Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Overly Simplified Politicization of Soft Power

On the massive central plaza inside the sprawling Korean-owned mall that is Lotte Shopping Avenue, there was an event involving what seems to be an exchange between Korean and Indonesian high school students.  Yet, the event was nothing fun and games.  The students were drawing massive South Korean national flags, with additional one-story high color posters hanging on the walls behind the central plaza.  The posters, with large English texts and cartoon drawings, claimed "Dokdo: islands of Korea!" "Donghae: the East Sea of Korea!" and "Celebrate the Life of An Jung-Geun!"

Finding Jakarta's Hidden Sex Tavern

There were two young female DJs in the middle of the nightclub.  Pumping out electronic and house music for hours at an end, she was in the clubbing mood herself, completely ignoring the gaze of the massive crowds thronging around her DJ table and perhaps even forgetting the fact that they are in a mega-club in which the clientele did not really dance.  Instead, a massive elevated performance platform, lighted from the bottom, surround the DJ table, showing female dancers at work.  The mostly male clientele looks on as the dancers display energy and surprisingly good choreography.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Persistence of "Looking at the Bigger Picture"

On the way back from a short journey to see his grandparents, the author was riding a cab from Beijing's train station to its airport on the outskirts of the city.  The city, as is the case in most Chinese New Year's, was completely deserted, even on a 10 pm on a Saturday night.  The cab driver was a bit overtly joyful of how the normally insanely crowded city can be so refreshingly devoid of human density, making the usually painful drive to the airport (even on the five-lane expressway) a complete breeze with little traffic and fantastic speed.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Survey on Race and Dating, International Edition

Another Valentine's Day of being single, the author found himself with a group (over 150 in number, to be exact) of like-minded individuals willing to spend their romantic nights meeting up with random strangers on a rooftop bar.  Predominantly short-term residential expats with loved ones far far away on other countries and continents, the group quickly went from serious topics of working in KL to discussing a more Valentine's Day-appropriate topic of multiracial, international dating, in the context of residing in a completely foreign country with foreign dating cultures.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

An American Dream of Self-Understanding

In the Asian-American community, one of the biggest topic in the recent days is the premiere of "Fresh off the Boat," the first Asian-starred prime-time sitcom on American television in over two decades.  Narrated by DC-born Taiwanese celebrity chef Eddie Huang, the sitcom describes how a new Asian immigrant family come face to face with a Floridan community that has little experience dealing with Asian minorities, and how each family member came to cope with the often uncomfortable dissonance they come to have with their new home.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Superlatives of a Chinese "Humble" Dinner

When in China, one does what the Chinese do.  And when it comes to doing, eating takes up a huge chunk of the average Chinese's time and money.  The results of the devotion is apparent in how large shopping malls, most of which filled to the brim with different eateries, are popping up across the country.   Yet, for the Chinese, that is not enough to justify their love of food in special occasions, and interestingly enough, the author had firsthand experience of the lavish extremes that his extended family, like many others, are willing to go to celebrate their love for good food.