At 8:15pm on the 8th of November 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared on live television to announce that the two highest banknote denominations of the Indian Rupee had become worthless. Citizens had until the New Year’s Eve of 2016 to either bank deposit their 500 and 1000 Indian Rupee (Rs) banknotes (~AUD$10/$20 respectively) or swap them for lower banknotes at registered banks.
Look up amongst the throng of high rise buildings housing residents in one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and perhaps you'll wonder why so many windows in Bangladesh are barred. Largely designed to keep thieves out, and to avoid those looking out of their balconies from falling out, having window grills in Bangladesh is as common-place as having a roof.
SARS ravaged Hong Kong more a decade ago, infecting over 1,700 people and killing more than 300. Because of it, when I eat Dim Sum with my family in Hong Kong, I am presented with a cultural oddity. There are two pairs of chopsticks to eat with.
The volcanic island of Ambae in northern Vanuatu rose from obscurity into world news in September after ash and gases began spewing ominously from its volcanic crater. It’s 11,000 residents were promptly evacuated to neighbouring islands in anticipation of further eruptions.
In tourism brochure clichés, Myanmar is often referred to as the last jewel of Asia. After fifty years of isolation under military rule, the newly open Southeast Asian nation conjures quaint images of the last untouched frontier in a shrinking world. Although we must remind ourselves that such romanticisation can be misplaced, given the authoritarian regime was a harsh reality rather than a luxurious abstinence from modernisation, many foreigners are curiously enthusiastic about visiting the country.
When I first talked to Xiao Zhang he was packing his bag in a tiny, shabby room near a construction site where he worked. He has lived there with his wife and other fellow workers since he came to this city.
“I fled from a remote village in Guangxi province to Shenzhen to change my life three years ago.” He said. “But now I realise it is much harder than I expected. I could never actually become part of this city, so I am planning to leave.”
WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app is an integral part of Chinese contemporary culture. The app has over 800 million active users, 90% being Chinese, and is used to conduct virtually every sort of transaction imaginable in China.
The app is also highly censored and heavily monitored by the Chinese Central Government.
Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement on 1st of June 2017 has lowered America into an enormous chasm of moral inferiority that Australia cannot afford to replicate for the sake of its Pacific neighbours.