Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary

Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary
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Bahraini filmmaker and influencer Omar Farooq premiered his Ithra-produced documentary, “The Dark Side of Japan,” at the closing of the Sync Summit. (Supplied)
Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary
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Omar Farooq (second L) alongside his Japan-filming team. Majed Z. Samman (far R), the head of performing arts and cinema at Ithra, moderated the panel. (Supplied)
Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary
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The panel sat on the floor, Japanese style, for the panel discussion. (Supplied)
Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary
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Audience members awaiting the start of the documentary. (Supplied)
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Updated 24 May 2024
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Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary

Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary
  • The documentary takes viewers on a trip as he journeys to places near and far within Japan to interact with locals, expats and visitors about their relationship to technology and nature

DHAHRAN: For the finale of the two-day Sync Digital Wellbeing Summit at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, or Ithra, a documentary titled “The Dark Side of Japan” premiered at the Ithra Cinema on Thursday. 

The Bahraini creative influencer, Omar Farooq, who was the narrator in the documentary, was there in-person with his team to answer questions after the screening.

As part of the Sync Spotlight series, the documentary tied together all the various themes explored during the summit, of which technology and wellness topics were explored on stage and at various points throughout the center. The documentary, which was filmed in Japan, showcases Farooq as he observes the Japanese people’s intense interactions with — and addictions to — their screens. Amid the bright lights of flashy Tokyo emerges a lingering dark side of loneliness, heads down, and fingers scrolling endlessly.

The filmmaker and influencer tried to convey an important message the old-fashioned way before the film premiere. He asked every attendee to take a moment to look under their seats. After a minute of awkward shuffling, it was revealed that an envelope was placed there so they could tuck their phones away and watch the documentary phone-free.




An envelope that was placed under each seat at the Ithra Cinema instructing viewers to place their phones there and enjoy the documentary phone-free. (Supplied)

Farooq wanted the audience to be completely immersed and to be on the journey alongside him.

The documentary takes viewers on a trip as he journeys to places near and far within Japan to interact with locals, expats and visitors about their relationship to technology and nature. He spoke to families of young children about the school system and he spent time with adults of various backgrounds to ask about their preferences: city life or country life?

“It’s hard to keep a close relationship with people (in Tokyo). We don’t have time to care about others,” a Japanese artist told him in one scene.  

Wildly popular, with 3.9 million followers on instagram, Farooq was on hand to have a discussion on stage after the screening. Moderated by Ithra’s own head of a performing arts and cinema, Majed Z. Samman, who had studied in Japan and was familiar with the Japanese culture, they were joined by Mohammed Alhajri and Ahmed Alsayed, both of whom were with Farooq in Japan to assist with the filming. They sat on the floor, Japanese style, on stage for the discussion.




The panel sat on the floor, Japanese style, for the panel discussion. (Supplied) 

“This documentary isn’t about Japan,” Farooq cautioned the audience. Japan was merely an example of a place that has been plagued by hyper internet addiction and loss of real world connection. He asks the question: “Will this be our future? Is it already our present?”

He instructs viewers to look within and not just walk away as a programmed robot on autopilot; constantly shackled to their smartphones and ignoring the world around them.

After the initial screening, there were two other screenings back-to-back at the cinema, both of which were sold out.

The Ithra-produced documentary was mostly in Arabic, with some English and some Japanese.
 


Riyadh doctors working remotely save Jordan pilgrim from stroke in Madinah

Riyadh doctors working remotely save Jordan pilgrim from stroke in Madinah
Updated 13 June 2024
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Riyadh doctors working remotely save Jordan pilgrim from stroke in Madinah

Riyadh doctors working remotely save Jordan pilgrim from stroke in Madinah
  • The pilgrim, who has a history of chronic illness, was treated at the Madinah General Hospital

RIYADH: Doctors working remotely from Riyadh helped a 72-year-old Jordanian pilgrim in Madinah survive a stroke this week, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The medical team specializing in telestroke medicine is affiliated with the Seha Virtual Hospital in Riyadh, the SPA reported.

The pilgrim, who has a history of chronic illness, was treated at the Madinah General Hospital.

In a joint effort, doctors from the Ministry of Health, the Seha Virtual Hospital, and the Madinah General Hospital located a brain clot and performed a cerebral catheterization procedure.

The pilgrim is recovering, the SPA said.

A total of 5,466 volunteers, in over 16 locations in Madinah and Makkah, are helping with first aid and emergency care for Hajj pilgrims this year.


