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

K-beauty: is China falling out of love with Korean cosmetics?
Japan’s #KuToo founder Yumi Ishikawa asks: ‘Is it bad for a feminist to get naked?’

KuToo began as a movement against high heels and gendered dress codes in Japanese workplaces. The founder, however, has become the target of online harassment after her nude modelling photos stirred further debate about image expectations placed on women in Japan.

17 Jun 2019 - 10:46AM

KuToo began as a movement against high heels and gendered dress codes in Japanese workplaces. The founder, however, has become the target of online harassment after her nude modelling photos stirred further debate about image expectations placed on women in Japan.

Japan’s #KuToo founder Yumi Ishikawa asks: ‘Is it bad for a feminist to get naked?’
South Koreans rally to support Hong Kong protests against extradition bill

More than 20,000 Koreans sign a petition urging action from President Moon Jae-in as many remember their own history of protest.

17 Jun 2019 - 12:09PM

More than 20,000 Koreans sign a petition urging action from President Moon Jae-in as many remember their own history of protest.

South Koreans rally to support Hong Kong protests against extradition bill
Forget K-pop and US missiles, Korea is back in fashion with China thanks to live-stream shopping

After Beijing boycotted South Korea for installing the US missile system THAAD, Seoul’s fashion retailers suffered. But China’s hugely popular live-stream shopping hosts, or zhi bo, are helping to turn things round.

5 Jun 2019 - 11:03PM

After Beijing boycotted South Korea for installing the US missile system THAAD, Seoul’s fashion retailers suffered. But China’s hugely popular live-stream shopping hosts, or zhi bo, are helping to turn things round.

Forget K-pop and US missiles, Korea is back in fashion with China thanks to live-stream shopping
It’s attempted rape, not just trespassing: K-stalker in viral video gets charge changed as South Korean police bow to public outrage

The accused now faces the more serious charge after tens of thousands signed an online petition demanding a more serious punishment.

1 Jun 2019 - 5:04AM

The accused now faces the more serious charge after tens of thousands signed an online petition demanding a more serious punishment.

It’s attempted rape, not just trespassing: K-stalker in viral video gets charge changed as South Korean police bow to public outrage
Do stressed millennials spell end for ‘shukatsu’, Japan’s notorious graduate recruitment process?

An ageing population, dwindling workforce and changing attitudes to life-work balance force a rethink of Japan’s infamously tough job-hunting season.

22 May 2019 - 5:45PM

An ageing population, dwindling workforce and changing attitudes to life-work balance force a rethink of Japan’s infamously tough job-hunting season.

Do stressed millennials spell end for ‘shukatsu’, Japan’s notorious graduate recruitment process?
In Singapore, Qoo10 took on Lazada and won. Can it do the same to Tokopedia in Indonesia?

Founded by South Korean entrepreneur Ku Young-bae, the Lion City’s top online shopping site Qoo10 is a David taking on the Goliaths of e-commerce

20 May 2019 - 9:15AM

Founded by South Korean entrepreneur Ku Young-bae, the Lion City’s top online shopping site Qoo10 is a David taking on the Goliaths of e-commerce

In Singapore, Qoo10 took on Lazada and won. Can it do the same to Tokopedia in Indonesia?
Ex-Fugees rapper Pras Michel denies links with Jho Low, will confront 1MDB charges in new album ‘Elon Musk’

The Malaysian businessman and singer Pras Michel, who is now working on ‘Elon Musk’ EP, allegedly conspired to steer foreign campaign contributions into Obama’s 2012 campaign.

18 May 2019 - 12:33PM

The Malaysian businessman and singer Pras Michel, who is now working on ‘Elon Musk’ EP, allegedly conspired to steer foreign campaign contributions into Obama’s 2012 campaign.

Ex-Fugees rapper Pras Michel denies links with Jho Low, will confront 1MDB charges in new album ‘Elon Musk’
There are Filipinos in Alaska – they’re called Alaskeros, and they’ve been there for more than 200 years

The coldest region in the US is home to 30,000 Filipinos who make up the largest immigrant minority in Alaska. They have settled in the state since the late 1700s, many intermarrying with local Native Alaskans.

11 May 2019 - 8:18PM

The coldest region in the US is home to 30,000 Filipinos who make up the largest immigrant minority in Alaska. They have settled in the state since the late 1700s, many intermarrying with local Native Alaskans.

There are Filipinos in Alaska – they’re called Alaskeros, and they’ve been there for more than 200 years
Japan has a new emperor and a new era – but can the royal family move past old, patriarchal traditions?

Emperor Naruhito may draw on his father’s history of institutional change, but the rules binding the Japanese royal family don’t just mean they avoid celebrity status; they also make the likes of female succession a thorny issue.

2 May 2019 - 11:09AM

Emperor Naruhito may draw on his father’s history of institutional change, but the rules binding the Japanese royal family don’t just mean they avoid celebrity status; they also make the likes of female succession a thorny issue.

Japan has a new emperor and a new era – but can the royal family move past old, patriarchal traditions?
K-pop sex scandal: Burning Sun nightclub linked to underage trafficking, violent abuse by VIP clients, further exposing mistreatment of South Korean women

Nightclub reportedly provided secret sites and services for its top clients, including men from powerful Korean families.

26 Apr 2019 - 12:48PM

Nightclub reportedly provided secret sites and services for its top clients, including men from powerful Korean families.

K-pop sex scandal: Burning Sun nightclub linked to underage trafficking, violent abuse by VIP clients, further exposing mistreatment of South Korean women
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 - 1:22PM

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?

Meet Qoobo and Bocco, two Japanese robots designed for companionship and human interaction. Yonden Lhatoo weighs in on whether they stand the test of friendship.

9 Apr 2019 - 10:31AM

Meet Qoobo and Bocco, two Japanese robots designed for companionship and human interaction. Yonden Lhatoo weighs in on whether they stand the test of friendship.

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?

26 Apr 2019 - 6:24PM

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