The digital nomad: lonely, white, male

This was originally published on Tech in Asia on Sept. 3, 2015. Jon Yongfook, a British-Singaporean software engineer, had enough of his day-to-day routine and decided he was done being the cog in a corporate wheel. “I didn’t want to keep building stuff for other people. I wanted to build stuff for myself. And all I was doing was just waking up in my ridiculously expensive apartment, making breakfast, going to Starbucks, going home, making dinner, and going to bed. And I was just thinking, why? Why would I stay here?” he tells Seoul-based journalist Do You-jin, in her upcoming documentary…

[Editorial] You can make a difference, too

Published February 2015 in Groove Korea When Daniel Payne came to Korea in 2003, he was conflicted. As a 23-year-old divorcé struggling with balancing his religion and homosexuality, he found no sympathy from the local Christian Church. But years of questioning God led him to realize a higher purpose: to create a home for those in the LGBTQ community who were shunned by the church but still sought comfort in their religion. After many months, he found a home for his congregation, the Open Doors Community Church, and has extended his reach as a counselor and pastor to help establish Rainbow,…

[Editorial] Onward and upward

Published in November 2013 in Groove Korea One of Groove Korea’s most difficult times in recent months involved Matt Lamers telling me to get lost. The editor-in-chief and I were arguing over the editing on a feature I had been writing for tireless months, and that he had spent days revising. We both wanted the perfect story but we didn’t agree on how to get there. There were strong words, bruised egos and, at one point, threats of scrapping the project altogether. After a year of dedication to the magazine, I almost did take his suggestion to get lost. But that…

A savvy bike for the savvy rider

Published on May 12, 2014, on The Korea Herald With a sleek body, smooth transmission and a muscular engine that masters all conditions, it’s got the looks, the moves and the charm: There’s no denying that the new BMW R nineT is a sexy, sexy motorcycle. It’s clear that BMW Motorrad, the motorcycle arm of the German carmaker, has paid extreme attention to detail to blend design and engineering on its newest boxer twin, which rolled out last year to celebrate the brand’s 90th anniversary and arrived locally in March. The nineT’s minimalist-styled frame is pared down to the bare…

This is Independence Monument Park.

Published Jan. 10, 2010, on one face at a time Ever since the hundred-something brothels in Phnom Penh’s notorious Svay Pak district were closed about two years ago, prostitutes have established other stomping grounds around town to solicit their services. Several brothels on Rue 63 near the outdoor Sorya Shopping Center boutiques are allowed to remain open, their distinct red lights a blatant call-out to any client desiring sex services. While tourists may not find a brothel section in their Lonely Planet guide books, any moto-dop (motorbike driver) or tuk-tuk (carriage taxi) driver can show them the way to a brothel,…

Anita Alvarado: Chile’s Geisha takes a low profile

Published Aug. 7, 2008, on The Santiago Times   (Ed. Note: Anita Alvarado is most commonly known as the Chilean Geisha. From a poor background, she gavebirth to her first child at a young age and began working as a prostitute to support her child. In 1992, when she was only 19, she emigrated to Japan, where she continued to sell her sexual services, but quickly became one of Japan’s VIP prostitutes, involving herself with mafia clients and eventually marrying into money. She is a well known, controversial figure, often in the Chilean spotlight for being born a poor woman…