Crystal Tai

Crystal Tai

Crystal Tai covered business trends and cultural criticism, with a special focus on Northeast Asia, for the Asia desk until December 2019. 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. She continues to make freelance contributions to the Post.

Latest from Crystal Tai

Dynamite and an ARMY: how K-pop’s BTS invaded the US billboard charts

RM, V, J-Hope, Jungkook, Suga, Jin and Jimin belong to no ordinary boy band, but a multibillion-dollar enterprise making up a chunk of South Korea’s GDP.

RM, V, J-Hope, Jungkook, Suga, Jin and Jimin belong to no ordinary boy band, but a multibillion-dollar enterprise making up a chunk of South Korea’s GDP.

8 Sep 2020 - 7:45PM
‘Parasite singles’ to ‘free from pressure’: how Japanese women blazed a trail for China’s ‘Little Sisters’

Women make up the majority of Japan’s workforce and are driving consumer spending. But while brands are taking note, society has yet to recognise the extent of their contributions.

Women make up the majority of Japan’s workforce and are driving consumer spending. But while brands are taking note, society has yet to recognise the extent of their contributions.

15 Aug 2020 - 7:41AM
Korean K-dramas and Hallyu films are #Alive and well, but Bollywood hits rock Bellbottom amid coronavirus slump

‘Koreans can relate to zombie films. The notion of an outbreak … surviving on your own in isolation, these were things many could see themselves doing.’

‘Koreans can relate to zombie films. The notion of an outbreak … surviving on your own in isolation, these were things many could see themselves doing.’

5 Aug 2020 - 1:24PM
Why BTS Army and other K-pop fans are aiming their activism at Donald Trump

Fans of the South Korean soft power export have banded together to troll the US president and champion Black Lives Matter. Analysts say most of these fans are politically aware, liberal and masters of social media.

Fans of the South Korean soft power export have banded together to troll the US president and champion Black Lives Matter. Analysts say most of these fans are politically aware, liberal and masters of social media.

23 Jun 2020 - 3:54PM
How Malaysian ‘brain hacker’ Vishen Lakhiani went from meditation student to self-help guru

Vishen Lakhiani is the co-founder of Mindvalley, a self-help website with courses ranging from how to heal from a broken heart to achieving career success.

Vishen Lakhiani is the co-founder of Mindvalley, a self-help website with courses ranging from how to heal from a broken heart to achieving career success.

30 Dec 2019 - 6:49PM
Vietnamese wives, internet brides bear brunt of ageing Korea’s aversion to immigration

As the once insular nation turns to immigration to address its falling birth rate, there has been an influx of migrant brides – and there is revulsion at how they are being treated.

As the once insular nation turns to immigration to address its falling birth rate, there has been an influx of migrant brides – and there is revulsion at how they are being treated.

30 Dec 2019 - 8:28PM
Japan’s #KuToo movement says a high-heels dress code is workplace harassment

Activists want the government to revise laws on power harassment, or ‘pawa hara’, to include companies that force female employees to wear heels.

Activists want the government to revise laws on power harassment, or ‘pawa hara’, to include companies that force female employees to wear heels.

27 Dec 2019 - 2:55PM
Poor, disabled, old: the forgotten voices of the Hong Kong protests

While many Hongkongers have been affected by six months of chaos, some of those hit the hardest – the poor, disabled and elderly – struggle in silence, as hard lives get even harder.

While many Hongkongers have been affected by six months of chaos, some of those hit the hardest – the poor, disabled and elderly – struggle in silence, as hard lives get even harder.

6 Dec 2019 - 2:54PM
In South Korea, Chinese and Korean students are clashing over Hong Kong protests

Korean students have found themselves at the centre of a political storm, in conflict with Chinese students over differing views on Hong Kong’s unrest.

Korean students have found themselves at the centre of a political storm, in conflict with Chinese students over differing views on Hong Kong’s unrest.

22 Nov 2019 - 1:15PM
Fiery Hong Kong student protests evoke memory of South Korea’s own 1987 June Struggle

Images of tear gas-filled protests at Chinese University going viral alongside photos of the 1987 movement against strongman Chun Doo-hwan.

Images of tear gas-filled protests at Chinese University going viral alongside photos of the 1987 movement against strongman Chun Doo-hwan.

16 Nov 2019 - 4:31PM
From nirvana to starvation: the story of the Canadians who defended wartime Hong Kong

Alfred Babin was among a little known group of soldiers who fought for Hong Kong and spent years in a Japanese prisoner camp. His son says these 1,975 Canadians deserve greater recognition.

