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Ao Dai

Ao Dai

Vietnamese Women And The Charm Of The Ao Dai

Over the centuries many male visitors to Vietnam have noticed and commented on the elegance and beauty of Vietnamese women. Nearly two thousand years ago, when Nam Viet was under Chinese rule, Han Dynasty writers and poets addressed this theme. The culture of the Chinese heartland, centred on the Yellow River in the north, was strongly patriarchal, but further south women wielded more influence and authority – a phenomenon both appealing and worrying to the men of Han, who desired yet felt threatened by such confident and assertive females.

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Extreme Regimes

Extreme Regimes

The Khmer Rouge And The Taliban

"Maybe, if the World had been paying a little more attention, the Twin Buddhas would be standing there now. Maybe the Twin Towers would be standing there now." -Hamid Karzai, Chairman, Afghan Interim Administration

At first glance there might seem to be little similarity between the Khmer Rouge and the Taliban. It’s true, of course, that both regimes used brutal methods to impose harsh policies on subject populations with ultimately disastrous consequences.

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Moats Of Chiang Mai

Moats Of Chiang Mai

Celebrating Chiang Mai’s Ancient Moats

Thailand’s northern capital is not the only town in this ancient Southeast Asian kingdom to boast a network of moats. In the past, when Burmese armies regularly threatened Thai cities with siege, many towns were thus aptly defended. Ayutthaya was - and still is - ringed by waterways, and when these proved inadequate the capital was moved to Thonburi, though not for long. The far-sighted Rama I understood the defensive value of water, and moved his capital across the Chao Phraya River, to Bangkok, where he established the Royal Palace on Rattanakosin Island, protected by a network of three concentric moats - Khlong Lord, Khlong Banglamphu, and Khlong Kasem.

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Queen Chamadevi

Queen Chamadevi

The Story Of Queen Chamadevi

According to the chronicles and legends of Lanna, Chamadevi was a strikingly beautiful woman who nevertheless enjoyed a fair measure of personal misfortune. To begin with, she was apparently pregnant but unmarried at the time she was appointed Queen of Lamphun - indeed, this unfortunate condition may have been one reason her father, the ruler of Lopburi, sent her away.

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The Consul Who Loved Beetle Fighting

The Consul Who Loved Beetle Fighting

Britain’s Longest-Serving Consul in Chiang Mai Enjoyed An Unusual Local Sport...

Beyond any shadow of doubt the most distinguished foreign resident of Chiang Mai this century was William Alfred Rae Wood, CIE, CMG. In 1896, at the callow age of 18, Wood arrived in Bangkok to start work as a junior member of the British Consular Service. Over the next seventeen years, between periods in Bangkok, he served as British Vice-Consul at Nan, Chiang Rai, Songkhla and Lampang before, in 1913, being appointed British Consul at Chiang Mai.

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Jim Thompson’s House

Jim Thompson’s House

The Cultural Legacy of Thailand’s Silk King

From a patch of lush vegetation, the sumptuous red teak buildings rise elegantly up, reaching for the sky, challenging the visitor to resist enchantment. One can’t help but succumb to the engaging first impressions and the desire to explore. As one removes shoes and steps into the black-and-white marble tiled entrance hall, yet more gleaming teak rising above, first impressions give way to a sense of quiet, delighted awe.

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Between Hammer And Anvil

Between Hammer And Anvil

Sri Lanka’s Muslims

Adam’s peak, a symmetrically conical mountain set in the gorgeous hill country of southern Sri Lanka, is sacred to all of the island’s main faiths. There is a strange indentation set in the living rock of the summit. To the majority Sinhalese Buddhists (69% of the total population) it is the footprint of the Buddha Gautama. The Tamil Hindus (21%) know better - it is, of course, the sacred footprint of the god Shiva. Then again, the island’s Muslims (7%) insist, it is the footprint left by Adam when, cast out of the Garden of Eden by a wrathful God, he fell to earth in the place nearest to that celestial grove in terms of beauty, fertility and climate - Sri Lanka.

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Discover Lijiang

Discover Lijiang

In The Shadow Of The Jade Dragon

This world can boast of few places enjoyable on as many different levels as Lijiang. In the north-western part of China’s Yunnan Province, at a comfortable altitude of 2400 metres, Lijiang sits on a broad plain, ringed by mountains. To the north tower the snowy peaks of Jade Dragon Mountain, 5596 metres tall, girdled with rich forests that yield over 400 kinds of trees, half the province’s botanical species, dozens of azalea types and hundreds of medicinal plants. The city itself is really two, for the new sections have grown up around an old town that has retained its basic layout, lifestyle and architecture intact since its foundation in the 13th century.

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