That Broken Arm

So this is what happened to the arm. I fell.

While being assaulted by a man on a moving escalator about two blocks from my apartment in Hong Kong.

We fell down in the struggle, from a height of about six or seven feet, and I broke my left arm in the process.

Continue reading


Kim’s Girls

(Hat tip to @Sino_NK!)

When he ascended as leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s PR machine distinctly involved the woman’s touch: being the son of a “revolutionary mother” and, later, husband to a chic Chanel-wearing comrade somehow added polish to his legitimacy.

Continue reading

My Slightly Crazy Landlords

The first time Mr and Mrs Chiu, the caretakers of my apartment on Caine Road in Central, met me, I was technically squatting illegally. Indeed, I was often found crouched in a corner, trying to camouflage myself amid the hulking brown furniture.

This flat had been hastily vacated by a friend who dropped out of law school and moved to Cambodia, essentially dropping the lease — which banned subletting — on my lap.

I was all too happy to leave my subdivided room just a block away in the Mid-Levels. Lounging on my new mattress on Caine, with its stains and damaged springs and a human-shaped indent on the left side of the bed, I felt like I was in a palace.  Continue reading

I Like Big Bahts

Roughly half of my four-day trip to Bangkok was spent mingling with prostitutes at their neon-lit establishments – proof that either I need to rethink my friendships or that the shadow of sex trafficking can’t be escaped in The Big Mango.

Two and a half hours after landing, myself and my host, who works at the city’s premier English-language newspaper, were already at a happening bar called Tuba, sipping happy hour cocktails in margarita glasses the size of our faces.

Shortly after, I was promised we would see a Pat Pong show.

Continue reading

My Landlord the Ghost

A property scam in Hong Kong (and the world) conducted via e-mail. A cross-post with Rob McGovern.

This flat had it all: a spacious living room, designer furniture, a dining table with zebra-print high-backed chairs, a beautiful wrought-iron bed aglow in mood lighting, a gleaming kitchen and a stylish foyer. There’s even a PlayStation 3. All yours for HK$10,000.

Anyone who’s gone through the rigors of finding an apartment in Hong Kong knows this is too good to be true.

Continue reading

How North Koreans are coping with uncouth neighbours

How North Korea is coping with

uncouth tourists from China

North Korea’s tourism workers may look down on their
boorish northern visitors but they also appreciate their big-spending ways
PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 2:07pm
When hordes of Chinese tourists descend on Pyongyang, there’s a
mixed reaction from North Korea’s tourism workers: they are
pleased their No 1 visitors will be splurging on everything from
souvenirs to casinos, but then there’s a furtive sigh of:
“Here we go again.”