Elderly Malaysian pilgrim fulfils decades-long Hajj dream

Elderly Malaysian pilgrim fulfils decades-long Hajj dream
For years, Safwan applied for Hajj believing the opportunity would coincide with his retirement plans. (SPA)
Updated 50 min 21 sec ago
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Elderly Malaysian pilgrim fulfils decades-long Hajj dream

Elderly Malaysian pilgrim fulfils decades-long Hajj dream

JEDDAH: Malaysian pilgrim Mohammed Safwan, 66, is finally achieving a decades-long dream of performing Hajj.

Hailing from Johor in the south of the country, Safwan worked as an aviation safety technician for Malaysia Airlines, but after retirement had little savings because he had continued to support his family.

When Malaysia’s government approved Safwan’s Hajj request, his children collected $26,000 so that he could fulfil his dream. 

“Nothing compares to the unity and strength of a family, and no joy can match the elation of realizing a dream cherished by the closest of people,” Safwan told the Saudi Press Agency on Wednesday.


Awareness campaign on animal sacrifice launched in Madinah ahead of Eid Al-Adha

Awareness campaign on animal sacrifice launched in Madinah ahead of Eid Al-Adha
Updated 13 June 2024
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Awareness campaign on animal sacrifice launched in Madinah ahead of Eid Al-Adha

Awareness campaign on animal sacrifice launched in Madinah ahead of Eid Al-Adha
  • The campaign is a project of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture's Department of Animal Wealth

RIYADH: A campaign on how to choose the proper animals for sacrifice and ensure that it is free of diseases has been launched in Madinah province ahead of Eid Al-Adha. 

Dubbed "My Sacrifice,” the awareness campaign is a project of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture's Department of Animal Wealth, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

"The campaign, which is supervised by a number of specialists and veterinarians, shows the most important and sound methods for preserving meat and keeping it safe from poisoning," SPA said.

MEWA's awareness campaign on animal sacrifice include field visits and tours to livestock markets and an exhibition in one of the commercial complexes in the region. (SPA)

The activities include field visits and tours to livestock markets "to guide beneficiaries on the most important health requirements that must be met by the sacrifice," it added.

Experts will explain how to choose good sacrificial animals, particularly the age.

An awareness-raising exhibition will also be held in one of the commercial complexes in the region, and a children’s studio, the report said.

Eid Al-Adha this year falls on June 16. 

 

 


Saudi minister inspects National Guard Hajj preparedness

Saudi minister inspects National Guard Hajj preparedness
Updated 13 June 2024
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Saudi minister inspects National Guard Hajj preparedness

Saudi minister inspects National Guard Hajj preparedness

MAKKAH: Prince Abdullah bin Bandar, the minister of the National Guard, inspected the readiness of ministry forces for the Hajj season, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

This inspection is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to ensure the security of the Hajj, following the directions of the country’s leadership.

During his visit to Makkah’s Al-Shara’i district, Prince Abdullah watched a detailed military parade under the theme of “Ease and Reassurance.”

The parade demonstrated the preparedness and abilities of the ministry’s forces responsible for keeping pilgrims safe during their journey.

Lieutenant General Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Bassami listens to a briefing. (SPA)

Separately, Lieutenant General Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Bassami, the director of Public Security and Chairman of the Hajj Security Committee, inspected the security forces, and the military support authorities participating in serving the pilgrims at the holy sites.

Al-Bassami confirmed that his organization has prepared the required security and organizational plans, which aim to ensure the security, safety and comfort of the pilgrims.

He stressed that the security forces will respond firmly and forcefully to thwart any action that might affect the safety of the pilgrims or whatever hampers facilitating their rituals.


KSrelief chief discusses aid efforts in Gaza with Palestinian ministers

KSrelief chief discusses aid efforts in Gaza with Palestinian ministers
Updated 13 June 2024
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KSrelief chief discusses aid efforts in Gaza with Palestinian ministers

KSrelief chief discusses aid efforts in Gaza with Palestinian ministers

RIYADH: The general supervisor of Saudi aid agency KSrelief, Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, on Wednesday discussed the situation in Gaza with the Palestinian minister of health, Majed Abu Ramadan, and minister of social development, Samah Abdul Rahim Hussein Hamad.

Their meeting took place during “Call for Action: Urgent Humanitarian Response for Gaza,” an international emergency conference that began in Jordan on Tuesday.

They discussed “the delicate humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and ways to deliver aid to those displaced there,” the Saudi Press Agency reported. They also exchanged views on the main topics addressed by the conference.

The Palestinian ministers thanked the Kingdom, as represented by KSrelief, for the aid and assistance it has provided to the people of Gaza to help alleviate their suffering during the current humanitarian crisis. They expressed their sincere appreciation in particular for the support provided by Saudi authorities to healthcare efforts in the territory.