Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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Still Standing: Tasmania’s Richmond Bridge – Landmark of Convict Labours

TASMANIA’S Richmond Bridge is a tribute to simple form and a lasting symbol of Australia’s European origins. While surviving convict-built bridges are still relatively common in Australia, the Richmond Bridge is the oldest – and said to be the oldest bridge of any kind still in use in Australia. Today, this tourist attraction is one of Tasmania’s greatest landmarks.Most...

The Colour of Sound: A Lighter Shade of Possibilities

text & photos: Sophie Ibbotson and Maxwell Lovell-Hoare MOST PEOPLE can agree that grass is green, the sky is blue and that ladybirds are red and black. What colour, though, is birdsong? Do the days of the week have colours? In what colour and shade do you see love, anxiety or betrayal? Most people look blank when asked such questions,...

Between Jerusalem and Haifa

The Old City of Jerusalem is but one kilometre square. Within it is a microcosm of a whole world – the city markets still echo the great monumental scale of the Roman Cardo and Decumanus. What was once a 20-metre-wide grand arcade street – running north-south from city gate to city gate, along which were strung the great civic...

Bali – Island of the Gods

text by Made Wijaya When I first swam ashore to South Bali in 1973, I had no idea that I would spend the next 40 years working on the fabled isle, completely absorbed by the local culture and architectural traditions, nor had I any idea that I would have to witness, slowly but surely, the gradual disappearance of almost every...

Wave of Destruction: Remembering the 2014 Indian Ocean Tsunami

by Kathy PohThe way the oceans took all that they had was how a predator might pounce on its unsuspecting prey. As waters along the Phuket coastline receded, exposing rock pools and floundering fish, tourists and locals alike flocked to marvel at this curious phenomenon. A natural disaster was probably the last thing on their minds, especially on the...

Reflections: Voyages Across the Seas

When we speak of world explorers, icons like Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan come easily to mind, leaving Zheng He a mere afterthought. Despite that, the voyages of this Chinese admiral are no less remarkable than his western counterparts’.Born Ma He in Yunnan, China, he was captured by a Ming Dynasty army in 1381 and brought to serve...

Prized Medicinal Plants and Animals

by Rachel Kwek Mankind has for thousands of years tapped into the plethora of plants and animals on Earth for medicine and food. We take a look at three of the most valuable natural medicines our planet offers. Saffron Crocus Crocus sativus The coveted spice, saffron, is the dried stigmas of this flower and about 75,000 saffron crocus flowers are needed to...

The Healing Power of Bathing

There’s a story in the Nihon-shoki, the 1,300-year-old annal of Japanese history and legend, that at DÕgo, in what is now the city of Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku, a white heron was spotted dipping its injured leg into hot water gushing out of the rocks.The bird was healed in the process, encouraging the local aristocracy and priesthood...

Rock of Ages

Text: Senani Ponnamperuma, by way of Selina TanThe history of Sigiriya (pronounced sih-GIH-ree-ah) is one of vision, grandeur, beauty and tragedy unparalleled in Sri Lankan history. It tells the story of King Kasyapa, who ruled the island of Sri Lanka between 477 and 495 AD. Tormented by guilt and fear after murdering his father, the king abandoned his capital...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Singapore

An multiracial island state with Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians, Singapore is a cosmopolitan city state with a dizzying array of food and culture from all over the world represented in its migrant population. Home to Marina Bay Sands, one of the most iconic buildings in Asia, here are the top five places that you must visit if you're...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Tbilisi

by Flora Toh and Justyna MielniklewiczUnravel the celestial elegance of the Tusheti region, where pristine white clouds spread out to meet exquisite snow-clad mountain terrain. Tbilisi is a place where East truly meets and mixes with West. But there is one rule about Georgia, if you want to fully experience its beauty, you have to open yourself up and...

Top 5 Things to Buy and Try in Singapore

1. CHILLI CRAB Talk about finger-lickin’ good! Described as “sensuous” and “sweet, yet savoury”, with a “fluffy texture”, Singapore’s world-famous chilli crab – ordered with a healthy round of fried mantou (buns), of course – is about as good as it gets, if seafood is your thing. Some of the best places to frequent are Long Beach Seafood Restaurant, No...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Taplejung

by Selina Tan Taplejung is a municipality in the Mechi Zone in the northeastern part of Nepal.  Derived from the words Taple and jung, Taple refers to the medieval Limbu king who was the ruler of the area while jung in the Limbu language means fort. Taplejung is thus literally translated as Fort of King Taple. One of the most...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Thiruvananthapuram

by ATHIRA KRISHNA The rich tapestry woven by its heritage and glorious cultural past renders Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), the capital of Kerala, elegant and often times stunning. Kerala boasts of a rich aesthetic acumen and sense of appreciation when it comes to art, irrespective of form, be it music, poetry, dance or sculpture. Here are the top 5 places to visit...

Philippine Eagle Coming to Singapore Wildlife Reserve for Breeding

by Leilani Chavez on 11 June 2019 The Philippines has loaned off two Philippine eagles (Pithecophaga jefferyi) to Singapore for a 10-year breeding agreement, part of wider efforts to protect the species against disease outbreaks and natural calamities. Prior to the agreement, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) managed the only sanctuary of its kind in the world for this critically endangered...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Shan State

One of the most exciting train rides in Asia begins from Mandalay to Lashio via the Gokteik Viaduct. The 15-hour train journey crosses from the Mandalay Region into Shan State, the largest state in Myanmar. Here is a taste of rural Myanmar, the countryside with its customs and traditions well-preserved. Asian Geographic and Shandy Yee Mon shows you the top 5...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Makati

Makati is located a mere 7km northeast of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, Philippines. Cut through a quiet neighbourhood tucked inside Barangay Poblacion, Makati’s oldest ward, and you will find an energetic microcosm of life in Metro Manila, wedged along the southern banks of the Pasig River between a notorious red light district and an affluent...

A Dying Tradition

by Hastings Forman THE CLANGING OF HAMMERS ON METAL, ECHOING THROUGH THE BACK ALLEYS OF BANGKOK, SOUNDS OUT A FADING TRADITION In the face of globalisation, numerous traditional arts are at risk of disappearing. In Thailand, one craft on the brink of extinction is the making of monks’ alms bowls – by hand. It is common to see Buddhist monks wandering...

Water from Heaven

Text: Prakhar Tripathi and Rachel Kwek. Photos: Prakhar Tripathi Considered holy by believers of different faiths, the mysterious Gurudongmar Lake is known to provide water for the locals from a part that does not freeze even under sub-zero temperatures.Located at an altitude of 5,136 metres, Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world. A part of this...

Belitung: A Private Paradise

How to Get There Turquoise, crystal clear waters, beautiful marine life, pristine white beaches, delicious cuisine and aromatic artisanal coffee, Belitung is a spectacular island which offers visitors the unspoilt beauty of Bali in a secluded location just one and half hours from Singapore! Part of the Banka-Belitung island province in Indonesia, Belitung is located on the east coast of...

