Remembering the Fallen

What is a hero? Perhaps it is someone who, because of personal reasons and sentiments, is generally revered and exalted, someone whose name is mentioned with adoration and endearment. Our mother, father, brothers, sisters, lover, spouse, uncles, aunts, and teachers are among those some of […]

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Javanese Royal Palaces: Mangkunegaran

What happens when a claimant of a region is excluded from a treaty that officially divides it into smaller parts? As history suggests, this person will keep fighting for what they believe is rightfully theirs. The success of that usually depends on how much power […]

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Javanese Royal Palaces: Yogyakarta

On August 15, 1945, people across Japan, at that time an empire encompassing large swathes of Asia, heard something they considered unthinkable. The once formidable power officially surrendered to the Allies in an announcement made by Emperor Hirohito himself. Very early the next day in […]

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Javanese Royal Palaces: Surakarta

Considering the total population of Java today, one might be startled to realize just how many people live on this Indonesian island. Java’s land area is slightly smaller than Florida, and just a little bit bigger than the whole of Greece. However, while the Sunshine […]

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A Vermilion Dream

Imagine being in a lush forest where two parallel paths are laid before your eyes. The one on the right has seemingly endless rows of torii (a type of gate usually found at Shinto shrines in Japan), and so does the left one, although peeking […]

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Melbourne’s Alluring Warmth

“What if we prefer Sydney?” James raised a question out of his slight worry that both of us would actually like Australia’s biggest city better than Melbourne, its perennial rival. A lot of people have remarked on how wonderful the latter is, and numerous indices […]

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Singhasari: Rise and Fall

In the second half of the 13th century, a vast empire ruled by nomadic people from the steppes of what is now Mongolia stretched from the western shores of the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Victory after victory […]

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Candi Badut: A Remnant of Kanjuruhan

In the eighth century, several centuries after Hinduism arrived in Java, the fertile island where towering volcanoes took lives but replenished the soil saw the beginning of temple construction in earnest. The central part of Java in particular witnessed the proliferation of Hindu and Buddhist […]

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Enduring Icons of Sydney

Rivalries among kingdoms, empires and modern-day republics have profoundly shaped humanity in many ways. In the process of outdoing each other – through the economy, military, or culture – monumental edifices were often erected to symbolize a country’s prominence on the world stage. Not only […]

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Kyoto’s Pavilions of Beauty

At midday in Kyoto James and I were enjoying a quirky Japanese TV show – a miscellany of over-excited hosts, cartoonish animation, and video game-ish sound – sitting cross-legged on the comfortable tatami mat inside our hotel room. At the same time on our laptops […]

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