22 April 2019

Brendon Hong

EJ Insight contributor
  • In a cartoon used in a national security education campaign in mainland China, a female government employee dates a foreign academic who turns out to be a spy. Photo: Xinhua

    Superheroes and Chinese spies

    - May 3, 2016 2:10pm
    The Chinese Communist Party’s first ever National Security Education Day has come and gone. Like most of the party’s awareness campaigns, it was largely ignored, and left behind is a collection of puzzling, delusional, almost farcical...
  • Yunnan Amber Ale was recently added to the menu at Shanghai's Boxing Cat brewpubs. Photo: Brendon Hong

    Yunnan tea gives Boxing Cat a knockout

    - Apr 29, 2016 5:30pm
    The tea farmers of Yunnan likely never imagined their harvest being used to brew anything but the classic hot beverage. So when Shanghai’s Boxing Cat Brewery teamed up with Beijing’s Great Leap Brewing to create their Yunnan Amber Ale, diners were...
  • On Saturday nights, from 8:30 to 11:30, Visage One transforms into a live music venue. Photo: Brendon Hong

    Hair and music in a Hollywood Road speakeasy

    - Apr 22, 2016 5:30pm
    “Visage”, “One”, “Hair”, “Music” – Those are the words scrawled on the door of Benky Chan’s business. A quiet man with peppered hair, Chan has been at it for years. He initially worked his way through...
  • 'Cow Apa' (L) from Kazakh artist Saule Suleimenova and 'I Carry on Living with the Pumpkins' from Japan's Kusama Yayoi are among works displayed in a One Belt One Road arts exhibition. Photo: Sotheby's HK

    One Belt One Road: Where even propaganda fails

    - Apr 15, 2016 5:30pm
    When CY Leung gave his fourth policy address in January, the phrase “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) was mentioned as many as 48 times during his two-hour speech. It was an exercise in tone-deaf bureaucracy, more...
  • Young Master's craft beer is able to please both casual drinkers and serious beer nuts. Photos: Brendon Hong

    Hong Kong craft beer finds its fizz

    - Apr 8, 2016 5:58pm
    Within an Aberdeen industrial estate is a gem. Young Master Ales is one of the few local craft beer breweries that has truly made a mark on Hong Kong’s dining scene. In a very short time...
  • Another famine in North Korea might change the political calculus for China. Photo: Internet

    The incredible friendship between China and North Korea

    - Apr 6, 2016 5:16pm
    The language in an editorial published in North Korea’s state media mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun last week was characteristically nationalistic and placed an incredible burden on the Hermit Kingdom’s citizenry. Utilizing fiery “revolutionary” language, the piece said North...
  • Aung San Suu Kyi (center) may not be president, but she is unquestionably Myanmar's ultimate leader. Photo: Reuters

    Myanmar’s puppeteer-in-chief

    - Mar 23, 2016 5:12pm
    “We woke up free, democratized and wealthy.” So said a friend writing from Yangon, responding to a query about the newly minted president-elect of Myanmar (also known as Burma). It was a line loaded with barbs,...
  • Yue Minjun's name may not be recognizable to many, but his face surely is. Photo: Brendon Hong

    What can we learn from contemporary Chinese art?

    - Mar 19, 2016 8:01am
    This narrative is a familiar one: China’s incredible economic rise has sparked global interest in its contemporary art. Collectors, academics, historians and curious minds want to know what the artists of a nation in constant transition can create that...
  • If the notorious Donald Trump (right) is elected US president, China under Xi Jinping will probably claim that US-style democracy is a failure. Photo: Reuters

    How China Sees Trump, and what is missed

    - Mar 12, 2016 8:03am
    Shocking. Meteoric. Inexplicable. It’s tough to explain how Donald Trump has muscled his way into American politics, but those are a few words tossed around by observers when they are forced to describe the situation. Once...
  • Guided by two pearls, the fire dragon is paraded through the village, spurred on by reverberating drums and piercing firecrackers. Photo: Brendon Hong

