Shaun Tan, Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Staff Writer

Shaun Tan is a Malaysian writer. He studied International Relations at Yale University and Law at King’s College London. His writing has appeared in The Caravan, Quartz, the Yale Daily News, The Politic, The Diplomat, and the Malay Mail. He’s guest lectured at Yale on Asian culture and creativity, and at the Kuala Lumpur and Perak Bar Councils on political philosophy. He enjoys reading, playing tennis, and talking about himself in the third-person.

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The Banality of Hitler

If we view Hitler as uniquely evil, we blind ourselves to the fact that there really are people as bad, or near as bad, as him today.

What the Cards Say

Where do tarot cards come from and why do some people think they have occult powers? A skeptic delves into the colorful world of tarot.

FICTION | A Bed to Rule Them All

As my mind hazes, my last thought is of the Deep Sleep I will get with this bed and the new heights of success it will bring. Yes, I think, with this bed I will straddle the world.

Prisoners of Vaccine Nationalism

China’s vaccines suck, but its government is too proud to admit it. Instead, it’s trapping its entire population in zero-COVID purgatory indefinitely.

Ukraine’s Finest Hour

The courage of the Ukrainian people in the face of overwhelming odds, in the face of likely death or imprisonment, puts us all to shame.

This Is What the REAL China Is Like

“Western commentators are forever harping on about Tiananmen Square. Well, I actually WENT to that square last month. How many protestors did I see being killed there? Zero.”

What Big Business Won’t Say

Many corporations today are basically amoral, and will do business with any regime, no matter how repressive, for the right price. So why won’t they say it?

The National Woke Awards

The most prestigious intellectual awards in America are now ridiculously fixated on race. We should be worried.

For the Record

Years from now, it’s likely people will make all sorts of false claims about the War in Afghanistan. Perhaps it’s worth setting a few things down, for the record.

First World Problems

We often receive letters from readers seeking advice on problems. Here are some of the most insufferable.

The World Is Learning to Say “No” to China

China is the ultimate crybully – a country that bullies others yet invokes historical suffering to try to portray itself as a perpetual victim – and other countries are getting sick of its routine.

The Church of the Woke

“Ye bearest the original sin of white supremacy, inherited from thine fathers, and their fathers before them.”

Here Be Dragons

Raya and the Last Dragon is the first Disney movie set in Southeast Asia. And it’s actually good.

We Need an AI Limitation Treaty. Now.

Artificial intelligence presents an existential threat to humanity. As with other existential threats, like global warming and weapons of mass destruction, we need a treaty to manage its risks, and soon.

China’s Loose Canon

Many are familiar with the Western canon – those core works of literature, history, and philosophy that are considered essential to the study of the subject. How about the Chinese canon?

Honest COVID Wedding Invitation

Please find enclosed a full itinerary of the day’s events, along with a waiver absolving us of liability should you happen to contract COVID-19 there.

Malaysia’s COVID Reckoning

Earlier this year, Malaysia had a responsible government and responsible citizens, at least as far as COVID was concerned. Now, it has neither.


Tales grow in the telling, they say, and so they do, and yours most of all, a tale that has grown to become legend.

The World’s Election

What’s at stake in this election? The soul of a country that is also a symbol to the world; the fate of democracy itself.

Honest Hong Kong Journalist Visa Denial

Whilst we understand that it is the role of a journalist to offer opinions and critiques and to ask questions, your opinion pieces are unnecessarily opinionated, your critiques unnecessarily critical, and your questions unnecessarily inquisitive.

Honest Princeton Donation Solicitation

Thanks for your generous donation! Should an angry student mob form to vilify you for failing to meet some future standard of moral purity, Princeton will disavow all association with you.

In Defense of Elitism

It’s time to reclaim the term “elitism,” to recognize that it’s not a pejorative but an expression of our highest aspirations.

The Man Who Trusted Too Much

There are some dictators to whom one must concede a certain Mephistophelian dignity. Najib isn’t one of them. Look at his ridiculous face – he doesn’t even inspire fear.

Lessons From Another Dictatorship

Since the passing of the new security law, Hong Kong is arguably now a dictatorship. Malaysia has been a dictatorship for over 50 years. Here’s a guide to living under the new normal.

Red Lines for China

To check China’s abuses, other countries will have to draw a line in the sand – and punish Beijing if it crosses it.

Singapore Welcomes Hong Kong Expats!

Like Hong Kong, Singapore used to be a British colony. Unlike Hong Kong, it has no pesky tradition of relative liberty since that was crushed out of it long ago.

National Myths

America’s national myths make it underrate its establishment and overrate its people. China’s make it do the opposite.

Tribes of Hong Kong

The original stimulus of the protests – the extradition bill – has long been withdrawn and forgotten; the tribal cycle of violence has generated its own self-sustaining momentum.

Chinese Pride

Why do so many overseas Chinese support the Chinese Communist Party? Mostly, it’s racism.

Lee Kuan Yew’s Shadow

Lee Kuan Yew was a titan and the shadow he casts is long and black and all of Singapore remains under it.

Smells like Hong Kong Spirit

Hong Kongers know when they’ve got something valuable, and if someone tries to take it from them, they’ll fight like dogs to keep it.

Genius and Madness

They say there’s a thin line between genius and madness. But what’s the relationship between the two?