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Personal comforts

What is this strange thing that happens with age? In my teens I could just pop a few things in a backpack and walk out of the house to explore the world. Which I did, at eighteen and again at nineteen, backpacking around China. The latter trip was with two older boys, a schoolmate and his friend, and we spent three months traveling from Hong Kong to Guilin, taking the long overnight train past Guizhou to Yunnan, where we spent nearly a month, on to Sichuan, and after which we parted on different routes. Many years later I met that schoolmate again, and oddly enough, we had both moved on to work in private equity. He mentioned a trip he had taken a few years ago to remote Mongolia, staying in very basic accommodations, and moving the very next morning to a luxury hotel because he was too uncomfortable.

“Cannot already lah,” he said. “I need my material comforts.”

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A Room with a View

 

The first hint of dawn filters through the green gold crepe curtains, in the distance a rooster crows. Anticipation and anxiety wakes me at six in the morning even though I would like to sleep in; it is my first day as Writer in Residence at the Toji Cultural Centre in Wonju, South Korea.

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What Section 377A means to me

I was a student at UC Berkeley when gay marriage was first legalized in San Francisco by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004. By then a junior, I had come to realise Berkeley was a beacon for both out and not-yet-ready-to-come-out students; it drew bright teenagers from all over America and the world, really, who were struggling with their sexuality; and for many of these students it was the first time in their lives they felt at home. Berkeley was where it was okay to be different, it was okay to be weird, it was okay to not be okay.

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