Chris Taylor

Robert Storey

LONG BEFORE I met Robert Storey, who passed away in Taidong, Taiwan, last week, I edited the first edition of his Taiwan guidebook for Lonely Planet. I knew nothing about Taiwan and I was convinced he did not either. I changed every reference to Taiwan Beer in his book to…

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Jay Speiden

  OF ALL THE PEOPLE I worked with over several decades in Asia, Jay Speiden, who passed away on Sunday in Shanghai, was the most absurdly and casually talented. He is the only writer I have worked with who could start a travel story on the lip of a cliff, struck…

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That old story about fake news

We may or may not live in a post-truth world, but fake news has been around as long as there has been news itself. Today, we’re better equipped to detect it.

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The Chinese Babel

    AN OLD JOKE in linguistics runs: What is the difference between a language and a dialect? (pause for dramatic effect) A language is a dialect with its own army. David Moser, author of A Billion Voices: China’s Search for a Common Language, has heard the joke; he even addresses…

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Cambodia’s long road to a silk revival

Almost 30 years ago Japanese silk-weaver Kikuo Morimoto dreamt of reviving Cambodia’s ancient silk-making culture. Today, the Rolex Laureate has succeeded in building an environmentally sustainable cottage industry dedicated to the ancient art.

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Taiwan: a nation encaged

Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration speech as Taiwan’s first female president has been parsed closely for clues about her position on cross-strait relations. The conclusions will be diverse, but at face value it offered less than breadcrumbs to Beijing.

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Travels in an empty land

The author of Destruction and Sorrow Beneath the Heavens, László Krasznahorkai, Hungarian writer and poet, Booker Prize winner, condemns his quest to find any remaining evidence of Chinese civilization to failure from Page 1—as if the book’s title had not alerted the reader to what lay ahead.

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Lost ground

When Somerset Maugham passed through Burma, Siam and Indochina in 1923 — a journey documented in The Gentleman in the Parlour — he described Phnom Penh’s riverside Grand Hotel as “large, dirty and pretentious”.

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Phnom Penh between the cracks

Steven Boswell’s recently published Kind Norodom’s Head is a tapestry of anecdotal colonial-era gems woven together with temple-spotter minutiae.

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The road – on Khao San

For most travelers, Khao San comes at the end of one journey—the red-eye via Kuwait or Karachi, the shoulder-to-shoulder overnight bus from the north or the south of Thailand—and the beginning of another.

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