New Zealand South Island: Nature’s Bounty

By Adrian Page. (Photo by Kevin Schafer/Corbis) Take an unforgettable journey through a captivating, picturesque mountain range, gradually giving way to numerous river systems and windswept beaches.Many glaciers and lakes carve their way through this spectacular mountain range with over 16 snow-capped peaks towering above 3,000 metres. Here, glaciers, mountains and forests combine to produce a unique environment: the Southern...

The 10 Nuturients For Healthy Green Plants

Are the plants in your garden or office dying even though they are getting water and sun regularly? Asian Geographic lists 10 of the 17 essential nutrients for healthy green plants.1. Boron Boron deficiencies show up first in younger leaves; they turn yellow. Boron deficiencies resemble calcium deficiencies. Symptoms include stunting, discoloration, death of growing tips, and floral abortion.2. Chlorine Believe...

At the End of the World

Text and Photos by MAGDA BISKUP THE PICKUP TRUCK was slowly climbing up the steep and unusually bumpy dirt road. I was squeezed between my backpack, a box of groceries the driver picked up on the way, and a local man. We had been on the road for almost an hour and the first glimpse of Yasur was getting closer...

The Voyages of Sinbad

Few literary works have gained the worldwide popularity achieved by the Thousand and One Nights. Many of the narratives this anthology contains gained their appeal independently of their home collection, which is especially true of the adventures of “Sinbad the Sailor” and his seven voyages. An old manuscript indicates that the appearance of this narrative on the Arab-Islamic culture...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Hubei

Luzhou means “reed-covered wetland”, while Hubei means “north of the lake”, referring to Dongting Lake. In fact, Hubei province is known by its nickname “the province of a thousand lakes”. The province is full of rivers and lakes and the rich water resources contribute a lot to its agricultural production. Asian Geographic looks at the top five places to visit in...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Brunei

by Colin Tan Brunei is home to a majority of Malay followed by Chinese, indigenous and other ethnicities. It has a small population of about 428,000 people compared to Singapore’s 5.39 million. However, Brunei is larger in geographic terms and the country has preserved about 70% of its rainforests. Islam is the main religion and yes, this is the country...

The Refuge: A Documentary on the Plight of Asian Elephants

Text and photos by Fabio Di Lima The largest living land animal in Asia, the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) has been listed on the IUCN Red list as an endangered species since 1986.  Over the last 60 to 75 years, the population of the elephant has decreased by half due to poaching, degradation and loss of their habitats and fragmentation...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Jaffa Port, Tel Aviv Yafo, Israel

Text by Rachel Elnav and Rony Levinson. Photo: Richard T. Nowitz/CorbisAncient things tend to evoke a sense of fascination in us. Take a look at Jaffa for example. It is said to be the most ancient of cities, and one of the most ancient ports in the world. (Some say Jaffa is second only to Latakia in Syria to...

Turning Over a New Leaf: How New Delhi Turned Green

by Shakila Rajendra At the start of 2016, India’s capital city implemented yet another breakthrough initiative in a push to lose the reputation of being Asia’s most polluted city. In addressing concerns that surround the issue of environmental pollution within India, the government has taken the stance that quick solutions are needed. As a result, over the last few years,...

What is the IUCN Red List?

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ is recognised as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species. Introduced in 1964 and with headquarters in Switzerland, its goal is to identify particular species at risk of extinction and to provide information and analyses on its status, trends and threats – all...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Ambon

by Abraham Soyem Located nearer to Darwin and West Papua than to other parts of Indonesia like Jakarta, the Aru Islands in eastern Maluku are home to very small wallabies similar to the types you'll see in Australia. Ambon is the capital of the entire province of Maluku. Here are top five places to visit in Ambon.1. LIANG BEACH Located on...

Above Sea Level

(Text by Serina Rahman. Photo © JACOB MAENTZ/CORBIS) Long before the sun peeks over the horizon, artisanal fishermen across Malaysia’s Johor Strait gather at their respective jetties and beaches. As they set their nets and lines, check their engines and look up for an indication of the weather, they hope that the day’s catch will be a good one.Some are...

UNESCO Heritage Sites of Asia

Spectacular landforms, splendid architecture, historical cities, natural wonders and spiritual centres: Asia has them all. Asian Geographic looks at the spectacular UNESCO Heritage Sites across the entire Asian continent.India Taj Mahal Location: Uttar Pradesh, Agra Date of Inscription: 1983 The Taj Mahal is located on the right bank of the Yamuna River, in a vast Mughal garden that encompasses nearly 17 hectares...

Casting Light

Born in the golden age of Muslim civilisation as Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Haitham – often called Alhazen by Western theorists – in 965 in Basra, Iraq, Ibn Al-Haytham was one of the earliest scientists to study the characteristics of light and the mechanics of vision. During his years in Egypt, he spent 10 years living under...

Street Protests Die Down But Hong Kong Might Lose International Hub Status

Street protests in Hong Kong finally died down on Thursday after the Hong Kong government postponed legislative sessions following widespread riots on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, in front of Hong Kong government offices in Queensway in Admiralty. However, in the wake of these street protests, the most worrying news reports filed by media agencies around the world have not...

Papua New Guinea: A Perpetual Wonder

Text: EMMANUEL NAROKOBI AND ANDREW MOUTU Image: Marc Dozier/Corbis  The great Melanesian leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou once stated, “The return to tradition is a myth… No people has ever achieved that. The search for identity, for a model: I believe it lies ahead of us… Our identity lies ahead of us.”Yet, in terms of architecture, we want to reach far back...

Top 5 Places to visit in Ulaanbaatar

Text by DELGERMAA NERGUI1. GORKHI-TERELJ NATIONAL PARKA short drive from Ulaanbaatar city centre, this national park is considered one of Mongolia’s most scenic areas. It is a popular picnic spot for locals in Ulaanbaatar, but one can also go there for horse-riding, trekking, rafting or even cross-country skiing during winter. A portion of the park has been developed for...

Red Alert: Treasures at Risk

Animals are among the many natural treasures to which Asia is home. We spotlight the Asian species listed as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List.Malayan Tiger Panthera tigris jacksoni Status: Critically Endangered Region: Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia) Population remaining: 250 – 340 Classified as Indochinese tigers until DNA testing in 2004 showed them to be a separate subspecies, the Malayan tiger’s Latin...

One Million Hong Kongers Protest in Streets Against Extradition Bill

A controversial extradition bill enabling China to extradite fugitives from Hong Kong prompted more than one million Hong Kongers to take to the streets on Sunday, June 9 2019, as protesters gathered at Victoria Park in central Hong Kong, then marched three kilometres to the Legislative Council at the Admiralty business district. The protest was organised by Civil Human...

Predicting Killer Waves

One countermeasure to mitigate disasters in tsunami-prone Japan is to monitor ocean waves far offshore. In a buoy equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System), antennas are fixed on top of a buoy that is floating at the sea surface, to continuously monitor changes in sea surface height. A simple filtering technique can then distinguish tsunamis from higher frequency wind...

Zheng He: Leader of the Ming Dynasty’s Treasure Voyages

The Ming Dynasty’s treasure voyages consisted of seven maritime expeditions made by Ming China’s treasure fleet between 1405 to 1433. The expedition was commanded by Admiral Zheng He(郑和), the Yongle emperor’s trusted court eunuch who served as the Grand Director (太监) of the Directorate of Palace Servants in the palace. The legend of these treasure voyages live on till...

