Crystal Tai

Crystal covers business trends and cultural criticism, with a special focus on Northeast Asia, for the Asia desk. Before joining the SCMP, she contributed to Quartz, i-D Magazine, Monocle, Wallpaper, Lonely Planet and other publications. Her broadcast commentary has been featured on BBC Radio, CGTN and other media.
Crystal Tai
Crystal covers business trends and cultural criticism, with a special focus on Northeast Asia, for the Asia desk. Before joining the SCMP, she contributed to Quartz, i-D Magazine, Monocle, Wallpaper, Lonely Planet and other publications. Her broadcast commentary has been featured on BBC Radio, CGTN and other media.

Latest from Crystal Tai

Latest K-pop sex scandal allegations expose the realities of women’s status in patriarchal South Korea

Fresh allegations involving the night club at the centre of the sex scandal continue to lay bare the faced by women in Korean society.

10 minutes ago

Fresh allegations involving the night club at the centre of the sex scandal continue to lay bare the faced by women in Korean society.

Latest K-pop sex scandal allegations expose the realities of women’s status in patriarchal South Korea
Being a rugged outdoorsy Chinese-Canadian. What’s that all ‘aboot’?

Chinese immigrants may not always have been welcome in Canada, but they are now its largest minority and have as much claim on ‘Canadianness’ as anyone else.

22 Apr 2019 - 7:40AM

Chinese immigrants may not always have been welcome in Canada, but they are now its largest minority and have as much claim on ‘Canadianness’ as anyone else.

Being a rugged outdoorsy Chinese-Canadian. What’s that all ‘aboot’?
Why are Malaysian princes in love with foreign brides?

The crown prince of the state of Kelantan will marry a Swedish woman on Friday, becoming the latest royal to marry a non-Malay.

20 Apr 2019 - 1:21PM

The crown prince of the state of Kelantan will marry a Swedish woman on Friday, becoming the latest royal to marry a non-Malay.

Why are Malaysian princes in love with foreign brides?
Period drama: how Asian women broke the menstruation taboo

In many Asian societies, menstruation is a taboo topic that is rarely discussed – causing major gaps in knowledge about reproductive health. But thanks to new products and approaches, a change in perspective is under way.

14 Apr 2019 - 12:13PM

In many Asian societies, menstruation is a taboo topic that is rarely discussed – causing major gaps in knowledge about reproductive health. But thanks to new products and approaches, a change in perspective is under way.

Period drama: how Asian women broke the menstruation taboo
Can we build robots to beat loneliness and be our friends?
Why are lonely Asians turning to robots for friendship?

From Japan to Hong Kong, robots are taking yet another human job: providing companionship. But while synthetic seals and pillows with waggly tails may play a worthy role, some wonder if this new relationship isn’t entirely healthy

8 Apr 2019 - 12:25PM

From Japan to Hong Kong, robots are taking yet another human job: providing companionship. But while synthetic seals and pillows with waggly tails may play a worthy role, some wonder if this new relationship isn’t entirely healthy

Why are lonely Asians turning to robots for friendship?
Derision on social media as Singapore’s list of ‘offensive’ songs by Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande hits the wrong notes

A list of “offensive” lyrics by singers such as Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga that was circulated in Singapore’s parliament was highlighted as music that could affect racial harmony in the nation.

3 Apr 2019 - 4:02PM

A list of “offensive” lyrics by singers such as Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga that was circulated in Singapore’s parliament was highlighted as music that could affect racial harmony in the nation.

Derision on social media as Singapore’s list of ‘offensive’ songs by Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande hits the wrong notes
Singapore’s former economic tsar Philip Yeo on wooing talent and his Hong Kong ‘hit list’

The fast-talking bureaucrat wanted to woo top scientist Nancy Ip Yuk-yu to Singapore but Yeo’s former classmate, textile tycoon Marjorie Yang Mun-tak, stopped him.

30 Mar 2019 - 11:08AM

The fast-talking bureaucrat wanted to woo top scientist Nancy Ip Yuk-yu to Singapore but Yeo’s former classmate, textile tycoon Marjorie Yang Mun-tak, stopped him.

Singapore’s former economic tsar Philip Yeo on wooing talent and his Hong Kong ‘hit list’
MeToo to KuToo: how Japanese women called time on high heels in the workplace

Excruciating pain, bloodied feet. It’s all part of the working day for Japanese women, who say they are discriminated against by unwritten rules of the office. But a new campaign, started by a tweet, aims to kick those rules into touch.

22 Mar 2019 - 2:33PM

Excruciating pain, bloodied feet. It’s all part of the working day for Japanese women, who say they are discriminated against by unwritten rules of the office. But a new campaign, started by a tweet, aims to kick those rules into touch.

MeToo to KuToo: how Japanese women called time on high heels in the workplace
How the Seungri and Jung Joon-young K-pop sex scandal exposes South Korea’s culture of toxic masculinity

Charges of sexual abuse and illegally recording sexual activities could cost a number of stars their careers, but this behaviour is all too common. Tens of thousands of women protested hidden-camera sex crimes last year – will the latest outrage mean real change?

