A London Busker: Chinese Music in the Streets

Busking is how they call it. It is the term for musicians playing in public places for voluntary donations. I see buskers in London everyday. Sometimes they’re just the right fillers for a Londoner’s short attention span, a pleasant entertainment for three seconds before rushing off to catch the train or the bus. I hear…

Escaping Syria: The Journey of Death

“We can call it the journey of death,” 35-year-old Mohammad Alzen said. He has come from Syria to seek asylum in England, and he has plenty of stories to tell. Even with all his hardships, he’s quite fortunate — his other countrymen did not survive to tell their own stories. Alzen was a tailor in a…

The Ill-Gotten Health of the Philippines

President Noynoy Aquino left office and slapped nurses on his way out. He vetoed the Comprehensive Nursing Bill which would have provided for the raise in salary for entry level nurses working in both public and private sector, the appropriation of nurse to patient ratio, protection of nurses against illegal labor practices, unfair compensation and false…

From Duterte to Brexit

I stepped out of our house in Hertfordshire at 8 o’clock in the evening to buy a bottle of softdrinks. It was still very bright out and usually a walk in any part of Hertfordshire is a welcome break. Except that there were around ten rowdy teenagers spread on both sides of the alley and I had…

Ireland and My First Love

Through pictures of Castle Donovan and the box buildings of Dublin, I fell in love with Ireland. Sometimes the skies would send torrents of ice; sometimes the sun would beam rainbows across the green lands filled with clover leaves. Through his grey cold eyes, I fell in love with Rupert. Sometimes he would not speak…

We Are the Yayas of the World

It’s 1991 in the modest town of Moncada, Tarlac. Her husband just died. Her father followed shortly after. She’s 30 years old, a mother of two — the youngest just 6 months old. And up until that moment, she has not worked a day in her life. She could take over the family business —…

Where Shakespeare Lived, Loved and Died

Editor’s Note: Last June 21, 2014, Lian Buan visited Stratford-upon-Avon in England. This town is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the celebrated bard and wordsmith. His grave is also here. Today is the longest day of 2014, the start of summer. It is the midsummer day and I luckily experienced it here in England, where the…