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MICHAEL YIP

I AM

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Hello,

I'm Michael Yip

With 20+ years in the video and photography industry, I've been engaged to cover quite a number of historical events that happened across the Asian region in the recent years. From the 1st Formula 1 race in Malaysia to the SEA Games in Laos and Olympics in Australia. Since 2010, based out of Kuala Lumpur, my team and I have been engaged to cover a number of corporate clients and notable individuals as well as festivals in the Asian region. To get in touch with us to use our service, Just head over to the contact section and drop me a message.

Through ABOOD PLT., my team and I also provides Event Production as well as Procurement services. Our core team has a combined 30+ years of experience in the event industry organizing festivals and corporate functions as well as corporate training services. We also have a team that has a strong network in the business world that enabled us to provide procurement services to various businesses looking for specific items or services. To reach out to us, you can drop me a message via the floating button at the bottom right or write in to us at info@mikeyip.com or aboodmediamy@gmail.com

If you are stumped by the photo, yes, I dance as well, mainly Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, West Coast Swing and Argentine Tango. I have since stopped performing due to injuries but if you are looking for performers for corporate events/functions/parties/festivals. Do drop me a message as well as I manages some of the dance teams that is currently making the rounds performing for various clients.


Education
Kolej Bandar Utama/Central St. Martin

Diploma in Arts and Design

Kolej Damansara Utama

Diploma in Telecommunication Engineering

SMK Damansara Utama

SPM


Experience
Photographer/Video Producer

MIKE YIP STUDIO

Abood PLT

Procurement Services and Event Management

Digital Marketing Solutions

Abood Media Sdn Bhd


My Skills
Photography and Video Production
Brand Management and Solutions
Public Relations
Digital Marketing Solutions

14

Confirmed Bookings for 2018

4

Confirmed Destinations for 2018

6

Confirmed Dance Festivals for 2018

4

Talks Confirmed for 2018

WHAT CAN MY TEAM DO

Photography and Video Production

As our core business, this is what we are good at, capturing visuals that brings out the best for your brand.

Procurement Services and Event Management

Through Abood PLT, we specializes in helping brands in 2 big ways, providing a customized procurement solutions for their business needs. We also tailor make events for organizations from corporate training to roadshows and tournaments.

Social Media Marketing

Abood Media Sdn Bhd's core strenght in Digital Marketing Services focuses on Social Media Management and promotions.

Web Design

We also design and revamp websites as part of Abood Media Sdn Bhd's services.

Live Event Streaming Production

As part of a new offering from MIKE YIP STUDIO and partners, we also provides Live Streaming services for Events through dedicated sites or onto social media platforms.

Efficient

We pride ourselves at being good and efficient in what we do and we always try our best to deliver services that exceeds our client's expectations.

I also blogs

‘Teacher Worship’ in dance could lead to sexual assaults


This article was the 2nd of 3 posted on MalaysiaKini, reposting it here so that students are well aware that they have their rights and to be alert in case of any future reoccurrence because I do not condone such behavior in the dance community. 
As instructors, our role is to provide a safe environment and be the reliable person students can turn to in their times of needs. By taking advantage of being in that role and attack the very students that trusts you is just wrong.
When Ming Pang learnt that an instructor of a dance studio in Kuala Lumpur was arrested after rape reports, she knew she had to do something.

The founder of the Klang Valley Swing dance scene, Pang knew that some of the dancers in her scene were also taking classes at that studio.

And she also knew that the studio - which specialises in a dance that is not part of the Swing scene - did not tell its students one of its instructors was reported for raping and sexually assaulting his students.

It was all very familiar. A few years ago, she said, the international Swing dance community was rocked by a scandal where top instructors were exposed as sexual predators.

“We had a look at ourselves to see how it was possible that these very high profile people were able to get away with this for so long.

“A lot of it was the culture of that the scene had created. This idol worship. These dance teachers are nobody outside but within the scene, they have a lot of power.

