian society,” the Indonesian photographer explains. “I want explore the rich diversity of Indonesian culture.”

Well, if showing the beauty of Indonesian culture was his goal, he can consider his task complete. It’s rare that we come across such beautiful photos of the everyday Indonesian lifestyle.

Damar mainly uses natural light and shoots with a Canon 550D. Using Adobe Lightroom and After Effects, he makes his photos come alive. See them for yourself below and be sure to check out his official site here.

 

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Photos courtesy of Herman Damar Photography

Kara Birkenstock Dishes On ’90s Icons and Britney Songs

 

We were lucky enough to get the chance to talk to Kara Birkenstock, the beautiful host of Lifestyle Network’s Style Bites, a show that brings the very best of every girl’s BFFs: fashion and food. Still want to learn more about the Thai-Filipino American model, actress and host? We got the scoop below.

 

Who is your fashion inspiration?
Niki Taylor (first supermodel in the ’90s) and Jennifer Lopez. Jennifer Lopez is just amazing. Her body is amazing and she can rock anything and pull it off. Her main fashion accessory is her confidence.

What is your go-to karaoke song?
Oh gosh, this is embarrassing. “I Will Survive”comes to mind, but I have sung “Oops I Did it Again.”

Favorite celeb of all time?
Brad Pitt. There’s the obvious physical features, but I’ve always enjoyed following his career and he’s always giving back. He turned from a cute actor to an inspiring, powerful role model.

Favorite part of your day?
Probably the end when I’m done with a long day of work and coming back to my little retreat. Getting home to my family, making dinner and sitting down with a yummy meal.

Hidden talent?
Rhythmic gymnastics. I could probably pull that out if I had to. Ha!

Habit you need to break?
I need to be better at following up with friends. Life gets in the way and we all get really busy, so I need to be better at staying in touch with my dear friends.

 

 

Word or phrase you say too much?
Gorgeous or gorg.

Your guilty pleasure?
CARBS. Fried rice and noodles are my big guilty pleasures.

Your pet peeve?
When people don’t say thank you. In cars when you let them pass or on elevators when you hold the door open. You know, ungrateful people.

Greatest Fear?
I actually try not be scared of things. I try to live my life that way. If I’m scared or hesitant about something, I usually jump off the cliff and do it since life’s too short not to.

Your job in another life?
I hate to respond this way, but I feel like if I was in another life, I would know I was destined to do something like this — being in front of the camera or producing or creating fun content. I’ve always wanted to do this. If I died and was born again tomorrow, I think I’d still want to do this.

What’s cool about being Asian?
What’s not cool!?

 

Be sure to read our story on Kara Birkenstock’s show here. For more Kara, don’t forget to watch her latest episode of Style Bites which airs daily with new episodes premiering weekly on the Lifestyle Network. For more information, click here.

 

Rise of Anti-Rape Clothing in India Receives Criticism

 

India has seen an influx of “anti-rape clothing” over recent years. Although this has created quite some controversy, people across the country are desperately trying to create anything that could hinder unwanted advances.

“The harassment of the girl in Delhi was the turning point for all to realize that we need to take a step against this menace,” 21-year-old Manisha Mohan, who co-created an anti-rape bra, told Vetunotech, referring to the infamous New Delhi gang rape in 2012, where a 23-year-old student was brutally raped, tortured and killed on a public bus. Since then, there have been a number of efforts to create strict measures against rape. New anti-rape laws have been passed by the Indian government, including the death penalty for repeat offenders.

 

 

Despite these efforts, rape continues to be a horrifying reality to many Indian women. Earlier this year, a 20-year-old woman was gang raped by 13 men in her rural village as punishment for having a relationship with a man from a different community. In another incident, 10 men were arrested for gang raping a 21-year-old woman. Even more shocking, a 7-year-old girl was raped and hanged.

But relying on politicians and government officials have often been fruitless. One police official compared rape to gambling and said if you can’t prevent it, you enjoy it. Later, a female politician claimed rape occurs when women act and dress inappropriately. Needless to say, many citizens felt like they needed to take measures into their own hands.

This is why three Indian engineering students created the anti-rape bra called SHE (Society Harnessing Equipment). According to NBC News, the bra “delivers a strong electric shock to potential rapists and attackers, and also has the ability to send an alert text message to the wearer’s friends and family.” There are also college students from the city of Varanasi who have created a line of anti-rape jeans. According to Daily Mail, the jeans “contain an electronic tracker that will send a distress signal to the nearest police station when pressed.” And this doesn’t even cover the anti-rape wrist watches and jackets.

