Chongqing’s traffic is unpredictable. Cars and trucks freewheel around pedestrians. Carts stacked high with produce do tottering loops. All is constant flux and motion, heedless of street signs: the ceaseless ebb of red, the flow of green.
Was I seeing the so-called ‘real China’, was I seeing the China I wanted to see, or was I seeing some weird third China, a convoluted mix of adrenalin and random vocab, of grinding poverty vs. the sudden rise, of foreigners gleaning stories from taxi drivers? Via the Farmer General, read more
The Act of Killing has just been nominated for an Academy Award. Congrats to Joshua Oppenheimer and the entire crew. I am reposting the following message that came to me from Joshua Oppenheimer, director of The Act of Killing. I write about the film for Guernica here. Continue reading
What deliciousness! In which we hop a ride on the Radio Magnetic audio rocket—produced with tremendous bravery by me, you will hear what I mean—to Padang in North Sumatra, Indonesia where we eat our hearts, minds and stomachs out. Padang food you are the keeper of my soul.
A hundred and thirty years ago this month Indonesia’s Krakatoa volcano erupted, sending plumes of ash so high it discolored the horizon in San Francisco. The explosion killed nearly 40,000 people and dispatched pumice as far away as Zanzibar. The boom is reported to have been the loudest sound ever heard in modern history. Via The Jakarta Post, read more
A new doc on Indonesia’s 1965-66 anti-communist genocide takes the international film festival circuit by storm. But in the country that most needs to see it, the film is underground, its crew largely anonymous. Via Guernica, read more
A Henan jaunt to investigate a Chinese Communist Party campaign sheds little light on how the world’s largest political party maneuvers at the local level. Or it shed a lot of light. Or it cast shadows. Or it threw spotlights. I think everyone just felt better when I left Jiguan. Via The Farmer General, read more
In the winter of 2005, I took a job as a research reporter for the New York Times Beijing bureau. The capital was blustery and bitter cold, coming off another long haul winter. A fresh round of yellow dust kicked up across the city. Via The Farmer General, read more
“Thus, cyber love comes into being. Many people think of cyber love as so romantic, so true. It seems that more and more people are for it. However I want to say something different. The internet can produce the chance for two hearts to meet, in pure net, and there’s little truth.” One year of Chinese university life in 1999. Via Tank Magazine, read more
In December 2007, the UN convened an international conference on climate change in Bali, Indonesia. Buffets were pillaged, publications were distributed, speeches were made and then everyone went home. Talking about what the UN talks about when it talks about talking about talk that is ultimately talk about talk that could be talk about climate change. Via Tank Magazine, read more