The Needle’s Eye and US Immigration: Equally Difficult

The Needle’s Eye and US Immigration: Equally DifficultFor anybody who has ever tried to get a loved one into the United States, there is one central truth: it is harder to immigrate to the US to live and work than perhaps any major country on the planet. It is easier to get into China. Nonetheless, during the Republican primaries for last year’s…

Jaipur Lit Fest gets massive crowds for books and fun

North India’s two annual cultural jamborees have this year again pulled in tens of thousands of expanding crowds from home and abroad as they reach their ten-year anniversaries – the Jaipur Literature Festival last month and the India Art Fair next year. Both provide a mixture of culture, education and entertainment, having begun in a relatively…

Gambling on Chinese Investment in Laos

Gambling on Chinese Investment in LaosWith its massive cupolas, one shaped like a green crown and the other painted bright gold, Kings Romans Casino does not blend in with the forests of rural Southeast Asia, but the establishment is the heart of the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (GT-SEZ), a controversial gambling hub in northern Laos. The area has mostly…

Malay Scholars Find Fault in Malay Leaders

Malay Scholars Find Fault in Malay LeadersThe United Malays National Organization (UMNO) presents itself as the guardian of Malay interests, culture and language. So what do the 1MDB and other scandals say about the fundamental problems of this long-dominant ruling party, the institutional arm of the Malay elite?  The disappearance of vast sums from the accounts of the state-backed 1MDB investment…

Duterte’s Drug War and Abuse of Power

Duterte’s Drug War and Abuse of PowerTrue to his style, President Rodrigo Duterte held a late-night press conference on Jan. 30 at the presidential palace, wearing a denim jacket and flanked by his men, among whom was his chief of police Roland de la Rosa, who subsequently announced the infamous drug war will be put on hold after “internal cleansing” in…

Trouble in the Air

Trouble in the AirThis winter, the air quality in Delhi plummeted so low – with record levels of the tiniest and the deadliest particles that can enter the lungs and other organs – that even the National Capital Territory’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, was forced to admit that the metropolis had turned into a “toxic gas chamber”. The city’s…

How Carrie Lam Beggars Belief

How Carrie Lam Beggars BeliefShe may be Beijing’s openly preferred candidate for Chief Executive of Hong Kong, but lifetime bureaucrat Carrie Lam has a lot to learn about politics. Indeed she seems to have a lot to learn about how 99% of people in the territory live. Since declaring her candidacy for the top job earlier this month, Lam…

Welcome to the Year of the Cock

Welcome to the Year of the CockPlease note that this site endeavors to use accurate, no-nonsense English. You may see many references to the Year of the Rooster. This is wrong usage. It derives from puritanical minds which cannot accommodate the fact that cock in English, has long had a secondary meaning, clearly derived from the first, referring to the male…

Unprepared Philippines Faces AIDS Scourge

Unprepared Philippines Faces AIDS ScourgeBilly Santo recently spent two sleepless nights looking after a friend who had just found out that he’s reactive to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV antibodies have been found in the friend’s blood and he must take another set of tests to confirm if he is HIV positive. Santo is HIV-positive himself. A peer…

Deaths from Overwork Plague Japan

Deaths from Overwork Plague JapanIn the spring of 2015 Matsuri Takahashi, 24, joined the Dentsu advertising agency, one of the Japan’s most prestigious but demanding corporations, as a young recruit. Within a few months she was complaining to friends how exhausted she was.  “I want to die” she confided in a social media message to friends. And on Christmas…