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  • News & article

    Report from the far South

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 15/01/2018

    » The first issue of The Melayu Review has the clean sophistication of a respectable literary journal. The layout is unfussy, the photographs black-and-white, and the text in Thai, in shipshape blocks. An editor's note on the first page quotes Dostoyevsky: "But how could you live and have no story to tell?"

  • News & article

    A writer of versatility and promise

    Muse, Melalin Mahavongtrakul, Published on 13/01/2018

    » When Jidanun Lueangpiansamut sat down in front of me, we had a purple book rested between us on a glass table. On its cover, a green silhouette of a timid lion stood out from a roaring crowd -- quite an appropriate design considering its title: Singto Nok Kok. The lion doesn't fit in or conform with the rest of the pack.

  • News & article

    Artificial intelligence

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 12/01/2018

    » There are Vatican scholars. Then there are novelists who research the Vatican library to give the plots of their imaginative religious stories the aura of authenticity. It turns out that the lay writers usually pen more interesting books. Less authentic, yet more believable.

  • News & article

    A Chinese empire?

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 17/11/2017

    » As a youngster in the Big Apple during the Great Depression, I recall men with billboard signs with "The world is coming to an end -- REPENT". The people they passed on the streets shrugged them off. l didn't fully understand what it meant, but I knew that threats aren't to be taken lightly.

  • News & article

    Vatican thriller

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 25/08/2017

    » Christianity hasn't been around long, its two millennia shorter than Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism. The God-Mary match captured the public's imagination and Holy Mother Church has been matched with God ever since. It survived its encounters with the Saracens and the Reformation, and now has an estimated following of 1 billion.

  • News & article

    Sweet reads

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 14/07/2017

    » Uruda Covin's book about melancholic romance and untimely death is hot property on bookshelves. Yod Namwan Nai Yard Namta (literally "a drop of sweet in the trace of tears") is a roman à clef drawing on her tragic relationship with Kanokphong Songsomphan, a literary star who passed away in 2006 at the age of 40.

  • News & article

    Renaissance history

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 14/07/2017

    » I am so conditioned when I pick up a new book about Italy that I expect it to be a historical novel about Ancient Rome. That period seems to fascinate historians and historical novelists. This reviewer finds it no more than somewhat interesting.

  • News & article

    Be prepared

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 09/06/2017

    » A reporter outside my homeland for more than a half-century, I never had the gall to call myself a foreign correspondent, lacking the qualifications of working for an American publication -- my byline in India, Japan and Thailand notwithstanding -- even though Time magazine gave me an honourable mention.

  • News & article

    Dissecting a nation

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 19/06/2017

    » Pasuk Phongpaichit's and Chris Baker's house is a verdant abode at the end of a maze in an Ekamai sub-soi. The garden at the back has tall trees and a small, tea-coloured pond. The whole area used to be a swamp, said Baker. The couple, both highly respected scholars in Thai studies, have been living there since 1987, or in their lexicon, "just before the boom" -- the high-flying economic expansion whose seismic shifts forever transformed Thailand in the early 1990s. Had they wanted to purchase the plot slightly later than they actually did -- after the boom had set in -- they wouldn't have been able to. "We came just before the high-rises."

  • News & article

    Open season on IS

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 27/04/2017

    » Though the president of the United States is a character in more than a few novels, he is a product of the authors' imaginations and bears little if any resemblance to the actual incumbents. In some stories he's idealised, in others vilified.

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