On Assignment


Nowhere to run in Xi’s China.

Foreign Policy, October 18, 2018. 

Dimaluo, China.

"While the Dimaluo of Tenzin’s childhood is not entirely lost, it feels more threatened than ever.”

 

The chief fighting for an indigenous Vanuatu nation.

Al Jazeera, August 26, 2017. 

Pentecost, Vanuatu. 

"Today, Viraleo's classroom is empty. On the chalkboard, notes from the last lesson are fading. A kustom bank, reportedly housing billions of Vatu worth of pigs tusks, is closed so long as the chief's handcrafted timber throne sits empty. And the Tuvatu remains just a dream, rather than the beating heart of a kustom economy."

 

6 kilometers from the Taliban, tourism offers a lifeline.

South China Morning Post, July 14, 2018. 

Ishkashim, Afghanistan.

"Ishkashim is a bright spot in Afghanistan’s long-suffering tourism industry as it attracts those seeking superb selfies. And it’s perfectly safe – just ask the locals."

 

I travelled 23,500km overland from Adelaide to London. This is what I learnt.

ABC News, October 20, 2018.

36 nations.

“After 23,500 overland kilometres, 242 days, 36 countries, 28 currencies, 26 languages, 83 buses, 23 shared cars, 14 trains, and 7 ferries, I arrived at my finish line in London.I may have left Australia with a clear idea of where I was heading. But I had no idea what would come of it. In the end, I took away five lessons that will last me a lifetime.”

 

Mongolia: where adventure tourists can now enjoy an Aussie-style latte on the steppe

ABC News, June 3, 2018. 

Tsetserleg, Mongolia. 

"You're more likely to run into a yak than a cafe in Tsetserleg, Mongolia. But Australian couple Liz and Murray Benn have set up a Melbourne-style cafe in the mountains, offering rare, year-round employment for scores of locals in the struggling countryside."

 

Trump, Kim, Mongolia? A Dream Fades in the Switzerland of Asia.

South China Morning Post, May 6, 2018. 

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.  

"Mongolia hoped it would be put on the diplomatic map when speculation grew Ulan Bator would host a meeting between the Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. Now those dreams seem as empty as its vast open plains"

 

The mountains: Timor Leste's blessing and curse.

The Diplomat Magazine, March 29, 2018

Dili, Timor Leste. 

"Long an enabler of Timorese independence, the island’s mountains are now a chief adversary in Dili’s quest to link the nation."

 

Timor Leste's Forgotten Female Rebels

The Diplomat, May 16, 2018. 

Dili, Timor Leste.  

"For the women who also played a central role in Timor-Leste’s independence war, recognition for their contribution is muted, constrained by policy settings that marginalize the essential role women played in liberating the nation."

 
 
 

Western populists should learn from Cuba's mistakes.

Huffington Post, November 29, 2016. 

Santa Clara, Cuba. 

"Western populists and Cuban socialists sit at different ends of the left-right divide,  but they are united in their inability to envisage a new future that embraces bold ideas and offers viable change. They are united in their attachment to mythologised versions of history that only prohibit contemporary problem solving to contemporary woes."

 

Malaysia's abandoned tropical paradise.

One Road to London, March 20, 2018.

Pulau Bidong, Malaysia.

"This island used to be the world's most densely populated place. Today, just three people remain."