23 Apr 2019 - 6:29PM

Charges of sexual abuse and illegally recording sexual activities could cost a number of stars their careers, but this behaviour is all too common. Tens of thousands of women protested hidden-camera sex crimes last year – will the latest outrage mean real change?

How the Seungri and Jung Joon-young K-pop sex scandal exposes South Korea’s culture of toxic masculinity
Japan defends it, Vietnam stretches it, India ignores it. In Asia, time really is relative

If you’ve ever wondered about the relativity of time just take a ride on India’s New Jalpaiguri Express. Chances are you’ll find an extra 20 hours to while away – but it will feel like forever.

18 Mar 2019 - 4:51PM

If you’ve ever wondered about the relativity of time just take a ride on India’s New Jalpaiguri Express. Chances are you’ll find an extra 20 hours to while away – but it will feel like forever.

Japan defends it, Vietnam stretches it, India ignores it. In Asia, time really is relative
Why is Japan so obsessed with being on time?

In a country where being late by seconds can spark a scandal, the pressure to be punctual is too much for some. Japanese firms are discovering punctuality doesn’t always equal efficiency.

18 Mar 2019 - 12:16PM

In a country where being late by seconds can spark a scandal, the pressure to be punctual is too much for some. Japanese firms are discovering punctuality doesn’t always equal efficiency.

Why is Japan so obsessed with being on time?
Racked with guilt: Philippine exhibition displays clothes worn by sexual assault victims to highlight culture of victim-blaming

The Philippines is one of the most gender equal places in the world. But women are still struggling to fend off instances of sexual harassment and assault.

8 Mar 2019 - 9:46PM

The Philippines is one of the most gender equal places in the world. But women are still struggling to fend off instances of sexual harassment and assault.

Racked with guilt: Philippine exhibition displays clothes worn by sexual assault victims to highlight culture of victim-blaming
Forget Trump and Kim – North Korea’s first sister Kim Yo-jong lurks, hovers and steals the spotlight

The younger Kim shadowed her brother at the Hanoi summit, leading to amusement and speculation over how much power she wields, and the role women play in Pyongyang’s ‘soft diplomacy’

1 Mar 2019 - 6:49PM

The younger Kim shadowed her brother at the Hanoi summit, leading to amusement and speculation over how much power she wields, and the role women play in Pyongyang’s ‘soft diplomacy’

Forget Trump and Kim – North Korea’s first sister Kim Yo-jong lurks, hovers and steals the spotlight
Trump-Kim summit 2019: Hanoi puts its best food forward for culinary diplomacy

Journalists from around the world are in the Vietnamese capital to watch the US and North Korean leaders break bread and tackle denuclearisation, as the city serves up culinary specials to highlight its tourism potential.

27 Feb 2019 - 10:17PM

Journalists from around the world are in the Vietnamese capital to watch the US and North Korean leaders break bread and tackle denuclearisation, as the city serves up culinary specials to highlight its tourism potential.

Trump-Kim summit 2019: Hanoi puts its best food forward for culinary diplomacy
North Korean cyberwarfare: as big a threat as its nuclear weapons?

Experts say even if Kim Jong-un agrees to disarmament, he will maintain his cyber army.

4 Mar 2019 - 4:18PM

Experts say even if Kim Jong-un agrees to disarmament, he will maintain his cyber army.

North Korean cyberwarfare: as big a threat as its nuclear weapons?
Royal mess: From a palace murder to a purged princess, Asia’s aristocrats have been rocked by scandal

Like their counterparts in the West, the gilded lives of Asian aristocrats have been beset by tragedy, scandals and punctuated by periods of socio-political tension

26 Feb 2019 - 4:20PM

Like their counterparts in the West, the gilded lives of Asian aristocrats have been beset by tragedy, scandals and punctuated by periods of socio-political tension

Royal mess: From a palace murder to a purged princess, Asia’s aristocrats have been rocked by scandal
Comeback kings: the Instagram royals who reinvented Asia’s monarchies

Ignore the abdications in Malaysia and Japan and forget the turmoil in Thailand; a new breed of monarch is breathing new life into Asia’s long love affair with its royals – and it’s not afraid of letting social media know about it.

7 Mar 2019 - 12:39PM

Ignore the abdications in Malaysia and Japan and forget the turmoil in Thailand; a new breed of monarch is breathing new life into Asia’s long love affair with its royals – and it’s not afraid of letting social media know about it.

Comeback kings: the Instagram royals who reinvented Asia’s monarchies
Ailing Chinese bike-sharing service Ofo gets Singapore licence suspended

Ofo’s woes are casting a shadow over the bike-sharing industry, which seemed a potentially lucrative idea when it first emerged

15 Feb 2019 - 3:25PM

Ofo’s woes are casting a shadow over the bike-sharing industry, which seemed a potentially lucrative idea when it first emerged

Ailing Chinese bike-sharing service Ofo gets Singapore licence suspended
This is no valentine: the complexities of interracial dating for Asians in North America

Whether you’re Asian or South Asian, finding love amid the wasteland of casual racism can be tricky. This social programming doesn’t just reveal itself in real life – online dating is a minefield of ethnic stereotypes

15 Feb 2019 - 4:02PM

Whether you’re Asian or South Asian, finding love amid the wasteland of casual racism can be tricky. This social programming doesn’t just reveal itself in real life – online dating is a minefield of ethnic stereotypes

This is no valentine: the complexities of interracial dating for Asians in North America
South Korea hopes to cull its dog meat trade, but the tradition will linger on for a while yet

More people are viewing dogs as pets rather than food, but it will be years yet till the country sees the end of the billion-dollar dog meat industry.

