The Land of Make Believe: Federalism in Russia

“Let’s meet at the cafe on the right,” read the note in my hand. “It’s the one where they don’t sell cigarettes.” I stood on the corner of Rue La Bruyère and Rue Jean-Baptiste-Pigalle in the Saint-Georges district of Paris. The byzantine domes of Sacré Coeur could be glimpsed at a distance, their impressive alabaster gently piercing the ultramarine sky,… Continue Reading ➤

English: a global language, but a language nonetheless

A language laboratory in Huaihua College's Western Campus in Huaihua, Hunan, China. The rigid teaching of English in some Asian nations is hampering learners' abilities to make creative use of the language, thus harming cross-cultural communication

In the occasional but ever-growing English language fancies of South Korean TV, there is an instructional approach to answering the question “How are you?” A celebrity on a variety quiz show, a reporter interviewing an American musician or a TV character traveling through Sydney will answer all the same, verbatim, in a monotone, “I am… Continue Reading ➤

Who needs the rule of law, anyway?

The Pudong area of Shanghai, as seen from the Bund (Source: Flickr: mclcbooks)

China is not always known for its adherence to the rule of law.  The judiciary is controlled by the Communist Party, and criminal trials, which 98% of the time result in convictions, “often amount to mere sentencing announcements”, according to Freedom House.  The law that exists is flouted with impunity; provisions against torture do little… Continue Reading ➤

The Hong Kong Protests in Context

Hong Kong protests

In September, Emily Ting, along with Hong Kongers across the globe, changed her Facebook profile picture to a yellow ribbon: a symbol of solidarity with the democracy movement. Hers was not the only colour of ribbon, however. Throughout Hong Kong, there was a veritable rainbow of colours, from blue, showing support for the police and… Continue Reading ➤