 

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Anti-rape watch. Photo courtesy of http://ibnlive.in.com/

 

Anti-rape jeans.

Anti-rape jeans.

 

Obviously, anti-rape clothing was created with nothing but good intentions, however, many are questioning whether or not it would actually work.

“In India, most of the rapes happen within the family,” said Indian journalist Sonia Faleiro. “It happens behind the closed door. These people aren’t going to stop what they are doing because of a piece of clothing.” Furthermore, Faleiro pointed out that girls still live in fear and anti-rape clothing is just a bandaid to the big issue.

Faleiro certainly brings up good points. This issue won’t be solved with bandaid solutions alone, and women shouldn’t have to live in fear or wear outrageous clothing. Women and victims are not responsible for rape and they should not be the only ones taking measures to prevent it.

However, I still believe it is a step in creating change and most importantly, it has people talking about an issue that needs to be discussed. On certain occasions, these devices let women feel safe and give men the message that a lack of consent is not OK.

Tell us what you think.

 

Viral Video Alert: UN Creates Bollywood Music Video Promoting LGBT Rights

 

After watching only a few seconds of this music video, we encounter dancing, singing, vibrant colors and, of course, romance. Yup, this can only mean one thing: Bollywood.

Who doesn’t love good Bollywood? In fact, this music video, produced by the United Nations’ Free & Equal Campaign, has already picked up more than 2 million views since being uploaded onto YouTube a few months ago.

“The Welcome” begins with a family preparing for a wedding. “Today, Sir is coming with his special friend,” one relative says in excitement as he puts up decorations. After much suspense, the groom-to-be finally arrives, but is met with stunned expressions from his relatives as his “special friend” turns out to be a man as well. The two join hands and wait for the verdict from a stern-faced grandmother.

Bollywood star Celina Jaitly intervenes and sings about a “new look” and a “new attitude” which accepts all forms of love.

After her initial hesitation, the grandmother decides to welcome the two men with a smile and they get their Bollywood happy ending after all — complete with dancing, music and a smile on every face.

 

 

As you may have already guessed, the video was created to promote LGBT rights. Specifically, this video is in response to India’s Supreme Court decision on December 2013, which reenacted Section 377 of India’s Penal Code, which states, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

The decision was opposed by many human rights activists, including the United Nations who chose to express their opinion in this delightful music video.

Popular actress, model and beauty queen Jaitly is not the only Bollywood celebrity to openly fight for LGBT rights. Just a few months ago, the beautiful Sonam Kapoor argued that India’s legal stance on homosexuality does not align with their cultural stance.

“We’ve regressed instead of progressing,” Kapoor said while discussing the possibility of homosexuality on the big screen. “I think movies can influence the way people think sometimes and if we do start making love stories, or we start making movies about people who are amazing human beings, people who have done something in life, people who are inspirational who aren’t necessarily only straight, I think people will start appreciating them more.”

Although this music video is not on the big screen, it’s certainly a step towards an accepting future.

 

Viral Video Alert: Tiny Floating Asian Babies

Radio Station STAR FM 93.9 uploaded a video onto their official Facebook earlier this month and it already has 170,000 shares and even more likes. What could possibly captivate people this much? Adorable Asian babies, of course!

In this video, a pair of chubby-cheeked babies are relaxing in a small tub using baby neck floats. It’s quite a sight if you’ve never seen this odd little contraption. The device is used to not only keep the baby afloat, it also encourages good exercise and allows babies to explore their body movements.

 

The cuteness of these babies in their tiny donut floaties have left many squealing in delight, but that’s not all. The adorable video has been met with an alarming amount of criticism from those who are unfamiliar with the device.

Many have voiced concern and even anger. They have called the parents “stupid” for leaving the babies with a device that looks “uncomfortable and dangerous.” Admittedly, as cute as they were, a part of me couldn’t help but worry for the comfort of these babies as well.

Thankfully, many Asian netizens have pointed out that baby neck floats have been around in Asia for years. In fact, an American company named Otteroo, sells the device and goes into detail about its comfort and  safety. According to the official site, this device helps satisfy mental curiosity, encourages water familiarity and helps physical development and coordination.

 

Have you tried a baby neck float on your child? If so, tell us your experience!

 


Indonesian Artists Create Must-See DISNEY x MARVEL Crossovers

Milk and cookies. Peanut and jelly. Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. We may never find out who the geniuses are behind the most known and beloved combinations, but every now and then, we get lucky.

