Asia | Dominik Mayer – Products, Asia, Productivity

The World C. 1914  

In commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War, the Martin-Gropius-Bau is presenting an exhibition entitled The World c. 1914. Colour Photography Before the Great War, which features nearly forgotten colour photographs and films commissioned by the French banker Albert Kahn (1860-1940) before the First World War.

I would like to see this exhibition. It keeps fascinating me how little has changed in the last one hundred years. We wear other clothes, have more gadgets but the basic things of everyday life are still the same. You see pictures of people just like you and me. And they’ve been gone for decades. Color photography gets us a bit closer to this bygone world.

See more pictures at Spiegel Online.


Volcanic eruptions created a new island near Nishino-shima. Both islands joined late last year. They are now firmly linked.

A New Font  

Google and Adobe teamed up to create an open source font for Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK).

Google shares some more information on its blog. Check out how different the same character can look in the different countries.

Inside the Cult of Kim  

Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder shows the life in North Korea.

Still the Water  

Peter Bradshaw:

Kyoko (Jun Yoshinaga) is a confident, intelligent 16-year-old girl who is falling in love with the diffident, moody boy next door: Kaito (Nijiro Murakami). Kaito’s parents are divorced: his dad, a tattooist, lives in Tokyo and his mum works in a restaurant. Kyoko is dealing with something even more painful: her mother, a delicate and beautiful woman, is dying, perhaps of cancer, although the film is a little too otherworldly to acknowledge the exact illness, the exact medical care or the ugly, un-Zen physical toll it can take.

Set against this fraught situation is a shocking event: a dead body is washed up on the beach. Despite the film’s title, the water is far from still – there are tropical storms and the waves and currents are dangerous. The dead man turns out to have a connection with Kaito’s mother, and realising this forces him to re-evaluate his relationship with his parents and with Kyoko herself who cannot understand why he is so shy and reluctant to make love to her.

A beautiful movie about love, life and death.

Malaysian, Not Korean

Joyce Chu from Malaysia sings about not being Korean.

Asian Moon


Could be the light of the Asian moon
Could be a song an old Asian tune
Lovely dark haired ladies and the words they say
A late night sail on a moonlit bay
Could be the stars in the Asian sky
That got me flying and feelin’ so high
I never thought the hurt would heal so soon
Must be the light of the Asian moon

The Interlace  

Houses stacked like building blocks.

I came across “The Interlace” on my way to the Gillman Barracks and it was one of the most fascinating buildings I’ve seen.

Now architect Ole Scheeren won the Urban Habitat Award. Well deserved.

Pink Towers  

Suzanne LaBarre:

In Wuhan, the largest city in central China, developers are planning not one but two skyscrapers, both of which will edge out their Middle Eastern rival. Plus they’re on an island. And powered by renewable energy. And pink.

Four Tank Men  

Patrick Witty:

There was not just one “tank man” photo. Four photographers captured the encounter that day from the Beijing Hotel, overlooking Changan Avenue (the Avenue of Eternal Peace), their lives forever linked by a single moment in time. They shared their recollections with The Times through e-mail.

Beauty Around the World  

Esther Honig sent her picture to artists from more than 25 countries, asking them to “make me beautiful”:

Below is a selection from the resulting images thus far. They are intriguing and insightful in their own right; each one is a reflection of both the personal and cultural concepts of beauty that pertain to their creator.

The Other Side of Singapore  

Lance Lattig, south-east Asia researcher at Amnesty International:

When it comes to drug trafficking, Singapore operates an institutionalised system of unfair trials with automatic presumption of guilt and a mandatory death penalty. Singapore doesn’t recognise the universal right to free speech. Instead, the government tightens or loosens restrictions on free speech as it pleases.

“Once a Jolly Hangman” is a great read.

Selfie Stick  

Simply slot your device into the end of it and you’ll get an extra 1ft+ of reach, kind of like a pointer, only used for maximising Facebook Likes rather than learning things!

Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam. In the past three weeks I’ve seen this thing everywhere I went.


The country has a partly deserved reputation for sterile predictability that has earned it descriptions like William Gibson’s “Disneyland with the death penalty” or the “world’s only shopping mall with a seat in the United Nations”. Nevertheless, the Switzerland of Asia is for many a welcome respite from the poverty and dirt of much of the Asian mainland. If you scratch below the squeaky clean surface and get away from the tourist trail you’ll soon find more than meets the eye.

I’ve been to several Asian countries and Singapore is my new favorite. The city is clean but not as sterile as I’ve expected. Transportation is great. People speak English which makes things much easier.

It was also the first place where I had the feeling that it doesn’t make a difference whether you’re Asian or Caucasian. People would treat you the same way as they treat everyone else.

In Bali I felt like a walking wallet. Everyone tried to sell me something. In China people would still look at the “老外”, the foreigner. Some out of curiosity but some with undeserved respect.

In Singapore I don’t feel any special. I like that a lot.

Indonesian Names  

Indonesians do not generally use the Western naming practice of a given first name and a family last name. The majority of Indonesians do not have family names as westerners would understand them, but such names as are given are geographically and culturally specific.

A friend of mine is named after Axl Rose and Metallica.