My priority in writing and design: to craft a story that takes readers somewhere new. I've been a freelancer for over a decade, covering socioeconomic, marketing, and human interest issues in Asia.
KUALA LUMPUR: The mother was frantic. Just a moment before, her young child – wearing a swim ring float – was happily playing in the pool, but a blink was all it took for the boy to topple over.
The woman could only scream for help as she could not swim. Other adults around the pool screamed along.
Fortunately, tragedy was averted. Tan Jian Yong’s father, a former swimming instructor who happened to be passing by, jumped into the pool and saved the kid.
The incident happened in 2018 in a cond...
The pride, might, and fight of a fandom that made a global phenomenon.
While the world tries to move away from the stuffy labels of race, there are still places in Southeast Asia where people are judged by their skin colour.
It was a predictable outcome. When Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, announced during his National Day Rally speech in August 2018 the intention to nominate Singapore’s hawker culture for UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Malaysians were swiftly up in arms.
Across the Johor-Singapore Causeway, Singapore’s UNESCO bid was blasted by some as arrogance, or yet another attempt to claim superiority. In a region of foodies where people have argu...
KUALA SELANGOR, Selangor: Drink sipped. Cigarette lit. Price list hurriedly displayed. And, action. The fishmonger turned to his customers and greeted them with a toothy grin.
Seated behind gaping fishes sprawled on ice, he deftly fielded customers’ questions, laughed at their jokes, haggled with low-ballers, and sneaked – not very surreptitiously – a smoke behind an upright clipboard.
It looked like a typical scene at the fish stall of a market, except he was talking to nobody....
KUALA LUMPUR: The “alley Starbucks” has cleaned up pretty well. Ho Kow Hainam Kopitiam earned the moniker from students of a nearby college.
Once tucked in the alley of an alley, the coffee shop fuelled many would-be lawyers and accountants with cheap caffeine and calories.
Today, Ho Kow Hainam Kopitiam has moved out of the dingy space it occupied since 1956 into a ‘heritage-hip’ – some would call it gentrified – lot with a view of the main road. Or, more accurately, a view of a...
George Town in transition: Young people give new meaning to Penang’s heritage district, businesses adapt
As a boy, Mark Ng knew exactly where to find his shoes if they were stolen.
“The shoes would most likely have ended up here - this used to be the Thieves Market,” said the 36-year-old, pointing at what is now a manicured park surrounded by Chinese traditional shophouses in the heart of George Town, the capital of Penang state in Malaysia.
“Basically it’s people peddling stolen stuff. And I did find my shoes here!”
These days, the only shady business happening...
Once, George R.R. Martin wrote space operas and vampire tales and dreamt of making it big. Now, the celebrated novelist, best known today for his book series that spawned the Game of Thrones TV epic (and possibly for having the world’s most famous writer’s block), enjoys both fame and fortune.“I like the fortune part of it,” Martin, who funded budding fantasy writers and backed a wolf sanctuary, told The Guardian.
And what a likeable fortune it is...
On a Sunday in September last year, a day-long art shindig was in full swing at the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) building in Jakarta. Come nightfall, however, participants found themselves cowering behind a barricade made with all the chairs they could find.
It wasn’t obvious that Southeast Asia would transform itself into the economic Optimus Prime it is today. After all, its parts hardly fit. Political regimes run the gamut from absolute monarchies to democracies to communism. The region is also a mash-up of some of the wealthiest nations in the world (Singapore and Brunei) and some of the most impoverished (Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia).
When it comes to online videos, Southeast Asians are like the Demogorgons. For those not acquainted with the voracious predators in the Netflix original series Stranger Things, numbers will have to provide a clearer, albeit less lively, picture.
A research last year by AOL Advertising discovered big appetites in the region for video content – 72% of online consumers in Southeast Asia consume videos on their mobile phone daily, topping the US (67%), Japan (59%) and UK (52%).
Malaysians are amo...