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

6 events where Chinese students were involved in on-campus conflicts

From brawls over the Hong Kong protests to division over Tibet and Xinjiang’s Uygurs, political debate among Chinese students at Western universities has made headlines over the years. Here are six examples.

10 Aug 2019 - 11:46PM

From brawls over the Hong Kong protests to division over Tibet and Xinjiang’s Uygurs, political debate among Chinese students at Western universities has made headlines over the years. Here are six examples.

6 events where Chinese students were involved in on-campus conflicts
Hong Kong protests to Uygur camps: how Chinese students became a subject of scorn

Campus confrontations have erupted from Canada to New Zealand as mainland Chinese students react, sometimes violently, to public scrutiny of Beijing’s policies.

11 Aug 2019 - 12:48AM

Campus confrontations have erupted from Canada to New Zealand as mainland Chinese students react, sometimes violently, to public scrutiny of Beijing’s policies.

Hong Kong protests to Uygur camps: how Chinese students became a subject of scorn
South Korean fans call for ‘No Ronaldo’ ban after Juventus star sits out Seoul match

In Japan, though, Ronaldo may have gained some new fans who welcomed his decision to remain on the bench as an act of support for their country.

1 Aug 2019 - 4:30PM

In Japan, though, Ronaldo may have gained some new fans who welcomed his decision to remain on the bench as an act of support for their country.

South Korean fans call for ‘No Ronaldo’ ban after Juventus star sits out Seoul match
Toyota, Lexus, Honda and Nissan cars ‘kimchi slapped’ in South Korea amid rising trade tensions

As calls for Koreans to boycott Japanese goods continue over Tokyo’s export curbs, the country’s car owners have found their vehicles being subject to so-called kimchi terrorism, as angry passers-by hurl the fermented foodstuff.

28 Jul 2019 - 11:59AM

As calls for Koreans to boycott Japanese goods continue over Tokyo’s export curbs, the country’s car owners have found their vehicles being subject to so-called kimchi terrorism, as angry passers-by hurl the fermented foodstuff.

Toyota, Lexus, Honda and Nissan cars ‘kimchi slapped’ in South Korea amid rising trade tensions
Anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea brews as ‘trade war’ escalates

Some Japanese in South Korea are wary of discrimination but Zainichi or ethnic Koreans in Japan say xenophobia is an everyday reality.

24 Jul 2019 - 11:20PM

Some Japanese in South Korea are wary of discrimination but Zainichi or ethnic Koreans in Japan say xenophobia is an everyday reality.

Anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea brews as ‘trade war’ escalates
South Koreans want to avoid Muji, Daiso and Nintendo, but brand confusion could undermine any boycott of Japanese goods

Many South Koreans have vowed to boycott Japanese products – but in a globalised world, pinning down where something comes from can be easier said than done.

21 Jul 2019 - 6:52PM

Many South Koreans have vowed to boycott Japanese products – but in a globalised world, pinning down where something comes from can be easier said than done.

South Koreans want to avoid Muji, Daiso and Nintendo, but brand confusion could undermine any boycott of Japanese goods
K-pop band BTS praised for cholinergic urticaria admission, under fire over Saudi Arabia show

The revelation band member V suffers from heat-related allergy has drawn praise and empathy from fans, but touring the conservative Gulf nation is seen as flying in the face of the band’s support of personal identity and LGBT rights.

16 Jul 2019 - 6:21PM

The revelation band member V suffers from heat-related allergy has drawn praise and empathy from fans, but touring the conservative Gulf nation is seen as flying in the face of the band’s support of personal identity and LGBT rights.

K-pop band BTS praised for cholinergic urticaria admission, under fire over Saudi Arabia show
Kim Kardashian isn’t the first Westerner to sexualise Japan’s kimono. And she won’t be the last

After the war, the US sought to feminise perceptions of Japan by associating the traditional garment with prostitution and servile femininity, in an attempt to present the country as a small threat to the world.