12 Feb 2019 - 11:19AM

More people are viewing dogs as pets rather than food, but it will be years yet till the country sees the end of the billion-dollar dog meat industry.

South Korea hopes to cull its dog meat trade, but the tradition will linger on for a while yet
Asia’s addiction to whiter skin runs deep – but the backlash has begun

The multibillion-dollar skin-whitening market in China, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea is rooted in unrealistic beauty ideals. However, a push to embrace darker skin and more Asian-seeming features is picking up

3 Feb 2019 - 5:33PM

The multibillion-dollar skin-whitening market in China, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea is rooted in unrealistic beauty ideals. However, a push to embrace darker skin and more Asian-seeming features is picking up

Asia’s addiction to whiter skin runs deep – but the backlash has begun
China’s Dilmurat to Japan’s Rola, why do Asians fetishise mixed race celebrities?

Once denigrated for their mixed parentage, Eurasians are now idolised for ‘exotic’ looks. That’s brought a bumper payday for celebrities and plastic surgeons, but there’s an ugly side to this development, too

2 Feb 2019 - 12:59PM

Once denigrated for their mixed parentage, Eurasians are now idolised for ‘exotic’ looks. That’s brought a bumper payday for celebrities and plastic surgeons, but there’s an ugly side to this development, too

China’s Dilmurat to Japan’s Rola, why do Asians fetishise mixed race celebrities?
Noodle-maker Nissin apologises, withdraws ‘whitewashed’ anime ad featuring Japanese-Haitian tennis star Naomi Osaka

Nissin also apologised to Osaka and promised to be ‘more mindful of the issue of diversity’, as it pulled the animation that showed Naomi Osaka with pale skin and European features.

24 Jan 2019 - 11:27PM

Nissin also apologised to Osaka and promised to be ‘more mindful of the issue of diversity’, as it pulled the animation that showed Naomi Osaka with pale skin and European features.

Noodle-maker Nissin apologises, withdraws ‘whitewashed’ anime ad featuring Japanese-Haitian tennis star Naomi Osaka
Single minded: forget marriage, South Koreans aren’t even dating

As the population ages, the only thing being given birth to are fears of ‘natural extinction’.

25 Jan 2019 - 6:59PM

As the population ages, the only thing being given birth to are fears of ‘natural extinction’.

Single minded: forget marriage, South Koreans aren’t even dating
Singapore identifies F-35 jets as ‘most suitable replacements’ for F-16 fleet, defence minister confirms

‘We want to procure a few planes first, to fully evaluate the capabilities,’ Ng Eng Hen said

18 Jan 2019 - 11:16PM

‘We want to procure a few planes first, to fully evaluate the capabilities,’ Ng Eng Hen said

Singapore identifies F-35 jets as ‘most suitable replacements’ for F-16 fleet, defence minister confirms
Why are so many South Korean tourists visiting Vietnam?

Last year, more than 3 million South Koreans visited Vietnam – second only to mainland Chinese. That was a remarkable 46 per cent increase from the previous year. And Vietnamese tourism is changing as a result.

14 Jan 2019 - 12:42PM

Last year, more than 3 million South Koreans visited Vietnam – second only to mainland Chinese. That was a remarkable 46 per cent increase from the previous year. And Vietnamese tourism is changing as a result.

Why are so many South Korean tourists visiting Vietnam?
NGT48 pop idol Maho Yamaguchi’s apology for home assault sparks outrage at Japanese victim-blaming

The singer bowed and expressed remorse for “causing trouble” after revealing her experience being assaulted at home by intruders.

11 Jan 2019 - 11:41PM

The singer bowed and expressed remorse for “causing trouble” after revealing her experience being assaulted at home by intruders.

NGT48 pop idol Maho Yamaguchi’s apology for home assault sparks outrage at Japanese victim-blaming
#MeToo to meat: no more soju calendars with nearly nude women in South Korea
  • South Korean alcohol firms end a long-running practice of pin-ups amid a changing climate of feminism and awareness, replacing them with images of barbecued pork belly and other meat dishes
3 Jan 2019 - 9:12PM
  • South Korean alcohol firms end a long-running practice of pin-ups amid a changing climate of feminism and awareness, replacing them with images of barbecued pork belly and other meat dishes
#MeToo to meat: no more soju calendars with nearly nude women in South Korea
Vietnam’s rising tech talent help put country on the start-up map

In one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, a new breed of entrepreneurs is spurring innovation in everything from cybersecurity to language learning

1 Feb 2019 - 1:51PM

In one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, a new breed of entrepreneurs is spurring innovation in everything from cybersecurity to language learning

Vietnam’s rising tech talent help put country on the start-up map