The “Made in China” label used to conjure up images of cheap and tacky mass-production; container-loads of plastic toys, plastic shoes, plastic kitchen utensils, plastic clutter. But the inexorable pace of Chinese growth has brought with it increasing manufacturing standards and ability, as well as a massive market of consumers increasingly clamorous for better design …read more
Always anxious to boost Myanmar’s struggling economy, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been taking advice from one economist in particular – the Australian academic Dr Sean Turnell. The effective leader of the opposition in the long benighted country, Ms Suu Kyi recently told CNN that Dr Turnell was her “favourite economist”.
High up on a balcony of the ornately pillared Sofaer’s building in downtown Yangon, a woman is pegging out the washing. She ignores the spreading mildew that stains the building’s crumbling façade and the weeds that sprout from cracks in the masonry. Silhouetted against a century of history, she steps neatly round a jerry-rigged television …read more
Five years ago it would have been unthinkable. International literary festivals, where writers and readers speak freely and exchange ideas, were not permitted in shuttered Myanmar.
High heels give a kick to New Year’s Eve parties; sashaying through a night of cocktails and canapés. Worn at weddings and to wakes, to summits and to war-rooms, heels are the event wear for women who are stepping out. But are heels losing their lift? After decades of elongating women’s silhouettes, lengthening their legs …read more
Sitting on a gently lolling junk, with a glass of wine in hand and a warm breeze blowing: it’s a good way to see the evening settle down over Hong Kong. The fan-shaped red sails of the junk, although not at all functional, are gently decorative and suggestive of an earlier and more romantic time: …read more
Gold surged again this week when the US Federal Reserve announced it would try and boot the US economy along by buying billions of dollars worth of securities. This plan immediately sent investors and speculators scurrying to buy gold, the age-old safe haven in uncertain times.
Condoms, like food and medicine, are largely impervious to the deflation of economic bubbles. So Malaysia’s largest condom manufacturer, Karex, will blithely ignore depressing global financial trends and launch an initial public offering sometime in the near future. Beyond confirming the impending float, Karex this week shyly declined to reveal any further details, but chief …read more
SITTING smack on the shores of a bustling harbour, in the heart of an international city, looking across the water to skyscrapers, and flanked by trees and lawns: the parallels with the Sydney Opera House are manifest. Or at least they will be. Hong Kong’s M+ museum of visual culture hasn’t actually been built yet, …read more
Musaab Naji Al-Wakil is an ordinary, middle-class Iraqi who has been stuck in Malaysia with his wife and four children for five years, and he too has felt the pull of the boats.