12 Jul 2019 - 6:12PM

After the war, the US sought to feminise perceptions of Japan by associating the traditional garment with prostitution and servile femininity, in an attempt to present the country as a small threat to the world.

Kim Kardashian isn’t the first Westerner to sexualise Japan’s kimono. And she won’t be the last
Japan sends patent officials to US over Kim Kardashian ‘Kimono’ row

The reality TV star said she would rename her new line of shapewear but Japan’s trade minister Hiroshige Seko said the issue had become ‘a big deal on social media’ and warranted ‘a careful examination’.

2 Jul 2019 - 6:40PM

The reality TV star said she would rename her new line of shapewear but Japan’s trade minister Hiroshige Seko said the issue had become ‘a big deal on social media’ and warranted ‘a careful examination’.

Japan sends patent officials to US over Kim Kardashian ‘Kimono’ row
Kim Kardashian urged by Kyoto mayor to reconsider ‘Kimono’ as the name for her new shapewear line

Backlash against Kardashian was swift, with many social media users accusing her of cultural appropriation.

1 Jul 2019 - 2:43PM

Backlash against Kardashian was swift, with many social media users accusing her of cultural appropriation.

Kim Kardashian urged by Kyoto mayor to reconsider ‘Kimono’ as the name for her new shapewear line
‘A Chinese kind of democracy’: why young Chinese-Canadians in Vancouver support Hong Kong’s anti-extradition bill protests

For a group of youths in Vancouver, the protests are a means to seek democracy that is not framed in a Western way. But others in the city say Hong Kong affairs are an internal matter for China.

3 Jul 2019 - 12:32PM

For a group of youths in Vancouver, the protests are a means to seek democracy that is not framed in a Western way. But others in the city say Hong Kong affairs are an internal matter for China.

‘A Chinese kind of democracy’: why young Chinese-Canadians in Vancouver support Hong Kong’s anti-extradition bill protests
‘The only Australian living in North Korea’ Alek Sigley was prolific social media user before he went missing

The Australian student was known for posting about his colourful life inside the secretive nation. But if his detention is confirmed, it would add him to a long list of foreigners whose fascination with North Korea landed them in hot water

27 Jun 2019 - 7:52PM

The Australian student was known for posting about his colourful life inside the secretive nation. But if his detention is confirmed, it would add him to a long list of foreigners whose fascination with North Korea landed them in hot water

‘The only Australian living in North Korea’ Alek Sigley was prolific social media user before he went missing
Kim Kardashian’s ill-fitting trademark sparks ‘KimOhNo’ backlash and accusations of cultural appropriation

The reality TV star and social media influencer is launching a new line of shapewear products but her bid to trademark the word ‘Kimono’ has already provoked backlash online.

28 Jun 2019 - 11:35PM

The reality TV star and social media influencer is launching a new line of shapewear products but her bid to trademark the word ‘Kimono’ has already provoked backlash online.

Kim Kardashian’s ill-fitting trademark sparks ‘KimOhNo’ backlash and accusations of cultural appropriation
Smearing cannabis on your face: the latest Asian beauty craze

The market for beauty products made from cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, is set to be worth US$25 billion by 2029

22 Jun 2019 - 7:30PM

The market for beauty products made from cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, is set to be worth US$25 billion by 2029

Smearing cannabis on your face: the latest Asian beauty craze
It’s not just Hong Kong, Asia has a rich history of protests: here are 5

Some have been driven by demands for political reform or a change of leadership, while others have been motivated by opposition to specific government actions or proposals.

24 Jun 2019 - 5:24PM

Some have been driven by demands for political reform or a change of leadership, while others have been motivated by opposition to specific government actions or proposals.

It’s not just Hong Kong, Asia has a rich history of protests: here are 5
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.

1 Jul 2019 - 4:47PM

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.

2 Jul 2019 - 10:54AM

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?