As previously mentioned, traveling in Japan is an expensive affair. This is true not only for casual foreign passers-by but also for tens of thousands of Japanese business travelers who need to keep their company’s budgets in line but get to places promptly and rapidly. For them, staying far away from train stations and other nodes of public transportation simply is not a viable option. To be on-time to visit their clients and return to headquarters, they need to keep to downtown areas where they can come and go quickly.
Friday, June 26, 2015
at 12:53 PM
Back in the States, the Asians live with a widespread stereotype: they are the arch-typical white-collar professional set, with high salaries and stable careers but little creativity or adventurousness. They are the doctors, the lawyers, and the engineers of America, acquiescing with parental pressures, displayed and strengthened at every opportunity possible, to pursue these subjects. The results are an ethnic group that is almost homogeneously represented by meekness sprinkled with diligence, as they quietly toil day in and day out to further the ambitious goals of non-Asian leaders.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
at 7:42 PM
For some reason, Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is the transport hub of intra-Africa flights. The country’s flag carrying Ethiopian Airlines host flights across the continent, bringing visitors of the continent to the city’s smallish but comfortable airport. Aside from the usual assortment of foreigners (backpackers on their way to safaris, mid-level managers of commodity firms, sprinkled with a few diplomats), the demographic of the airport’s transit population says much about the state of the continent’s political economy.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
at 4:44 PM
Over here in Metro Manila, the construction of new hotels with in-built casinos are not at all abating. New areas devoted to attracting high-rollers in the names of Entertainment City and City of Dreams have now finished phase 1 of construction and continue to aggressively expand into open lands next to Manila Bay (at least part of which are reclaimed from the sea). Despite the author's frequent travels within Manila during his time of residence, this development (and the scale and pace of construction) is certainly not previously seen and can be considered unprecedented.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
at 9:10 AM
In America, people sometimes say that the funniest jokes tend to be the most offensive, and in a socially liberal Western society (at least in the parts of it not directly straddling the Bible Belt), decades of evolving freedoms in speech have guaranteed that not many things being said can still offend people immediately. Comedians (and common people cracking jokes, for that matter), often take to greater and greater extents just to ensure their offensiveness (and thus funniness) can be taken to higher and higher levels, through more and more unique and disgusting ways.
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Sunday, February 15, 2015
at 7:36 AM
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
at 8:59 AM
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
at 6:29 PM
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.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
at 8:34 PM
The Christmas markets of Metro Manila are not for the fainthearted. The streets, usually crowded already with the high density of population, are extra packed with people doing their last-minute shopping for gifts. Unlike elsewhere where Christmas is a matter of adopting a foreign culture into a consumerist form, Catholic Philippines are religiously tied to the celebrations. And when it comes to Christmas, people simply let out. A taxi driver said it the best, "the Filipinos will be impoverished after the Christmas holidays."
