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  • News & article

    Isis destroyed

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 06/09/2018

    » As most of the hijackers responsible for the 9/11 outrage were Saudi Arabian, it stands to reason that the US would take the kingdom to task. Instead, Washington turned its ire on Afghanistan and Iraq. How could that be? In fact, it made sense. America is Saudi's biggest oil customer and didn't want it to stop flowing, the more than 3,000 dead at New York's Twin Towers notwithstanding.

  • News & article

    Encountering the 'other'

    Life, Sawarin Suwichakornpong, Published on 22/09/2017

    » The essayist Tzvetan Todorov writes in The Conquest Of America: The Question Of The Other that the history of the world is made up of conquests and defeats, of colonisations and discoveries of others. He argues that at the beginning of the 16th century, the native Americans of the New World were present but nothing was known about them. The discovery of America was therefore crucial because it brought white European settlers to an encounter with the natives from the onset. And with this encounter, a projection of what the Other would be. Knowledge and images were for the first time being sent "back home" of what the savage might be.

  • News & article

    A master storyteller, heir to the greats and entirely sui generis

    Life, Published on 20/07/2018

    » In a famous Hindu parable, three blind men encounter an elephant for the first time and try to describe it, each touching a different part. "An elephant is like a snake," says one, grasping the trunk. "Nonsense; an elephant is a fan," says another, who holds an ear. "A tree trunk," insists a third, feeling his way around a leg.

  • News & article

    Chinese emigre confronted by reality in dream land

    Brunch, Published on 08/04/2018

    » As futile as it can feel, there's a lot to be said for frustration. Having our desires and expectations thwarted lets us know where our selves end and where others' begin. "People become real to us by frustrating us," psychoanalyst (and master aphorist) Adam Phillips writes. "If they don't frustrate us they are merely figures of fantasy."

  • News & article

    Ace hitchhiker

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 02/03/2018

    » British expatriate Lee Child has become perhaps the most respected thriller novelist in the US. His blurbs for colleagues' books send sales soaring. Jack Reacher, his literary creation, is a household name. Tom Cruise has played him in two successful movies.

  • News & article

    A geopolitical pivot

    Life, Published on 01/12/2017

    » During the Indochina War years from the 1950s through to the 1970s, America's seven military bases in Thailand symbolised the extraordinary extent of US influence over the politics and development of the Kingdom. In the subsequent 30 years, American influence in Thailand has slowly but steadily waned, largely supplanted by a rising China. Thailand, which had been a linchpin of America's Asian strategy, is now instead a linchpin of China's Asian strategy. American soldiers on R&R have been replaced by Chinese tourists, American airbases by plans for Chinese high-speed rail links. China, not the US, is now Thailand's largest trading partner.

  • 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

    The Law is the law

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 18/08/2017

    » From being overlooked in fear of retaliation, Isis has sprung to the forefront of favoured subject matter among books.

  • News & article

    Indian pirates

    Life, Bernard Trink, Published on 26/10/2017

    » Pirates have been around as long as people travelled and traded by sea. A young Julius Caesar was among their prey two millennia ago. The fledgling US Navy pulverised those on the Barbary Coast two centuries ago. Still the pirates persevere -- from the Somali variety to those in the Pacific.

  • News & article

    Taking the long view

    Life, Sawarin Suwichakornpong, Published on 19/10/2017

    » In Greek mythology, Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory. Impregnated by Zeus, she gave birth to the nine muses with whom artists, poets, musicians, writers and historians are familiar. As a daughter of Uranus, Mnemosyne is also a goddess of time; she provides the role of rote memorisation and invents language and words where her daughters, the muses, pick up and render them. She is a goddess that makes memory alive and is often acquainted with vivid remembrance.

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