LATEST ARTICLES

The suite life of a writer

The suite life of a writer

Writers once travelled through Asia in a leisurely fashion, steamers gently rolling between Bangkok and Batavia, rickshaws wheeling through the streets of Singapore, pleasure boats pulling into Penang. European wanderers, adventurers and authors drank gin slings while waiting for sumptuous dinners; colonial matrons sipped tea on hotel balconies; and the business of empire rumbled on.

Catching the bug

Catching the bug

A serious attack involves fever, sweating, vomiting, muscle spasms, driving thirst, thumping pain behind the eyes and in the joints. Weeks pass, tossing and turning in hellish delirium. And right now, a deadly wave of dengue fever is sweeping across Asia, killing hundreds and leaving tens of thousands sick, over­whelming health services and creating panic …read more

Tarnished monster of rock ’n’ roll

Tarnished monster of rock ’n’ roll

All tight black leather trousers, a black leather vest and multiple loops of swinging gold chain, Gary Glitter was rocking on. The 1973 concert at Sydney’s endearingly shabby (even then) Hordern Pavilion was so awful it was almost good, in a stand back and marvel at the spectacle sort of way. And of course the …read more

Fears for poorer Asian nations as Ebola outbreak keeps spreading

Fears for poorer Asian nations as Ebola outbreak keeps spreading

While nations with sophisticated health networks debate the merits of mandatory quarantine and whether to place a temporary ban on passengers flying in from West Africa, Asian nations are bracing for the worst, with some experts saying an outbreak of Ebola in the region is almost inevitable.

Mosquito-borne and dangerous

Mosquito-borne and dangerous

The commercial roll-out of the world’s first dengue vaccine is in sight, but tropical disease experts are already questioning the breakthrough vaccine’s drawbacks. Often known as “breakbone fever”, with symptoms of excruciating joint pain, high fevers, and, in severe cases, internal bleeding – dengue is carried by mosquitos.

Kindness of Strangers

Kindness of Strangers

Aung Lin Tin is a tiny, struggling scrap of humanity. Born six weeks prematurely, he weighed 1.08 kilograms when he arrived. He couldn’t suckle. He had a fever. He lost more weight in his first days of life. His mother, Tin Zar, is 24 years old and a Karen – one of the long-battling people …read more

Best by boat

Best by boat

Connoisseurs of Bangkok often say the city is best seen from the water. Lying back in a long-tailed boat, speeding along the mighty Chao Phraya river or drifting through the scenic canals; standing squeezed in a commuter ferry, or sitting comfortably in a tourist boat: the scene from sea level is simply different; quieter, gentler. …read more

Roles are reversed for rebels

Roles are reversed for rebels

Weary and feeling her age after the bloody 2010 uprising in Thailand, Thida Thavornseth was a sudden and unexpected rebel leader. Yet she could hardly refuse to to take the chair of the insurgent red-shirt movement. Crushed by Thailand’s military, with most leaders jailed, the red-shirts were at a standstill.

Thaksin ‘clone’ wins on her own

Thaksin 'clone' wins on her own

Yingluck Shinawatra is the smiling new face of Thai politics. Friendly, extremely attractive, conciliatory: the one-time business executive might be the circuit-breaker the deeply polarised nation so desperately needs. The youngest sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, 44-year-old Yingluck will almost certainly become Thailand’s first woman prime minister. She seems to have politics in …read more

Polls show Thai PM lags behind in election

Polls show Thai PM lags behind in election

Thailand’s prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva sallied forth in the rain in Bangkok’s Chinatown yesterday, greeting lottery-ticket vendors, poking his head into the New Empire hotel, venturing into the Canton House restaurant, drumming up support for his Democrat party in tomorrow’s election.