“If you’re the founder of the scene, you have a lot of power to choose who you favour. To what end, it is up to you. There is no regulation,” she said.

Now facing a similar scandal at home, Pang and her colleagues in the Swing dance community agreed that it was now up to them to ensure their dancers were safe.

And the best way to do that, she said, was to make sure they knew their rights.

Prolonged holds and inappropriate touches

Soon after the instructor was arrested last August, the Swing dance community held a safety talk, to inform the dancers of the arrest and to educate dancers on what was acceptable behaviour during a dance.

Pang said boundaries can seem very blurred to newcomers, and it is in this grey zone that the predators prey.

“There are confirmed black zones like rape but there are grey areas like sexist content in class and when dancing, there are holds that are too close or too long, or unwanted touches.

“A lot of times, people in positions of power can explain that away (as part of the dance) to newcomers who don’t know better,” she said.

Some dancers who took lessons from the affected studio where the alleged perpetrator taught told Malaysiakini there had been complaints about inappropriate behaviour and prolonged holds before, involving other senior dancers or instructors.

One senior male dancer was accused of holding female newcomers too close and would grind his body into the female dancers in ways which made them feel uncomfortable.

“When I complained, the teachers’ reactions were, ‘Well, what if he was (another good looking dancer)? Would you complain?’

“But I am an adult. It is not about whether he is good looking or not. I know what is an inappropriate touch and what isn’t,” one dancer shared on condition of anonymity.
She said one of the instructors had a reputation of trying to kiss his students during social dance outside the classroom, but this was largely seen by members as annoying but harmless, she said.

When contacted, the instructor denied this and said he did not have to respond on matters involving his personal life.

The perception of these behaviours changed completely after the incident in July where at least three dancers were allegedly raped by the studio principal, according to the women’s police reports.

The studio principal was also accused of raping his students in a separate incident in 2017, but police have cleared him of this accusation, concluding the sex was consensual.

The 2019 rape accusations are still under investigations, and the studio principal is on police bail after he was remanded for seven days in August. He did not respond to Malaysiakini’s request for a response.

Training to say no

Pang said she knows that convictions for sexual assault cases are very low, and this is why she hopes she can help stop them from happening.

“The best way is to have an educated scene and to train teachers to teach in non-gendered ways, and to train teachers on what is not considered acceptable,” she said.

“Part of our training is about consent, that consent must be given enthusiastically and that someone cannot give consent if they are drunk or inhibited in any way.

“Class students are told they don’t need to dance with anyone (if they don’t want to). If you don’t want to, they can say no without an explanation. No is a complete sentence,” she said.

This was part of a cultural shift. Some years ago, she said, it was considered polite to accept offers to dance even when one does not feel comfortable with it. These days, she said Swing students practice saying no.

“We have an Asian culture of being compliant and nice and we have very poor sex education. People are not as assertive about their body and the fact that they have every right to control who touches them,” she said.

The Swing dance scene has also put in place a system where dancers who feel they have been violated or witness inappropriate behaviour could raise it with the appointed safety officer of their particular Swing dance.

“Women in dance have been battling this. Better that they are aware, educated and know where to find help when they need to rather than have violence perpetrated against them,” she said.

Peer pressure to fit in

Peer pressure in the dance scene to join in and go along with things they feel uncomfortable with was raised several times in separate interviews Malaysiakini conducted with four of the women who said they were molested or raped by their instructor.

One dancer said in the scene it was deemed rude to reject an offer to dance because it was expected for dancers to be welcoming to newcomers. But this culture pervades off the dance floor.

One of the witnesses of the 2019 assault told Malaysiakini she did not do anything to stop the assaults because she was not sure if she was the only one who felt uncomfortable.

“If the other girls (who said they were raped) had told me they were okay with it, I would just close one eye (to the assault) and not reported it.”

One of the women who said she was raped said she had felt “shocked” by what was happening even before the assaults took place, but did not leave because she “did not want to be the abnormal one”.

In the 2017 incident, one of the survivors said she pretended that everyone had consented to the sexual relations so as to not embarrass the other women.

