Russia writes off $20 billion African debts

The total amount of African countries’ debts written off by Russia amounts to billions of dollars, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared at a plenary meeting of the Russia-Africa Economic Forum being held in Sochi. The Head of state recalled that Russia systematically promotes the development of the African continent providing trade preferences, and also cooperates […]


Rudy Giuliani Misspells ‘Bin Laden’ And It’s Right Out Of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

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JJ Lin’s ‘drip bag’ offered for sale

NANJING • There have been reports of chopsticks and wet wipes supposedly used by celebrities that were later put up for sale. Now, even a drip bag – said to be used by Singapore singer JJ Lin – has been offered for sale online. Lin, 38, who was in Zhenjiang city in China’s Jiangsu province […]


Great epics, contemporary twists

1 MARABU – THE FIRST RIPPLE Dance and theatre come together in Marabu – The First Ripple, the first part of a trilogy by Bhaskar’s Arts Academy. The production is set during the height of the Srivijayan empire and traces the passage of the Indian community from India to the Malay peninsula. Veteran artist Santha […]


A superhero story about slavery

FICTION THE WATER DANCER By Ta-Nehisi Coates One World/Paperback/406 pages/ $29.96/Books Kinokuniya 4 stars There has been a lot of debate of late over whether Marvel movies count as cinema. Now, American writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has produced a novel that combines the slave narrative with the superhero genre – and the result is unquestionably spectacular […]


Malaysia’s ‘Stephen King’ is scared of poodles

He has conjured demons and dark fates in his creepy tales, but Malaysian horror writer Tunku Halim is scared of dogs. “I’m not talking just about big dogs which might bite, but cute little poodles too,” says the self-avowed cynophobe in an e-mail interview. The 55-year-old, who has been described as “the Stephen King of […]


Pushing boundaries in a world run by children

FICTION SUPERNOVA ERA By Liu Cixin Translated by Joel Martinsen Tor Books/ Paperback/ 348 pages/$29.95/ Books Kinokuniya 3.5 stars In a flash of blinding light, a supernova showers the planet with radiation that deals irreversible damage to all human beings. Only children, whose chromosomes still retain the ability to repair themselves, will survive the event. […]


Turning trash into literary gold

When Chinese science-fiction writer Stanley Chen Qiufan was growing up in Guangdong province, there was a town near where he lived that existed solely on trash. The town of Guiyu was the world’s dumping ground for electronic waste. An army of workers, mostly poor migrants from other parts of China, stripped computers, circuit boards and […]


Trace a dancer’s personal journey through a Family Reunion

There is a party going on in the rehearsal studio of the Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT). Dancers are grooving to the strains of 1950s jazz singer Dinah Washington’s Such A Night, taking turns in the centre as if in a dance-off at a club. “Make it wild,” calls Australian choreographer Lucas Jervies as they fling […]


Thrilled by horror films that make one think

I’m not a big fan of horror movies. I admit I’m a bit of a wimp – you won’t find me riding on a roller coaster or going bungee jumping either. Blood and chainsaws turn me off and I can’t bring myself to sit through South-east Asian tales of vengeful spirits and pontianak – vampiric […]


Bridging space for reconciliation

Loneliness is as wide as space and as small and close as the human heart in The Far Side Of The Moon. The dream-like play by Canadian auteur Robert Lepage makes its Singapore premiere on Friday at the Esplanade Theatre. Amid its many technical marvels – a moving mirror as wide as the stage, a […]


Frozen fun, art and science

Disney’s highly anticipated animated film Frozen II will be released only on Nov 22. But fans can get a sneak peek at its concept art and animation drawings at Disney: Magic Of Animation. Some 15 never-before-seen works are among more than 500 archival artefacts on display here at the ArtScience Museum till March 29 next […]