Cambodia museum a stark reminder of terrible history

The Toronto Star | Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Phnom Penh_Photo credit Cindy Fan

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA—She looks like me, the young woman in the photo. Same roundness of face, same straight black hair that rebelliously flares out at the ends. Like me, her lips downturn slightly at the corners when faced with something serious. She’s clever, I can tell — a spark in the eyes. Her gaze pierces through the display glass into me. She’s tagged with the number 3.

462 has her sleeping baby in her arms. She weeps. 10 is a boy with cherubic cheeks.

It’s a wonder that the Khmer Rouge were so meticulous in documenting the people sent to Security Prison 21 (S-21) when they would simply be starved, horrifically tortured for months until they confessed to something just to end the suffering, then shipped to the killing fields to be executed. Read on…

Cuba Travel: Wildly weird and wonderful

The Toronto Star | Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Baracoa4

BARACOA, CUBA—While sunning on the beach, I sit up to watch a pig chase a dog across the white sand.

Before coming to Baracoa, my jaw would have dropped at the sight. Now I just shrug my burnt shoulders and snort. If you want five-star hotels and sanitized beaches, Baracoa is not the place for you. As beautiful as this secluded playa is, things here are more. . . feral. Cuba is a country that marches to its own off-beat rhythm. The quirks are subtle at first, but with each passing day I hear them louder and louder — and Baracoa, a town on the northeastern tip of the island, is as wildly weird and weirdly wonderful as it gets. Read on…