There are many a times where I wanted to be alone. I still have these social or maybe unsocial, cravings. But I can see far into a future where this desire will always remain true.

I would put it like this: A potency would compel me to separate from company, family and friends and otherwise, to be distant from their conversations. I wanted to be elsewhere with my own imagination. My mind wanders away in our face time during mid-listening. Words from others would lose their magnetism out of no fault of their character. It is down to the momentum…


“So successful has been the camera’s role in beautifying the world that photographs, rather than the world, have become the standard of the beautiful.”

These words from Susan Sontag’s 1977 essay collection On Photography have passed the criteria to make it on my list of the things forcing me to question the art I do and, ultimately, its essence.

From a young age I understood the world through the irrational rather than the rational. Now, I am speaking about art in the general sense, the part of human culture where the faculties of creativity and interpretation enjoin and transcend normal…


A late summer evening the year before. I arrived at the church door, stood outside with my Nike hoodie and one-strapped my luminous honey-yellow hiking bag. My off-term casual clothes seemed humorously incongruous with the divinity of the church.

The sun peaked shyly from behind the spire. It casted a long shadow on the buildings opposite. People walked slowly past as expected on a sleepy sunset evening. I am not sure whether they didn’t notice me or did and decided to ignore me. …


MY OCD MASTERS

How did my mild compulsive disorder spiral me out of control?

International Journalism students in the Gregynogg Library.

Our Journalism course leaders at Cardiff University organised a short getaway at Gregynogg, Wales, an old mansion elongated with dusty corridors. The innumerable rooms, often identical, would give the impression of a maze.

I stayed in a room alone. It smelled like dust for sure stemming potentially from he worn-out blue carpet. A desk sat in the right hand corner by the window. There was a sink next to that with a wide mirror. We had several communal showers at various snugs of the mansion.


The façade of a Chinese takeaway can be recognised in every city or town in the UK. They are the businesses that never let you down by closing up shop on special public holidays. But what the customers don’t often see are the people who work tirelessly in the clangour and heat of woks, with searing aluminium food containers.

There are children of immigrant parents in these places, young enough to be warned to steer clear of dangerous knives in the kitchen.

Nicole Cheng was one of those children.

“I hated my role”, she sighs with displeasure. “Working at the…


What does it mean to wrestle with being “British” and “Chinese” at the same time?

An evening in January 2019, Patrick Li and his British Chinese friends indulged in a common interest: to watch films and laugh at the plot’s absurdities.

The film that day, however, was Green Book (2019) starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. Not so much a film to be mocked but one that instead captivated all of them. …


British Chinese see their image as tarnished in the UK media. How are they correcting course towards better ethnic representation?

Martin Chan recording for his podcast

Before the onset of COVID-19, Martin Chan worked as a Trader.

He sourced goods — from balloons and small toys to compact furniture like chairs and tables — from Asia and supplied them to willing buyers in the UK.

News of the pandemic broke and pummelled pressure onto countries to lockdown. The trading routes over air and sea were heading for stagnancy with no sure end in sight. He realised that businesses, careers, and opportunities stood on fractured stilts. …


What did the 19th Century German political philosopher have to do with my contentment as a family worker?

Golden Chopsticks in Emsworth

*Forgive my ignorance. I hope, too, that you can be understanding of the cringe that is of reading an amateur in international affairs. But bare with me until I set up the context.

My obsession with Communism started with my reading of Blaine Harden’s stark journalistic opus, Escape From Camp 14.

The book revolves around the life of Shin Dong Hyuk — or, Shin — and his battered, drab and sordid existence in a North Korean concentration camp.

His mother gave birth…


It is not a solo recital. The stage is filled out, suddenly having other instrumental voices to mentally handle. How does this affect one’s perception of their musicianship?

Monica Shi at the Paderewski Piano Academy in 2016

A rare performance opportunity marked Monica Shi’s 18th birthday. Unlike most birthday presents into adulthood to celebrate one’s passive entrance into a new life phase, she had to pour work, exert effort and sweat, for this present. It certainly was a gift she had to pay for herself.

It was 2013. She won the Concerto Prize at the Portsmouth Music Festival and the guiding figure leading her into musical maturity was the…

Anthony Cheng

A journalist. A classical pianist. A digital photographer. A podcast co-host.

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