Environment

A pu-erh cake and cups of pu-erh tea. (iStock)

Pu-erh: The raw, the ripe and the Qing dynasty 'tribute tea' from Yunnan

Cheng Pei-kai recalls the mellow, earthy appeal of aged pu-erh, where tea leaves are compressed into cakes and left to ferment for decades to develop a complex flavour. Recently, he also got the chance to taste a young pu-erh — made with tea leaves from a tree that Qing dynasty soldiers used to guard and which was sent to the emperor as “tribute tea”, no less.
A worker leaves a construction site in Beijing on 28 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Net-zero CO2 emissions before 2060: Is China's climate goal too ambitious?

President Xi Jinping announced at the 75th session of the UNGA last year that China aims to have its CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. How will its efforts affect China and the world? Ultimately, will taking a bitter pill now help China to leapfrog its constraints and build a sustainable economy?
"Lost in a scarlet sea of fire"

[Comic] A Chinese youth waves goodbye to 2020

Amid the pandemic that has been ravaging the globe, the year 2020 has come to an end. Young comic artist Bai Yi looks at the world with all its scars battling a virus, the deteriorating environment, the faulty human systems, and the seemingly incomprehensible foolishness displayed by the adults.
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is pictured on the screen (right) as he addresses his counterparts during the 4th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit being held online in Hanoi on 15 November 2020. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

The overstatement of the RCEP

Chinese netizens and commentators have largely celebrated the RCEP as being China-led and a coup for China. Zhu Ying provides a reality check as to why the Chinese should instead have their feet firmly on the ground.
Ke Huanzhang (left) and Liu Thai Ker are veteran urban planners in China and Singapore. (SPH)

Liu Thai Ker and Ke Huanzhang: Urban planners are servants of the city

How do urban planners go about their work and what contributions do they make to the building of liveable cities? Ke Huanzhang, former head of the Beijing Academy of Urban Planning and Design, is all for the seamless melding of a good ecological environment, living facilities, jobs and public services in a city. Liu Thai Ker, the former chief architect and CEO of Singapore’s Housing Development Board, says a good planner needs to have the heart of a humanist, the brain of a scientist, and the eye of an artist. Tan Ying Zhen speaks to the veteran urban planners as part of a series of fireside chats put together to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.
Ambassador Hong Xiaoyong says that at this crucial juncture, there is a greater need for a close alignment of development strategies between China and Singapore, and to work together for the future. (Graphic: Jace Yip)

Chinese ambassador Hong Xiaoyong: New journey for China’s development; new opportunities for China-Singapore cooperation

China's next phase of development will focus on achieving high-quality development and building a modern socialist country, says China's ambassador to Singapore, Hong Xiaoyong. Much attention will be paid to fostering innovation and green growth, and in pursuing a coordinated approach in building prosperity for the Chinese people. China will also continue to engage the world through its dual circulation strategy, turning the China market into a market accessible to all. In these efforts, there are many opportunities for Singapore and China to work together, building on their years of cooperation and synergies. Ambassador Hong wrote this article in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Singapore.
In this file photo taken on 7 November 2020, a woman waves a Joe Biden flag as people celebrate on Black Lives Matter Plaza across from the White House in Washington, DC, after Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election. (Alex Edelman/AFP)

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong: The world will not split into two, but neither can it return to the past

Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait interviewed Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ahead of the Bloomberg 2020 New Economy Forum on 17 November. Among the topics they discussed, PM Lee spoke at length about China, the US, global trade, the internet, and most of all, the China-US relationship. This is an excerpt of the interview transcript.
A humble plate of scallion pancake with chive sauce. (Facebook/蔣勳)

The simple beauty of Taiwan in a heavenly scallion pancake with chive sauce 

Chiang Hsun marvels at the way a chive sauce made with Taiwan-grown produce brings out the flavours of a street stall scallion pancake so well. No question about it — this dish would win hands down against any Michelin-starred restaurant’s version. When will we learn to appreciate the natural and the down-to-earth, and eschew the shiny bright lights of the material and the shallow?
Chiang Kai-shek and Soong Mei-ling in a boat on Sun Moon Lake. (Internet)

Chiang Kai-shek and the ‘President’s Fish’ at Sun Moon Lake

Visitors to Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake are often awed by the hulking mountains and pristine waters. But notice a tiny pavilion on the water’s edge and you’d be reminded of the immense history this lake holds as a quiet retreat for the colourful leader Chiang Kai-shek — both to ponder the weighty political affairs and to reminisce about his hometown in mainland China’s Jiangnan region.