In this case, we’ve found out that Indonesian illustrators from Stellar Labs are the brilliant minds who decided to combine the two powerhouses, Marvel and Disney.

As many already know, Marvel Entertainment belongs to the Walt Disney company, but aside from a Captain America doll placed on the same shelf as a Mickey toy in the Disney store, we don’t really see the two worlds interact. No matter how much we love both Marvel and Disney, we’ve never seen a Disney character step foot into the Marvel universe — until now.

Stellar Labs, an art studio based in Jakarta, Indonesia, decided to combine Maleficent with Loki, have Thor meet Rapunzel and even put all the evil villains together in one portrait.

The results? Everything we wanted and more. Check out all the creative mash ups below for yourself.

DONALD THE THOR by illustrator Agri Karuniawan

DONALD THE THOR by illustrator Agri Karuniawan

MALEFICENT X LOKI by illustrator Bramasta Aji

MALEFICENT X LOKI by illustrator Bramasta Aji

TARZAN THOR by illustrator Eko Puteh

TARZAN THOR by illustrator Eko Puteh

THORUNZEL by illustrator Fahriza Kamaputra

THORUNZEL by illustrator Fahriza Kamaputra

VILLAINS by illustrator Isuardi Therianto

VILLAINS by illustrator Isuardi Therianto

FIX-IT HULK by illustrators Miralti Firmansyah & Jessica Kholinne

FIX-IT HULK by illustrators Miralti Firmansyah & Jessica Kholinne

POOH & FRIENDS by illustrator Natasha Elizabeth

POOH & FRIENDS by illustrator Natasha Elizabeth

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PRINCE TONY by illustrator Ryan Adriandhy

DONALD'S BACKYARD PARTEE by illustrator Yenny Laud

DONALD’S BACKYARD PARTEE by illustrator Yenny Laud

To check out more of Steller Lab’s work, visit their official Facebook page here.

Adorable Thai Commercial Reminds Us That Technology Can’t Replace Love

I don’t know about you, but in my day, an elementary kid with a cell phone was simply unheard of. Well that’s certainly not the case anymore. I’ve seen 10-year-olds bring brand new laptops to school, 5-year-olds with the latest smartphones, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across parents using an iPad to distract their toddlers from being too loud in public places.

I guess there’s no avoiding it. Advances in technology are bound to affect our youth. Don’t get me wrong. I see the benefits and if I’m being really honest, I think we’re all a little relieved that those loud, little ones have a reason to stop screaming and chasing each other while we’re in line at the bank.

Despite this, I can’t help but feel a little empty as technology continues to replace what’s familiar. Who knows how far this will go? Already in Japan, you can replace your relationship for a virtual girlfriend and who can ignore their plans of virtual waiters?

It can get pretty scary to think about all the changes to come, so we were quite relieved to see this Thai commercial which reminds viewers that no matter what, technology can’t replace everything. Specifically, technology can never replace love.

Check out the adorable video below where a new father learns this lesson first hand.

 

Fashion & Food? Check Out This Perfect Combo in Kara Birkenstock’s “Style Bites”

 

“With a last name like Birkenstock, it was really natural for me to start talking about shoes and fashion,” jokes Kara Birkenstock.

And while you may initially think of the popular German footwear label when you hear her surname, at the rate Kara’s going, it’s only a matter of time before the name will bring to mind the talented and beautiful host of Lifestyle Network’s Style Bites. This daily series, which premiered April of this year, satisfies viewers’ cravings for the two things Kara loves most: fashion and food.

Kara began her love affair with fashion at the age of 15 when she began to model. ”I used to do gymnastics competitively,” Kara recalls. “When I got too tall — I had a big growth spurt when I was 14 — I had to quit gymnastics. So I started to model and I realized my height worked for me.”

The Thai-Filipino American model’s love for food goes back even further. “The Thai side of my family has always been in the restaurant business. My grandma had one of those street carts, and my aunt and mom now have a Thai restaurant in the Bay area.”

So when Lifestyle Network, the newest channel launched by Filipino media group ABS-CBN International, approached Kara and asked her to come up with a concept for a new show, she already had the answer.

“It was a whirlwind experience,” laughs Kara. “They approached me in December and by January we were in production and had 24 features to shoot. It was all airing by March 30th!”

 

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Style Bites features the best of fashion and food in four segments. In “Glam Guide,” Kara shows us some of the biggest fashion trends and red carpet secrets. “Designer Dish” gives us the first look at new and hot designers. “Taste of the Town” features a restaurant or food spot of Kara’s choice, and “Cook Like a Chef” takes us into the kitchens of renown chefs who gladly show us how to make famous dishes.

