Travel: Hauling a 2- and 4-year old through 6 countries in 8 weeks

As we were leaving the region to move back home, I did a consultancy that took me to several capital cities to review national health programs. It was a great opportunity for all of us to say goodbye to friends, colleagues and places we've frequented over the past decade. So we packed up the house and shipped, sold or gave away our belongings, and took the kids on a two month journey through Southeast Asia. … [Read more...]

Dark hours in Burma

Design prompted by disturbing news from friends in Burma.After decades of proclaiming itself the protector of Buddhism (to secure legitimacy), this regime repeatedly brutalises its peaceful, devout people. International pressure for concrete action is increasing, especially among ASEAN, which considers Burma strategically important. Its policy of non-interference may soon change as state failure carries widespread ramifications for the geopolitical stability of the region. From within, severe economic contractions, rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions and a highly fragmented population are buckling this fraught state. Policy differences are rife within the junta, including growing competition among the ruling elite’s heirs. The one … [Read more...]

Myanmar: Stupas, Temples Everywhere

The farthest politically-incorrect limb does insufficient justice to painful Khmer cultural events {{{shoot me now}}. The weeklong annual rowing olympics in Phnom Penh-- replete with the requisite influx of a squillion country folk-- triggered a panic resolve for escape. So to Myanmar I followed fellow expat Andreas, where brilliant bursts of flora across the mountainous terrain do the departed monsoon rains proud. Within driving span of a quick nap (by us, not the driver’s) one passes from rainforests and evergreen highlands to dry tropical plains. This picturesque diversity perks a spirit stunted by the unyielding uniformity of an arid Cambodian landscape.It was very cool on Inle Lake with its idyllic floating villages and farms, … [Read more...]