The West Bank. Gaza. Xinjiang. Modern-day concentration camps. Is the 12.5 million strong, majority Muslim, northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) next? Over the past few weeks, and in the run-up to the curfew, a further 35,000 Indian soldiers have been deployed as tourists and non-residents rushed to escape the dragnet. Meanwhile, locals fearful for their future stockpiled food and other supplies – engendering a mass panic.
Industry can be both magnificent and awful. Indonesia’s Cilegon region (some 102 kilometres to the west of Jakarta) is one Southeast Asia’s largest industrial hubs – comparable with Malaysia’s Southern Johor, Vietnam’s Vung Tau, Singapore’s Jurong and Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (centred principally around Rayong province).
In 1936, the French first launched the “Transindochinois” railway service linking Hanoi with Saigon. The present-day service, dubbed the “Reunification Express”, may not be quite so glamorous, but with six departures a day and five different classes, (including sleeperettes–Team Ceritalah’s choice) it provides a more romantic and leisurely alternative to the sixty or so flights that shuttle between the two key Vietnamese hubs every day.
Nearly four years ago, the south Indian city of Chennai (capital of Tamil Nadu) was under water. The worst floods in living history – the result of cyclones from the Bay of Bengal – had reduced this manufacturing and services powerhouse of eleven million to a standstill as brackish water lapped at the wheels of the planes parked at the Anna International Airport. The human tragedy was substantial, with over 500 deaths and some 1.8 million people displaced.