Lifestyle & Culture

A sightseeing boat carries tourists on the Oi River at Arashiyama, one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist destinations, in Japan. Photo: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images
Travel sector ‘very happy’ as Japan reopens to tours from 4 countries

Tourists who have been triple-vaccinated and come from the United States, Australia, Thailand and Singapore will be allowed to take part in specified tours starting later this month.

17 May 2022 - 4:16PM
US YouTuber Emma Chamberlain at the 2022 Met Gala in New York on May 2. Photo: Reuters
US YouTuber’s necklace shines light on Indian royal jewels stashed abroad

The US YouTuber drew flak for wearing the Cartier-designed jewellery, which originally belonged to an Indian king, at the New York event’s red carpet.

15 May 2022 - 5:00PM
A customer buys mangoes at a stall in Bangalore, India. Photo: AFP
It takes two to mango: climate change, higher costs threaten India’s ‘king of fruits’

Mangoes are an integral part of Indian history, culture, mythology and religion. But extreme temperatures and unseasonal rains have badly dented harvests.

14 May 2022 - 4:30PM
Shah Rukh Khan’s van was designed by car designer Dilip Chhabria. Photo: Mr. Track/Captured from Youtube
Bollywood stars flashy vanity vans get noticed, and their demand is growing

Owned by leading film stars, vanity vans are used as retreats during long shooting schedules. They function as a home away from home, where stars relax, workout, conduct business meetings or even host parties.

8 May 2022 - 5:00PM
Indonesia’s minister of maritime and investment affairs Luhut Pandjaitan met with the world’s wealthiest man Elon Musk in Texas last week. Luhut offered Musk a pack of Indonesia’s beloved coffee candy kopiko, which got two thumbs up from the Space-X co-fournder. Photo: Instagram
Elon Musk makes headlines in Indonesia for giving thumbs up to Kopiko candy

Indonesia’s coordinating minister of maritime and investment affairs Luhut Pandjaitan offered Musk the candy during a meeting about Indonesia’s efforts to develop electric vehicle batteries along with other investments.

8 May 2022 - 11:00AM
Decorations are seen hanging over a street in Singapore for Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or Eid al-Fitr, celebrations, marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Photo: AFP
Singapore’s Muslims cheer first Eid without Covid curbing festivities

The city state’s mosques are once again bustling with worshippers as Eid al-Fitr celebrations return at full scale, after last month’s lifting of capacity limits and social-distancing curbs.

3 May 2022 - 7:10PM
Flowers at a Tokyo location used for Netflix reality show Terrace House in May 2020, for cast member Hana Kimura. The 22-year-old female professional wrestler took her own life after being bullied online. File photo: Kyodo
Japanese TV watchdog warns slaps-for-laughs validates violence among young

It’s time to change the Japanese television industry’s long-standing tradition of using pain and humiliation to get laughs and views.

2 May 2022 - 7:33AM
Bechan Baba has been tending to the shrine in Banaras since he was a boy. Photo: Ravi Tripathi
In India, Hindu caretaker of a mosque says: ‘It’s one God for everyone’

Bechan Baba, 70, has for the past six decades been tending to a mosque in Varanasi, where Hindus and Muslims believe in living with harmony.

1 May 2022 - 2:43PM
According to the 2010 national census, Muslims make up over 87 per cent of Indonesia’s population. File photo: Reuters
In Indonesia, mass Muslim prayers are causing angst for minority faiths

People are increasingly gathering to recite Islamic verses across Indonesia, sparking a debate on whether these gatherings bode well for inclusion and harmony.

30 Apr 2022 - 3:57PM
Homestyle chutney made with the peels of ridge gourd. Photo : Ruchira Ramanujam
‘A tough choice’: Indians tuck into quick-fix meals to survive inflation

Many families are cooking one-pot dishes with local lentils, cutting down on expensive veggies and avoiding deep fried snacks to tide over the cost of living crisis.