5 Top Places to See Wildlife in Asia

From the rare Amur tigers of Siberia, to the gangly gibbons of Borneo, Asia has a wealth of wildlife. Some animals freely roam the wild, whereas others rely on human intervention to stop them from teetering into extinction. Sabrine Ong picks out the top 5 places to see wildlife in Asia. (Text by Sabrine Ong. Photo by Shutterstock)1. YALA...

Kampong Glam: Passage to Mecca

The area of Kampong Glam in Singapore is more than meets the eye. Beneath Haji Lane’s gentlemen’s barbers and Arab Street’s lively bar lies a centuries’ worth of history, one that is not only important to the Muslim community but for all who seek to understand the culture of an enclave.The Pilgrim Hub Tucked one lane away from Arab Street...

The Future of Language

Singapore English Today in Asia, there are examples of language evolution. Step forth Singapore’s street language, Singlish, a colloquial brand of English with words plucked primarily from English, Malay and Chinese, and tossed into a straight-to-the-point syntactical structure. Singlish is widely used by the locals and can be almost incomprehensible to Western English speakers – one can almost draw...

Money Through the Ages

Text by Shailendra Bhandare. Illustration by Richard CagomocMoney is understood to be dollars and cents today but that hasn't always been the case throughout history. Asian Geographic looks back at all the different valuable objects that have been used as currency through the centuries.GOLD & SILVER As far back as 3100 BC, we have evidence of a gold/silver value ratio in the...

Everyone’s a Palaeontologist at DinoQuest

With the advent of augmented reality, interactive game design and advanced animatronics, exhibitions are no longer passive affairs limited to only reading and watching. From 1 June to 31 August, visit Science Centre Singapore and you’ll be able to enjoy an interactive, experiential multimedia journey as an apprentice to famous palaeontologist, Emerita Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich and Thomas Rich while...

Democracy: States of Transition

Democracy is a label applied quite liberally by states, but it’s worth noting that while several countries proclaim themselves as democratic, this is not always the case in practice. Democracy is understood to be a political system that elects its governments through free and fair elections, and which requires the active participation of citizens in politics and civic life....

Empires: Rise and Fall

Throughout history, empires have risen to claim and control large swaths of territory, ruling peoples under a single sovereign authority. Inevitably, the baton of power is passed onto the next contender. Here, ASIAN Geographic maps the great power monopolies from East to West. Roman empire • Famous Ruler: Nero • 70 million people • 5,000,000 square kilometres • Political Peak: 117CE Ottoman Empire • Famous Ruler: Sultan Suleiman I •...

World’s Top Bridges Found in Asia

Bridges that are built with visions of grandeur are of Asian origin, but have become world recognised.Check out the rest of this article in Asian Geographic No.92 Issue 7/2012 here or download a digital copy here

What Makes the World Go Round?

text SHAILENDRA BHANDARE photos ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD AS everyone knows from the old English adage, the answer to the title of this tale is money. It comes to us in its three most ubiquitous forms – coins, banknotes and cards, or “plastic” – and we use it to make payments. That remains the most simplistic definition of “money”, but...

Two Thai Elephants Rescued and Walked to Samui Elephant Haven

May 23, 2019– Relief and joy were palpable as two rescued Asian elephants—one unwell and one due to give birth within four months – arrived safely on Sunday to Samui Elephant Haven, an ethical elephant sanctuary located in southern Thailand.Escorted by renowned elephant conservationist and Save Elephant Foundation Founder Lek Chailert and Samui Elephant Haven Founder Suriya Salangam, elephants Sri...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Cyprus

1. LARA BEACH Located in the Akamas Peninsula, Lara Beach is an extensive sandy beach cupped with limestone rocks, warm and calm seas. Access is via off-road 4x4 vehicles through desert-like scrubland. It is also one of the few remaining nesting sites for loggerhead and green turtles.2. PAPHOS ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE Paphos is an ancient city that has been inhabited...

The Legendary Ip Man: Grandmaster & Gentleman of Wing Chun

“It is difficult for a student to pick a good teacher, but it is more difficult for a teacher to pick a good student.” – IP MAN (1893 – 1972)  Ip Man, also known as Yip Man (葉問), was an Asian icon like no other. Born on 1 October 1893 in Foshan, Guangdong to a wealthy family, he is most well-known for being...

The Pyramid of Gunung Padang

Megalithic site in Indonesia could be the oldest in the world Gunung Padang Indonesia Göbekli Tepe TurkeyPyramids of Giza EgyptStonehenge EnglandBorobudur IndonesiaRapa Nui Easter IslandMacchu Picchu PeruGunung Padang is once again making headlines as the first pyramid in Southeast Asia and the oldest megalithic site in the world.Recent discoveries as deep as 90 feet found the hill-pyramid to contain hidden chambers, shafts and evidence of fragments of columnar basalt,...

Reflections: Go Figure – The Inventors of Algebra

Two Founding Fathers of Algebra That Changed the Mathematical World The origins of algebra might have started in ancient Egypt and Babylon, but the modern scientific world has these two foundational figures to thank for.{ Al-Khwarizmi } (c. 780-850 AD, Islamic Golden Age)Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi, known in short as Al-Khwarizmi was a Persian mathematician who lent his name to...

What’s That in the Photo?

AT FIRST GLANCE, all it looks like is a patch of light shining upon a staircase. However, upon closer inspection, one begins to discern minor details in the “light” – shadows, folds in linen, a human-like silhouette. A trick of the mind? Matrixing, perhaps? Not if you ask experts of the paranormal. The photograph you are looking at is...

Trees: An Antidote to Desertification

by Professor Alon Tal When the United Nations and the World Bank brought together the best minds in ecology from around the world to assess the state of the planet in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2001–2005), they reached a surprising conclusion. Desertification or the loss of productivity on 10 to 20 percent of the world’s dry lands affects more people...

Nature’s Lightning Show

Utterly enthralled by the enigmatic nature of dramatic thunderstorms, Jacci Ingham, a photographer from Darwin, sets off on a mission to record these beautiful and frightening spectacles in all their glory. My name is Jacci Ingham from Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. I am a local Nature photographer and storm chaser who has a passion for Northern Australia’s weather and...

Putting a Finger on Absent Prints

by Eli Sprecher and Viva Sarah Press (Photos by Eli Sprecher Et AL) Imagine getting to immigration and struggling to enter a country, not because you don’t have a passport or legal status, but because you have no fingerprints. An Israeli professor, Eli Sprecher from Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, has identified...

Asia’s Sweet Success: The History of Ice Cream in Asia

by Selina Tan The concept of a frozen dessert is one that goes back thousands of years. By pouring a mixture of salt and ice over containers of liquid syrup, the Chinese were creating a rudimentary form of ice cream as long ago as 2000 BC. The resulting frozen product was served as a dessert to China’s elite.Frozen syrup is created...

Spices: Roots and Routes

Text and images by Shreya Gopi Not only has Asia been the origin of several spices, but these treasure troves have also travelled all over the world, becoming an integral part of non-Asian cuisine. Food historian Colleen Taylor Sen has noted that from ancient times, spices from India and Southeast Asia have been valued in the West for their flavour...

