Asia, to me, is riveting. Dynamic. Colorful. Intense. A melting pot of cultures and yet a powder keg of political and economic rivalry. It’s like the busy intersection in Saigon’s notoriously chaotic streets, where the daily rush of bicycles, motor scooters, and dusty trucks maneuver fluidly without colliding into one another. If you don’t know how to step in the right direction, it may leave you in the dust, dazed and confused.
I’m starting this blog as a running commentary on all things Asia, with an emphasis on (but not limited to) my interests in regional socioeconomics, foreign affairs, cultural perception, and sustainability issues concerning some of the countries I’ve traveled, worked or lived in and came to appreciate more in depth. There are plenty of country-specific blogs that provide great news coverage and analysis, or sites that provide scholarly insight on issues dividing developed vs developing countries of Asia. Yet having traveled to many corners of this the region and beyond, I sensed a need for blogs that provide comparative analysis of issues shared across the entire region in varying shades of grey. As the world looks to Asia as the next driver of global growth, the movement of people and the connectivity of ideas within the region also accelerates at a dizzying pace. I intend to capture some of these dynamics in a region rich with centuries of cross-cultural interaction, which will hopefully make for an informative (or entertaining) read.
My passion lies in the study of culture, social conventions, politics, and economics that affect the regional dynamics of East and Southeast Asia. My taste in understanding multicultural issues was first and foremost a personal journey, after realizing that not everyone shared this perspective despite living in one of the most dynamic pro-immigration communities of California. Born and bred in one of the oldest historic capitals of Japan (Kyoto), I grew up in California and was drawn to the collective heritage of Asia and the tangled lives that my neighbors had left behind that still impact their lives to this day in the hotbed of technology in Silicon Valley. Ever since I’ve spent a considerable amount of time studying, working, and living in Asia: Taiwan (Taipei), China (Nanjing), Japan (Tokyo/Kobe), and Singapore, and have visited many more, from Xinjiang to Manado.
My hope is that you find the topics covered in this blog interesting and that it captures the multifaceted complexities that I personally find fascinating, just as I’ve meandered through the many crowded streets of Asia.