Now let’s dive in.
• Discovering the Real North Korea
I sometimes find stories about international relations intimidating and dense. But this New Yorker piece by Evan Osnos pulled me in. He takes us through his vivid trip to North Korea, and it’s full of voices from tour guides, diplomats and one unimpressed student.
It’s an enlightening look into the psyche of the North Korean government, and the winding staircase that has led to its current face-off with the United States.
• Music Across Many Divides
I just loved this video from NPR. They brought the legendary classical composer Philip Glass to the New York loft of Devonté Hynes, the British singer, songwriter and producer best known for his records as Blood Orange. It’s not the little bite we’ve gotten so used to in digital video. It’s a well put together, well cared for digital video about musicians and the roads they’ve traveled.
I like the concept of pairing two artists from different generations and backgrounds, I like the beautiful shooting, the graphics, those subtle, little animations like the dots and taxi and little rat on the subway tracks. It was moving and inspiring, and this line from it stuck with me: “When things get out of balance, the arts come in and bring the human side back.”
• Flanagan’s Fiction and Life
Richard Flanagan was quite helpful to me before I came to Australia, walking me through all the ways that a newcomer can get Australia wrong. Now he has a new novel coming out and this Good Weekend profile by Malcolm Knox manages to weave together Flanagan’s past and present, and his new book, with grace and insight.
He makes it look easy. The rarity of such a well-crafted and thoughtful piece suggests otherwise.
• Reporting on Race in Australia
This firsthand account of a journalist who reports on Indigenous issues in Australia is candid and revealing. The journalist, Laura Murphy Oates, is Indigenous herself but has light skin, and that has put her in some complicated and tense reporting situations.
It reminds me of reporting on Australia’s Chinese community as a Chinese national. Sometimes people try not to say things that are critical of the Chinese government; sometimes people assume I hold the same views as them because we’re from the same country. But I also get to witness a lot of tensions and friction in the Chinese community from close up. And…