Saturday, December 20, 2014
at 1:57 PM
In the past, this blog has been unequivocal about criticizing the downsides of a particular company called Rocket Internet. It that process, it has accumulated feedback based on derision and ridicule, most of which by different employees of the company who find themselves, in one way or the other, compatible with everything that the company seem to represent. This blog very much continues to stand by those comments made by the previous posts, but does concede that it has lacked the positive coverage that prompted its author to remain (and come back) for quite a long time so far.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
at 12:46 PM
This week the world celebrated 25th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall, an undoubtedly momentous event that signaled that the Cold War, and along with it the half-century economic division of the war, was coming to a precipitous, and some say, fortuitous, end. News media outlets around the world spent pages of prime printed real estate to discuss the implication of the event for the modern world, especially in the context of continued economic disparities across the old East-West German border. The reports made no qualms about highlighting the long painfulness that followed initial euphoria of unification.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
at 3:07 PM
Walking down the streets of Indonesia, it is often difficult to tell who is Muslim and who is not. The ethnic Chinese (mostly not Muslim) as well as the country's large Christian minority existing from days of Dutch colonialism, mingle easily in the Muslim minority, each dressed so similarly that it is simply impossible to tell their religious background. Coming from Malaysia, this is by all means a pleasant surprise. The differences among Malaysia's race is too often visually expressed through different ways of dress, with the Malays, women in particular, following modesty in fashion terms.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
at 1:29 PM
On a rowdy Friday, the author found himself talking to a 15-year veteran of Malaysian residence hailing from the Mother Continent (Nigeria to be exact), running a business importing, selling, and installing surveillance and security systems to local clientele. Asked about the briskness of business, the elderly gentleman unequivocally announced that competition is heavy but market is big for a small country. The reason, he theorized with the author, is the mentality of Malaysian people. Specifically, the locals, he said, are convinced of their country's array of dangers, so much so that the level of trust for anyone remain low.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
at 8:03 PM
It is funny how sometimes a news item becomes a big one when it hits some sort of threshold. A couple of recent ones comes to mind. One was the confirmation of the first Ebola patient in Texas, and all the sudden all major international news outlet treat the event as an "escalation" of the disease as it is no longer confined to some poor African nations. The other is a viral campaign by a Norwegian NGO that faked a wedding of a preteen to a 37-year-old. The faked event caused an outrage in ways, as predicted by the NGO, in ways thousands of similar (and real) instances of it goes unnoticed in Africa and South Asia.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
at 3:16 PM
On Day 2 of his trip in Nepal, the author decided to take a long detour to the eastern regions of the Kathmandu Valley, hours away from the capital city itself. In a country where public transport is minimal, the author had to reserve a long-distance taxi in the city's main square. In his quest, he came upon a friendly driver of late 40s, who immediately gave a round-trip price with several stops (waiting time for him) in between. Without asking for any prepayment of the fairly large sum by Nepali standards, the driver took off for the suburbs with the author in tow.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
at 6:12 PM
It is more or less common knowledge that those who are hungry do not have capacity to think about anything other than their hunger. Those who are poor are too focused on making their ends meet for survival reasons, with no time to divert attention elsewhere. Thus hunger and poverty unfortunately correlate to lack of sophisticated arts, deep-level thinking, and a non-pluralistic society where the needs of everyday life overwhelm all else that the human mind is capable of achieving. Unfortunately, in many part of Southeast Asia, as is the case for elsewhere in the world, lack of economic development maintains such harsh reality.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
at 5:47 PM
There is an identical white flyer (likely illegally) pasted on many telephone poles on the outskirts of Ipoh's New Town. The content is written 100% in Chinese, with no Malay or English translation. It advertises hiring of "male publicity officers" (男性公關) who, so duly pointed out, will enjoy salaries of more than 10,000 Ringgits per month ("generous tips" in exact wording), flexible working hour in an, ehm, "exciting job opportunity" (刺激的工作機會). Given the relative absence of conspicuous nightclubs and lounge bars in this part of the city, such an exciting opportunity was definitely abnormal.
Friday, July 25, 2014
at 2:03 PM
Bukit Bintang is the undoubted heart of KL, the capital of Malaysia. The main drag, Jalan Bukit Bintang, is surrounded by malls of both upper and lower ends, with cafes and restaurants of all shapes and sizes flanking its colorful traffic and colors. The author is rather happy that he will have the chance to reside in this downtown neighborhood, given that the last tenure he had in the city was confined to its outskirts, with little experience of its center aside from that of a weekend tourist. Surely the convenience of the city center, with countless shopping options, will make life much easier this second time around.
Monday, July 7, 2014
at 6:42 AM
The 2014 Brazil World Cup is now down to the last few games, but here in Taipei, the sudden soccer fever among the younger residents only seem to grow stronger by the day. Every night when the game is on, multiple bars advertise showings and multiple social groups and official gatherings emerge to indulge in all-night binge-watching, replete with the usual face-painting of national flags and wearing of soccer jerseys. This is all happening in a place where the national soccer team has never made it to the World Cup (nor has any chance to in the foreseeable future).