Alfred Babin was among a little known group of soldiers who fought for Hong Kong and spent years in a Japanese prisoner camp. His son says these 1,975 Canadians deserve greater recognition.

14 Nov 2019 - 10:23AM
South Korean couples are breaking up over feminist film Kim Ji-young, Born 1982. Why?

The movie has shed light on the struggles of women in the country’s deeply patriarchal and conservative society. It has also exposed a chasm in perspectives between the genders that is proving too much for some romances to bear.

The movie has shed light on the struggles of women in the country’s deeply patriarchal and conservative society. It has also exposed a chasm in perspectives between the genders that is proving too much for some romances to bear.

7 Nov 2019 - 11:24PM
What the ‘death by text’ of an Asian-American college student and Sulli’s K-pop tragedy say about toxic social media

The death of Alexander Urtula, whose South Korean girlfriend sent him thousands of abusive text messages, should force a rethink of laws and attitudes to social media and gender-based bullying, experts say.

The death of Alexander Urtula, whose South Korean girlfriend sent him thousands of abusive text messages, should force a rethink of laws and attitudes to social media and gender-based bullying, experts say.

18 Nov 2019 - 9:30AM
Campaigners urge Canada’s Trudeau to adopt US-style Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act

The Canadian leader has kept relatively quiet regarding the Hong Kong protests, but campaigners hope that will change now the election is behind him. Others say he is unlikely to risk jeopardising trade with Beijing.

The Canadian leader has kept relatively quiet regarding the Hong Kong protests, but campaigners hope that will change now the election is behind him. Others say he is unlikely to risk jeopardising trade with Beijing.

26 Dec 2021 - 1:55AM
Forget Tinder, DNA matchmaking claims to have love down to a science

A growing number of lonely hearts are tapping into genetic testing in their search for a soulmate. Some governments see it as a fix for low birth rates, but experts warn that the science is far from conclusive.

A growing number of lonely hearts are tapping into genetic testing in their search for a soulmate. Some governments see it as a fix for low birth rates, but experts warn that the science is far from conclusive.

18 Nov 2019 - 9:29AM
Canada elections: Justin Trudeau hangs on to power after fighting for political survival

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will need to partner with smaller parties to govern after he won a second term in national elections that resulted in his government reduced to a minority.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will need to partner with smaller parties to govern after he won a second term in national elections that resulted in his government reduced to a minority.

22 Oct 2019 - 10:56PM
Why are Prince William and Kate Middleton praised for Pakistani outfits, when Trudeau’s turban was mocked in India?

Kate Middleton stayed the right side of respectful with her shalwar kameez in Pakistan, while Trudeau crossed the boundaries of taste with his turban in India.

Kate Middleton stayed the right side of respectful with her shalwar kameez in Pakistan, while Trudeau crossed the boundaries of taste with his turban in India.

17 Oct 2019 - 4:13PM
The rise of ‘Shy Japan’ shoppers: how Koreans skirt boycott of firms like Uniqlo and Muji

A boycott of Japanese goods poses a dilemma for Korean fans of brands like Uniqlo and Muji. Some pretend to support the boycott while getting their fix another way – even if it means flying to Tokyo for a T-shirt.

A boycott of Japanese goods poses a dilemma for Korean fans of brands like Uniqlo and Muji. Some pretend to support the boycott while getting their fix another way – even if it means flying to Tokyo for a T-shirt.

16 Oct 2019 - 10:16AM
Could Hong Kong protests sway the Canadian election?

With the main parties neck and neck, the Conservative leader raises the issue in an appeal to both expats and the Chinese diaspora. It is a high-stakes gamble that risks alienating as many voters as it attracts

With the main parties neck and neck, the Conservative leader raises the issue in an appeal to both expats and the Chinese diaspora. It is a high-stakes gamble that risks alienating as many voters as it attracts

14 Oct 2019 - 12:05PM
Japan, Thailand and Singapore benefit as Chinese tourists skip Hong Kong over golden week

The likes of Saudi Arabia also saw an upswing in travellers from the mainland – but overall fewer Chinese tourists went abroad this year, with a 15 per cent drop from 2018 attributed to more opting to visit local historical sites.

The likes of Saudi Arabia also saw an upswing in travellers from the mainland – but overall fewer Chinese tourists went abroad this year, with a 15 per cent drop from 2018 attributed to more opting to visit local historical sites.

