Jars in the Jungle

For CBC’s Dispatches, from Cambodia  In 2003, wildlife rangers in Cambodia went looking for tigers. Instead, they found jars and coffins, centuries old, filled with human remains. Thirteen in all. Which made no sense. Cambodia’s practised cremation for hundreds of years. So who were these people? How’d they get there? It remained a mystery. Until now. Dispatches contributor Brian…

Prawn Cruise out of Phnom Penh

The plan is to boil the prawn, Cajun style, as we cruise up the Mekong River to a grassy island about an hour out of the city. I’m not sure how the river-cruise tradition got started. There have long been little boats offering rides on the Mekong at a low hourly rate. One day someone…

The Acre

Mom has long black hair and laughs a lot. Sometimes she wears braids and looks like a blue-eyed Indian maiden. She smokes while she cooks, pinches the cigarette between her lips, squints, stirs potatoes in a sooty Dutch oven, prods the fire, light sputtering across the acre, embers cast to the stars. The acre is…

Sri Lanka’s Information War

The information war, fought through images and language, is over narrative. The Tamil Tigers want to be seen as liberators; the government wants to paint them as terrorists. In this struggle, over the past few years, the government has gained the upper hand. (World Politics Review, December 10, 2008)

Time-Traveling in Malaysia

For the curious, Kampung Baru is just one rail stop away from the towers — a matter of one ringgit (about 30 U.S. cents) and less than 10 minutes. It’s a small effort to visit one of the few places left in the city that offers a glimpse of an older style of Malay life…

Riding the Sea at Gaza

Gaza is, among other things, a natural place to surf. Waves that build across 3,000 miles of the Mediterranean break on its beaches with surprising frequency and occasional intensity. But of course, Gaza is also the crowded home of 1.5 million refugees and descendants of refugees, isolated under an Israeli blockade and reeling from bombardment.…

Study in Violence

Explosions are a common theme in relations between Thailand and its ethnic Malay Muslim minority in the country’s far south. A separatist insurgency has been raging here for five years, killing up to 3,500 people, most of them civilians. An unknown number of rebels are spread across four contiguous provinces, and the Thai government has…