Stories

 
 

Selected Writing & Journalism

 

PEOPLE, politics & society

 In Spain, There Is Still the West  For Roads & Kingdoms  A European paean to an American idea, passed from generation to generation, lives on in Spain half a century after the filming of a classic spaghetti western trilogy.

In Spain, There Is Still the West

For Roads & Kingdoms

A European paean to an American idea, passed from generation to generation, lives on in Spain half a century after the filming of a classic spaghetti western trilogy.

 The Temuans of Damansara Perdana  For Malaysia.my  Before the buildings obscured the skyline, Damansara Perdana used to be home to the indigenous Temuan people who tended to durian farms as one way to make a living. What's life like for them now?

The Temuans of Damansara Perdana

For Malaysia.my

Before the buildings obscured the skyline, Damansara Perdana used to be home to the indigenous Temuan people who tended to durian farms as one way to make a living. What's life like for them now?

 Pygmies in Peril  For Esquire Malaysia   Borneo’s baby-faced pygmy elephants are increasingly pitted against humans, in sometimes-fatal confrontations, due to habitat loss and fragmentation. But if the wildlife and forestry authorities, oil palm plantations and tour operators see the creatures’ conservation as a common cause, they might just have a chance of survival.

Pygmies in Peril

For Esquire Malaysia 

Borneo’s baby-faced pygmy elephants are increasingly pitted against humans, in sometimes-fatal confrontations, due to habitat loss and fragmentation. But if the wildlife and forestry authorities, oil palm plantations and tour operators see the creatures’ conservation as a common cause, they might just have a chance of survival.

 For Some People, Sex is a Total Turn-off  For The Straits Times (Singapore)  Asexuals say theirs is a valid sexual orientation, not a health problem. “Sex is just not as interesting as the other things I could be doing with an interesting person,” says David Jay. Like having a really “mind-blowing” conversation. 

For Some People, Sex is a Total Turn-off

For The Straits Times (Singapore)

Asexuals say theirs is a valid sexual orientation, not a health problem. “Sex is just not as interesting as the other things I could be doing with an interesting person,” says David Jay. Like having a really “mind-blowing” conversation. 

 A New Hope  For Roads & Kingdoms and Slate  How a Hindu epic inspired a Malaysian art form that survived attacks by Islamists and learned to love Star Wars.

A New Hope

For Roads & Kingdoms and Slate

How a Hindu epic inspired a Malaysian art form that survived attacks by Islamists and learned to love Star Wars.

 Paradise Lost in Pisagua  Unpublished  “Pisagua debe ser puerto”, the banner reads. Pisagua should be a port. Does the dream still live?

Paradise Lost in Pisagua

Unpublished

“Pisagua debe ser puerto”, the banner reads. Pisagua should be a port. Does the dream still live?

 The Science and Sentiment of Division  For Esquire Malaysia  From freaks of nature and medical conundrums to individuals, conjoined twins have come a long way since "Siamese twins" Chang and Eng. Esquire takes a closer look at the mathematical, emotional and ethical considerations of bisecting a human body and what life is like after separation via brothers Muaiman and Muaimin Azli, the most recent case of separated twins in Malaysia.

The Science and Sentiment of Division

For Esquire Malaysia

From freaks of nature and medical conundrums to individuals, conjoined twins have come a long way since "Siamese twins" Chang and Eng. Esquire takes a closer look at the mathematical, emotional and ethical considerations of bisecting a human body and what life is like after separation via brothers Muaiman and Muaimin Azli, the most recent case of separated twins in Malaysia.

 Former Leprosy Patients Search for Children They Were Forced to Give Up  For The Malaysian Insider

Former Leprosy Patients Search for Children They Were Forced to Give Up

For The Malaysian Insider

 Beyond the Sea  For Esquire Malaysia  The 2015 Southeast Asian boat crisis made Myanmar’s Rohingya more visible to the world, but the problems they face have persisted for decades. Now that the annual sailing season is under way, Esquire digs into the roots of the crisis and find out what life looks like for those who made it to shore.