The Birth of Divergence: The Discovery of the Tadpole-Laying Frog

Text and images by Djoko T. Iskandar During an expedition in 1989, a small, common-looking frog with a body length of about 40 milli-metres was secured at Bogani Nani Wartabone (formerly Dumoga Bone) National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia, and preserved. While the individual was ordinary in form, what attracted my attention was the presence of two colourless tailed tadpoles found with...

Invasion of the Bloodiest: Asia’s Bite-Size Biters

by Associate Professor Gregor Devine Mosquitos – those bloodsucking demons that have roamed the face of the Earth for more than 100 million years – have adapted and evolved to feed, multiply and venture into distant lands. But no other species does it better than the deadly Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), notoriously accomplished travellers that hail from the forests...

Education and Hope: Inheriting a Future

By Karin Ronnow Photos Erik Petersen Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan – As the teacher led his ninth-grade students through a Dari lesson one summer morning, everyone in the classroom heard and felt the rumbling. The students and teacher looked up, then out of the windows facing the Hindu Kush mountains behind DeGhulaman High School. Earthquake? Not exactly.Within seconds, a herd of...

Singapore’s Bloom: 5 Rare Flowers of an Island Nation

HANGUANA NEGLECTA • Small primary forest herb with black berries native to Singapore and extending to Johor, Peninsular Malaysia • Considered Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List) • Currently, only a single population is known in Singapore in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve 2. ZINGIBER SINGAPURENSE • Ginger species native/endemic to Singapore • Considered Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List) • In 2013, the ginger (3 populations) was found within patches of primary and mature secondary...

India’s Superlative Banyan Trees

Asia is a land of superlatives – the largest countries, the most populous nations, the highest mountains, and the lowest regions. It’s a much lesser-known fact, however, that the continent is also home to the most expansive trees on the planet – the sprawling, colossal, banyans of India. (Text by YD Bar-Ness)These trees are not just spectacularly large organisms;...

The Great Forests of Asia

Humanity’s increasing and often clashing needs for food, fuel, fibre and forests (4Fs) lie at the heart of the 21st-century challenge to balance local and global social, environmental and economic priorities. Now more than ever, Asia’s most valuable treasure, our forests, must be protected, preserved and why not, even enjoyed – its gifts are boundless if we know how...

Masters of The Universe: A Look at the World’s Highest Mountains

Countdown: The Eight-Thousanders No two numbers enthral avid mountaineers more than 8,000 and 14. Earth’s 14 mountains taller than 8,000 metres weed out the most ambitious from the merely enthusiastic, and the most tenacious from the easily contented – and conquering them is the ultimate pinnacle of lifetime achievement. Here's a chart listing all the highest peaks on Earth and...

London Marathon Goes Plastic Free with Seaweed Sachets

The organisers of the London Marathon made this year’s event on April 28 2019 a plastic-free one as marathon runners were given small edible sachets filled with a sports drink instead of water in a plastic bottle when they reached mile 23.In the past, the organisers of the marathon had to deal with over 40,000 runners quenching their thirsts...

Sinking Cities

As sea levels rise due to the warming of our planet, cities in Asia are some of the places at great risk of being submerged. Text by Rajeswari Vikiraman Rising sea levels have become synonymous with climate change. With the accelerated rise of global sea levels over the past 20 years – a direct consequence of warming climates largely driven...

Philippines: Puerto Galera

A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with over 40 dive sites, Puerto Galera offers incredibly diverse underwater experiences in the heart of the Coral Triangle. By Rachel KwekLocated on the northern tip of Mindoro, the seventh largest island in the Philippines, Puerto Galera is famous for macro diving but it also offers some breathtaking wreck dives.One must-visit site is Giant Clams,...

Indonesia: Raja Ampat

Take your pick from the hundreds of dive sites teeming with marine life in this fascinating region. By Rachel KwekWell-known for its pristine and colourful reefs teeming with diverse species of marine life, Raja Ampat is undeniably one of the most desirable diving destinations in the world. Situated in Indonesia’s West Papua province, the 40,000-square-kilometre diving paradise boasts over...

Tambalang – Caluya’s seaweed farms

Philippines Text and Photos Steve De Neef Inside a small family hut, everyone is chatting about the latest community gossip as their hands intuitively work away. Seaweed is being cut off a line by an elderly lady, and then tossed to her granddaughter, the younger girl re-cutting it to palm-size pieces and handing it to her brother, who ties it...

The Makings of an Icon – A showcase of Asian portraits

By Steve McCurry/Magnum Photos For the rest of this article (Asian Geographic No.122 Issue 6 /2016 ) and other stories, check out our past issues here or download a digital copy here

Enchanted Forests

Photos Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund A world of fascination. From Borneo to the Solomon Islands, Indonesia to the Philippines and Australia, we enter a magic world, where the sounds of the forests come to life in charming fashion, displaying an array of colours and a diversity of behaviours that have been an inspiration to authors, artists and dreamers since time...

Jiuzhaigou Valley

The travertine mirrors of Min Shan Text by YD Bar-Ness & Photos by Lunita S V Mendoza To encounter a calm, clear pool of water in the steep and jagged mountains is to find a rare moment of peace in a challenging world. The surface of a still mountain lake is one of the few straight lines visible in the natural...

Along the Karakoram Highway

By Choong Ching Teo Atop the world’s highest border crossing. One of the world’s most scenic mountain roads lies in the heart of the Asian continent, situated along the ancient Silk Road that connects Western China with Pakistan. The Karakoram Highway stretches over 1,300km at an elevation of 4,693 metres high, crossing scenic spots like the Khunjerab Pass, Kunlun Mountain Range,...

Little-known Facts About the Mobile Phone Industry

Text Rachel Kwek Beyond the latest models and increasingly impressive phone specifications, what more is there to the gadget that has captured the imagination of people around the world? AG reveals interesting nuggets about the mobile industry. Weirdest app ever created For sure this is not the only strange app in the market but it sure is one of the strangest. Debuting...

Changing the Face of Plastic Waste

Although the world’s plastic consumption problem seems herculean to tackle (try coming to terms with the mind-boggling amount of plastic we use and dump), these visionary companies believe that their sustainability solutions work and are set to change the face of plastic waste. Miniwiz Miniwiz was founded in 2005 by architect and structural engineers Arthur Huang and Jarvis Liu to address...

Asians with a Purpose (Part 2)

Spearheading Environmental Change These individuals with their penchant for making a difference, are pushing themselves to do their bit for the environment. Taiwan Arthur Huang Structural engineer & entrepreneur Convinced that there was much more that can be achieved with the heaps of waste that was being generated on a daily basis, structural engineer and architect, Arthur Huang came up with Miniwiz – a...

Asians with a Purpose (Part 1)

Spearheading Environmental Change These individuals with their penchant for making a difference, are pushing themselves to do their bit for the environment. India Jadav Payeng Farmer Also known as the “Forest Man of India”, Jadev Payeng created the man-made Molai forest on Majuli Island in Assam – the largest river island in the world. What makes this feat more extraordinary is that he did...

What is Coral Bleaching?