She only learnt two years later that the other women were too inebriated to consent, but were told by the instructor they were willing partners.

One of them told police she believed she was raped, but the case was closed. Police concluded it was consensual because she continued to have cordial relations with the alleged perpetrator.

Shockwaves in a close-knit community

The news of the 2017 and 2019 incidents sent shockwaves in the studio’s close-knit community of dancers.

One dancer who had been in the scene for three years said he was shocked when he first heard. To many of them, he said, the alleged perpetrator was like a brother.

The alleged perpetrator often organised parties involving the dancers where he also invited his mother, wife and two children, and the group would organise sleepovers during holidays.

At all the parties, he said, the activities were “healthy”.

“Perhaps because I am a man, I was not aware of the predatory behaviour against the women dancers. I was never invited to any of the private parties (where the assaults allegedly took place),” he told Malaysiakini in an interview, on condition of anonymity.

Soon after the instructor was arrested, two witnesses of the 2019 sexual assaults called for a meeting with senior members of the scene to tell them what happened.

“I remember people were totally shocked. Some people were sobbing,” he said, of the meeting that took place in August.

Some of them asked why the survivors didn’t resist the alleged perpetrator or push him away while one of the instructors said she knew about his tendencies.

'She also said she was always able to reject him and did not understand why the survivors could not do the same,' he added.

Even so, he felt there was collective acceptance that this had happened and that it needed to be addressed.


Two months later, however, it seemed that the incident was swept under the carpet and junior dancers were not informed. They were just told that the instructor was away for a while because he was ill.

“I also heard from the survivors there was pressure for them to retract their police reports,” he said. One of them did retract, feeling pity for the instructor’s mother who begged her to.

Angered by the treatment towards the survivors, the male dancer wrote about what happened on Facebook, urging the community to prioritise safety.

It sparked a storm within the community and some of the instructor's supporters attacked the male dancer for seemingly spreading unproven allegations, which could hurt the instructor’s children.

The exchange prompted him to take a break from dance. All he wanted was for the scene to put in place safety measures, like what the Swing dance community had done, he said.

Before this, he added, dancers could only report anything they felt uneasy about to the studio principal, and now that the principal is the alleged perpetrator, what happens next?

“I just hope the truth will come out and justice will be served. I also hope the scene will heal and safeguards will be in place.”

Dance Instructor Accused of Raping Students (Graphic Content)


The article was 1st posted on MalaysiaKini, reposting it here so that students are well aware that they have their rights and to be alert in case of any future reoccurrence because I do not condone such behavior in the dance community.
As instructors, our role is to provide a safe environment and be the reliable person students can turn to in their times of needs. By taking advantage of being in that role and attack the very students that trusts you is just wrong.
A prominent dance instructor in Kuala Lumpur has been accused of raping and sexually assaulting his students during two separate incidents in 2017 and 2019.

The police, however, cleared him with regard to the first incident on the grounds that it was consensual but are still investigating the second incident.

The complainants told police during both incidents, the instructor had organised “special parties” for a selected group of female students.

The father of two would then allegedly serve copious amounts of alcohol and perform a choreographed dance in which he would strip naked.

The women - aged in their mid-twenties and early thirties - said they were too drunk to consent to sex.

The next day, the women said the instructor would convince them that what transpired was consensual and just something which “went out of hand.”

In both incidents, the instructor told the women before the parties that whatever happened that night must be kept a secret, adding that he would “only go as far as they would go.”

But according to the reports, the women found their instructor “penetrating” them without consent, and on some occasions even after they had refused or tried to stop him.

In the first incident, the women told Malaysiakini that they remained silent out of shame and guilt. They also felt they were partly to blame and that no one would believe them, given his prominence in the scene.

The instructor, they alleged, also assured them that it was the first time this had happened.

Anna (not her real name) said she left the scene after witnessing the assault, because she felt fearful. The next morning, according to text messages sighted by Malaysiakini, the instructor said they had a fun night but the two women cannot remember what happened.

