No Time of the Sign?

Imagine a Singapore without street signs signs, imagine Seoul without traffic lights, imagine Hong Kong without its nanny signs and announcements, imagine removing that great clutter of dos and don’ts that litter Asian road sides and cityscapes. Asia often likes to think itself innovative and concerned with group rather than individual values. But in reality…

Looking for Love

One of the most popular soap operas in China can’t be watched on CCTV or even a television. Instead it’s found on the popular China blog, Danwei.org as well as on YouTube, where the short, wryly funny episodes of Sexy Bejing record the ups and downs of a Twenty-something Jewish-American woman’s search for love in…

A Right Royal Mess?

Asian royals have been much in the news. Royalty backing a coup in Thailand. Royalty creating mayhem in Nepal. A revolt against royals in tiny Tonga. A rare royal birth in Japan. And in Korea, discussion of a royal rebirth. Their role raises the issue: do we need more or less of this remnant of…

UPDATE: Standoff at the South China Morning Post

What began as the sacking of two long-term employees over a gag front page given as a gift to a fired colleague at Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post has become a standoff between a seemingly unpopular chief editor and more than 100 – approximately half – of his editorial employees who have taken formal…

No Joking Please, We’re Journalists

In an unprecedented action, an estimated 80-plus newsroom staffers – male, female, Chinese and western alike – have signed what amounts to a no-confidence vote in Mark Clifford, the editor-in-chief of Hong Kong’s largest English language newspaper, after he fired two senior editors for their small roles in a mock front page farewell gift for…

Comrade Condom

In his unremarkable 22-year life, which ended ingloriously in 1962 when a PLA comrade accidentally backed a truck into a power pole that fell and crushed him, Lei Feng wanted to be nothing more than a selfless "revolutionary screw that never rusts." The Fengster, a man celebrated as a revolutionary icon of Maoist China for…

Her Majesty’s Former Servant

My “best friend'', as my Chinese press colleagues have dubbed him, is an 82-year-old British retired High Court judge named Miles Henry Jackson-Lipkin who, along with his 81-year-old ex-barrister Chinese wife, Lucille Fung Yung-shim, is currently standing trial in Hong Kong on three counts of fraud in connection with welfare housing and medical aid applications.…

The Great Wall Goes Missing

William Lindesay has documented the danger facing China’s Great Wall in a series of stunning photographs. After digging up photographs and drawings made over the past 200 years, Lindesay has gone back to the same spot and retaken the same image. After recounting his 2,470 km trek along remains of the Wall, in the 1989…

Thailand’s New Nannies

Bangkok - Early last month, stately Thai Queen Sirikit Kitiyakara flipped on the news and saw a report about a festival marking the end of Buddhist lent in the northeastern province of Nong Khai. Expecting to see stoic saffron-robed monks, incense and pictures of Buddha, she instead saw something rather different: a bunch of teenage…

Gay Goodbye Bash

“Fundoshi are still used as traditional sports underwear; like a Jock strap the rokushaku fundoshi is tight on the scrotum and lifts the penis to the side upwards positions.”  - Wikipedia The Japanese dancer at the Phuket Hilton wasn’t getting much scrotal support from his fundoshi. He had teased them down over his buttocks, and,…