Category Archives: Asia

APOCALYPSE NOW AND THEN by Peter Nolan Smith

I tried to enlist in the Marines soon after my 16th birthday. My mother wouldn’t sign the papers. The 1968 Tet offensive dented her belief in the final outcome of the Vietnam Conflict, as the fallen were airlifted home in coffins and the wounded filled the VA hospitals. Discharged soldiers were portrayed by the newspapers […]

Singapore To Bangkok By Train

In 1990 I bought a second-class ticket from Singapore to Bangkok with stops in Penang and Suranthani. The old Pearl of the Orient was too clean for me. The Chinese president had ordered the police to fine people for chewing gum. The city was quiet. The Long Bar at Raffles was closed for renovation. Gone […]

Hell on Earth Tibet

After my youngest brother’s demise to AIDS in 1995 I traveled to several of Asia’s most holy sites to expiate his sins. Some of mine too. My main destination was Lhasa and I spent two months there drinking beer and walking around the Jokhrang, the Tibetan cathedral to Buddhism. The Chinese presence was noticeable with […]

The 10,000

Back in 2001 US Troops in Iraq were down to 50,000. President Obama asked its commanders to ready the final brigades for complete withdrawal in 2011. When General Petraus questioned the timetable, the American public rejected the ‘you broke it, you bought it’ antique shop rule. The time to say ‘Ada’tu tareeqi!’ or I’m lost […]

Angkor Wat 1999

Angkor Wat 1999. Quiet, but the bugs. They numbered in the billions. Now too.