As the oceans warm, some fish species are migrating away from equatorial waters towards cooler areas closer to the poles. The optimum temperature range for coral is between 18 and 29 degrees Celsius. Corals can withstand short periods of warmer or cooler water. Corals in some areas have been shown to be much more tolerant of fluctuations in temperature and...

Protecting Asia’s Biodiversity

Text Terence Koh, Image Shutterstock The clamour for economic growth in Asia’s rapidly growing cities are threatening to drive animals across Asia into extinction.The plastic pollution that spills out from the waters in Asia is rooted in the consumption of plastic from rapidly growing cities that are directly  contributing to the growth of some of the fastest growing economies in...

Glimpses into Singapore’s Crazy, Rich Shores

Text and Photos Nathaniel Soon Murky waters, barren reefs and trash-strewn beaches – these are likely the first images that come to mind when one envisions Singapore’s marine environments. Truth is, we also often stop short of exploring for ourselves what truly lies beneath the surface surrounding this tiny, island state – habitats teeming with colourful and diverse marine flora...

Have Micro and Nanoplastics Become Part of Our Diet?

Text Rachel Kwek and Terence Koh It is a well-known fact that microplastics swimming in our oceans are a huge problem but have they already found their way into our stomachs? Ocean plastic pollution is a major and growing global problem. Scientists estimate that the Earth’s oceans may already contain more than 150 million metric tonnes of plastic, with eight million...

Coastal Clean-ups

Text and Photos Nathaniel Soon Volunteer groups in Singapore are cleaning up the island nation’s beaches and waterways and helping scientists assess the scale of local marine plastic pollution.We have all likely come across the common narrative of the boy who aspired to rid his beach of sea stars washed up and stranded at low tide. In the story, a...

Uncharted Territories

Text and Photos YD Bar-Ness A look at some of the unexplored kingdoms of medicine – and why they’ve remained unmapped. We owe much of our good health to Earth’s biological diversity. Given the wealth of species in the world, scientists are still finding new natural sources for medicines. There are many promising medicinal sources within the planet’s biodiversity – animals,...

The Heart of Vastness

Photos and Text Manuel Libres Librodo Jr. A photographic journey into the Mongolian steppe A portrait of a young herder wearing a handmade hat of fox fur. This traditional Mongolian fur hat protects the wearer from the bitter cold; temperatures in Mongolia can plummet to –20°C during the winter months A four-year-old girl in her family’s ger (traditional tent) on the remote...

Saving a Forest – The front-line battle against illegal logging

Text and Photos Tripp Burwell “No, no. You go first,” I exhaled, as I hauled myself up another knife-sharp limestone boulder. The Indian Forest Officer, carrying a loaded gun, heaved himself up and around me. He had slipped while clambering up the limestone face, barely catching himself. I ushered him ahead. Thwunk! Thwunk! Thwunk! The slow three-beat staccato continued to draw...

From the Edge – Fighting the flow of illegal wildlife

Text and Photos  Adrian Page The introduction of the Black Act meant that death by hanging was a real prospect for those convicted of poaching wildlife such as deer, fish and hare on the royal estates of England. The Black Act’s introduction in 1723 was partially due to an increasing amount of poaching taking place particularly in forests and on land...

On the Edge of Happiness

Text Woo Wan Lu Photos Quek Zong Ye Living the Vanuatu way. The wish to attain happiness is a basic human instinct. Some years ago, I found myself wondering where the happiest people live – and why they are happy. Thanks to the power of the Internet, I found the answer. A Google search revealed Vanuatu as the number one country...

Mustang Movement

Text & photos by Saransh Sehgal A Buddhist Kingdom on the Edge. Within the imposing Himalayan mountains lies the former kingdom of Mustang that now has to face the question: Do all roads lead to modernity? For centuries, the Kingdom of Mustang, nested beyond the 8,000-metre peaks of  Annapurna and Dhaulagiri in the Himalayas just inside Nepal’s border with Tibet, has been...

Spirits of the Yellow Leaves

Text Shu Nimonjiya | Photos Geza J. Holzinger When development and preservation collide. In the highlands of Northern Thailand, there was once a truly isolated tribe whose individuals were called phi (spirit/ghost). Staying hidden largely out of fear, they lived deep in the forest, completely isolated from the prying eyes of outsiders. When once an attempt was made to approach them,...

Conservation Drones

Text and Photos Sarah Keenihan A unique, low-cost approach to animal and forestry monitoring. Lian Pin Koh is one half of the foundation team behind Conservation Drones, a novel and inexpensive approach to monitoring animals and habitats. He is also Associate Professor and Chair of the Applied Ecology and Conservation group (AEC) in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and...

Cebu Celebrates – The Kaumahan Festival

Text & photos by Rudi Roels When I travel to Asia, I try to choose my travel dates so that they match up with the amazing festivals the region is so famous for. I have seen psychedelic, vibrant and vivid festivals in India, China, Indonesia and many other countries. But for me the Philippines is particularly special, with a myriad...

Lost & Found – The Oxus treasure

Text & Photos by Sophie Ibbotson & Max Lovell-Hoare   The thought of driving the road from Kabul, Afghanistan to Peshawar, Pakistan strikes fear into the heart of the most experienced traveller. However, before the militants, before the Taliban, and even before the Soviet invasion of 1979, this was still a hard road to travel. The steep cliffs either side of...

In Search of the next Green Revolution – Advantage or Disaster?

Farmers transplant bright green rice seedlings onto grids drawn on the rich, ankle-deep mud. A few fields away, a water buffalo lazes in its shallow mud pool, its job done, having ploughed these fields earlier to prepare the soil for planting. The farmers, both men and women, bend at the waist and move their arms in a rhythm that...

The Sky is Bad Today

Text & photos Rodney Dekker Recurring natural disasters threaten traditional ways of life. On the evening of November 15, 2007, a fierce Category 4 cyclone – with peak winds of 250km/h – approached the coast of Bangladesh from the Bay of Bengal. “I was roused from my sleep by the cyclone shaking my house,” says Abdul Kuddus Munshi, a small-scale rice farmer in...

Beras – Splendour of a continent

Text & Photos by Jon Ramlan Rice is life to the people of Asia; as Asians, we all know that. We also know that it is more than just food. It is central to the Asian way of life – its culture, spirituality and traditions, especially for those whose lives embody the rural/agricultural realm. My pictorial showcases the beauty of rice...

Rivers of Life – Franck Vogel’s Transboundary Rivers Project

By Franck Vogel China and India’s race to fulfil hydroelectric dreams has seen over 150 dams planned for River Brahmaputra and its tributaries – and this number is just from India alone. The 2,900 kilometre river, which runs through China, India and Bangladesh, is at the epicentre of flash floods, environmental degradation and loss of livelihoods, borne by rural villagers and...

Salt

Photos and Text by Mohammad Rakibul Hasan A coastal community in Bangladesh battles salinity intrusion on the front line of climate change Global warming has had more severe an impact on certain countries than others. Bangladesh is one such country suffering the disproportionate effects of global warming; it is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. The country boasts...

Dressed by Nature

Text by Rachel Kwek Synthetic fabrics are ubiquitous in modern clothes but many of Asia’s traditional garments were made of natural fabrics that do not poison our environment. Humans have survived many years with clothes made from natural materials derived from nature prior to the invention of synthetic fibres. Clothes in the past were made out of things people could harvest...

