Weekly Rewind: Elections in Kyrgyzstan, Dessert in Hong Kong, and the Koreans at the Top of the Art World

A photo taken on September 30, 2015 shows Changdeokgung Palace during a 'moonlight tour' in Seoul. The 15th century Changdeokgung Palace is one of five remaining royal Joseon dynasty palaces, and is recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Welcome to Asia Society’s Weekly Rewind, featuring some of the best Asia-related content you may have missed. This week:


The Koreans at the Top of the Art World
Natasha Degen and Kibum Kim | The New Yorker

Tansaekhwa is a twentieth-century artistic movement from Korea with a focus on monochromatic painting. In the past year, two major shows in Seoul and Los Angeles have helped launch the movement to the top of the art world.

Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?
Selena Hoy | CityLab

In Japan, children as young as ages six or seven take the subway and run errands alone, without a parent or guardian in sight. “By giving them this freedom, parents are placing significant trust not only in their kids, but in the whole community,” writes Selena Hoy.

Central Asia’s Island of Democracy is Sinking
Nate Schenkkan | Foreign Policy

Kyrgyzstan has been dubbed Central Asia’s “island of democracy” for its open electoral system. However, as the country approaches national elections next week, there are “worrying signs” that it is becoming less democratic.

A South Korean City Designed For The Future Takes On A Life Of Its Own
Ari Shapiro | NPR

Songdo, South Korea is “a city built from scratch.” First conceived in 1986 as a hub for global companies and opened in 2005, Songdo now has a mixed reputation and many consider it a “futuristic ghost town.”  



Americans Try Hong Kong Desserts For The First Time
Robert Broadfoot | Buzzfeed

The Buzzfeed team undergoes a taste test of popular Hong Kong desserts.

Video: Americans Try Hong Kong Desserts For The First Time (Buzzfeed)

Gay Marriage Proposal on Beijing Subway Goes Viral in China
Tessa Berenson | TIME

This video of a man’s proposal on a crowded Beijing subway car has gone viral in China. 

Video: The gay marriage proposal in Beijing subway (YouTube)


Overheard This Week

“Had it been any other public meeting and the mike had not been working then one can easily guess what would have happened. I bow before the youth who had to face inconvenience. They showed the power of patience and it has to be used for productive purposes.”

—Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extemporaneous remark following a temporary audio system malfunction during a public address. [Firstpost]


By the Numbers

$137 billion — A projected valuation of India’s Internet market in 2020. [USA TODAY]

620,000 — The area, in square kilometers, of the Kermadec ocean sanctuary in New Zealand, which will be one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. [The Guardian]

573 — The number of mentions of “China’s assertiveness” in U.S. media in 2014, representing an exponential rise. [The Atlantic


Each week, Asia Blog will feature highlights from Asia-focused feature writing, photography, and multimedia. Do you have recommendations? Please email a link and any related details to blog@asiasociety.org (we regret that we won’t be able to respond directly to each inquiry).

Opinions expressed on highlighted articles are solely those of the author(s), not of the Asia Society.

About the Author

Profile picture for user Tim Lau
Tim Lau is a Content Producer at Asia Society. He is a New Jersey native and has also lived in Greater Chicago and Washington, DC.