Beyond the Sea

For Esquire Malaysia

The 2015 Southeast Asian boat crisis made Myanmar’s Rohingya more visible to the world, but the problems they face have persisted for decades. Now that the annual sailing season is under way, Esquire digs into the roots of the crisis and find out what life looks like for those who made it to shore.

 In the Last Room  For Esquire Malaysia  Who waits on death row? A 29-year-old has been sentenced to die by hanging for killing his girlfriend’s stepfather. He has one last chance to stay alive: a pardon from the King.

In the Last Room

For Esquire Malaysia

Who waits on death row? A 29-year-old has been sentenced to die by hanging for killing his girlfriend’s stepfather. He has one last chance to stay alive: a pardon from the King.

 In Ipoh, a Secret Loyalty for Pakatan Among the Chinese  For The Malaysian Insider  Ahead of Malaysia's 2013 General Elections, I returned to my hometown to find out which way the voters were likely to swing.

In Ipoh, a Secret Loyalty for Pakatan Among the Chinese

For The Malaysian Insider

Ahead of Malaysia's 2013 General Elections, I returned to my hometown to find out which way the voters were likely to swing.

 Dispatches on the Batang Kali Massacre  For The Malaysian Insider  A narrative of the events of December 12, 1948 and three court dispatches from London. Has the British Government acted unlawfully in its continued refusal to order an independent inquiry into the killings?

Dispatches on the Batang Kali Massacre

For The Malaysian Insider

A narrative of the events of December 12, 1948 and three court dispatches from London. Has the British Government acted unlawfully in its continued refusal to order an independent inquiry into the killings?

 

Personal & Travel Essays

 Killer Fish for Breakfast in the Amazon  For Roads & Kingdoms  What to eat when you spend ten days on a dugout canoe in the northern jungles of Peru.

Killer Fish for Breakfast in the Amazon

For Roads & Kingdoms

What to eat when you spend ten days on a dugout canoe in the northern jungles of Peru.

 The Aunties of Chinatown, Guatemala  For GeoEx's Wanderlust (edited by Don George)  The story of how a group of Cantonese aunties in Guatemala City took me under their wing.

The Aunties of Chinatown, Guatemala

For GeoEx's Wanderlust (edited by Don George)

The story of how a group of Cantonese aunties in Guatemala City took me under their wing.

 

destination Guides & FEATURES

 24 Hours in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur  For Smile (Cebu Pacific Air)  Edgy cafés, bars and artist collectives have sprouted and taken up residence in the timeworn colonial-era shophouses that characterize KL’s Chinatown. PS150, a popular speakeasy-style cocktail bar, is one of these new inhabitants. Its co-founder and bartender, Angel Ng, who has lived most of her life in Singapore but now calls KL home, walks us through the neighborhood’s back alleys and five-foot ways to show us how past and present cultures have intertwined.

24 Hours in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur

For Smile (Cebu Pacific Air)

Edgy cafés, bars and artist collectives have sprouted and taken up residence in the timeworn colonial-era shophouses that characterize KL’s Chinatown. PS150, a popular speakeasy-style cocktail bar, is one of these new inhabitants. Its co-founder and bartender, Angel Ng, who has lived most of her life in Singapore but now calls KL home, walks us through the neighborhood’s back alleys and five-foot ways to show us how past and present cultures have intertwined.

 One Perfect Day (of Eating) in Kuala Lumpur  For Lucky Peach  Malaysians think nothing of spending a whole day eating. Here are seven great spots to hit in the city centre for fuss-free Malaysian food, from sunrise into the wee hours.

One Perfect Day (of Eating) in Kuala Lumpur

For Lucky Peach

Malaysians think nothing of spending a whole day eating. Here are seven great spots to hit in the city centre for fuss-free Malaysian food, from sunrise into the wee hours.

 Ipoh, Malaysia: A Cultural and Culinary Guide  For CNN  What to do, where to eat, and where to sleep in a city often compared to Penang, but doesn't have its crowds—yet.

Ipoh, Malaysia: A Cultural and Culinary Guide

For CNN

What to do, where to eat, and where to sleep in a city often compared to Penang, but doesn't have its crowds—yet.