Waste is Energy

Text Atem S Ramsundersingh When life gives you rubbish, use it wisely. People in low-income countries, including those in Asia, have been conditioned to accept the presence of waste dumped in their surroundings, whether it’s on open land or in the streets. As long as it is not literally in one’s own backyard, waste dumps are tolerated. Many people, decision...

Sustainable Plastic Alternatives (Part 2)

Our excessive plastic consumption is hurting the environment. These alternatives and a little bit of effort from our part might just be the solutions we need!For the rest of this article (Asian Geographic No.134 Issue 1 /2019 ) and other stories, check out our past issues here or download a digital copy hereThe 25th anniversary of the largest and longest running dive...

Sustainable Plastic Alternatives (Part 1)

Our excessive plastic consumption is hurting the environment. These alternatives might just be the solutions we need!For the rest of this article (Asian Geographic No.134 Issue 1 /2019 ) and other stories, check out our past issues here or download a digital copy hereThe 25th anniversary of the largest and longest running dive show, Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) is set to occur...

Our Daily Plastic Footprint

With 7.7 billion people in the world, a drink and a trip to the grocer can have a terrifying after-effect For the rest of this article (Asian Geographic No.134 Issue 1 /2019 ) and other stories, check out our past issues here or download a digital copy hereThe 25th anniversary of the largest and longest running dive show, Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) is...

The Reality of Recycling Plastics

Text Rachel Kwek It is no secret that only 9% of our global plastic waste is recycled. The rest end up in incinerators, landfills and our oceans. Knowing the identity of the plastic you use is key in making sure that more of what is used is successfully recycled. While the RIC labelling system seeks to promote recycling by facilitating...

East or West: Which Is Greener? (Part 2)

The deterioration of the Earth’s environment is the most pressing problem facing the human race today. Scientists have stated that an increase in global temperatures by a mere four degrees could unleash catastrophic natural disasters worldwide. We take a look at what each side of the world is doing to preserve the environment for our future generations. For the rest...

East or West: Which Is Greener? (Part 1)

The deterioration of the Earth’s environment is the most pressing problem facing the human race today. Scientists have stated that an increase in global temperatures by a mere four degrees could unleash catastrophic natural disasters worldwide. We take a look at what each side of the world is doing to preserve the environment for our future generations. Note: China announced...

Spirit of Place: Recasting Nepal’s architecture

Text & photos Laura McManus Kathmandu, Nepal, is a city under construction. Flying in, the majestic views of snow-capped mountains and green terraced hills soon give way to an image of the valley where unfinished buildings and protruding steel rods dominate the landscape. Once on the ground, the disconnect between a haphazard and uncoordinated cityscape on the one hand and...

The Face of Islam: In Praise of an Inimitable Creation

Text & photos by Sophie Ibbotson & Max-Lovell-Hoare It is often said that Islam does not permit the portrayal of living things in art but, from the earliest days, there have been those who begged to differ. From the Umayyad caliphs to the miniaturists of Persia and India’s Mughal emperors, Muslim patrons and artists alike have experimented with human and...

Socotra: Yemen’s secret Garden of Eden

Text & photos by Alessandro Gandolfi/Parallelozero/TCS Like a modern-day Garden of Eden, the island of Socotra is a secret world filled with trees of knowledge and life – unique species with mythical names such as Dragon’s Blood or Desert Rose. This botanical gem south of Yemen was isolated for thousands of years in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and...

The Mesir Festival: A Paste of History

Text & photos Emre Kuheylan The Mesir Festival is one of the oldest festivals in Turkey. In March 2011, the festival will see its 471st year of celebration in Manisa. Each year, the people of Manisa and surrounding cities gather around the Sultan Mosque and try to catch mesir pastes thrown from the domes and minarets of the mosque by...

The Epitome of Contrasts: The final frontier of Asia

The Kamchatka Peninsula is one of the most remote regions from the population centres of Russia. For example, for people who live in Moscow it is cheaper to travel to Bali for two weeks than fly to Kamchatka. The time difference between Moscow and this peninsula is nine hours. Kamchatka is full of amazing contrasts: on the coast there is...

Life’s Duality: Simplicity in a complex world

Text & photos by Manuel Librodo Photography has been defined by some as painting with light. I would define it as painting with life. When I started to take on photography as a hobby, little did I suspect that it was more than just shooting faces and capturing sceneries. The deeper I got into photography, the more I realised that...

Bye-Bye Boat: Rituals on Savu

Text by Khong Swee Lin. Photos by Carl-Bernd Kaehlig A riot of mystical symbols and shapes dances across the weavings. Undulating lines, geometric motifs, animals, birds and blossoms loudly proclaim the unspoken within the confines of woven threads. To the melodic strains of a sasando, a musical instrument made from the leaf of a lontar palm, a party of villagers...

The Coral Triangle: Dramatic diversity

Text & Photos by Ethan Daniels Nowhere else on planet earth can such a wealth of marine diversity be found. From the tiniest of seahorses to the behemoth of fishes, the Coral Triangle houses an astronomical amount of sea life. Across the planet, life exists in patches and localised fragments where just the right conditions have favoured clusters of particularly well-adapted...

High Society: The Ultimate in Designer Tree Houses

Text & Photos Andy Round Once upon a time, tree houses were the stuff of Enid Blyton books and boyhood fantasy. A couple of planks nailed across a sturdy branch were enough to catapult childish imaginations into another dimension. The tree house now, however, is all grown up. And there is a very, very happy ending. Those random bits of awkwardly...

The Rare Tradition

Text & Photos by Adi Safri Coffee in Malaysia has its origins in the state of Perak, and more specifically, its capital Ipoh. When people speak of Ipoh, the first thing that comes to mind is coffee. The famous Ipoh “white” coffee has become so distinct, it was adopted as one of the official drinks in the Malaysia Pavilion at...

Suspended in Time: A Life of Devotion

Text & Photos  by Angelia Tan It’s an old island here in Koh Samui. Situated on the east coast of Thailand, the history told takes you back several hundreds of years. Maps of the island date as far back as the 17th century, but there is very little documented history as most of the knowledge was passed down through the...

Lands Before Time: Origin myths in Asia

Text & Photos by Sophie Ibbotson and Max Lovell-Hoare Before there was writing, there were stories, and those stories passed by word of mouth. Travellers tales, moral fables, the exploits of the gods and of man: each storyteller added his own details, skipping those he had forgotten or decided not to use, and so the stories morphed in different ways...

5000 Years of Pepper

Text & Photos by Rachel Einav  The pepper belongs to the Solanaceae family, from which we have also acquired the tomato, the potato and the eggplant. The variety of peppers is still a point of contention amongst taxonomists, but none of them argues the delicious taste – neither the tempestuous nor the placid. Most researchers associate the various strains to...

In the Footsteps of the Buddha

Text & Photos by Sophie Ibbotson & Max Lovell-Hoare The Buddha must have done an awful lot of walking: his footsteps trail from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, Thailand and onwards to Japan. Legend has it that rocks on which the enlightened Buddha stood became imprinted forever with his footprint, and centuries of his followers have subsequently carved, cast and painted...

