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Columns

A protester breaks apart a statue of Lenin at a monument in his honour after it was pulled down during a protest in Kiev’s Independence Square
Mon, 30 December 2013

Lenin due for yet another fall

Carved from blood-red granite and standing outside Kiev’s famous Besarabsky Market, the statue of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, aka Lenin, was a splendid sight, and its destruction is rather tragic.

A boat passes through the Kampong Ayer water village at dusk as the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien mosque is lit up in the city of Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei
Mon, 23 December 2013

A bridge over calmer waters

Life is a short, sharp endurance test, and then you die; but solace can come by recollecting past pleasures when, for a brief interlude, the senses are vitalised and the daily quotidian becomes tolerable.

Rioters hurl stones over an upturned police vehicle in Singapore’s Little India district last week
Mon, 16 December 2013

Singapore’s riding the tiger

Last week, an event occurred in Singapore that had been on the cards for years, if not decades, and the wonder was that it had not happened sooner.

The sign for Camp Echo hangs on a fence surrounding the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay
Mon, 9 December 2013

People in glass houses . . .

Diplomatic sources claim that at a recent dinner, the minister of foreign affairs of Laos, Thongloun Sisoulith, waxed indignant about America’s abduction of hundreds of individuals from around the world.

Anti-government protesters occupy the premises of the Telephone Organisation of Thailand compound in Bangkok
Mon, 2 December 2013

Better the devil you know?

The recent protests in Bangkok echo the biblical story of Barabbas, which is described in all four gospels due to its shockingly emblematic depiction of the power of group emotion.

A policeman stands guard behind placards depicting censored masterpieces of world art in Kiev in 2011
Sun, 24 November 2013

Pointing to a lack of confidence?

In this region, state censorship of the media and cultural activities remains remarkably strict.

The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, in 2010
Sun, 17 November 2013

Big Brother is watching closely

The United States taps the telephones and monitors the emails of everyone in this region.

No one is immune: not you, not me, not Prime Minister Hun Sen or opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

Myanmar Buddhist monks demonstrate against the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Yangon
Sun, 10 November 2013

Suu Kyi shows her real intent

Myanmar's pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has been under attack around the world for her acquiescence in the persecution of Muslims in her country.

Former Philippine president and current Mayor of Manila Joseph Estrada (centre) steers during a competition for making rescue boats from recyclable materials in Manila in October.
Mon, 4 November 2013

The tide has turned for some

The truth of Shakespeare’s axiom that there is a tide in the affairs of men has rarely been better illustrated than by the fluctuating fortunes of some of this region’s leaders over the past few months.

A volunteer checks the seal of a ballot box during the United Malays National Organisation party elections in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur
Mon, 28 October 2013

Power struggles in Malaysia

Observers of Malaysia soon realise that the most important elections in the country are not those for parliament, but rather those held every three years for posts in the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

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