‘City of Imagination: Kowloon Walled City’

That’s the name of a new Wall Street Journal documentary:

The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was once the densest place on earth, a virtually lawless labyrinth of crime, grime, commerce and hope. A Wall Street Journal documentary tracks its colorful legacy 20 years after its demolition.

The link above leads to the doc on WSJ.com, and there’s also a YouTube version.

Very much worth a watch.

How I’ve helped with our Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 coverage

Yesterday marked three weeks since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing.

For the latest news, keep an eye on our streaming MH370 updates.

Meanwhile, I spent some in time Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere helping with our coverage, and wanted to share a few of the stories I worked on.

First, I helped out with an in-depth narrative piece telling the stories of some of the people on board on the flight.

The story begins:

As night fell last Friday in Kuala Lumpur, businessman Philip Wood hurried to gather his bags for a trip to Beijing. He had confused the dates, but his girlfriend in China texted him to make sure he got on the plane.

A group of Chinese artists capped off their exhibition at a local cultural center in Malaysia’s capital city with a day of sightseeing and a banquet lunch of duck soup, fried shrimp and pork in brown sauce.

Norli Akmar Hamid finished packing for her long-overdue honeymoon and posted a photograph on Facebook of her cat trying to sneak into her suitcase. The cat chewed the lining near the administrative assistant’s neatly folded blue T-shirt and beige towel.

All of them boarded Malaysia Airlines 3786.KU -2.08% Flight 370 late Friday night and flew away shortly after midnight in the tropical night sky toward Beijing. Soon after, the widebody Boeing 777 jet carrying 239 people vanished from radar screens.

The flight manifest included Americans, Australians, Indians and passengers from a host of other countries. There were more than 150 Chinese on board, many of them tourists who belong to China’s burgeoning middle class. A country between Thailand and Singapore, Malaysia has emerged in recent years as a major transit hub and tourist destination for globe-trotting travelers.

Flight 370 took off carrying 239 life stories, each filled with moments big and small, ordinary lives soon to be swept up in a tragic mystery. Now, as the hopes for a miracle fade by the day, memory transforms the random and routine into the meaningful and momentous.

I encourage you to read the whole thing.

Separately, I wrote a short piece on pilots and aviation buffs sharing their musings on Flight 370 via blogs, Facebook, Tweets, and more.

I also helped with a story about chaotic scenes as Chinese relatives of missing passengers were separated from the media by security personnel.

In the video embedded at the top of this post and on YouTube here, I discussed the scene and some video I shot.

And finally, in the video embedded above and on YouTube here, I participated in a live Google Hangout with our Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, Patrick McDowell, and aviation expert Harro Ranter to answer readers’ questions about Flight 370.

Stay tuned.

And if you don’t already, follow me on Twitter, as I’ve been posting frequently Flight 370-related updates there.

Belatedly, my story on Singapore startups

I’ve been remiss in sharing some of my recent stories here.

In case you you missed it last month, I wrote an in-depth piece on Singapore’s increasingly lively startup scene.

Click through for an interactive feature on some Singapore-specific apps and a rundown of some local tech companies — and some potential challenges to the industry.

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(The story is for WSJ subscribers only — if you don’t already, subscribe! — but here’s a non-paywalled blog post introducing the piece.)

Next up: How I’ve helped out with Malaysia Flight 370 coverage. Stay tuned…

Our Story on WhatsApp in Asia

Quick note to share a WSJ story I helped out on Thursday about challenges Facebook may face in Asia following its acquisition of WhatsApp:

Facebook Inc. ‘s $19 billion deal for WhatsApp in part is a move to bolster the U.S. company’s position abroad.

But in Asia—which has the world’s largest, and possibly most avid, social-media audience—Facebook still has its work cut out for it.

That is because in Asia, even more than on Facebook’s home turf, the big, growing social-media market is on mobile phones. And if Facebook wants to be as dominant on smartphones in Asia as it has been on personal computers, WhatsApp will need to lure users away from three popular apps in the region: Naver Corp.’s Line, Tencent Holdings Ltd. ‘s WeChat and Kakao Corp.’s Kakao Talk.

Visit WSJD for more stories on the deal.

Following Thailand protest news: blogs, my Twitter lists, local media, and more

2014 02 09 bkk shutdown

Since I’m now in Singapore covering technology news across Southeast Asia, my posts about the ongoing unrest in Thailand will probably be limited in the weeks and months ahead.

So, as I’ve done in the past, I wanted to offer suggestions for following the news as things develop.

Blogs

Twitter

Google News search

Local media

Wikipedia

Programming note: I’ve joined The Wall Street Journal

Friends, I’m delighted to tell you that I’ve joined The Wall Street Journal/WSJD. (I tweeted the news a few weeks back, and wanted to share it here, as well.)

I’ll be working as Tech Reporter, Southeast Asia, based in Singapore. I’m excited to work with some of the very smartest people in the journalism world, covering important issues in this dynamic, populous region.

Posts will likely be few and far between in the immediate future, but normal programming will resume shortly.

As ever, thanks for reading.

‘Bangkok Shutdown’ update: Court says government can delay Feb. 2 election — but will it?

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The Wall Street Journal reports:

Thailand’s Constitutional Court ruled on Friday that contentious elections set for February 2 can be postponed, adding further pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government to delay the vote, as antigovernment protests continue.

And:

The court said Thailand’s constitution doesn’t prohibit postponing an election in the case of an emergency or if there are other obstructions to the polls going ahead safely. It said that if the Election Commission considers it necessary to postpone the ballot, it should propose a delay to the government, which could then seek a royal decree to postpone the vote or set a new date.

And:

Varathep Rattanakorn, a minister in the prime minister’s office, told local media that the government will have to study the court’s verdict on delaying the election to determine whether it was an order or a suggestion.

But Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, one of Thailand’s five election commissioners, told reporters in southern Thailand, where he was meeting with local officials, that the commission could meet with the government on Monday. He said he expects to government to seek a new royal decree by Tuesday to scrub the Feb. 2 election date.

Reuters says:

One election commissioner, speaking to Reuters, said the vote could still go ahead on February 2 if Yingluck’s government dug in its heels.

“We will ask to meet with the prime minister and her government on Monday to discuss a new election date,” Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said. “If the government doesn’t agree to postpone the election, then the election will go ahead.”

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post says:

The caretaker government will postpone the Feb 2 election if anti-government protesters end their rallies, caretaker PM’s Office Minister Varathep Rattanakorn said on Friday.

The protesters must also promise not to obstruct the new poll and there must be no boycott of it, he said.

But postponing the poll would be futile if it continues to face disruptions, Mr Varathep said. The Election Commission (EC) will invite caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to discuss the poll postponement on Monday after the court also ruled that the premier should discuss a new election date with the EC chairman.

There are also stories from the New York Times, the AP, and the BBC.

And Bangkok Pundit has a post looking at what might come next:

We have no on-the-record confirmation, but BP would not be surprised if the government agreed to delay the election. The main reason is that timing-wise, the parliament would be convened around the sound time regardless of the election being delayed or going ahead…

And:

However, this is contingent on the Democrats participating in the election and then the PDRC going home – or at least limiting their protests to more defined areas and stopping obstruction of government offices. BP expects Puea Thai to either approach PDRC and the Democrats again to see what their position is.* If no change then, what would be the point of postponing the election?