And above all else, Style Bites gives audiences a chance to watch Kara do what she loves while talking about what she loves.

“I love hosting,” gushes Kara. “This particular experience with Style Bites is like a dream come true. It’s the perfect combination.”

 

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Check out this perfect combination for yoursel.! Style Bites airs daily with new episodes premiering weekly on the Lifestyle Network. For more information, click here.

 

 

 


 


“Lifestyle Network is the newest channel launched by ABS-CBN International which was created almost 20 years ago to be of service to all Filipinos. With the launch of its flagship product, The Filipino Channel (TFC), the company became the first and most successful Filipino content distribution company in the U.S. The company offers telecommunication, retail, theatricals, money remittance and cargo services, online audio and video streaming, IPTV, On Demand, along with philanthropic support for Filipinos and the communities they now call home. Based in Redwood City, CA, ABS-CBN International is a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Corporation, the Philippines’ largest entertainment and broadcasting company, through ABS-CBN Corporation’s wholly-owned subsidiary, ABS-CBN Global Hungary Kft. For more information, visit www.tfc-usa.com.”

Why Everyone Loves Marc Anthony Nicolas, Host of Filipino American Talk Show “On Your Marc!”

 

Out of the countless reasons you should check out Lifestyle Network’s newest talk show On Your Marc!, the biggest reason has got to be the show’s host, Marc Anthony Nicolas.

With his addictive personality and contagious laugh, it is clear that Marc is quite a natural. This may be why many are surprised to discover that this is Marc’s first time actually being in front of the camera. Prior to On Your Marc!, he was a production assistant for a reality series called Starting Over, a casting director for MTV, a booking producer for The Tyra Banks Show, and a three-time Emmy nominated producer for The Talk on CBS.

And even with this impressive list of achievements, he admits that he was once headed towards a different path completely. “I grew up in a Filipino family and, of course, we always want to please [our parents], and my mom and dad wanted me to become a pharmacist,” Marc explains. “So I became a pharmacy assistant, and I while loved helping people and making them smile, I would get home, watch shows and dream of being a TV producer. I would always wait for the end credits, and I always dreamed of my name being there.”

Marc decided to chase his dreams, and with a little luck, some good networking and a natural ability to charm, he eventually got his wish to be TV producer. Seems like a happily ever after, right? Well, not just yet. Marc is clearly someone who enjoys a challenge, so even after achieving the goal of becoming a TV producer, he kept going.

Flash forward to present day and now Marc has stepped out from behind the cameras to host his very own show. On Your Marc! is the first Filipino American talk show that features Hollywood celebrities in a fun, quirky, never-before-seen way.

 

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Marc with Sharon Osbourne

 

“As soon as I found out Lifestyle Network wanted content for their network, I immediately wanted them to look at my pitch for On Your Marc!. I prayed every night and when I found out that they actually wanted the show, I was jumping up and down and I was so excited,” Marc laughs. “I’m part of a network that I’m proud of.”

During the show, celebrity guests participate in quirky, fun games such as the “Question Marc Wheel,” “X Marcs The Spot” and “Book Marc.” Yes, you are seeing a common thread there. Additionally, on every episode he teaches his guest a little Tagalog, the official Philippine language.

“This may be the only Filipino talk show that [the celebrity guest] will ever attend and it is my job as the host and executive producer to set a prime example for the Filipino community. After all, when I grasp my dreams, it is not only for myself, it is also for my community.”

 

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Marc with Olivia Newton John

Marc with Vanessa Lachey

Marc with Vanessa Lachey

 

Check out what all the fuss is about! On Your Marc! airs every Sunday at 9:30 pm on the Lifestyle Network. For more information, click here

 

 

 


“Lifestyle Network is a living and travel guide that understands the lifestyle needs of modern Filipinos around the globe. As multi-faceted as its audience, the channel brings a myriad of entertainment choices that inspire. To the new generation’s citizens of the world, Lifestyle Network is the only guide and companion that helps enrich their lives and expand their universe. Exploring corners of the world. Satiating gustatory curiosity. Creating luxurious havens. Mastering the art of living beautifully. Relaxing and empowering, this is the channel that helps you live your dreams and live your passions.

A TFC premium channel, Lifestyle Network’s programming is a unique combination of original and acquired shows airing 24/7 in English.  Broadcast across the country, it is available through satellite, cable, and video on demand platforms. To find Lifestyle Network in your area and for exclusive content online, visit www.lifestylenetwork.tv. “

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