“He told me not to tell them (what happened),” she said.

“I thought maybe (the women) were embarrassed so I didn’t ask them anything,” she said.

Two years later, Anna found herself in another party attended by the dance instructor, where more students were allegedly attacked. This time, she refused to keep quiet.

'Post-traumatic stress disorder'

In three separate interviews, Malaysiakini spoke to four women who claimed they were either raped or molested by the same instructor.

In all the interviews, the women were either in tears or had to stop the interview to compose themselves. Some trembled as they recalled what happened. Some have stopped dancing - including those whose dance careers were hitting the international stage.

All the women who spoke to Malaysiakini sought therapy, underwent bouts of self-blame and believe they suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Now, whenever a man comes towards me, I feel scared.

“I try to keep myself busy by filling up all my free time. I was in a (different) dance class and our instructor, a gay man, put his hand on my shoulder and immediately, I felt frightened and (the alleged perpetrator's) face flashed in front of me. That was when I decided I needed to see a counsellor,” said one of them.

Malaysiakini is not identifying the dance instructor, the studio he teaches at or the women he reportedly attacked, to protect the survivors' identities and for legal reasons.

When contacted, police confirmed that reports were lodged against the instructor, who was then arrested and remanded for seven days to facilitate investigations.

The investigations, according to the police, are ongoing for the allegations which surfaced in 2019 but it is learnt that no charges would be brought against him with regard to the first incident.

Police had concluded the sex was consensual partly because of WhatsApp chat transcripts. The police said the messages showed the women remained friendly with the alleged perpetrator after the incident.

The instructor, when contacted, said he would provide a response to Malaysiakini. However, despite repeated attempts, this was not forthcoming.

First incident

In the 2017 incident, four women were invited to attend a party for their friend, organised by the instructor at his studio in an upper-middle-class neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur.

According to the police reports, by the end of the party, three of the women were allegedly raped or molested. One was unharmed because she left early.

The instructor was accused of trying to insert his finger and penis into one woman while she was lying on the floor in a drunken haze, and raping another woman from behind while she was ill and bent over the washroom sink.

Anna told Malaysiakini that the instructor had allegedly tried to remove her underwear, but managed to stop him.

She recalled getting up to use the washroom after that and abruptly sobering up once she urinated.

“I felt the room come back to me,” she told Malaysiakini.

In her police report, Anna said she opened the washroom door to find the dance instructor on top of another dancer. “He was already penetrating her,” she reported. Terrified for her safety, she fled the premises.

'Senseless and unconscious'

Nina (also not her real name) was the dancer Anna told police she saw under the instructor. Nina told police she was so inebriated at the time that she could barely open her eyes. She did not even realise the dance instructor was on her until she felt him penetrating her.

“I did not know when he came on top of me and I did not want this at all,” she said in her report.

When she realised what was happening, Nina said she sobered up abruptly. She said the instructor “suddenly stopped and moved away” from her. She got up “in a state of shock”. After that, she said she saw the instructor attack her friend.

Nina told police that her friend was “senseless and not conscious” and was bent over the sink “like she was vomiting.”

“Her long pants and panties were gone and I saw (the dance instructor) penetrating her from behind,” she added.

Shocked, she crouched in a corner of the studio and subsequently passed out.

The next morning, the instructor took the women to his house, which he shares with his wife, two children and mother.

He told his family they had too much to drink and needed to sleep it off. And while they did, he contacted Anna, who fled the studio after she saw him allegedly attack Nina.

“He told me both (the other dancers) do not remember anything. He told me if they had asked, just say you don't remember anything as well.

“I thought maybe my friends are embarrassed about what happened, and I did not know what happened after I left, so I agreed to pretend that I don't remember what happened.

“He said this is the first time this has happened, he didn't expect things to go this far. So I believed him and did not question further,” she told the police.

The 2019 incident

Two years later, Anna found herself in an eerily similar situation.

