LATEST ARTICLES

Final Justice

Final Justice

Here in Bill Smith’s office there’s a very fat text, maybe 10 centimetres thick, bound in pale pink paper. It’s one of thousands of so-called “confessions”, extracted by torture at the notorious Tuol Sleng prison run by the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh. The text sits in a bookcase stacked with fat folders bulging with …read more

The mosquito solution

The mosquito solution

Hungry mosquitos float out into the steamy air as soon as Sularto snaps open the container lid. Blowing the insects gently on their way, as gently as he might blow on a spoonful of hot soup, the stocky Indonesian waits for a minute before hitching his denim bag more securely onto his shoulder and setting …read more

Bad Air Days

Bad Air Days

Massive LED screens in Beijing’s famous Tiananmen Square glow red through the haze. Pedestrians, many wearing space-age face masks to filter the toxic air, rarely even glance at the screens’ bold instructions: “Implement the Clean Air Action Plan”, “Improve air quality, start from myself, start with the small things, start now” and “It is everyone’s …read more

Battle for Yangon

Battle for Yangon

Squint just a little and they’re almost visible: the choleric soldiers in the uniform of Empire, shining boots and brass buttons; the twirling women in diaphanous flounces and frills; the Indian servants, and the sweating band in the corner, pumping out a waltz for the ruling expatriates in this tropical corner of the colonies, the …read more

Match points

Match points

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

Wings of kindness

Wings of kindness

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