Myanmar: A Karen Landscape

I stole 2 days before the Irrawaddy Literary festival to visit Karen State and Mon State in South Eastern Myanmar. Here are my first impressions of Karen State, from the initial sight of Zwekabin Mountain (the state landmark), past a village to Hpa An, the state capital situated on the banks of the great Salween River. Pictures … Continue reading

Talking about Heart Bones on National Critics Choice

Here’s National Critics Choice’s video of the book chat about As the Heart Bones Break at Select Books

It’s reprehensible! Here’s what we can do –

Yesterday I posted a Reuters report about how the Rohingyas, stateless Muslim refugees escaping from ethnic violence in the Burmese state of Arakhan, were apparently being spirited from Thai border camps and held for ransom or trafficked.   “Horrifying! Reprehensible!” my fellow Tribewriter Kathleen Caron commented. “If the Thai govt won’t do anything, why doesn’t the UN step in?” she asked. … Continue reading

A Singaporean Identity – Constance Singam, the epitome of true grit

For me, Constance Singam the Singapore feminist and civil society activist, is the epitome of true grit Brought up in a patriarchal South Indian Catholic household, almost promised off to a Kerala Indian boy in the next village when she was twelve, married for love soon after her first job to an older man and … Continue reading

Syria… September 11… Why they matter to me

I live in Singapore,  7,800 kilometres away from Syria and 15,400 kilometres from New York City. I’m black haired and under five feet tall. I don’t have an American accent or a navy blue passport, so its unlikely I’ll be shoved overboard a ship or thrown off a plane in the event of a hijacking.  I won’t, … Continue reading

Trade the high-flying life for this …

We’re just back from remote Lugu Lake, Yunnan China where a friend traded in her high-flying high-stress corporate lawyer’s life for this:   – the view from her front window – a handcrafted tribal living room – and time and more time to look back at her choices and write all about it. It was a … Continue reading

Dalat – A special place in my heart

First there’s the Romeo and Juliet mountain … I am a sucker for romance and Dalat is a romantic, if kitschy, city. It’s main lake, Ho Xuan Huong, is named after Vietnam’s most famous erotic poet, a lady scholar. It’s next most famous attractions are the Valley of Love, popular with honeymooners, and the Lake of … Continue reading

3.5 lost days and 12 surprising discoveries

The best made holiday plans can be upset. Weather, short-staffed inn-keepers and unforeseen road closures can conspire to turn an itinerary upside down. Often the disappointment poisons the whole vacation. But, it only takes a pause to change our perceptions and save the day. In Queensland, we ran into road closures along the Gold Coast. Our hotel in Cairns … Continue reading

A different lunch on the Mekong River

Before going off to Australia, Heart Guy and I were in Vietnam. On an afternoon, we had lunch with some of the Mekong Delta kids we sponsor. Recalling this lunch now, it amazes me how we could have gone for that extravagant meal at Urban less than seven days later. I offer my memories of this … Continue reading

15 delectable dishes from Urbane

Where did July go? It’s been more than half a month since I last posted! It’s more a case of where I’ve been, I guess … In Queensland, the beautiful North East Australian state just a helicopter skip from the Great Barrier Reef. The scenery is to die for. Glutton that I am though, this first … Continue reading