From April 2010

MUJI Design in Taiwan

One of my favorite shops is MUJI – the Japanese “no-brand” brand which sells a wide variety of household and consumer goods distinguished by its emphasis on minimalist design and environmentally friendly manufacturing. Read more

Taipei 101

Unlike most asian cities Taipei is relatively flat and featureless save for the majestic mountains that surround it. Architecturally there’s nothing much to get excited about but for one exception – Taipei 101 – the tallest building in Asia and second tallest in the world. Sticking out like a sore thumb at 509 meters tall it dwarfs everything around it and provides a spectacular view over the city as well as serving as an icon of modern Taiwan. On a rather murky Friday afternoon I paid it a visit… Read more

Shida Night Market

Taipei is famous for its numerous night markets dotted throughout the city where people go to shop and eat after the sun goes down, many staying open till midnight. On my first evening in Taiwan I headed to Shida night market in the Taan district (near Guting MRT station). Read more

Hotel Éclat – Taipei

Last weekend I took a short trip to Taiwan, a mere 1.5 hours away from Hong Kong but in many respects a world apart from the mainland (depending on who you ask). Arriving Thursday evening in Taipei my first stop was Hotel Éclat, a stone’s throw away from Daan MTR station. As far as posh places I’ve stayed in without paying go (12) this probably tops the list for style and sheer exuberance. Read more

Social Media in Asia Presentations

While Facebook and Twitter might rule in the US and Europe it’s a whole different game in Asia. If you follow Thomas Crampton (Asia-Pacific director of 360 Digital Influence for Ogilvy) then you’ll know he’s often posting insightful presentations about Social Media in Asia. I’ve been bookmarking them for a while and thought I’d share a few of the better ones here with the key takeaways (and other miscellanea). Read more

Ancient Watchtowers of Kaiping

On my second day in Kaiping we started off the morning with a breakfast of tasty egg tarts from the local cake shop and then took the no. 4 bus out of the city towards Tangkou town where we then flagged down a passing van and negotiated with the driver (¥10) to take us the rest of the way to Li Gardens (立园) – more details here about the directions. Read more

How The Great Firewall of China Works

The “Great Firewall of China” (GFW), officially know as the Golden Shield Project (金盾工程), is the system which filters, blocks and censors the flow of information online within the People’s Republic of China as sanctioned by the government to “protect” its citizens from content it deems harmful to societal stability (or “harmony” as they call it here). Read more

Qingming in Kaiping

Last Monday was the Qingming Festival or “Tomb Sweeping Day” in China which is held on the 104th day after the winter solstice to honor departed ancestors and for people to enjoy the spring weather. As we were given the day off work I decided to take a short weekend trip out of Shenzhen to the little-known city of Kaiping (开平) located about 3 hours away by bus. The area is famous for its castle-like dwellings built by overseas Chinese in a mixture of western and eastern styles. Read more

Expat Subculture (and why I dislike it)

If you’ve lived abroad long enough you’ve undoubtedly encountered other foreigners who are also there either by choice (like myself) or because they’ve been sent there by their employer. In my experience a lot of them tend to fall into 1 of 2 categories – those who go out of their way to integrate with the local culture and those who band together and try to recreate a feeling of “home” while constantly moaning about how much it isn’t. Read more