The Burgeoning Pearl of the Musi

September 2004. First time in almost five decades that the Indonesian National Games (PON) were hosted by a city outside the island of Java. A 40,000-seater stadium was built in Palembang, the capital… Continue reading

Bogor at A Glance

Spread over a basin fringed by Mount Gede and Mount Salak, Bogor lies 54 km south of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, which together with the nearby cities of Tangerang, Bekasi and Depok form… Continue reading

Maritime Asia, Past and Present

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana, American-Spanish philosopher and novelist Since the invention of raft which eventually led to the creation of ship, humans have wandered… Continue reading

Batukaru: Sight, Sound, Taste

The silver minibus speeds through the main highway that connects Bali’s cultural heart at Ubud with the volcanic lakes of Bratan as well as Buyan and Tamblingan further north. Short moments after passing… Continue reading

Jakarta’s Focal Points: A Historical Perspective

“The atmosphere and interior of this cafe fit perfectly my imagination of Nanyang.” Dong Mei could not hide her excitement upon learning how well Cafe Batavia met her expectation: the imagination of an… Continue reading

Creating A City in A Garden

“From the beginning, even before Singapore became independent, we sought to build a world-class living environment here through greenery. At first we aimed to be a “Garden City” – parks, reservoirs, Kallang River… Continue reading

Western Hong Kong Island: A Walk Back in Time

History is a subject many people scrutinize with frown on their faces, one that triggers discussions and evoke memories, both good and bad. It also is a terrific means to raise a optimism… Continue reading

The Dutch, the Caretaker, and the Little Girl

Far from the bustling tourism hotspot in Bali’s south is the city of Singaraja, the capital of Buleleng Regency on the island’s northern coast. Founded by the king of Buleleng, Ki Gusti Ngurah… Continue reading

Lai Chi Wo: A Lychee Nest No More

Four centuries ago when China was ruled by the Qing Dynasty a few Hakka people – native to vast lands in southeastern China – searched for a new place to settle down, probably… Continue reading

The Red Dot: A Matter of Being Too Perfect

The tiny island has been serving one of the world’s busiest trade routes for centuries, beckoning people and money, like the Japanese fortune cat, to come to this strategically located piece of land.… Continue reading

In Search of Spices

If every single person on the planet were given the opportunity to travel around the world, I believe they would have answered ‘yes’ without the slightest doubt. Each individual, however, has his/her own… Continue reading

The Menjangan Part 2: Underwater Gardens

He plunged into the water and darted in front of us, the effortless movements of his slender body a telltale of his affinity to the ocean. He looked around, scanning the corals beneath… Continue reading

The Menjangan Part 1: Sweet Air & Birdsong

The intense sweet and faintly zesty redolence of lush forest instantly permeated the air as I opened the car window. The deep, earthy scent of the dirt road augmented the complex chemicals in… Continue reading

An Unlikely Urban Sanctuary

Tiny palm-sized winged creatures hopped gleefully among curious visitors. Each bearing a navy blue mask around the eyes, a contrasting ribbon amid its cotton white feathers. Bedazzled eyes followed them as they tweeted… Continue reading

Paris of Java, Past and Present

Asia, late 19th century. The long-contending British and Dutch colonial forces have by now settled on their respective colonies. The British realm in this part of the world was unrivaled, straddling vast swathes… Continue reading