A Chinese Toy Story: why do adult men buy designer toys?

Don Tang is proud of his toys. So much so that the Shanghai resident, 32, puts them on display both in his home and in the office of the company he runs.And there are plenty to display. Tang, 32, has some 100 collectibles and the number is growing all the time. Each month he sets aside 2,000 yuan (US$280) to buy the top trending toys, newest releases, or one-of-a-kind items – either from physical stores, online or at toy conventions in China.But the toys are not connected to his work as the CEO…

In Malaysia, hopes for racial unity as Independence Day approaches. The reality? Growing division

August in Malaysia usually sees a month-long swell in patriotic feel-good sentiment as the nation looks forward to Independence Day celebrations on the 31st – but this year, instead of nationalistic cheer, bubbling racial issues are causing turbulence among citizens and within the multi-ethnic Pakatan Harapan coalition.The recent racially charged public furore over issues such as the presence of controversial Indian Muslim preacher Zakir Naik in Malaysia, the introduction of Arabic-Malay…

Death of destitute North Korean mother and child sparks national soul-searching in wealthy South Korea

By the time Han, a North Korean defector, and her six-year-old son were found at their rented flat in southwestern Seoul, they had been dead for weeks.The building manager who found the bodies made the grim discovery only after being alerted to a strange smell. The water to the flat had been cut off due to unpaid bills, and the fridge was empty but for some chili flakes.The 42-year-old mother, who fled poverty in North Korea a decade prior, had made her last withdrawal of 3,858 won (US$3) from…

Beloved baby dugong ‘Mariam’ dies in Thailand with plastic-lined stomach

A sick baby dugong whose fight for recovery won hearts in Thailand and cast a spotlight on ocean conservation has died from an infection exacerbated by bits of plastic lining her stomach, officials said on Saturday.Mariam washed up in shallow waters off southwestern Thailand months ago and photos of her nuzzling playfully next to rescuers quickly went viral.The dugong show: 24-hour webcast shows star Thai sea cowsThe discovery soon after of another orphaned dugong brought the sea cows celebrity…

How the Hong Kong protests inspire Macau’s youth – and teach their government to be wary

“Theirfightforfreedomanddemocracyisalsoourfight,”saysPoscoWong,a23-year-oldoriginallyfromMacau,referringtotheanti-governmentprotestsinHongKong.TheformerPortugueseenclave,anhour’sridebyferryfromHongKong,hasalwaysbeenseenasthebetterbehavedSpecialAdministrativeRegionunderChineserule–largelybecauseofitsmoreconservativesociety.WhileMacau’syoutharenotaspoliticallyengagedastheircounterpartsinHongKong…

Filipino-American historian traces the history of Philippine nurses in the US

To Filipino-American historian Ren Capucao, hospitals smell like home.Growing up in Virginia Beach, Capucao would often visit his mother at Chesapeake Regional Medical Centre, where she worked as a nurse for three decades.“People find it weird,” he said with a laugh. “For me, visiting the hospital was a fun thing. I would see all these Filipino health care workers at the hospital, and most of them were nurses.”It did not seem unusual – in the Filipino family in which he was raised, it was…

Indonesia still wants Chinese investments, but Jokowi is also wooing Middle East money

Indonesia made great strides in reforming its economy during the first term in office of President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi.The country’s ranking in the World Bank’s ease of doing business study rocketed from 114 in 2014 to 73 this year, and ratings agency Standard and Poor’s in 2017 joined Moody’s and Fitch in awarding BBB investment status.But securing capital remains a big challenge.According to government figures, investment grew 11.4 per cent a year in Widodo’s first term,…

Franco-Irish girl Nora Quoirin’s family mourns ‘unbearable’ loss as autopsy performed in Malaysia

Malaysian authorities on Wednesday conducted a postmortem examination on the body of a Franco-Irish teen found in the jungle after she disappeared from a resort, as her family mourned the “unbearable” loss.The unclothed body of Nora Quoirin, 15, was discovered on Tuesday in a ravine in dense rainforest after a 10-day hunt involving hundreds of people, helicopters and sniffer dogs.She went missing from the Dusun Resort, not far from Kuala Lumpur, on August 4, a day after checking in for a…

Tensions among Indonesia’s security forces simmer beneath surface after Jakarta’s election riots

Indonesia’s riots over the disputed presidential election this year were the worst since the 1998 unrest that toppled long-time strongman Suharto. Though the polls triggered the violence, there were also more deep-seated reasons for the two days of chaos. Behind the scenes a power struggle was taking place among retired army generals backing the different presidential candidates – a battle with clear echoes of the ideological factionalism seen in the final years of Suharto’s rule. Muslim…

Forget bitcoin, this Singapore firm is using blockchain tech to build a smart city

A Singaporean start-up is looking to transform the face of Southeast Asia by building smart cities powered by blockchain technology – starting with an ambitious 100-hectare mixed-use development project in the heart of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. Spanning residential homes, office buildings, shopping malls, schools, and a massive exhibition hall, the privately backed project by Limestone Network will affect 10,000 business tenants and a daily population of 190,000 people. The idea was…