Author Interview: Human Rights Violations in North Korea, Part 1

In 2011, I interviewed my friend Dr. Sandra Fahy on her first book, Marching through Suffering: Loss and Survival in North Korea, (Link) which was based on the testimony she’d gathered from North Korean famine victims who’d defected to Korea or Japan. Her second book is now with the editors at Columbia University Press and will be out soon.

This interview took place just after the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, when  Sandra was at home in Japan and I was in the Philippines. The next interview, which will appear on December 1, deals with the history of Read More

Scrap Pork

In the Philippines each member of the Congress is granted a lump-sum discretionary fund for spending on priority development projects, mostly at the local level. This money is called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). In July the Philippine Daily Inquirer published an exposé of a scam masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, whose companies specialize in trading agricultural products. The scam involved members of both the House of Representatives—commonly referred to as Congress—and the Senate and was estimated to have cost the country 10 billion pesos. In the widespread outrage the PDAF has generally been referred to as “the Read More

Portrait of a Filipina Feminist, Part 2

Sylvia Estrada Claudio is Director of the Center for Women’s Studies at the University of the Philippines and co-founder of Likhaan, a non-governmental organization which provides direct services to women in marginalized communities, particularly reproductive health. In Part 1, Silvia discusses her early political activism as a medical doctor and a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Part 2 deals with her feminism and her support for the Reproductive Health Bill, the RH Bill.

Sylvia’s story

When I blundered back into academe I was in my early thirties. It took me nine years to get my PhD because … Read More

Portrait of a Filipina Feminist, Part 1

Sylvia Estrada Claudio is Director of the Center for Women’s Studies at the University of the Philippines and co-founder of Likhaan, a non-governmental organization which provides direct services to women in marginalized communities. This interview provides a glimpse into the history of the Philippines and the reproductive health movement. It is also a story of how one woman is making her contribution as a feminist and a proponent of the Reproductive Health Bill.

I began the interview by mentioning that I’d noticed a big gap between most of the Filipinos I knew and the literati and intelligentsia at the literary Read More

At the Friendship Hotel

After the Cultural Revolution, when foreigners were first allowed to come and work in Beijing, they were all housed and watched over in the so-called Golden Fortress, a bulky gray compound behind a wall, a gate, and a guardhouse. I stayed there when I first arrived in China in 1984. In Hong Kong a year and a half later, Anna talked about her experience when she went to Beijing to teach English at the school inside the Xinhua [New China] News Agency. She arrived in 1979 as one of the first Foreign Experts. Much of her experience was typical for Read More