 Swimming with Big Fish  For Esquire Malaysia  If you have an appetite for extreme adventure, you’ll definitely want to visit port Lincoln as a gateway to cage dive with great whites in the waters surrounding the Neptune Islands. If that doesn’t rock your boat, there are other fish in the sea to fill your downtime—and stomach.

Swimming with Big Fish

For Esquire Malaysia

If you have an appetite for extreme adventure, you’ll definitely want to visit port Lincoln as a gateway to cage dive with great whites in the waters surrounding the Neptune Islands. If that doesn’t rock your boat, there are other fish in the sea to fill your downtime—and stomach.

 Kuala Lumpur Nightlife: From Sneaky Drinking Dens to Swanky Rooftop Bars  For CNN  It's when hot days give way to balmy nights that this city really comes alive. Here are some of the best spots in town to spend your evenings.

Kuala Lumpur Nightlife: From Sneaky Drinking Dens to Swanky Rooftop Bars

For CNN

It's when hot days give way to balmy nights that this city really comes alive. Here are some of the best spots in town to spend your evenings.

 

personalities, Arts & Culture

 16 Baris Is a YouTube Cypher Show That's Reviving Malaysian Hip-Hop  For Vice Indonesia  How Malaysia’s “President of Hip-Hop” Joe Flizzow is bringing new talent and new fans to the local and regional hip-hop scene.

16 Baris Is a YouTube Cypher Show That's Reviving Malaysian Hip-Hop

For Vice Indonesia

How Malaysia’s “President of Hip-Hop” Joe Flizzow is bringing new talent and new fans to the local and regional hip-hop scene.

 Bad is the New Good  For Esquire Malaysia  Craig Fong has come a long way from his one-liner as a gangster's foot soldier in  Entrapment  opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones. Still, he's always been good at playing the antagonist. Here's why.

Bad is the New Good

For Esquire Malaysia

Craig Fong has come a long way from his one-liner as a gangster's foot soldier in Entrapment opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones. Still, he's always been good at playing the antagonist. Here's why.

 Q&A with Shih-Li Kow  For Esquire Malaysia  "It can be quite hard to resist writing about the supernatural because it's very much a part of our life here. You know, you sit down and you meet people and chances are everybody has had a couple of conversations with friends about ghosts or something like that."

Q&A with Shih-Li Kow

For Esquire Malaysia

"It can be quite hard to resist writing about the supernatural because it's very much a part of our life here. You know, you sit down and you meet people and chances are everybody has had a couple of conversations with friends about ghosts or something like that."

 What I've Learned  For Esquire Malaysia  Three of my favourites:  Clare Rewcastle Brown   Neil Strauss  (&  Online )  Michael Chong  

What I've Learned

For Esquire Malaysia

Three of my favourites:
Clare Rewcastle Brown
Neil Strauss (& Online)
Michael Chong 

 Q&A with Miguel Syjuco  For Esquire Malaysia  "We ride our car to work and we see the beggar knocking on our window on a daily basis; our roads are terrible; we see endemic corruption. And, of course, every day you ask yourself, 'What can I do with my life to kind of cope with this? To address this, or help fix the problem?' I think that's why as writers from developing countries, we want to do something more with our work than just entertain or sell."

Q&A with Miguel Syjuco

For Esquire Malaysia

"We ride our car to work and we see the beggar knocking on our window on a daily basis; our roads are terrible; we see endemic corruption. And, of course, every day you ask yourself, 'What can I do with my life to kind of cope with this? To address this, or help fix the problem?' I think that's why as writers from developing countries, we want to do something more with our work than just entertain or sell."

 Brilliant Malaysian Literati: Tan Twan Eng  For Esquire Malaysia  Throughout his life, the Penang-born, Cape Town-based author has often felt like the outsider, observing worlds as a transient visitor. Now, with two critically lauded novels under his belt, he’s come home.

Brilliant Malaysian Literati: Tan Twan Eng

For Esquire Malaysia

Throughout his life, the Penang-born, Cape Town-based author has often felt like the outsider, observing worlds as a transient visitor. Now, with two critically lauded novels under his belt, he’s come home.