INSIGHTS FROM ASIA

Keys to the Kingdom

July 21, 2011

As we travel the convoluted pathways of life, asking ourselves the myriad questions that characterize intelligent inquiry, such as “Why am I holding this golf club?”

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Long Knowledge

July 21, 2011

Heading down the winding road this morning under lowering mountain clouds as the sun was just dawning above the lake, its long rays edging sideways into the dark wedge of space beneath the thick clouds, I was perfectly placed to receive the gift of fresh light livening all the dew the night had draped on the mountainside…

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Pico Iyer is Lost

July 7, 2011

Pico Iyer is lost. It’s a condition he uses to great effect in his increasingly internalised travel books as we find him on the road to somewhere he’s not sure of.

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Gay Jakarta: Defining the Emerging Community

July 7, 2011

Watch any television channel in Indonesia for more than half an hour and it’s obvious that waria (male-to-female transvestites) are tolerated throughout the country…

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Becoming a Pacifist in Iraq: Interview with Aidan Delgado

July 5, 2011

“I am the most sinful Buddhist, because I’m here and I know better. I am oppressing these people, keeping them in cages. I just wrote how far from my Buddhist ideals I was, so far away that I felt damned, like I was in hell…”

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India’s Bandit Queen: An Interview with Phoolan Devi

July 5, 2011

Astonishing viewers at the Cannes Film Festival, the 1994 film “Bandit Queen” thrust PHOOLAN DEVI into the international limelight. But Devi criticized the film for being overly graphic and for leaving out major events…

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Where is the Wild?

June 29, 2011

Henry was wild about wildness, just couldn’t stop talking about it one way or another, and who can blame him, he saw it disappearing.

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Learning from Pyongyang TV

June 21, 2011

“The thing I like best about Pyongyang TV is no commercials…unless, of course, you understand the programming for what it really is —one long political commercial!”

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Hesitant Laughter in the Land of a Thousand Smiles

June 21, 2011

A duck barks, then croaks, then meows. Students of the Pattana Village School in Bangkok’s Klong Toey slum sit on the concrete floor of the schoolyard to watch the Nithan Caravan puppet show…

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A Princess Ever, an Empress Never?

June 20, 2011

These days, a woman probably has more prospects of flying to the moon than becoming a titled member of one of the few remaining royal families, whose duties are much less glamorous…

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Icing on the Cake: A Week in the Life of a Tibetan Sand Mandala

June 20, 2011

Every day, a team of three to four monks, each with a dust mask covering nose and mouth to prevent an accidental breath from destroying their efforts, drew the exquisitely complex image, from memory without the benefit of even a sketch.

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Urban Nomads

June 8, 2011

Nomads in Mongolia are increasingly quitting the land and opting for a new life in the country’s capital, Ulaanbaatar…the underlying causes are political, economic, legal, and cultural.

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Insider Outsider: The Way of the Yakuza

April 17, 2011

During my first interviews, O-oyabun was particularly eager to talk about ideology: The ‘Way of the Yakuza,’ ‘violating the law’ or ‘doing wrong things.’

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Korean Protest Culture

April 16, 2011

In Korea, the traditional protest repertoire of marches, sit-ins, stones and Molotov cocktails is evolving; some of the new techniques remain confrontational, even violent. Others rely on technology, subtlety, inner strength and community…

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Chair in Taipei Woods

On Chairs

April 16, 2011

A time-darkened chair of oak, it stood among other chairs of other kinds, empty of all but time and craft, in a warehouse for antiques; a sign said the chair had been made in England a couple of hundred years ago.

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On Contentment

April 16, 2011

Nothing like gazing upon your own well-stacked cord of firewood turning golden in the evening sun to get you feeling contented…

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Dogs Barking at the Full Moon

April 15, 2011

Comrade John is a mild-mannered person. I didn’t feel threatened or scared at all. In fact, I welcomed this encounter. It had been over a decade since I last spoke to them…

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The Barber

April 15, 2011

My goatee and shaved head perplex many Vietnamese because in their country beards are for venerable old men like Uncle Ho and bald heads for monks, and I am neither.

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Biung Home Again

April 14, 2011

Biung is from Hong-ye, half an hour north of Taidong City along the valley road, and his albums are everywhere in villages along the coast and up the central rift valley. Aboriginal dance groups from all tribes practice and perform to his songs. He’s got a TV show, all the kids can play his songs on the guitar…

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Zen at War

April 13, 2011

Brian Daizen Victoria maintains that Japan’s vaunted Bushido (Warrior Code) evolved from a corrupted Buddhist metaphysics that not only sanctioned battlefield slaughter but also exalted the Zen-trained warrior’s willingness to die…

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On Musical Chakras, Chilla and Uncharted Epiphanies

March 3, 2011

At age seven India’s percussion legend Zakir Hussain began his 2:00 AM to sunrise practice routines and soon found “tabla prodigy” surgically implanted in every mention of his name.

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Before you go, be sure to check out our latest issue:

KJ 92: Devotion