Her friend, who is also a dancer, had invited her to a bachelorette's party in a suite of a luxury hotel, on the sidelines of an international dance festival at the same venue. The dance festival was organised by the instructor.

Looking back, she said, the circumstances of the party were bizarre.

As it was a bachelorette's party, they were told a stripper would be there. But it was a belated party - the wedding was months before and the new “bride” was already in her final trimester of pregnancy.

Even so, the attendees - five female dancers from the same scene - obliged their friend since they were already at the hotel that day to attend the festival.

What they did not know was that the stripper would be their dance instructor - or that he would assault or rape them, according to one police report.

Speaking to Malaysiakini, the women said they would later find out that the instructor had personally curated the guest list and pressured the “bride” into having the party.

Malaysiakini was unable to interview the “bride”. Her friends said she was busy with her newborn. Before her baby was born, she had accompanied her friends to lodge a police report and called a meeting with other senior members of the scene to tell them what had happened.

The incident in July 2019 bore a remarkable resemblance to the 2017 incident, with the instructor allegedly telling them to keep whatever transpired under wraps and that he would “only go as far as they would go.”

Detailing the incident to the police, the dancer who had also attended the 2017 party, said she saw the instructor “penetrate” three women who were intoxicated.

“I did not see or hear him ask for consent,” she said, adding that she heard one of them asking, “Are you serious?” when penetrated.

She also witnessed one woman attempting to crawl away but was pinned down and penetrated from behind. This woman declined to speak to Malaysiakini, citing trauma.

“She tried to move away but he pulled her back,” one police report by a witness read.

Just like in 2017, Anna felt frightened by what she saw and left the party midway. But unlike two years before, in the following days, she contacted the other women to check on their wellbeing.

This was when the women learnt the instructor had sent them all the same apologetic text message the next morning, saying that things just “went out of hand.”

One survivor, who remained at the party until the end, claimed that before he left, the instructor told them “to take everything that happened to your grave.”

He also posted a thank you message on Facebook dedicated to those involved in the dance festival. In it was a vague apology for “things that happened which (he) was not proud of”.

He sent a copy of this posting, with the apology highlighted, to the women who attended the party.

But this time, it was not enough to persuade the women that it was something that “went out of hand”, as he had claimed. It also prompted them to reach out to another dancer who attended the 2017 party to find out what happened then.

“When I heard that, I realised this was suspiciously similar to what happened to me and (my friend) two years ago,” Nina, who told police the instructor raped her in 2017, said.

Mother, wife begged for reports to be retracted

When the dance instructor was under police remand, the women met with his family, including his wife, who was their friend and fellow dancer.

They claimed that his wife cried and begged them to retract the reports and blamed herself for giving him “too much independence”.

Whereas, his mother purportedly kneeled before them and begged that the reports be retracted as well.

“The mother said that it was her fault, that she didn’t teach him properly. You cannot imagine what it is like to see an old woman kneel in front of you begging you like that,” one of them said. It prompted her to retract the report.

She told Malaysiakini the retraction was not because the incident did not take place but because she felt sorry for the instructor's mother.

The senior members of the scene also told the survivors they would also be in trouble for participating in such a party.

The retraction, she said, prompted those who supported the instructor to spread rumours that the accusations were fabricated and that the sex was consensual.

“We don't really know if he would go to jail. But that is not why we are doing this,” added another dancer, whose report is still under investigation.

The women just want him to stop preying on young, hopeful dancers.

Dance tainted

All the women have stopped attending lessons at the studio and have tried to warn other dancers about the situation.

The women also alleged that the management and other instructors want to keep the rest in the dark over the incidents.

In the scene’s WhatsApp group, those raising questions on safety were admonished. In one exchange sighted by Malaysiakini, a dance member said those raising the issue were harming the alleged perpetrator's children.

“The case is ending within a month or two and you know it […],” one member said.

At least two of the dancers have quit dancing entirely, including Nina.

Nina was a rising star. The dance instructor had sought her as his partner and promised he would train her to reach international status like how he did with his previous dance partners.

