Grassley’s leap, Bannon’s irony, and why traditional Republicans are like BLM at the NRA

(Originally published here on October 12, 2021 in the South China Morning Post.) The dominoes are falling fast in the American Republican Party. The latest one to tumble under former US president Donald Trump’s influence is Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, the formerly traditional conservative who now appears to have joined the most dangerous of the [...]

Beijing after Meng’s release:“No power can stop China’s advancing steps”

(Originally published here on September 28, 2021 in the South China Morning Post.) Immediately after news broke that Meng Wanzhou would fly free last week, many analysts assumed, as did I, that tension would escalate between Ottawa and Beijing as Chinese officials figured out when the tribunals adjudicating on the cases of Michael Spavor and Micheal Kovrig would end, [...]

Maybe we won’t need another doc about Asians in American cinema

(Originally published here on September 14 in the South China Morning Post.) In Arthur Dong’s documentary Hollywood Chinese, we see Taiwan-born American director Justin Lin at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, where his largely self-financed feature film Better Luck Tomorrow was screened. The film depicts Asian-American high school students rebelling against the marginalisation they had to endure because [...]

Defiance from the new Covid-19 epicenter

(Originally published here on August 3, 2021 in the South China Morning Post.) News from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week that people vaccinated for Covid-19 can spread the illness presented America’s hardcore anti-vaccination crowd with another dilemma. The finding should silence the millions who have taken potshots at those including CDC [...]

We blinked and Juneteenth become a holiday

(Originally published here on June 22, 2021 in the South China Morning Post.) It only took 155 years for the United States to make the full emancipation of enslaved African-Americans a federal holiday. But let’s put cynicism aside and consider the fact that that the US government made the change only within about a year of [...]

The Philly accent: simultaneously grating and healing

(Originally published here on June 8, 2021 in the South China Morning Post.) I can’t do a Philly accent any more because of the years I spent in Asia.  It made a big difference to use the standard North American broadcast accent when conversing with people for whom English is not their mother tongue. If [...]

Long March rocket’s re-entry, a warning from the heavens

(Originally published here on May 10 in South China Morning Post.) Throughout the ages, astronomical phenomena have often been seen by humans as an omen. Chinese imperial rulers, in particular, developed the world’s most sophisticated and detailed observations of the night sky as a fundamental tool of governance. Disturbances and aberrant phenomena in the firmament [...]

More injustice melts into the mantle

(Originally published here in South China Morning Post on April 27, 2021.) How close was America to a replay of the chaos that ripped through its cities a year ago in response to George Floyd’s death?  With many riled up by similar incidents that occurred in the days leading up to and throughout the trial, including [...]

China’s high-speed trains will not eat America’s lunch

(Originally published here by the South China Morning Post on February 15, 2021) US President Joe Biden was doing so well on the China front.  He reassured allies that Washington is back on their team. He laid down all of the markers clearly for President Xi Jinping (Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Taiwan). He made clear that while cooperation with Beijing is necessary, [...]

The mundane reality of Marjorie Taylor Greene

(Originally published here by the South China Morning Post on February 1, 2021.) Less than two weeks into US President Joe Biden’s administration, he is leading a country closing in on half a million Covid-19 deaths, burdened by a chaotic vaccine roll-out that has left federal officials scrambling to locate millions of doses and struggling to shore up [...]