Society

Macau gambling junket tycoon Alvin Chau. (Internet/SPH)

Macau's 'junket mogul' and his unnerving name list of Chinese gamblers

Macau's police have arrested Alvin Chau, the chairman of the city's biggest casino junket operator, on allegations of illegally operating casinos and money laundering. Given that there are 80,000 customers of Chau’s network within mainland China, the bigger implication is that this group might include civil servants and employees of state-owned enterprises, who might end up being traced, given China’s crackdown on vice activities.
Divers swim above a bed of dead corals off Malaysia's Tioman island in the South China Sea, 4 May 2008. (David Loh/File Photo/Reuters)

Marine science collaborations can help defuse tensions in the South China Sea

With environmental security shaping a new South China Sea conversation about ecological challenges, science cooperation represents a litmus test to link the impact of environmental change to both national and international security, and can offer a means to defuse tensions, says James Borton. His new book, Dispatches from the South China Sea: Navigating to Common Ground, will be released soon.
People walk along the riverside in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh on 19 November 2021. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Is Chinese support the main reason for Cambodia's success with pandemic control?

Cambodia, a lower-middle-income country, has enjoyed relative success in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Approximately 88% of the entire Cambodian population has been vaccinated, which makes it ranked 6th globally and only behind Singapore in ASEAN. Some have credited Cambodia’s success as a result of Chinese support, but academic Bradley Murg thinks that many other reasons are just as important.
This photo taken on 15 November 2021 shows a staff member spraying disinfectant at the Zhangye Danxia Geopark in Zhangye, Gansu province, China. (AFP)

US academic: US-centric worldview and hostile policies hindering US-China exchanges

Before rushing to conclude that China is turning inward and isolating itself from the world with its harsh zero-Covid policy, says US academic Wu Guo, the American media should do some soul-searching themselves on how US policies and negative American attitudes towards China have led to dwindling people-to-people contact.
This photo taken on 6 October 2021 shows staff members spraying disinfectant at Gulangyu as the island prepares to reopen to tourists after being closed due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Xiamen, Fujian province, China. (STR/AFP)

Animal protectors and feminists hindering pandemic work in China?

Sadly, a Chinese pet owner in Shangrao, Jiangxi province, had the dubious honour of witnessing via pet monitor the culling of her Welsh corgi, right before her eyes. The perpetrators? Covid-19 community workers who have now given their peers a bad name. This is not just an issue of animal rights, Lorna Wei asserts, but also one of privacy and information disclosure, personal safety, and the abuse of power.
An elderly man rides a sharing bicycle with his dog in a basket along a road in Beijing, China, on 23 September 2021. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

When a dog of the privileged class in China bites a commoner

In the face of surveillance camera footage showing pet dogs biting an 80-year-old lady, it should have been an open-and-shut case. But one such “dog-bites-man” incident in Anyang dragged on for more than two months. The pet owner was believed to be a person of power, and only increasing attention on the case led to an eventual apology. Why did it take so long for someone to do the right thing?
China's pet economy is taking off, driven by the one-child generation born in the 1980s and 1990s. (Internet/SPH)

China’s pet industry booms as the post-90s generation seeks to fill a void

The pet economy is thriving in China, driven mostly by the one-child generation who crave an emotional connection and young job seekers taking up “animal communication” gigs during the pandemic. Analysts are optimistic about this sector, where middle class households are more than willing to spend more on the physical and emotional well-being of their furkids. Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong speaks to pet owners and business owners to uncover more about this emerging industry.
A two-year-old boy pointing a toy rifle at my son, wanting to play with him.

A Singaporean mother in China: The war games Chinese kids play

A Singaporean mum living in Beijing observes that the theme of war and violence is surprisingly pervasive in daily life. School kids know war-themed rhymes by heart and chant them in playgrounds as they play at war. Realistic-looking toy guns and ammunition dot corner shops and even the children’s section in bookshops has reading material on guns. Add to that the plethora of war-themed dramas on screens and it seems that the Chinese are taking the manly mantra to the extreme. Or is it an unconscious “making ready” for real war amid international tensions? Whichever the case, hopefully, the kids skipping off happily will never know war beyond their playground games.
People walk in a commercial street during the country's national "Golden Week" holiday in Beijing, China, on 2 October 2021. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Chinese economics professor: What to do when you have a stinky neighbour

A family stroll down a food alley has Chinese economist Li Jingkui teaching the Coase theorem while holding his breath and fleeing a luosifen stall and its pungent smells. If rights of stallholders are defined and transaction costs are low, then the optimal value of resources in society will be realised. That is, either the luosifen moves away under some compensation from his neighbour or it stays put and his neighbours cope with the negative externalities this presents.