“People used to ask me why I do the dance, because the close proximity and movements seem sordid to them. But it did not feel that way to me. It was purely dance,” she said.

A year after the reported rape of 2017, she quit dancing because she could not stand being near him any longer.

“I really enjoyed dance. But all this has taken away the purity of dance for me,” she said.

Ostracised by the dance scene

Since the arrest, the women said, the dance scene has largely turned against them.

“If we could say no to him, then why couldn’t you?” one senior female member of the scene asked during an “emergency meeting” with some of the survivors after the instructor was detained.

When contacted, the senior female dancer declined to comment.

Another dancer, who has been active in the scene for many years, said she had never experienced anything inappropriate.

Despite not knowing anything about the incidents, she only agreed to speak to Malaysiakini about the scene on condition of anonymity because she did not want others in the scene to know she had spoken to a reporter.

Other members of the dance scene also blamed the women for what happened - they accused the women of drinking too much, placing themselves in unsafe situations, dressing or behaving provocatively and enjoying the sexual relations but are crying foul now out of shame.

The survivors said the senior members told them they should not have gone to the police, but seek help from the senior members instead.

Others also blamed the women for “tainting the dance scene” over an incident which “happened outside of dance”.

“I’m not involved in this. I just wanna dance,” one person said in the scene's WhatsApp group, after admonishing those raising the issue of safety for dancers.

Groomed by instructor

In retrospect, the women said, they felt they had been groomed by the instructor.

He was always testing their boundaries, one of them said, sharing nude photos of himself, trying to kiss or hug them in ways which they were not comfortable with - and normalising such behaviour.

They worry that they might have encouraged him by using friendly emojis or laughing at his sexualised behaviour in class.

One of them, with trembling hands, showed a message where she made a joke when the instructor told her that several senior members were targeting a new member to get her drunk.

“A friend from dance showed me a recent picture of (the instructor) with new students.

“I looked at the young women in the group and saw myself in them. I wish I knew then what I know now,” she added.

10 Facebook Ads Lessons Learned in 2019!



1. Do NOT have all your eggs in one basket

Something is going to break.. I Guarantee it!
If Facebook is the only traffic source you rely on, you are going to regret it.
Always have other traffic sources you can depend on.

2. Dig your well LONG before you are thirsty

I am referring to new ads.
Write them long before you need them.
Get them approved long before you need them.
Ad approvals have been a nightmare recently.

3. Make Use of the Algorithm

Facebook knows all sorts of stuff.
This includes what your best buyers have in common.
The Facebook algorithm will find and identify complex commonalities.
Make sure you leverage the heck out of Lookalike Audiences.
1% & 2% are Ideal.
Knowing your Audience LTV is even better.

4. Diversify Where You Get Traffic From

Something in Facebook is bound to break.
If you rely only on 1 traffic source you will tend to be disappointed.

5. Lifetime Budgets

Based on my personal experience, Lifetime Budgets reduced Cost Per Result compared to Daily Budgets.
By ALOT; as high as 25% to 50%!
I wish it wasn't so, but every test I have ever run proves this again and again.
Lifetime budgets are cheaper

6. Messaging

Its okay to go super ninja with your targeting.
But your biggest gains will come from your Ad Copy.
You HAVE to talk directly to your avatar.
Understand their deepest and darkest fears, the pain they go through in their daily life, their unrequited fantasies and dreams..

7. Comments Matter

Too many marketers do not manage the negative comments.
Unattended negative comments can really have a detrimental effect.
Just deleting them comments is not enough
Easiest way to moderate comments > select all trolls and complainers, hit delete comments and ban.
Problem solved!

8. Become Less Reliant on Facebook

Yes, I actually said it.

9. PPE

Social proof matters.
When you write a new ad, first run a PPE (engagement) Campaign to it.
Optimise for engagements.
Run to a warm audience where people will like, comment and share.
Once there is a lot of action on the ad, grab the post ID and pop it into a Conversion Campaign.
Boom!
High relevance score.
Low CPA.

