The Lykov family retreated from civilisation in 1936. For four decades, they lived in isolation, in a home made from scavenged materials. They had no knowledge of World War II, of the atomic bombs, of the first landing on the Moon. They had prayer books and an old Bible to read. When these Old Believers fled into the Siberian taiga, the family consisted of four. The couple had two more children, who before their discovery by geologists in the summer of 1978 had never met anyone else.
My family has a history of mental illness. My father has eight siblings. His elder sister and youngest brother were sick for a long time. They were not diagnosed or treated until much later in their lives. My aunt, now 61, lives with bipolar disorder. She is on medication. She works and she travels. She is strong. Years ago, she taught my brother and I to speak Mandarin. Years from now, she will teach my nephews and nieces to add and subtract. Now, some days are good. She gets up. Other days, she says she feels hopeless even in her sleep. We don't talk about it very much, almost not at all.
Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina of Pussy Riot lie in a hole in the ground, wearing OMON riot police uniforms. They are slowly buried alive. Dirt fills the orifices in their faces. They can't breathe. In the music video of I Can't Breathe, released last week and shot in one long take, the Russian feminist punk rock group opted for emotion rather than anger. The group has chosen a new cause.
Thai authorities are reportedly working with Malaysia to track the movements of people with dual Thai-Malaysian citizenship, for tax and security reasons. The practice isn't new, and concern over dual nationality isn't unique. It is inarguably based on prejudice, as the allegiance of the person with two nationalities is questioned. But allegiance to what?
I spent my Halloween weekend shuffling between panels at the Singapore Writers Festival, listening to horror stories. I had been assigned to attend sessions on a variety of discourses, from jazz and poetry to writing about the female body. Instead, I found myself sitting front row at every session featuring Jang Jin-Sung, a North Korean defector, Loung Ung, a survivor of the Pol Pot regime, and Mukesh Kapila, who was the UN commissioner in Sudan as genocide in Darfur broke out.
For seven years, I flew back and forth between the US and Bangkok twice a year, always with at least a three-hour transit at Tokyo Narita Airport. If I was lucky and sat on the right side of the plane, I got to watch the sun rise above the sea of clouds from the plane window. My skin would always itch from the dry air and my lips would chap. I often found myself sitting next to a Japanese businessman who drank Asahi after Asahi. I once cried so hard watching Up, I had to explain to the concerned passenger next to me that I was OK — I was just watching a very sad cartoon.
‘Dilma, this is ugly,” reads a protester’s sign aimed at Brazil president Dilma Rousseff, one of the many thousands who continue to take to the streets of major cities across the South American country. What began last year as small protests against the rise of public transportation fares has come to encompass a broader range of dissatisfaction with the government — and has gained significant momentum thanks to the Fifa World Cup taking place there.