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 [...]

What a White House reporter’s demotion tells us about the Trump years

(Originally published here by the South China Morning Post on January 18, 2021.) Picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, the catch-all charge often invoked by the authorities in Beijing to stifle dissent, was used against citizen journalist Zhang Zhan last month, sending her to prison for four years for her reporting on the coronavirus pandemic. The move prompted [...]

Pompeo and the “Hong Kong 12”

(Originally published here on January 5, 2021 in the South China Morning Post.) The sparkling wine was just starting to chill on New Year’s Eve when we received 2020’s final jab against China by the Trump administration. With extreme diplomatic eloquence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assailed Chinese authorities for the way they doled out justice to the “Hong [...]

For Ted Cruz, Hong Kong democracy protesters have only ever been a stage prop

(Originally published here on December 21, 2020 by the South China Morning Post.) US Senator Ted Cruz’s heart has bled so profusely for those suffering under the wrath of a Hong Kong government unable and unwilling to address demands for democratic reform that most of us eventually had to tune out the drama like it [...]

Watching the high wire act that threatens to bring down the tent we’re all in

(Originally published here on December 8, 2020 in the South China Morning Post.) As the United States endures death on the scale of a 9/11 attack every two to three days, President Donald Trump is taking heavy flak for focusing on what amounts to his 2024 presidential election campaign. Who can blame him? Why dwell on something [...]