Sunshine and the Stick Men: Crafted from Heat

Text & Photos by Flash Parker In college, I had one of those grills endorsed by out-of-work and overweight celebrity boxers. I imagine eating Sri Lankan food for the first time is equivalent to trying to Panini-press my tongue between the hot parts of that grill: no cuisine on Earth matches Sri Lankan for sheer punishing hotness. I’ve just tried...

The Wheel of the Year: Celebrating the Seasons

(text: Iris Toister and Reverand Alon Kobets) NATURE religions, pre-dating Christianity, visualised the year as a wheel with eight spokes. Each spoke is a major festival or a Sabbat. Solstices, Equinoxes, and midpoints between – also known as the Cross Quarters – have been celebrated by a variety of Nature peoples, also called Pagans, around the world and across the...

Sponges, Fishes and Dragons: New Creatures from the Old World Seas

(Text by Matt Bile. Illustrations by Bill Rebsamen) LIFE exists on Earth because of the sea. Life awoke in the sea, reached its greatest diversity in the sea, and conquered the land by crawling from the sea. Since the first primitive humans beheld the oceans, we have wondered at their secrets and the life hidden within their 1.3 billion cubic...

The Boatbuilders of Tanah Beru: Keeping Seafaring Traditions Alive

(Text by Khong Swee Lin. Photos by Carl-Bernd Kaelig) WORKING round the clock, stevedores trot up and down narrow gangplanks propped between port and deck, loading the holds of an armada of Buginese schooners commonly known as pinisi thronging the old harbour of Sunda Kelapa on Jakarta’s north coast. With double masts thrusting skywards, their sleek prows raised jauntily, they...

Everest is Dehydrating: The Great Himalayan Rapid-Fire Dessication

(Text by Wang Guan Li. Photos by John Novis/Greenpeace) Glaciers in the Himalayas used to provide the water source for one-sixth of humanity. Dubbed the “Third Pole”, for having the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar caps, the Himalayas boast 11 peaks over 8,000 metres and around 100 over 7,000 metres. Scientists predict that 80 percent of Himalayan glaciers...

Philippines Biodiversity: A Mountain to Climb

The natural wealth of the Philippines has spilt across the 7,107 islands of the archipelago. However, in a twist of fate, much of the diversity is now restricted to the areas of its natural origins – the slopes of the volcanic mountains. A recent expedition explored one such area in northern Negros, revealing an “old world” forest, concealing a...

Homeless, not Shameless

How Japan’s broken economic state destroyed the middle-class haven (Text by Kara Kandarakis and photos by Michael Kandarakis) It was January 10, 2001 at exactly 7pm. The outdoor thermometer on a high-rise building read -2DegC – an unusually frigid winter month for January in Tokyo that year. Matsui watched the snow gently float from the night sky. This may have...

Plastic Pollution: The Consumption Conundrum

Cleaning up global plastic pollution is a major problem but the real headache is reducing the world’s appetite for this multifaceted material (Text by Terence Koh) Convenience. It is the most vital ingredient of our fast-paced, modern lifestyle and the single, biggest impediment to solving the most serious environmental problem faced by humans today. With our rapacious appetite for economic...

Energy is Everything: Sustained By the Sunshine

Energy is everything in the Kingdom of Pythons. When the heat goes up, the lights go out; sometimes this is the government imposing a radical, iron-fisted will and sometimes this is supply and demand economics – where there is more demand than energy, something has to give. Burma, rechristened the Union of Myanmar by the military junta in 1989,...

First People of the Arctic

Thousands of years have shaped the lives of the original peoples of the Arctic, true explorers and survivors of one of the world’s most desolate environments. To this day, the natives of the Arctic, including one of the oldest tribes, the Chukchi, continue to thrive. (Text by Bogdana Vashchenko. Photo by Dmitriy Nikonov) It is said that the raven created the...

Riding the Golden Eagle: From Russia with Love

(Text by Simon Richmond. Photos courtesy of GW Travel) The blue and gold painted Golden Eagle is waiting on platform 8 of Moscow’s Kazan station, its destination listed as Ulaanbaatar, even though the final stop is Vladivostok. There’s no time to unpack my luggage, which has already been delivered to my sleeping cabin, as immediately after the punctual 1.30pm departure,...

Salt, Sand And Slavery: On the Trail of Mauritania’s Ancient Caravan Routes

(text and photos by Aldo Pavan) THE sands of Oualata. This is where we begin, eyes closed against the dazzling light of the sun that dominates these yellow expanses. Perhaps it’s better not to see the decline of this great lady of the desert with her walls like blank backdrops where dark shadows are cast from the past: silhouettes of women,...

Reflections: Synchronous Sliding

ASIA The Indian classical musical tradition has its roots in the Vedas, scriptures of the Hindu tradition thousands of years old that can be classified into two styles: Hindustani in the North and Carnatic in the South. The focus is on melody rather than harmony, and on adornments called gamakas that involve oscillations between notes. Some Hindustani and Carnatic instruments...

A Higher Summit: Scaling Gamlang Razi in Myanmar

(Text by Andy Tyson. Photos by Mark Fisher) Follow a team of seven on a quest to find the highest mountain peak of Southeast Asia – a title hitherto given to Myanmar’s Hkakabo Razi. A new contender for the prestigious position rises in the form of Gamlang Razi. No water? Really? Daily downpours, dense muddy jungle, endless river crossings, huge snow...

Plastic Pollution: Greenest Countries in Asia

By Terence Koh Plastic pollution is one of the most challenging environmental problems afflicting the world today. With most of the fastest growing economies located in Asia, everyone is looking east to see what the region is doing to reduce plastic consumption and Asia’s plastic footprint. In conjunction with our February issue on plastic pollution, Asian Geographic takes a look...

Spirit Warrior: The Religious Source of Martial Arts

Over the centuries, martial arts have travelled far beyond their places of origin and become some of the greatest sports ever devised. In contemporary culture, names like Jackie Chan and Jet Li have broken language barriers, transcended cultural differences and made martial arts the go-to commercial success, embraced by billions and eventually influencing many Hollywood movies. For many, kung...

Sea Cemetery: The Visible Face of an Environmental Disaster

(Text and photos: Boaz Rottem) EARLY MORNING. A clear autumn day. The arid climate is palpable. Seated in the back of a brand new Uzbek-made Korean car, we are driving along the straight road that leads to the town of Moynaq, smack in the middle of the now-parched seabed of the Aral Sea. This deserted town in Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic...

Nectar of the Gods: The Art of Georgian winemaking

(text & photos: SOPHIE IBBOTSON & MAX LOVELL-HOARE) WHEN IT COMES TO WINEMAKING, the French are the new kids on the block and New World wines are scarcely more than a glint in the milkman’s eye. We know that the Greeks and Romans, both the mortals and their gods, enjoyed an amphora of wine or two; indeed, the Greek’s earliest...

Reaching For The Stars: Astronomer Kings

WHAT do you give the man who has everything? How about the heavens? Not content with their earthly domains, kings have often looked to the stars for confirmation of their divine right to rule, and indications of what the future might bring. Their patronage and personal interest in astronomy has driven forward our understanding not only of our own Solar System but also of the planets beyond.

