I’ve worked as a freelance journalist since 1997, writing for publications in Asia and North America. My heyday was the early 00’s, when I was traveling around China and publishing a few stories every month, mostly for magazines and newspapers in China, Hong Kong & Taiwan, various websites and the occasional multi-page travel circular. I’ve also worked as an in-house writer for a few publications, including Beijing Scene and the Rocky Mountain Bullhorn.
Although once collected on an earlier incarnation of this site, a mishandled update in 2012 caused most of my early articles to be scattered across the internet. Gathering these articles together in one place has become something of a Sisyphean task, so instead I’ve been slowly compiling them and ordering them on this page by publisher and overall order of importance to me. I’ve also created a menu above where you’ll find some of the better stories compiled by dates.
For several years I wrote two regular political columns, Politics and Other Dirty Words and Yahuda Bangs: Angry American Abroad. I’ll be linking them shortly.
Since Lonely Planet has been my major editorial sugar daddy for so many years (thanks, LP!), they get their own section. Click here for that.
Ditto for Things Asian, the amazing publishing company that not only published my first book Vignettes of Taiwan, but also bought stories, articles & full city reviews from me. Big props to Things Asian for keeping me in travel yuan in the early 00’s, and for keeping a bunch of stories from other publications online. Click here and scroll down to “Other Contributions” on my Things Asian page.
Taiwan Business Topics is a publication put out by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan. I’ve been writing for them since the mid 2000’s. Though many of the earlier articles I wrote for Topics have been turned into pulp / digital chum, my more recent articles are online here. I’m especially grateful to Topics for allowing me to contribute more literary stuff disguised as travel articles.
As for the random articles below, many of these articles are on other websites. To avoid what I consider to be an ungraceful break in narrative, I’ll link the articles with a brief description containing the article’s title (which will be linked), beneath which I’ll then put as a teaser of sorts the first line or so of the story, which will also be a live link.
My first serious piece of journalism was Confessions of a Sweatshop Inspector. Originally titled Memoirs of a Dog Meat Man (and written for The Nation, though never published on its esteemed pages), the editor at the Albion Monitor felt my title would only be understood by readers who understood the Chinese adage “掛羊頭賣狗肉” and made the call to change the title. The article chronicles the year I spent as a sweatshop inspector in China, and was run in anti-sweatshop textbooks for a while.
I get emails at least twice a year about this one, A Male Malady, written originally for the South China Morning Post and then nabbed by an organization that helps men with prostate conditions. The letters always make me sad, as they inevitably come from someone who’s found the article online and wants desperately to find the doctor I interviewed (and observed in action). Alas, I have no idea where Doctor Lu has gone to. If you know, please contact me.
In the Boot Camp of the Mind concerns my first experience doing the ten-day Vipassana meditation course. I was going to use the title Buddhist Boot Camp, but my friend Phelim had already used it.
More to follow…