    Tai Hang’s fire dragon and Hong Kong’s traditions

    - Mar 5, 2016 8:01am
    Every year, locals retell the story of how Tai Hang’s fire dragon came to be. When the neighborhood was still a small Hakka village settled by fishermen and farmers, a typhoon swept through, destroying everything in...
  • A villain-hitter strikes down a paper with printed graphics before setting it aflame. Photo: Brendon Hong

    The villain-hitters of Causeway Bay: Cursing your enemies

    - Feb 29, 2016 6:03pm
    They’re impossible to miss: rhythmic slaps, chants audible over the traffic, brief billows of warmth from their flames. Several women, mostly retirees, are icons under Canal Road Bridge in Causeway Bay, where, for a fee, they...
  • Tsukiji Market is bustling in the hours before dawn. Photo: Brendon Hong

    See this before it’s gone: Tsukiji Market in Tokyo

    - Feb 20, 2016 8:02am
    Tsukiji Market, the iconic location in Tokyo where a single tuna can go for insanely high prices during pre-dawn auctions, will close down in November. Even as controversy surrounds its planned closure and relocation, business barrels on.  Work at Tsukiji begins...
  • Visitors can try the craft brewery in Logroad Daikanyama. Photo: Brendon Hong

    Walk Here: Logroad Daikanyama

    - Feb 13, 2016 8:01am
    Cities need to be green. Otherwise, they become the urban hellholes of William Gibson’s description: “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” When part of the Tokyu Toyoko...
  • The ceremony is attended by Communist Party officials and local students. Photos: Brendon Hong

    Nanjing Massacre: how a city remembers its past

    - Feb 5, 2016 6:00pm
    (Left) Every winter, a solemn memorial ceremony takes place in Nanjing. Dec. 13 marked the 78th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. (Right) During the memorial ceremony, access to the memorial museum is restricted. Typically, the ceremony...
  • To reach Birqash, the camels must survive a 40-day journey from Somalia and Sudan. Photo: Brendon Hong

    Life and death in Egypt’s camel market

    - Jan 30, 2016 8:01am
    The bed of the pickup truck is already sagging under the weight of two camels, with no room to spare. But the butcher bought another and he’s not about to hire a second truck to move...
  • Myanmar's jade industry is concentrated in Hpakant, a town in the resource-rich northern state of Kachin. Photo: Brendon Hong

    Why you should not buy jade from Myanmar

    - Jan 23, 2016 8:01am
    In Ruili’s Jiegao Jade Wholesale Market, the price of jade can swing wildly. One reason is plain hustling. Jade wholesalers who have carved out a living along Yunnan’s border with Myanmar (also known as Burma) aren’t...
  • Pieces of pangolins (right) and other exotic creatures aren't difficult to come by for mainland Chinese. Photo: Brendon Hong

    Don’t Eat This: Pangolins (and tigers, rhinos, manta rays …)

    - Jan 16, 2016 8:01am
    Exclusive tiger feasts where the jungle cat is butchered before the guests — for grotesque authenticity, maybe? — are hosted in secret locations in China where seats are reserved for the nouveau riche and government officials. State-run tiger...
  • Lu Maw in his Moustache Brothers T-shirt and his wife at their home, where the brothers bring down the house with their biting brand of political parody. Photo: Brendon Hong

    Moustache Brothers kill in Mandalay

    - Jan 9, 2016 8:01am
    In the first five minutes of his act, the clown Lu Maw unleashes a barrage of politically charged jokes at his audience. He unfurls a map; points north, east, everywhere; briefly describes all the internal conflicts...
  • Misokatsu Yabaton has an open kitchen. Photos: Brendon Hong

    Eat This: Misokatsu in Nagoya

    - Dec 31, 2015 6:16pm
    Cheap plane tickets to Nagoya (名古屋), Japan, are in abundance right now. Fly there for the food. One famous dish is misokatsu, epitomized by the restaurant Misokatsu Yabaton. Look for the giant pig on the side...
  • The best place to try freshwater eel is probably Atsuta Houraiken. Photo: Brendon Hong

    Eat this: Nagoya’s hitsumabushi

    - Dec 25, 2015 8:04am
    To understand why Nagoya (名古屋) may have the best, yet easily accessible, freshwater eel, a good thing to do is look at what goes on in a couple of other major cities of Japan. Tokyo and Osaka...

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