The Art of Making Cigars: A Smokin’ Hot Skill

CENTURIES after Columbus’ crews brought it out of the Caribbean to Europe, the habit of smoking cigars has evolved into a global culture. Colonialism took it along to regions afar. In Indonesia, for instance, it was the Dutch who brought it in, and since then, a number of cigar factories have been established since the early 20th century.

The Guise of Gems

WHY WOULD SOMEONE choose to make a living photo-graphing something so small, complicated and delicate that’s difficult to even hold in focus? In a word, passion.Passion is a word we throw around often in describing feelings about someone or something. But what does it mean to have a passion about something we do for a living? It is not...

A Particular Primate: Saving the Rare and Ancient Slender Loris

(Text by Dr Craig Turner) IF you want to see primates in Asia, then Sri Lanka may not immediately come to mind. But if it’s something different you’re after – a more ancient form not merely monkeys or apes – then India’s diminutive neighbour should be your destination of choice. Researchers are currently unravelling the secret life of a primitive...

Speaking of Ghosts

We have a vocabulary and image of ghosts and ghostliness that stems from a European concept that has travelled around the world and adopted new global, cultural meanings. The Old Germanic word gast has become our modern word “ghost”, but its original meaning was a berserk fury. Ghosts of the European vocabulary are, therefore, inherently malevolent, as opposed to...

5,000 Years of Pepper

THE pepper belongs to the Solanaceae family, from which we have also acquired the tomato, the potato and the eggplant. The variety of peppers is still a point of contention amongst taxonomists, but none of them argues the delicious taste – neither the tempestuous nor the placid.Most researchers associate the various strains to one species – Capsicum annuum. However,...

Tribal Wedding Customs Across Asia

Text by Simon Koh, Joan Koh, Selina Tan    Illustration by Richard Cagomoc Mention weddings and what comes to mind is the father of the bride walking his daughter down the aisle with the groom and bride eventually being married by a priest. But what are weddings and marriage rites like for different traditional tribes all across Asia? Is it...

Integrating Architecture with Landscape

Captions: Left: Ken TTDI, Malaysia: An exemplary low energy commercial development that uses the Green Plot Ratio to evaluate the amount of the existing greenery on the site, which is then replenished on the façades in order to reduce ambient temperatures and mitigate solar heat gain. Middle: The Boutiq, Singapore: An urban residential scheme that celebrates recreational sky gardens providing social spaces...

Rajas of the Road

AS BODIES JOLT AND NERVES JANGLE through rush-hour traffic, commuters may see an exploding volcano, a famous family of cartoon ducks traipsing through a rice field, or Britney Spears gazing glassily at equally glazed passengers. For those not so inclined to the secular, a winged steed, or bouraq, ridden by Prophet Mohammed flits by occasionally.Come face to face with...

The Scourge of the Steppe

WITH an exasperated sigh I set down my notebook on the edge of the table and look out over the Turkish countryside. I have failed to shed a drop of the tiger’s blood, and now the scent has left the air. The tiger is not descended from a lost Turkic civilisation – that much I am sure of. I...

An Oriental Fantasy

Back from the beach and behind the terraces of Georgian town houses in the bustling, if windswept, British seaside town of Brighton, is a little piece of India. And China. And a few other places we haven’t quite been able to identify, but certainly owe more to Asia than the south of England. Above the shops and mature trees...

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

By now, most of us are aware that there is a large patch of plastic floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. What many of us may not know is that it's not made up of plastic bags and empty bottles. It's made up of billions of tiny pieces of plastic and it's basically invisible unless you're floating...

E-Wasteland: An Aesthetic Perspective on a Deadly Issue

TWENTY TO 50 MILLION TONNES* of e-waste is generated annually worldwide. In Europe and the US, we throw away an old computer, on average, every two years. In the US, for every new machine bought, an old one is thrown away.Each year, thousands of tonnes of old computers, mobile phones, batteries, cables, old cameras and other e-waste are dumped...

Photographer Spotlight: Md Rafayat Haque Khan

Photojournalism Category February 2020 Winner, captioned “Muslim travel on overcrowded trains after attending the final prayer of Biswa Ijtema at Tongi near Dhaka, considered the world's second largest Muslims congregation after the Hajj of Holy Mecca”, by Md Rafayat Haque Khan, in Tongi, Bangladesh As ASIAN Geographic’s annual Images of Asia (IOA) 2020 Photo/Videography Competition looms closer, submissions to our...

Photographer Spotlight: Ho Yin Chan, Scofield

Black & White Category February 2020 Winner, taken by Ho Yin Chan, Scofield, at Causeway Bay, Hong Kong As ASIAN Geographic’s annual Images of Asia (IOA) 2020 Photo/Videography Competition looms closer, submissions to our IOA Monthly competition – the precursor to our annual event – are pouring in. We have received stunning photos across the categories, and are now featuring our...

Photographer Spotlight: Chong Keng Loy

Street/People Category Februrary 2020 Winner, titled “Sadhubaba, a holy person of Varanasi who has renounced his worldly life”, by Chong Keng Loy, in Varanasi, India As ASIAN Geographic’s annual Images of Asia (IOA) 2020 Photo/Videography Competition looms closer, submissions to our IOA Monthly competition – the precursor to our annual event – are pouring in. We have received stunning photos...

Coronavirus Continues Killing Innocents

2020 began with a shocking start for everyone as the infectious CoronaVirus swallowed China and the rest of the word. Originally stemming from animal markets in Wuhan (China), the virus is said to have mutated and was passed onto humans from the animals. The virus has crossed Chinese borders and is now spreading to several other regions. Global death tolls have reached 132, and the number of total confirmed infections has risen to 6,000. 

China’s Attempt at Mitigating Plastic Waste

Text: Sitaraah Joshi Imagine looking over an endless sea of overcrowded, cluttered waste. Such is the plight of the heaps of rubbish that have been accumulated and recklessly dumped in the landfills of China. The incessant uses of plastics by China’s 1.4 billion citizens in the forms of bags, cutlery, and containers have plagued the environment.        ...

Eight Astonishing Asians that Hold Guinness World Records

People all around the world have been fascinated by Guinness World Records. And why not? Each record category proves more interesting than the last. Here are some Asians who hold unique, extraordinary records around the globe. 8. The Longest Beard in the World The longest beard measures 2.495 metres, and belongs to Sarwan Singh, Canada. “Without my beard, I’m not me. I’m...

Luminox X Bear Grylls

The man is fighting his way through dark jungle, the sun obscured by the trees. The going is tough, but he hacks his way through thanks to a machete and his sheer grit and determination. Hot and humid, the jungle is a tough environment, with many lurking dangers. He fights his way through to a clearing to see the...

Photographer Spotlight: Zon Hisham

Street/People Category January 2020 Winner, titled “Zen It Out”, by Zon Hisham Bin Zainal Abidin, in Sabah, Malaysia As ASIAN Geographic’s annual Images of Asia (IOA) 2020 Photo/Videography Competition looms closer, submissions to our IOA Monthly competition – the precursor to our annual event – are pouring in. We have received stunning photos across the categories, and are now featuring...

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