The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

Archive for the 'By Subject' Category

WoWasis book review: ‘Nothing to Envy’: Tough lives in North Korea

The “hermit country” of North Korea has spawned a number of books on the government and the prison system. Kang Chol-hwan’s The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag is a formidable example of prison literature, but leaves out an important element: just what is daily life like for ordinary North Koreans? […]

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WoWasis book back in time: ‘Kon-Tiki’ by Thor Heyerdahl

Veteran WoWasis readers are aware of our penchant for reviewing books on Asia and the Pacific, especially older classics. Why? For one thing, younger readers may have missed them. And Boomers and Gen Xers might not have read them either, although they’ve certainly heard of them. Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft is […]

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WoWasis book back in time: ‘South Pacific’ by James Michener

There are so many books out there, and seemingly never enough time to get to them all, we here at WoWasis tell ourselves. Decades into your life, you muse, you realize you never got around to some of the classics. We don’t know how many people are reading James Michener’s classic Tales of the South […]

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WoWasis Banned Book review: Thailand, ‘A Kingdom in Crisis’ by Andrew MacGregor Marshall

The most talked-about topic in Thailand is also the least talked-about. The controversy on succession plans revolving around the eventual death of King Rama IX, Bhumibol Adulyadej is something everyone discusses, but only in private. To do so in public invites a prison sentence under Thailand’s draconian lèse-majesté laws. As Andrew MacGregor Marshall points out […]

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WoWasis Travel fashion review: 2 great-looking cool dresses for the tropics

Here at WoWasis, we don’t think girls have to look grungy to beat the heat in the tropics. And you shouldn’t have to have a dry cleaner nearby, either (out in the boonies, you may only have a sink). You should be able to look great day or night, too. Tiana B has a great […]

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WoWasis book review: Paul Gauguin in Tahiti: Noa Noa

Noa Noa, painter Paul Gauguin’s short book on his time in Tahiti, often gets ignored today. Gauguin, after all, has been chastised for “cutting and running,” leaving a family behind there. Gauguin, who died in 1903, isn’t alive to rebut anything, of course. But he does leave the reader with his sometimes whimsical and at […]

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Bachelor in Bangkok: Khun Lee on what to look for in a Bangkok woman

From the ever-controversial WoWasis columnist Khun Lee: I was out having fun on the town with a male Thai friend the other night, and I casually asked him what personality characteristics a Thai man looks for when sizing up a Thai woman’s attractiveness as a potential partner. I was really just wondering if in general […]

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WoWasis banned book review: ‘Saigon Gold’ by Hugh Scott

As a foreign writer, what do you have to do to get your novel banned in Vietnam? You mention things that ruffle the feathers of government censors, then refuse to re-write parts of your book. Hugh Scott, with his book Saigon Gold (2008, ISBN-13: 978-0979953484), which won the 2010 Gold Medal award for fiction from […]

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WoWasis book review: About Selkirk, the real Robinson Crusoe

Crusoe, of course, was a fictional character created by Daniel Defoe, who published his book in 1719. But his story was partly inspired by the true story of a man who was marooned on an uninhabited island. Diana Souhami’s Selkirk’s Island: The True and Strange Adventures of the Real Robinson Crusoe (2001, ISBN 0-15-100526-5) tells […]

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WoWasis book review: ‘Scams & Swindlers’: investment disasters to be avoided

Bruce Brown’s classic Scams and Swindlers: Investment Disasters and How To Avoid Them (1998, ISBN 1-86339-201-7) flies a bit under the radar these days, but it shouldn’t, particularly for those following the increasingly strange Cambodian death saga of Canadian journalist Dave Walker. Before we get to that, here’s why the book is compelling. Author Brown […]

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