25 Apr 2022 - 12:00PM
A still from the music-video project ‘Mental Sound’ by Vietnamese rapper Avocat. Photo: YouTube
Vietnam’s millennials and Gen Z defy mental health taboos with TikTok

From offering well-being guidance on TikTok to starting self-help groups, Vietnam’s millennials and Gen Z are defying local taboos surrounding open discussions on mental health. These efforts have come into focus after a recent spate of youth suicides.

25 Apr 2022 - 6:14PM
A cannabis plant. The 17 plants and 214 grams of dried plant material police found at Malaysian singer Yasin Sulaiman’s home could result in a death sentence. Photo: Dreamstime/TNS
Singer Yasin Sulaiman’s arrest reopens Malaysia’s medical cannabis debate

Yasin, who became a household name in Malaysia during the 1990s for his Islamic devotional and spiritual music, used cannabis for his bipolar disorder. He now faces the death penalty if convicted.

20 Apr 2022 - 10:26AM
Indian actors (from left) NT Rama Rao Jnr, Alia Bhat and Ram Charan with director SS Rajamouli of Telugu-language period action drama film RRR. Photo: AFP
Indian film-goers with Ukraine affinity, lament Russian invasion

Ukraine was, until the invasion, an increasingly favoured destination for popular Indian filmmakers – and the country’s landscapes have become familiar to film-goers via the big screen.

17 Apr 2022 - 6:43PM
Vegan nasi campur. Photo: Resty Woro Yuniar
Does vegan-friendly Indonesia need to feel guilty about eating meat?

Amid a debate on whether Indonesians should reduce meat consumption to combat climate change, foodies say it’s easy to have a plant-based diet with tempeh and gado-gado.

17 Apr 2022 - 11:30AM
Surrogate mothers pose for a photograph at a clinic near the city of Ahmedabad, in August 2013. File photo: Reuters
Will India’s surrogacy ban drive childless couples and poor women underground?

Commercial surrogacy has been viewed as a win-win by couples struggling to conceive and women looking to escape poverty, even as exploitation was rife in the industry.

16 Apr 2022 - 2:42PM
Women wear scarves around their heads amid an early heat wave in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday. Women in India have long faced sexual harassment in public. Photo: AP
India’s ‘anti-Romeo’ squads: protecting women or targeting Muslims?

Uttar Pradesh has revived its controversial police squads supposedly aimed at stopping sexual harassment in the street – raising vigilantism concerns, and fears they will be used to target young Muslim men.

16 Apr 2022 - 12:00PM
A tube of eggs is placed in cryogenic storage to be used for in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Photo: Getty Images
Social egg freezing: can it help boost Singapore’s flagging birth rate?

From next year, the city state will allow single women aged 21 to 35 to freeze their eggs. But fertility is a complex matter, as South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand’s experience shows.

16 Apr 2022 - 2:48PM
Multi Siahaan, a 33-year-old travel blogger who was born in Medan in North Sumatra, moved with her parents to Singkawang in 1994 and has lived there ever since. Photo: Handout
Indonesia’s Singkawang is ‘most tolerant’ city in Muslim-majority nation

Four in 10 residents of the Indonesian city that’s within a province bordering East Malaysia are ethnic Chinese. A new survey has found it’s the most tolerant place in the Muslim-majority nation of 270 million people.

18 Apr 2022 - 2:35PM
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy in February 2022. Photo: Reuters
Akshata Murty’s UK tax scandal divides Indians; peers remember her as ‘humble and simple’

The wife of Britain’s finance minister Rishi Sunak, who has an almost US$1 billion stake in tech giant Infosys, has won both support and censure in India over her non-domiciled tax status in the UK.

12 Apr 2022 - 11:27PM
Leaves from the ‘miracle’ moringa tree are favoured by countless numbers of people, including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for both food and medicinal purposes. Photo: Handout
Loved by India’s Modi, Cuba’s Castro, ‘wood’ you believe this miracle tree?

The leaves and fruits of the Moringa tree are a popular superfood in Western nations but have long been savoured in India, including by PM Modi who has moringa parathas for breakfast.

12 Apr 2022 - 1:34PM