“Metropolis II”, by Chris Burden

metropolis 2



Picture source: Sploid

Look at this replica, and it somewhat will remind us all the daily topsy-turvydom, all the mess, all the crowd, and all the bustle, that resuscitate the whole powerhouse we call ‘the city’. Without which, the whole system ends up insentient, completely stone cold.

Words can hardly describe all the intense hard work Chris Burden, an American artist, has put in for over 4 years to incarnate his masterpiece. Watch the video below to know more why.


Bonus: read Burden’s full biography in Wikipedia.

Sleeping with cannibals




A Smithsonian Magazine journalist was on dispatch to Indonesian side of Papua to cover Korowai people, an isolated ethnic group of no more than 10,000 people which remains reliant on cannibalism to ‘wipe out curses’.

Read the full article, dating back to September 2006, here.




After we eat a dinner of river fish and rice, Boas joins me in a hut and sits cross-legged on the thatched floor, his dark eyes reflecting the gleam from my flashlight, our only source of light. Using Kembaren as translator, he explains why the Korowai kill and eat their fellow tribesmen. It’s because of the khakhua, which comes disguised as a relative or friend of a person he wants to kill. “The khakhua eats the victim’s insides while he sleeps,” Boas explains, “replacing them with fireplace ash so the victim does not know he’s being eaten. The khakhua finally kills the person by shooting a magical arrow into his heart.” When a clan member dies, his or her male relatives and friends seize and kill the khakhua. “Usually, the [dying] victim whispers to his relatives the name of the man he knows is the khakhua,” Boas says. “He may be from the same or another treehouse.”

I ask Boas whether the Korowai eat people for any other reason or eat the bodies of enemies they’ve killed in battle. “Of course not,” he replies, giving me a funny look. “We don’t eat humans, we only eat khakhua.”

The killing and eating of khakhua has reportedly declined among tribespeople in and near the settlements. Rupert Stasch, an anthropologist at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, who has lived among the Korowai for 16 months and studied their culture, writes in the journal Oceania that Korowai say they have “given up” killing witches partly because they were growing ambivalent about the practice and partly in reaction to several incidents with police. In one in the early ’90s, Stasch writes, a Yaniruma man killed his sister’s husband for being a khakhua. The police arrested the killer, an accomplice and a village head. “The police rolled them around in barrels, made them stand overnight in a leech-infested pond, and forced them to eat tobacco, chili peppers, animal feces, and unripe papaya,” he writes. Word of such treatment, combined with Korowais’ own ambivalence, prompted some to limit witch-killing even in places where police do not venture.

Still, the eating of khakhua persists, according to my guide, Kembaren. “Many khakhua are murdered and eaten each year,” he says, citing information he says he has gained from talking to Korowai who still live in treehouses.

Disneyland with the death penalty




William Gibson (that William Gibson who authored Necromancer, literally) chronicled his brief visit to Singapore – and described the shock upon learning some similarities between the city-state and one envisioned in his novels’ dystopian, cyberpunk future.

Read the full article, dating back to September 1993, in Wired.


Singapore is a relentlessly G-rated experience, micromanaged by a state that has the look and feel of a very large corporation. If IBM had ever bothered to actually possess a physical country, that country might have had a lot in common with Singapore. There’s a certain white-shirted constraint, an absolute humorlessness in the way Singapore Ltd. operates; conformity here is the prime directive, and the fuzzier brands of creativity are in extremely short supply.

The physical past here has almost entirely vanished.

There is no slack in Singapore. Imagine an Asian version of Zurich operating as an offshore capsule at the foot of Malaysia; an affluent microcosm whose citizens inhabit something that feels like, well, Disneyland. Disneyland with the death penalty.

But Disneyland wasn’t built atop an equally peculiar 19th-century theme park – something constructed to meet both the romantic longings and purely mercantile needs of the British Empire. Modern Singapore was – bits of the Victorian construct, dressed in spanking-fresh paint, protrude at quaint angles from the white-flanked glitter of the neo-Gernsbackian metropolis. These few very deliberate fragments of historical texture serve as a reminder of just how deliciously odd an entrepot Singapore once was – a product of Empire kinkier even than Hong Kong.