Lifestyle & Culture

Tourists watch a sunset on the island of Phuket in Thailand. Photo: Reuters

Green and keen: the new breed of Chinese traveller shaping eco-tourism

‘Travelling in coaches, eating only Chinese food’ is far less common after the pandemic. Instead, many people want nature, camping and homestays, say experts, and the sector should fully embrace that.

31 May 2023 - 4:15PM
A person waves a rainbow flag during an anti-government protest on September 19, 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE

‘Pride always’: Thailand’s Pita eyes marriage equality bill as he seals coalition

As Bangkok bids to host WorldPride 2028, Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the Move Forward Party that won the most seats in the May 14 election, is prioritising a same-sex marriage bill that failed to pass the last parliament.

30 May 2023 - 7:13PM
Scam tasks have evolved from asking victims to notionally “rent” industrial equipment in exchange for handsome rents to liking online posts and rating content online. Photo: EPA-EFE

Scammers in India up their game with likes-for-cash jobs on social media

Cybercrimes are not new to India but a new wave of such crimes is spreading, in which victims are promised money for liking social media content.

28 May 2023 - 2:00PM
An elderly woman receives a vaccine injection in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: EPA-EFE

AI is key to Asia’s policies for elderly, climate, jobs: India’s Tata

Firm says multilingual AI can help bring rarely accessed services to remote areas, monitoring the likes of eye issues and falls, pollution and traffic. However, senior executive says big challenge will be ensuring AI is used ethically.

26 May 2023 - 7:58PM
Chris Martin of UK band Coldplay. A Jakarta concert featuring Coldplay has been caught up in a conservative storm as the government attempts to placate Islamists threatening to disrupt the event. Photo: EPA-EFE

Indonesia’s conservative wrath, scams take centre stage ahead of Coldplay gig

Indonesian conservatives are concerned about LGBTQ-themed acts or messages promoted in the Coldplay concert that was supposed to revive the nation’s pandemic-hit tourism sector.

24 May 2023 - 10:30AM
A mother soothes her baby at their home in Bengaluru. Photo: AFP

Do India’s ‘funny’ Mother’s Day gifts subvert ‘supermum’ tropes or uphold them?

Acknowledging and portraying exasperation, anger of mothers are initial steps to change stereotypes of ‘selfless’ mums who are ‘devoted to families’.

14 May 2023 - 4:00PM
Thai security forces patrol along the border. Photo: AFP

‘Dangerous places’: insurgents, drugs – and tourists – at Malaysia-Thai border

Multiple checkpoints and official border posts do little to deter militants, traffickers – and day trippers – from flitting across the 595km-long frontier virtually at will, as a Malaysian woman’s recent deportation shows.

14 May 2023 - 11:44AM
The skyline of Dubai, including the world’s tallest building - the Burj Khalifa - in the United Arab Emirates. Photo: AFP

China-friendly Gulf eyes more ‘extremely valuable and coveted’ Chinese visitors

With their ancient cultural and historical sites – plus ‘very good shopping’ – the Gulf monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE have their sights set on enticing a new wave of luxury travellers from China.

14 May 2023 - 9:30AM
Thousands of people in South Korea take their own lives every year. The government is trying to reduce the suicide rate, but experts say much more must be done. Photo: Shutterstock

‘This really hurts’: South Korea intensifies battle against suicide

The nation, which has one of world’s highest suicide rates, is starting to do more to tackle the tragic problem – but experts say it’s not enough.

13 May 2023 - 4:00PM
Boys practise kun khmer in Cambodia. Photo: Shutterstock

Fight club: Thailand, Cambodia duke it out to stake claim on boxing in Mekong

The Cambodian hosts of the SEA Games have listed the boxing discipline as Kun Khmer and Thailand has refused to enter its fighters into the competition.

6 May 2023 - 2:00PM
Travellers at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Millions of people in Japan are on the move for the “golden week” holidays. Photo: Bloomberg

Japanese families reunite during ‘golden week’, with ‘worst of Covid behind us’

Around 24.5 million Japanese – more than in 2019 – plan to take a trip for at least one night during the holiday season, which officially starts on Wednesday but is already well under way.

1 May 2023 - 8:33PM
Japan’s ministry of education found that teachers worked an average of more than 95 hours overtime per month, above health standard limits of ‘karoshi’ or death from overwork. Photo: Kyodo

Why Japanese shun teaching: long hours, poor pay, risk of dying on the job

Japan’s ministry of education found that teachers worked an average of more than 95 hours overtime per month, above health standard limits of ‘karoshi’ or death from overwork.

27 Apr 2023 - 1:00PM
The Merlion statue is pictured at Marina Bay in Singapore. Photo: AFP

Singapore executes citizen for conspiracy to smuggle 1kg of cannabis

Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, was hanged at Changi Prison Complex on Wednesday. His execution came despite a concerted local and international effort to persuade the Singapore government to grant him clemency.

26 Apr 2023 - 8:37PM
Savneet Kaur’s mud house. Photo: Handout

Humble abode: the Indians leaving urban homes for ‘wholesome’ mud houses

‘We wanted to reconnect with nature and go back to being part of the web of life … a mud house added to this process’.

23 Apr 2023 - 4:05PM
Tourists walk in a rapeseed field in Jeju, South Korea. A row is brewing, with some saying the island should bring in a tourist tax to help it deal with overcrowding and the pressure on infrastructure and the environment. Photo: Bloomberg

Jeju is ‘overwhelmed’ and wants a tourist tax. But will South Korea agree?

With millions heading to Unesco World Heritage site, an island of 670,000 people that struggles to cope with so many visitors, ‘idea of deterring overtourism with entry tax is making a comeback’.

23 Apr 2023 - 11:43AM
The Dalai Lama (centre) in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala. Photo: Kyodo

Is Dalai Lama’s ‘suck my tongue’ remark a Tibetan tradition or abuse?

Many social media users have termed the Dalai Lama’s behaviour as ‘creepy’ and ‘disgusting’, but Tibetans say their culture has been misconstrued and hypersexualised.

22 Apr 2023 - 11:30AM
Malaysian Muslims take a selfie before breaking their fast during Ramadan in Putrajaya. Photo: EPA-EFE

‘No surprises’: Malaysia in jubilant mood as extra-long Eid holiday begins

Unlike last year when Eid al-Fitr unexpectedly fell a day before the declared public holiday, the celebration will take place – as earlier assumed – on Saturday.

21 Apr 2023 - 12:00PM
A vendor sells food for the fast-breaking Iftar meal in Labuhan Haji, Indonesia’s southern Aceh province. Photo: AFP

Indonesia’s Eid bonuses in spotlight after ‘thugs’ take cash from street vendors

Indonesian employers are required to pay workers a bonus ahead of the nation’s biggest Muslim festival under a law that has been misused by some groups.

20 Apr 2023 - 2:16PM
Passengers in Jakarta wait for their train home ahead of Eid al-Fitr holiday. Photo: EPA-EFE

As Indonesians begin exodu