Jayanto Damanik - Conversations

The phone call from my friend Kate came at about 5.30 this afternoon. “What are you doing? Have you already left work?” By chance I HAD already left work, and was on my way home. It didn’t need much convincing, however, for me to backtrack and to head towards the new Central Park development for […]

Matching Shoes

“That’s fantastic! Do you mind if I take a photograph of your shoes?”, I said to the woman nearby as I noticed her taking off her high-heeled shoes only to replace them with some similarly glamorous flats. At first, she seemed a little reluctant. As far as she was concerned I could have been some […]

Spectacular views of the Great Wall of China
Jacky Cheung and Khalil Fong

Customs at Sydney Airport this morning was an absolute nightmare. Although my baggage came off reasonably quickly, there were still delays. I have one of those new “electronic passports” which, strictly speaking, speeds up the process of coming through customs. You’re supposed to swipe your passport, stand in front of the camera, and have your […]

Inside Chocolate Night Club

My final complete day in Beijing was one of some rather intense socialising. It all began with late afternoon drinks, which then morphed into dinner, and then a bit of bar-hopping. The drinks were lots of fun with an arty-expat crew in a swish apartment overlooking the Grand Canal. The kind of apartment that would […]

Thats me and thats the Great Wall of China

The early 80s pop song, “Walking On The Chinese Wall” by Phillip Bailey has been repeating itself over and over in my head today. When it was released way back then I liked it, as it was a good tune with a good video clip, and it had been produced by Phil Collins who was […]

The fake beach inside the Beijing Water Cube

The only other time I’ve been this cold and wet was two years ago in Sweden. Although it was summer, the combination of colder temperatures and wet weather combined for truly unpleasant conditions. I said to my friend, Tony at the time that I had never been this cold in my life. That was still […]

The dirt market

Those strong winds last night brought their fair share of dirt into Beijing. It’s not as bad as people have previously described the combination of dirt and pollution here – far from it – but it has certainly reduced visibility. And it’s cold. Well, not as cold as the temperatures I experienced earlier this year […]

Please do not purchase pirated discs

Just down the road from Kate’s there’s a big shopping market. Over several floors they sell everything you could possibly imagine from clothing to electronics. Outside the market there are two giant signs warning people not to buy pirated CDs. “Who buys CDs anymore?”, I thought to myself. Before the shop doors had opened sharply […]