Nature

Hoo Ah Kay at Nam-sang Fa-un. (Photo: Kua Bak Lim/Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore)

Memories of South China: The enchanting garden that Whampoa built in Singapore

It is commonly thought that Singapore’s horticultural history dates back to the beginnings of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Actually, a little earlier in the mid-19th century, Singapore pioneer Hoo Ah Kay, known as “Whampoa” after his hometown in Canton, China, had built a Chinese garden in Serangoon Road. It was resplendent with flora and fauna, and even unusual animals and birds. This is the story of Whampoa Garden.
What colour is autumn's scent? (iStock)

Taiwanese art historian: What colour is the scent of autumn?

Strolling in the autumn light, Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun remembers that his mother always requested for fabrics in the colour of “autumn’s scent”. If fragrance sets a mood, and that mood can be captured in a mood board, what would that scent look like? Perhaps at the very least, it’d be a rich, mellow shade of dust settling on the seasons.
The silver grey skies of Chishang.

Taiwanese art historian: 'Severing all ties’ in a pandemic

Cloistered in Chishang township in Taiwan’s Huadong Valley for the past four months, Chiang Hsun has no choice but to face himself in all its foibles. At peace with himself, he is at peace with the world. He revels in beautiful sights, as if he’s the only one let in on nature’s little secret. Just as he readies to leave, tourists trickle back into Chishang, bringing a bit of a bustle with them. May their hearts be still, says Chiang, to see the beauty that lies before them.
Paramilitary police officers evacuate residents stranded by floodwaters with a boat following heavy rainfall in Hedian town of Suizhou, Hubei province, China, 12 August 2021. (cnsphoto via Reuters)

Extreme weather could become the norm, but Chinese cities are not ready for it

With the recent severe rainfall and flooding in Zhengzhou, Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong speaks to academics, who warn that China’s water infrastructure and weather drainage systems may not be suitable for the advent of extreme weather, and the authorities need to act quickly to bridge the gap.
A woman carries an elderly woman as they make their way through floodwaters following heavy rainfall in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China, 23 July 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Chinese economics professor: Why we should not profit from natural disasters

In the wake of floods in Henan and the case of a hotel that raised its prices sky-high, Henan native and economics professor Li Jingkui gives a rejoinder to purists who swear by market-based resource allocation. He says sometimes, special circumstances warrant intervention to ensure an orderly distribution of resources. Profiting from the misfortune of others is certainly not a virtue according to Confucius or any good economist.
The Nai Chung Pebbles Beach in Ma On Shan, which is on the eastern coast of Tolo Harbour in the New Territories of Hong Kong. (iStock)

Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai: A half-century journey around the globe to Hong Kong’s Wu Kai Sha

Looking out from his balcony in Hong Kong’s Wu Kai Sha, flanked by the mountains and the sea, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai reflects on the unpredictability of life. Travelling from Shanghai to Taiwan in 1949 as an infant, had he made the journey one day later, he might have perished in the sinking of Chinese steamer Taiping (太平轮). Meanders in Taiwan and the US took him finally to Hong Kong, a place he never thought he’d call home. The wanderer has settled down at last.
An aerial view shows cars sitting in floodwaters at the entrance of a tunnel after heavy rains hit the city of Zhengzhou in China's central Henan province on 22 July 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Zhengzhou floods: Netizens berate local government and media for inadequate response

Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong notes that even as disaster relief continues after massive floods in Zhengzhou, people are pointing fingers at the authorities, saying that early alert systems and coordination between agencies can be improved. As natural disasters increase due to climate change, will governments be forced to pay greater attention to preparing for unforeseen events?
This handout photo taken on 20 June 2021 and released on 24 June by Yunnan Provincial Command of the Safety Precautions of the Migrating Asian Elephants shows elephants, part of a herd which had wandered 500 kilometres north from their natural habitat, walking near Yuxi city, Yunnan province, China. (Handout/Yunnan Provincial Command of the Safety Precautions of the Migrating Asian Elephants/AFP)

Death follows as people push into elephant enclave

Caixin journalists Kang Jia and Han Wei note that balancing modern human activities with protection of wildlife is becoming increasingly challenging, especially in Xishuangbanna, which is known as a safe haven for wild Asian elephants. What are the authorities doing to improve the situation?
The Grand Hotel is illuminated with the Chinese characters '平安' (Peace) in Taipei, Taiwan, 3 June 2021. (Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg)

Taiwanese art historian: What flowers and swallows taught me about life amid the pandemic

As art historian Chiang Hsun recites the Diamond Sutra and prays for the world amid the coronavirus pandemic, he believes in the adage that "this too shall pass". In tough times, we must remind ourselves to be grateful for the breath of life and to be kind to one another. May humankind be safe and well in their warm homes, wherever they may be.