About Me

I'm a journalist and author focusing on Southeast Asia. Since 2008, I have reported widely from across the region, and my writing has appeared in more than 30 leading publications in the United States, Asia, and Australia.
Great Expectations: Will Myanmar’s Election Bring Real Change?

Great Expectations: Will Myanmar’s Election Bring Real Change?

On Nov. 8, an estimated 30 million people took part in Myanmar’s first free national election in a quarter-century.
The Strongman of Siam

The Strongman of Siam

With Thailand’s ailing monarch fading from the scene, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha is positioning the military to rule indefinitely — by silencing all dissent.
Vietnam: Forty Years Later

Vietnam: Forty Years Later

Forty years after the war, it is the ideals of the former South Vietnam that appear ascendant.
Forty years after 'Year Zero': Cambodia's young wrestle with a dark past

Forty years after ‘Year Zero’: Cambodia’s young wrestle with a dark past

TAKEO, Cambodia — Four decades ago, on April 17, 1975, the communist Khmer Rouge marched into Phnom Penh and seized power.
The House That Hun Sen Built

The House That Hun Sen Built

The strongman has ruled Cambodia for 30 years with corruption, charisma, and brute force. Now he’s facing the greatest challenge of his career.
Myanmar's wildlife trafficking hotspot

Myanmar’s wildlife trafficking hotspot

Mong La has become a hub for gambling, prostitution and illegal animal products like ivory and tiger bones.
How a Brutal Khmer Rouge Leader Died 'Not Guilty'

How a Brutal Khmer Rouge Leader Died ‘Not Guilty’

A verdict was never reached in Ieng Sary’s human rights abuses case. His story reveals the limitations of international tribunals.
As Asia Rises and Europe Declines, Russia Invests Its Hopes in its Far East

As Asia Rises and Europe Declines, Russia Invests Its Hopes in its Far East

Vladivostok, a Pacific port city long in decline, is being revitalized by Moscow. But the city’s slow integration with China, Japan, and South Korea is clashing with its long-Slavic identity. Can a city be both European and Asian?
Latest entries
Suu Kyi faces dilemma over controversial dam project

Suu Kyi faces dilemma over controversial dam project

MYITKYINA — Since its suspension five years ago, the $3.6 billion Myitsone hydropower project has come to symbolize the bad old days in Myanmar.
The fading mirage of the CPP

The fading mirage of the CPP

Cambodia’s political crackdown reached a new low on May 9, when eight human rights defenders were detained for the unauthorised wearing of black T-shirts.
Tourist hordes put strain on Luang Prabang’s heritage

Tourist hordes put strain on Luang Prabang’s heritage

The enthusiasm of tourists for Luang Prabang’s heady charms has brought prosperity to the Lao town, but is the visitor influx damaging its cultural treasures?
The new 'explorers'

The new ‘explorers’

In June 1866, six Frenchmen departed from Ho Chi Minh City on a dangerous mission up the mighty Mekong River.
China's footprint kicks up concerns in tiny Laos

China’s footprint kicks up concerns in tiny Laos

TON PHEUNG, Laos — The Kings Romans Casino stands out in this remote corner of northwestern Laos, its giant illuminated neon crown towering over a landscape of banana plantations and jungle-clad mountains.
As a frontier economy booms, Cambodia's capital rises

As a frontier economy booms, Cambodia’s capital rises

PHNOM PENH — For most of its history, the sleepy Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh was best known for its charming, tree-lined boulevards and Buddhist pagodas.
Death or Freedom

Death or Freedom

The nation of Myanmar was born under a dark star. It emerged into independence on January 4, 1948, at an exact time — four o’clock in the  morning — divined by Burmese astrologers. Almost immediately the country fell apart.
North Korea's multimillion-dollar museum in Cambodia

North Korea’s multimillion-dollar museum in Cambodia

North Korea hopes to reap large profits from its new Angkor Panorama Museum in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Spinning the myth of a 16th-century king as elections loom in Cambodia

Spinning the myth of a 16th-century king as elections loom in Cambodia

The former capital of the 16th century Cambodian King Sdech Kan is a sleepy place, filled with birdsong and that particular air of shabby mysticism that seems to surround pagodas in rural parts of Cambodia.
Communist Hard-Liners Ascendant in Vietnam, Despite TPP Membership

Communist Hard-Liners Ascendant in Vietnam, Despite TPP Membership

PHNOM PENH—Conservative forces have strengthened their grip in Vietnam after the ruling Communist Party, late last month, elected its incumbent general-secretary to a second five-year term in the country’s top political office.
With connectivity boom, Cambodia's political battles shift online

With connectivity boom, Cambodia’s political battles shift online

PHNOM PENH — In September 2015, a Facebook page bearing the name of Prime Minister Hun Sen notched up its millionth “like.”
New charges against opposition leader maintain political stalemate

New charges against opposition leader maintain political stalemate

PHNOM PENH — Cambodia’s beleaguered opposition leader Sam Rainsy faces fresh legal troubles after a court summoned him for questioning on possible charges of being an accomplice to “forgery and incitement.”