Cuandixia- 500 year old Ming Dynasty village

Cuandixia was an unexpected surprise. At the doorstep of Beijing, this 500 year old village harking back to the Ming Dynasty is still ‘alive and well’ and still holds many descendents of the Han family that founded this village. A perfect weekend away would involve 2 nights stay at Cuandixia, sipping beers while playing cards … Continue reading

The Masters of Beijing- Part 1

In China, you come across interesting occupations, identities and roles that you normally don’t see outside China. For that reason, I am starting a new series documenting these very interesting people. Here is my first attempt at sharing about these people.  Obviously meant to be tongue in cheek =)   Related China posts:   Chinese … Continue reading

A walk through a traditional Chinese hutong

This is a walk through one of the few preserved hutongs on China. Hutongs are small alleyways but are also taken to refer to the traditional architecture of old China.                       I would describe hutongs as ‘quaint’. Cooling in summer but freezing in winter. And … Continue reading

Chinese New Year in Beijing

This year we spent Chinese New Years (CNY) doing what most Beijingers don’t do- we stayed in Beijing. Most people either leave for their hometowns or go vacationing elsewhere to escape the constant sound of fireworks. However, I think Chinese New Year in Beijing is absolutely wonderful. The streets are deserted, the air is relatively … Continue reading

Malaysia’s Obedient Wives Club

You may already have read or heard about the Obedient Wives Club, but if not, it is worth watching this video. While the salacious aspects of their claims may have caught headlines, I am more concerned about the Club’s view of a marriage relationship. What most concerns me is the club’s emphasis on: 1. the … Continue reading

Overview of China in ten minutes

Below is a good ten minute video on the main facts about China. The points that are most true for me are: 1. Every 5 days, a new skyscraper is completed and you can see this in Beijing. People who were in Beijing 5 years ago are known to exclaim at how everything is different … Continue reading

Elaine on human trafficking

Here is a rough video I’ve made on the issue of human trafficking. As I upload the video, this comes with news of two successful trafficking prosecutions in Scotland (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-15150364). If you would like to read more on the state of trafficking globally, the Trafficking in Persons 2011 report is a good place to … Continue reading

Hip hop and counter-trafficking

Don’t know how you can make a difference to stop human trafficking? Jason Chu is an example of starting where you are at and using what skills you have to make a difference. Jason is fundraising money to support the Red Thread Movement and its work against trafficking…and he’s using hip hop to do so! … Continue reading

Flash mob hakas- New Zealand going Rugby wild!

Here is a really great insight into the Kiwi mentality and rugby craze storming through New Zealand right now. The Rugby World Cup begins end of this week with New Zealand’s first game and so it is fitting that the atmosphere is piping hot with excitement right now. To get a sense of this excitement, … Continue reading

A floating village on Tonle Sap lake, Cambodia

On 11 August 2011, a group of Rotary Peace Fellows from Chulalongkorn University visited Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia. Our purpose was to learn more about the post-conflict reconstruction issues in Cambodia. A big issue for Cambodia is that the fisheries industry is one of the biggest in the domestic economy and thus our visit … Continue reading

The killing fields of Cambodia- short video

This a rough video of my visit to the Choeung Ek killing fields. 17 Rotary World Peace Fellows, as part of their 3 month fellowship with the Peace Centre at Chulalongkorn University, visited Cambodia this August 2011 to learn more about the post-conflict reconstruction work taking place there. As part of our field trip, we … Continue reading

Muslims saved Jews during WWII

Yes, you read it correctly. This is an interview with Norman Gershman who has photographed people and documented stories about Albanian Muslims sheltering Jews and saving their lives during the Holocaust. From his investigations, he discovered that the basis for much of this life saving was due to an Albanian custom of ‘besa’: “BESA is … Continue reading

Muay Chaiya- my move from peace studies to self defence!

I recently had the honour of training with THE master of Muay Chaiya, Kruu Preng (he’s the serious looking dude in the second row). Muay Chaiya was developed about 250 years ago in the town of Chaiya, in the South of Thailand (Surat Thani province) by a great soldier, Poh Tan Mah. It is based … Continue reading

The dangers of a single story- Chimamanda Adichie

You will be richly blessed by this video!! This is an amazing speech by Chimamanda Adichie about the need to learn about the multiple stories to a situation/issue/people  rather than fall prey to stereotyping people under a ‘single story’. (I love her story of how her roommate assumed that she was a poor, uneducated African … Continue reading