A skyscraper photo essay

Port of Dalian 2001

It had passable beaches, a large shipbuilding industry and a lot of impressive skyscrapers; from the top of any of these you could see the port and in the other direction the green hills marking the end of the urban sprawl. At that stage of my life I hadn’t seen Shanghai, Hong Kong or New York. I was overwhelmed by the shiny skyscrapers in Dalian. When I later visited New York, the first museum I went to was the Sky Scraper Museum, my enthusiasm has since waned due to overexposure to tall buildings.


A review of South of the Clouds by Seth Faison

South of the Clouds, Exploring the Hidden Realms of China by former New York Times reporter Seth Faison is a balanced and interesting China expat memoir. Why? Because the book includes the background to the stories he reported on and also intimate details of his private life. He writes about some fairly edgy stuff like dating a transsexual woman and visiting dodgy massage parlours, and he does it without being a gratuitous lecher or a tiresome anti-discrimination warrior.

Arriving in Xian, home of the Terracotta Warriors, in 1984 to study…


A review of the graphic novel

Ray Hecht’s autobiographical graphic novel starts with his birth in Israel, where his parents were immigrants, and ends up with him working in Asia. Moving to America as a small child he has an unstable upbringing, thanks to his Ukrainian mother and American father divorcing. The drawings and the layout here obviously took a lot of work and I dare say it may have been easier just to write the narrative, however, this was a more interesting way to tell his story. …


Experience of free healthcare in Argentina

Hospital de Clinicas

Lying in bed my eye felt like it was going to explode, finally, after hours, aqueous fluid and pus squirted out relieving the pressure. The pain subsided, but only for fifteen minutes. So began a rewarding experience of the public health sector in Argentina, one winter morning in 2010.

After consulting my friend (who I later fell out with) at reception, I took a taxi to Hospital Lagleyze in Villa Gral. Mitre. Only one eye was infected and very sensitive to light, to keep it clamped shut I needed the good eye to be…


Chiang Kai-shek sobre la Puerta de Tiananmén

Chaing Kai-shek sobre la Puerta de Tiananmén, Wikipedia

En 2016 en el Salón Conmemorativo de Chiang Kai-shek en Taipei, Taiwan, ví una foto que mostraba el mismo Generalísimo, Chiang Kai-shek, sobre la Puerta de Tiananmén de la Ciudad Prohibida. Siempre había pensado que era Mao quien primero tenía el mal gusto para poner su retrato en la Ciudad Prohibida en Beijing, por eso fue una sorpresa saber que Chiang había estado allí antes que él.

En el retrato la postura militar de Chiang era evidente, a pesar de que solo se lo podía ver desde los hombros hacia arriba. Su…


The ups and downs of the infamous Peruvian President and his family

William H. Prescott was a student at Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1811 to 1814. In his time there he got caught in a bread-laced snowball fight. A piece of bread crust entered and blinded his left eye. A talented student of Greek and Latin, Prescott wanted to become a lawyer. In 1815 his right eye gave up too because of infection and the long nights reading by candlelight that the law required.

After rest, sight did come back to Prescott’s good eye, but it was always weak…


Politics, education and crime in Buenos Aires

photo: Frank Beyer

Corina, a forty-seven year old teacher, was walking home when a beaten-up burgundy car pulled up beside her. Two men got out, grabbed Corina, forced her inside and put a bag over her head. Corina, fearing the worst, struggled wildly as her shirt was pulled up, then she felt her stomach burning. Her kidnappers used an awl to scratch the words “ollas no” into her belly as well as giving her a good beating. An awl is a tool that looks like a screwdriver and is used for scratching marks on wood. …


photo: Yupi666 at English Wikipedia

Axel Kaiser reminds me of the wealthy students I taught at the Grange School in Santiago, Chile in 2005. Some good kids among them but a sense of superiority from many. One of the richest guys in Chile, if not the richest, Andrónico Luksic, sent his sons to the Grange. Maximiliano, one of the middle sons, was a nice kid with the air of somebody used to people coming to him. The youngest son, whose name I can’t remember, was a bit of a prick — he was only thirteen or so at the time. I mention them to name…


Becak rickshaws, Bogor, Indonesia, Wikipedia

The becak drivers of Solo were some of the most destitute looking guys I dealt with in Java. Sure, there are people worse off in a slum somewhere in Jakarta — but not the ones I’ve been to. The people in marginal neighbourhoods I’ve seen didn’t look as malnourished as the Solo becak drivers. Jogjakarta, an hour away from Solo, was another story, the drivers there had more meat on their bones and were more rapacious — consequences of Jogja being a booming tourist city.

A becak is bicycle rickshaw with a covered seat for the passenger up front, the…

F E Beyer

Writing — history, reviews, fiction, policiales. Interested in Asia, South America and NZ. @FrankVeyer https://frankebeyer.contently.com/

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