Asian Boss, a YouTube channel that features person-in-the-street interviews around Asia on different topics, went to Shanghai to ask people about what they thought of white foreigners living in China, about skin lightening, and about "white monkey workers" -- white people hired by Chinese companies to appear at dinners and events to make the company seem more international. Read the rest
When a person in South Korea tries to visit a porn site, they discover the government's National Police Agency Cyber Bureau has blocked it. Read the rest
In Unexpected Gains: Being Overweight Buffers Asian Americans From Prejudice Against Foreigners (Sci-Hub mirror), a paper published in Psychological Science, a group of social scientists from UK and US universities as well as Microsoft evaluated the role that weight plays in the perceptions of people of Asian descent in the USA. Read the rest
The new Panasonic Stain Master machines have an intensive stain-removal mode which is being marketed in India as a curry-stain removal button; it also has other Indian-focused modes, such as one for removing hair oil. They are planning other Stain Masters customized for other Asian markets with stain-removal buttons tailored to their national cuisines and stubbourn stains. Read the rest
Jason Erik Lundberg writes, "The ebook edition for the second issue of the world's only biannual literary journal focusing on southeast Asian speculative fiction has just been released! LONTAR issue #2 (Spring 2014) is now out and available, DRM-free, at Weightless Books, and can be had for the mere paltry payment of $2.99 USD. This issue of LONTAR presents speculative writing from and about Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand." Read the rest
Here's a stunning series of images by photographer Andrew Newey of Nepalese honey hunters. Newey spent two weeks among the Gurung ethnic group in central Nepal, documenting their traditional beekeeping practices. Read the rest
Jesse Pesta has a wonderful, colorful piece in the Wall Street Journal about a form of transportation unique to Cambodia: bamboo trains, known locally as "norry." Snip:
In Cambodia, real trains are almost as rare as bamboo trains anywhere else. The impoverished country has a network of tracks left over from French colonial days, but there are hardly any actual trains running anymore. Only one line is in service. The railway never recovered from the horrors of Khmer Rouge murder and war decades ago.
Don't miss his great photos and videos accompanying the article online A six-year-old girl photographed just before her first norry ride is told by her mom that it would be like riding "a bat."
Jeffrey writes, "The song 'Hotel California,' which I have just written about for the hybrid (academia-meets-journalism) periodical Boom: A Journal of California, has garnered legions of fans (and detractors) and taken on a variety of meanings as it has made its way around the globe. Well known in China and India, among other places, it even made a cameo appearance in the American spy plane incident of 2001, when Chinese guards asked members of the U.S. crew of a downed surveillance jet to tell them the words to this well known song from their country." Read the rest
The powerful storm named Super Typhoon Haiyan (or Super Typhoon Yolanda, as it is referred to within the Philippines) hit the central islands of the Philippines on Friday, with reported wind speeds of 190 to 195 miles per hour at landfall. For comparison, a commercial airplane takes off at speeds in the range of 160mph.
Haiyan is reported to be the strongest typhoon in the world in 2013, and may be the most powerful recorded tropical cyclone to ever hit land. Read the rest
[Video Link: "The Uukhai Documentary," dir. Odmandakh Bataa]
Michelle Borok is a culture-blogger from Los Angeles who has expatriated to Mongolia, where she is raising a family. She shares word of a really cool project there that could use your help:
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This new film by Uukhai, a Mongolian skateboarding association, sheds intimate, honest and unpretentious light on a growing community in Ulaanbaatar. The video features interviews with skaters involved with the organization, and tons of footage of street skating shot this summer.
Jason sez, "The first issue of my new literary journal, LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, was just recently released by Singapore-based publisher Math Paper Press. The issue's contributors are Paolo Bacigalupi, Kate Osias, Zen Cho, Paolo Chikiamco, Chris Mooney-Singh, Ang Si Min, Elka Ray Nguyen and Bryan Thao Worra, all of whom present speculative writing from and about the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Laos and Vietnam. The print issue can be ordered online through the BooksActually Web Store, and an ebook version will be available in the coming months. A 25% sample can be read for free at Issuu."
Prince Jefri Bolkiah is the younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, and he is believed to have blown $14.8 billion on a series of follies including grotesque mansions; enormous collections of sportscars; haremsful of exotic prostitutes kept on standby at home and abroad; fleets of jets; musesumsworth of gaudy gems; private football tutelage from NFL greats for his pampered son; private concerts by Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston (the former in a purpose-built, single-use stadium); and more (and more).
Vanity Fair had Mark Seal cover a New York court battle between Jefri and two of his advisors, whom he alleged bilked him out of a paltry few millions. As Seal explains, the case had wider significance: it was key to a narrative that the prince and the sultan have created about the prince's wastefulness, blaming it on sharp foreigners who bilked him out of his money.
The story goes into eye-glazingly weird lists of the prince's excesses. Reading it, I found myself tuning out, losing the ability to focus on the lists of spectacular waste, only to be brought back to reality by an extravagance so over-the-top that it shocked me out of my stupor. It's a kind of pornography of capitalism, a Southeast Asian version of the Beverly Hillbillies, a proof that oil fortunes demand no thought, no innovation, no sense of shared national destiny: just a hole the ground, surrounded by guns, enriching an elite of oafs and wastrels. Read the rest