Tiger Emergency in Sumatra

Tiger Emergency in SumatraThe year-old Sumatran tiger male, nearly fully grown, wandered out of the old-growth forest in the Habaduan hills near Lake Toba near nightfall, leaving the family’s hidden den on his own for the first time. He glided downhill into the edge habitat of degraded forests and finally the plantations on the lower slopes –first bananas…

The Unaffordable City

The Unaffordable CityThousands of stunning skyscrapers, a glittering sea view of Victoria Harbor and enticing night life in Lan Kwai Fong are not the whole of Hong Kong. Behind the glamorous facade of this first-world city there exists third-world living quality with which almost 200,000 people contend daily. The 26-year-old Cartal Tsoi, for instance, lives with his…

Bitter Squabble Surfaces Among Singapore’s Lee Family

Bitter Squabble Surfaces Among Singapore’s Lee FamilyAn extraordinary row has broken out among the descendants of Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore who died in April 2015, with two younger siblings accusing Lee Hsien Loong, the current prime minister, and his wife Ho Ching of being “driven by a desire for power and personal popularity.” The other two are…

The Woeful State of Education for the Disabled in Indonesia

The Woeful State of Education for the Disabled in IndonesiaSeven-year-old Puji, a child in Jakarta, was born with physical disabilities in both her hands and feet and is confined to a wheelchair. She is unable to write normally, leaving her unable to enjoy the dreams of many children of her age. She can’t play outside with her friend.  But all she can think about…

Depression in China: Cries for Help Go Unanswered

Depression in China: Cries for Help Go UnansweredThe bottom of Chen Aiming’s life fell out standing on a Fuzhou rooftop last July 24. Recalling his 28 years of misery, there was little he could think of other than how unfairly life had treated him. He was born with a lisp in a poor rural family, ostracized by his peers as a child…

Sleeping With the Fishes (or the Lawn) in Hong Kong

Sleeping With the Fishes (or the Lawn) in Hong KongA man in black burns offerings in the Garden of Remembrance in Cape Collinson, at the easternmost point of Hong Kong Island. Ashes float in the misty rain. On the edge of Hong Kong’s busy downtown, the garden, surrounded by stately walls and abuzz with insects, is always peaceful and serene. There are several walls…

The Challenge of Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines

The Challenge of Abu Sayyaf in the PhilippinesThe Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), which has for over two decades terrorized a wide section of the island of Mindanao and beyond from its island bases in Sulu and Basilan, has once again been in the news.  Despite the claims of the government that it has only 300-400 men, nonstop military operations against the group…

China’s Greatest Market Failure and Greatest Healthcare Opportunity

China’s Greatest Market Failure and Greatest Healthcare OpportunityAlzheimer’s is the fastest-growing, major fatal disease in China. Today there are at least 9.5 million diagnosed sufferers in China with perhaps as many cases undiagnosed. Almost one million Chinese are diagnosed every year with Alzheimer’s, with the number of new cases each year expected to accelerate sharply beginning around 2030. It is also the…

Malaysia Loses a Polymath – and a Malaysian

Malaysia Loses a Polymath – and a MalaysianRehman Rashid, who died on June 3 in Kuala Lumpur of complications from a heart attack, was described by a friend as “essentially an old-school secular, Anglophile, Queens English-speaking ‘Malay’ with an elite education. Most under-40 contemporary Malays would struggle to relate to him, because there are vanishingly few similar to him around these days…

Thailand’s Monarch Seeks a Return to the Kingdom of Siam

Thailand’s Monarch Seeks a Return to the Kingdom of SiamThailand, once known as the Land of Smiles, is a country today seemingly trapped in a perpetual nightmare, headed by a half-mad king determined to return the country to the era before Pradjadhipok, or Rama VII, the seventh king of the House of Chakri and the last absolute monarch of the country after the military…