Beijing Backpacking, Day 18: Art, Freedom vs. Identity?

YESTERDAY I EXPLORED how much music is a universal language in the bars of Guloudajie. As with music anywhere, music challenges my perceptions. But there is no perception about China that has challenged me so far as much as its art scene. I’m referring, of course, to Beijing’s fabled art district, known colloquially as ‘798’, … More Beijing Backpacking, Day 18: Art, Freedom vs. Identity?

Beijing Backpacking, Day 16: When The Sky Is Blue, Where The Sky Is Blue

AIR POLLUTION SEEMS to be a hallmark of Beijing that regularly makes the news. To be fair, it has its good days and particularly bad days. It’s also aggravated in summer, where haze can lock in the stickiness or humidity – and it’s a humidity different from that which you would find in coastal areas … More Beijing Backpacking, Day 16: When The Sky Is Blue, Where The Sky Is Blue

Beijing Backpacking, Day 11: Another Brick in The Wall

IT’S A TWO-AND-A-HALF hour drive to the Simatai section of the Great Wall from Beijing. My friends and I opted for this longer and considerably more expensive trek as the closer Badaling section attracts more tourists and gives less variety. And to be fair, this section was no less awesome than expected – it went … More Beijing Backpacking, Day 11: Another Brick in The Wall

Quiapo: New Life in Manila’s Old Downtown

MY MOTHER SAID that when she was growing up and would ever get lost among the maze of Manila’s jeepney routes, one would simply make their way to Quiapo and restart one’s journey from there.  Being Manila’s largest terminus of jeepney routes, virtually the entire city was within one ride of Quiapo’s interchange at Plaza … More Quiapo: New Life in Manila’s Old Downtown

Metro Manila: Two worlds in one kilometre

What can you see here?  Sometimes the signs of economic contrast and inequality in Metro Manila are all too apparent.  In the background, Rockwell is one of many new developments that have flourished around the metropolis, signalling the Philippines’ entry into the global economy as an emerging market and the rising middle class that comes … More Metro Manila: Two worlds in one kilometre

Local Travel in Sydney: Been to Chippendale?

SYDNEY’S HISTORY FOLLOWS the development patterns of many of its North American counterparts, especially in the first half of the 20th century.  Initially, the inner ring of the city was home to the working class, close to factories and warehouses.  With the advent of suburbs, these areas naturally followed down the same paths of urban … More Local Travel in Sydney: Been to Chippendale?

Local Travel in Singapore: Been to Tiong Bahru?

THE REGULAR CROWD at Strangers’ Reunion gives the coffee joint a cosmopolitan and hipster-like feel. Step inside the refurbished peranakan terrace briefly and you would probably think you were in San Francisco or Melbourne. The prime clientele of twentysomethings with make-up and trendy accessories – bags and laptops abound – sips their cappuccinos to accompany homemade … More Local Travel in Singapore: Been to Tiong Bahru?