George Town’s Light and Shadow

Chapter 4, Part 17 The 19th century in South Asia. It was a period of time in history when the British consolidated its colonial possessions in the Indian subcontinent. What started out as… Continue reading

Thanjavur and the Doctrine of Lapse

Chapter 4, Part 16 Once South and Southeast Asia were lands where Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms and empires, and later Islamic sultanates, conquered one another not only to exert their dominance, but also… Continue reading

Pondicherry: Vestiges of French India

Chapter 4, Part 15 In 2006 I was in my second year learning French, and like many others who learned the language, I became a Francophile. I spent a considerable amount of time… Continue reading

Chennai: An Enduring Charm

Chapter 4, Part 14 A string of light emerged on the horizon – scattered yellow speckles suggestive of an incoherent network of offices, houses, temples and roads – forming a boundary against the… Continue reading

Medan: From Deli to Tjong A Fie

Chapter 4, Part 13 In politics there are no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. This has been repeatedly proven in the history of relations among nations where two unlikely partners often formed… Continue reading

Galle Fort: Battleground of the Europeans

Chapter 4, Part 12 For thousands of years the island of Sri Lanka – known to the ancient Greeks as Taprobana, to the Persians and Arabs as Sarandib, to the Portuguese as Ceilão,… Continue reading

Madu Ganga: Following the Cinnamon Scent

Chapter 4, Part 11 Last year, James and I explored six countries in Southeast and South Asia for six months to retrace parts of the spice route which had connected nations across both… Continue reading

The Faces of Banda

Chapter 4, Part 10 Blessed with fertile soils and pristine waters, which at one point in history turned out to be a curse, the Banda Islands today is a place where avid divers… Continue reading

The Banda Islands: Land and Sea

Chapter 4, Part 9 We were in the middle of the Banda Sea, the deepest body of water in Indonesia with some parts going as deep as 7,000 m. The violent waves reared up… Continue reading

Run for Manhattan

Chapter 4, Part 8 Among the remote islands of the Bandas, Run (Rhun) is situated at the westernmost corner of the chain, some two hours away by a small boat from Banda Neira… Continue reading

Islands that Changed the World: the Bandas

Chapter 4, Part 7 In the 16th century, upon the discovery of direct sea routes from Europe to the Spice Islands, Portugal and Spain asserted their dominance in the world’s spice trade which… Continue reading

Ambon: Colonialism, Peace and Music

Chapter 4, Part 6 In 1512 the Portuguese successfully reached the fabled Spice Islands after decades of sea explorations and conquests in the Indian Ocean. Ambon (Amboina), Ternate, as well as the Banda… Continue reading

Ternate: Science and Superstition

Chapter 4, Part 5 The turboprop plane which brought us from the city of Manado in North Sulawesi almost an hour earlier started its descent. Strings of verdant small islands now appeared larger… Continue reading

Islands that Changed the World: Ternate & Tidore

Chapter 4, Part 4 As the Age of Discovery began in the 15th century, Portugal and Castille (Spain) sent a large number of maritime missions to seek direct sea route from Europe to… Continue reading

Impressions of Japan

Dreams do come true. It is something that we are constantly reminded about upon seeing other people’s dreams fulfilled as well as ours. However as we grow older sometimes we forget about the… Continue reading