Chinese, like Japanese, are all for tours. Every self-respecting tourist attraction has its hierarchy of sights, its hoary accretion of wide-eyed lore and its filing-cabinet litany of statistics.
1,700km west of Lhasa, Tibet’s holiest mountain is the approximate source of Asia’s four greatest rivers: the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Indus and the Sutlej. It is also the Mount Meru of Hindu legend. Nobody was telling me I couldn’t go.
We tend to be too earnest about China—the opacity of its politics, the sufferings foisted upon its people by a capricious government bent on maintaining one-party rule at all costs, the hagiographies of the system’s entrepreneurial winners.
A rare venture back into the world of travel writing – it’s been some 15 years – on Kep, Southeast Asia’s next beachside big thing (maybe), as featured in Virgin Australia’s Voyeur magazine.
China’s traditional divide-and-rule strategy for dealing with all roadblocks to its will – both within and without its borders – reduces each of us to a solitary player against a hustling team that games as if it has all the cards.
Sebastian Strangio’s Hun Sen’s Cambodia chronicles the long ascent of the title’s eponymous strongman to the apex of power in a country that has leveraged international guilt and horror over the genocide that took place there in the 1970s, receiving billions of dollars in aid as a result.
A PAUL KRUGMAN QUOTE from 1998 on the future of the internet (“By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.”) recently did the rounds of bitcoin forums. The joke was on Krugman, who had derided…
Yes, a devastating fire broke out in the Tibetan quarter of Shangri-la’s Duzekong district in 2014, but little about this part of town was ancient. It is a better described as a commoditized, Chinese state-endorsed face of Tibet.
Amid anxiety about the possible expulsion of The New York Times and Bloomberg reporters, a prominent Chinese dissident who attempted to turn himself for trial in China was recently turned away at Hong Kong immigration.
Note: In the spring of 2004, ahead of the fifteenth anniversary of June 4, or Tiananmen as it is usually known in English—the name of China’s square having become synonymous with a series of protests that nearly toppled the Chinese Communist Party in 1989—Wu’er Kaixi and I spent many evenings…