On the peninsula’s troubled past and uncertain future.

Conservative rally. Seoul, 2018

Two massive four-way intersections converge just in front of Seoul City Hall, or city halls, as the old building lies in the shadow of the new. The Japanese left the original behind on their way out, following World War II. It was built in 1925, in the heyday of Japan’s imperial era. It’s made of dusted grey stone, 88 years older than its replacement. The new building is cresting, curved like a wave, hyper-modern and overarching, about to consume its predecessor, which has since been repurposed as Seoul’s Metropolitan Library. …

Inspired by David Eagleman’s Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

“photo of gray smoke” by Paul Wong on Unsplash

The fluorescent overhead lights fade as the white hospice walls fall in on themselves. Your breathing slows, and the sobs of your lingering family echo in the distance. As your heart beats its last beat you are overcome with tremendous warmth and a sense of euphoria that scatters all fear from mind. This state of calm eclipses any anxiety of death you had, and suddenly everything is quite all right.

You sink passively into darkness, a darkness so dark it muffles sound. As you fall further into this void, a…

Tribal politics in a historically fractured Myanmar.

“two men riding boats on water” by Julien de Salaberry on Unsplash

The land is scarred by irrigation canals. Sprawling rice paddies have taken on a deep green, saturated by the recent monsoon season. The water nourishing them is reflective against the harsh Southeast Asian sun, glinting out against the shallows under the grass. The green falls back, eventually fading into the heavily wooded highlands in the distance. It is at the base of these hills where the poppy fields blossom, an intense pink and red against the jade of the rice paddies.

Myanmar is undeniably gorgeous, both its land and the people that inhabit it. A uniquely diverse blend of Indian…

Cultural contrast from Baltimore to Bangkok

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

We are all a product of those that came before us. Our ancestors carried their culture through time, modifying it as they went, and preserving it in each surviving generation. In this way, culture is an extension of the folks that ushered it through the ages. Our collective past informs our culture just as our culture shapes us. We don’t always understand why we are the way we are, but the answer is often suggested in the roots of our tribe.

The culture of one’s homeland often influences one’s disposition, at least in part…

Finding purpose in your own context

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

Coming of age tends to be a bit daunting. Time isn’t as abundant as it once was and it seems to be falling away faster than you can harvest it. As I entered my early twenties I started to recognize the rapid passage of time and my place in it. After the untimely death of a close friend in 2013 I began to consider how limited our time truly is, and this thought terrified me. In my mind I have characterized coming of age as a looming wave of self-realization; a wave so big…

Nicholas Jackson

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