10. Boring = Death

Facebook is an Entertainment Channel.
Be Interesting. Be Entertaining. Be Funny.
But. Never. Be. Boring.

BONUS:

Practice Yoga or Meditation
Or do something that can relaxes you.
Whatever that will calm you down.

Facebook will cause you to experience an emotional roller coaster if you let it.

Take a Chill Pill.

Sir Martin Sorrell lays out 4 lessons for marketers to succeed in a new era of advertising


Sir Martin Sorrell needs no introduction. The founder of WPP plc, Sorrell notes that while he was with the advertising and PR firm, India was its “crown jewel.” After 30 years at WPP, Sorrell established a new digital advertising and marketing services company, S4 Capital, where he’s still captivated by the people, culture, and tremendous opportunity for growth in India.

1) Go where the growth is

2) Embrace first-party data while giving users choice and control

3) Focus on agility, quality, and efficiency

4) Get all teams within the organization to communicate

“It’s clear to me that understanding the role of data and programmatic, and how that fashions highly personalized content at scale, is going to determine the future of marketing.” — Sorrell

Read in greater detail about his sharing here.

Merry Christmas


Full Transcript for Malaysia Budget 2020 | #belanjawan2020


If you're looking for the full speech of the 2020 Budget presentation by YB Lim Guan Eng, here's the transcript for your easy reference. Personally, felt the presentation to be very cohesive with something for everyone. Especially with all the goodies for Malaysians@Work which helps both the employees and the employers.



Which part of the Belanjawan2020 is your favorite?

Japan and Singapore top 2019 list of world's most powerful passports


It's been a two-horse race this year to be named the world's most powerful passport, with both top contenders in Asia.

Now, as we enter the final quarter of 2019, Japan and Singapore have held onto their position as the world's most travel-friendly passports.

That's the view of the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country's travel document affords.

Singapore and Japan's passports have topped the rankings thanks to both documents offering access to 190 countries each.

South Korea rubs shoulders with Finland and Germany in second place, with citizens of all three countries able to access 188 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa.

Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan's formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Spain, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates -- but not, notably, the United States or the UK.

The European countries of Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg hold third place in the index, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 187 countries, while France, Spain and Sweden are in the fourth slot, with a score of 186.

Five years ago, the United States and the UK topped the rankings in 2014 -- but both countries have now slipped down to sixth place, the lowest position either has held since 2010.

While the Brexit process has yet to directly impact on the UK's ranking, the Henley Passport Index press release observed in July, "with its exit from the EU now imminent, and coupled with ongoing confusion about the terms of its departure, the UK's once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain."

The United Arab Emirates continues its ascent up the rankings, up five places to rank 15th.

"It's the strongest climber this quarter," Lorraine Charles at Cambridge University's Centre for Business Research says in the October release.

At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan is once again at the bottom of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept, says in the July release: "With a few notable exceptions, the latest rankings from the Henley Passport Index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress."

The best passports to hold in 2019 are:

1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)
2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187)
4. France, Spain, Sweden (186)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185)
6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184)
7. Malta, Czech Republic (183)
8. New Zealand (182)
9. Australia, Lithuania, Slovakia (181)
10. Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Slovenia (180)

The worst passports to hold
Several countries around the world have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to fewer than 40 countries. These include:

100. Lebanon, North Korea (39 destinations)
101. Nepal (38)
102. Libya, Palestinian Territory, Sudan (37)
103. Yemen (33)
104. Somalia, Pakistan (31)
105. Syria (29)
106. Iraq (27)
107. Afghanistan (25)

The Henley Passport Index is based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations. It is updated in real time throughout the year, as and when visa policy changes come into effect.

List of Dance Festivals around the Asia-Pacific for 2020


If you're looking around for a festival (especially salsa/bachata/afro-latin), you can check out this comprehensive list here.
  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1TmiFrQkKUFB5dpo8hYjY8QbtwUGJsVED8VFB6FkAlpw/

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MICHAEL YIP
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