18 Dec 2019 - 2:35PM
Why are Japan’s universities lagging so far behind their international peers?

Despite Prime Minister Abe’s plan to see 10 Japanese universities in the world’s top 100, rankings have slipped since 2013 – as a result, experts say, of a lack of English-language innovation, university funding and internationalisation

Despite Prime Minister Abe’s plan to see 10 Japanese universities in the world’s top 100, rankings have slipped since 2013 – as a result, experts say, of a lack of English-language innovation, university funding and internationalisation

2 Oct 2019 - 8:40PM
Thinking big, living small: how people across Asia cope with tiny homes

Tight accommodation is a harsh reality for many residents of Asian cities where population density is high. Four tiny home dwellers offer their thoughts on living small.

Tight accommodation is a harsh reality for many residents of Asian cities where population density is high. Four tiny home dwellers offer their thoughts on living small.

25 Nov 2019 - 3:33AM
Muji, Marie Kondo, and Asia’s tiny house movement

If you thought your Hong Kong flat was small, would you live in a 100 sq ft hut in a forest? Believe it or not, a growing number of millennials are choosing to do so as part of the ‘tiny house movement’.

If you thought your Hong Kong flat was small, would you live in a 100 sq ft hut in a forest? Believe it or not, a growing number of millennials are choosing to do so as part of the ‘tiny house movement’.

25 Nov 2019 - 3:33AM
K-pop’s top awards show MAMA to skip protest-hit Hong Kong for Japan’s Nagoya

Observers said the decision to move the Mnet Asian Music Awards away from Hong Kong showed the costs from potential disruptions and safety issues were more concerning than the bilateral row between Seoul and Tokyo.

Observers said the decision to move the Mnet Asian Music Awards away from Hong Kong showed the costs from potential disruptions and safety issues were more concerning than the bilateral row between Seoul and Tokyo.

25 Sep 2019 - 4:40PM
For some firms, Hong Kong’s unrest has brought an uptick in business

A handful of local and foreign companies are seeing opportunities in catering to increased demand from Hongkongers for overseas property and migration services.

A handful of local and foreign companies are seeing opportunities in catering to increased demand from Hongkongers for overseas property and migration services.

23 Sep 2019 - 7:25AM
Fallen K-pop star Park Yoo-chun ordered to pay woman in sex assault case

Park, popularly known as Micky, has been told to pay the woman more than US$80,000. She is one of four women to have made sexual assault claims against the troubled star.

Park, popularly known as Micky, has been told to pay the woman more than US$80,000. She is one of four women to have made sexual assault claims against the troubled star.

17 Sep 2019 - 2:05PM
North Korean-themed restaurant in Seoul removes Kim portraits after social media outcry

Eatery that decorated its walls with a North Korean flag and propaganda-style messages such as ‘more alcohol for the comrades!’ is being probed by local police on suspicion of breaching the national security act.

Eatery that decorated its walls with a North Korean flag and propaganda-style messages such as ‘more alcohol for the comrades!’ is being probed by local police on suspicion of breaching the national security act.

16 Sep 2019 - 11:18PM
How Hong Kong-set ‘Hello, Love, Goodbye’ became the Philippines’ top-grossing film of all time

Experts and fans say it captures the lives of overseas Filipino workers, who finally feel seen after often being regarded as invisible in their daily jobs.

Experts and fans say it captures the lives of overseas Filipino workers, who finally feel seen after often being regarded as invisible in their daily jobs.

8 Sep 2019 - 11:07PM
As Germany debates calling its panda twins Hong and Kong, just how do pandas get named?

Panda twins born in Berlin’s zoo have sparked a national debate on China and panda diplomacy in Germany, with calls to name them Hong and Kong in recognition of the ongoing protests in the city.

Panda twins born in Berlin’s zoo have sparked a national debate on China and panda diplomacy in Germany, with calls to name them Hong and Kong in recognition of the ongoing protests in the city.

6 Sep 2019 - 4:54PM
How Asia sees Carrie Lam’s withdrawal of Hong Kong extradition bill: ‘It’s welcome, but …’

Protesters in Hong Kong may have been scathing about the chief executive’s attempt to appease the public, but regional leaders have been a little more supportive

Protesters in Hong Kong may have been scathing about the chief executive’s attempt to appease the public, but regional leaders have been a little more supportive

6 Sep 2019 - 12:06PM