Now sadly shabby, the two-storey red house in the remote northern Myanmar town of Katha was once an imposing edifice, a wood and brick statement of colonial power. Ghosts of former grandeur can be seen in the building’s substantial teak staircase, lofty ceilings and brick fireplace. Deserted, with a rusting tin roof and stained walls, …read more
A long queue of fidgeting kids stretches back from the school’s door; kids whispering and giggling, intoxicated by the presence of fame. Tennis champion Li Na patiently autographs their tightly-clutched tennis balls, poses for photos and scrawls her name in book after book. Launching the English language version of her ghost-written autobiography ‘My Life’ in …read more
Xia Li doesn’t want to help clear away the dishes. She’s having fun, laughing and chattering, and she’s slow to get up from her chair. But a few quiet words from a retired Australian primary school teacher gets her up and moving. Sitting at the other end of the noisy dinner table, teacher Linda Shum …read more
The 30,000 cornflower-blue porcelain butterflies clustered on Caroline Cheng’s robe symbolise China for the British-born artist. From a distance, all the tiny butterflies look the same: the same blue, the same shape, roughly the same size: a flock of identical ornaments sewn on to the burlap backing. Yet Cheng says a close inspection reveals that …read more
Could it get any more poetic? Sitting on an open verandah, drinking a bottle of Yunnan’s Windflower Sun and Moon lager, gazing across a garden of deepening shadows to the distant Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range: only a Chinese Coleridge could do this scene justice.
The living is easy in some Asian cities – streamlined, ordered, functional. Others, in their own charming way, can be hell on wheels. Inching traffic in Bangkok and Jakarta can drive the most easy-going commuter stir-crazy; Ho Chi Minh City’s roaring fleets of weaving motor-cycles, Phnom Penh’s potholed and obstacle-strewn pavements – all anathema to …read more
It began with a few washes of clear blue water-colour on a white page. Evolving from this first simple splash of art, the design grew and developed. By late last year it was a sophisticated entry for the multi-stage international competition to design a massive municipal museum in northern China. By April the adventurous Australian …read more
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.
When China’s new president Xi Jinping walked down the airplane stairs in the tiny Carribean nation of Trinidad and Tobago in June, it was a shimmering moment in Chinese modern history. Not only was he arm in arm with his elegantly-dressed wife, Peng Liyuan, but he held an umbrella over both their heads. Perhaps most …read more
Kalen Ip is on a roll. A wine enthusiast with an unnervingly accurate palate, he has correctly guessed the type, variety, vintage and price range of an Eden Valley riesling, a straightforward Barossa shiraz and a Barossa Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre. The 31-year-old has yet to visit Australia, let alone the Barossa, but he’s not about …read more