Asia

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Quitting the rat race

According to CNN, young people across China are getting tired of the fierce competition for college and jobs, and the relentless rat race once they get hired. They are now embracing a new philosophy they've called "tang ping," or "lying flat," which emphasizes the pursuit of a simple life.

Talk of "lying flat" has spread rapidly throughout China as young people contend with intense competition for the most attractive jobs, especially in tech and other white-collar fields. The public has grown wary of what many see as a grueling work culture.

This type of phenomenon, though, is not limited to China. Across East Asia, young people say they have become exhausted by the prospect of working hard for seemingly little reward.

Son Doong—the world's largest cave

Son Doong ("Mountain river") cave in Vietnam is the largest cave in the world. It was discovered first in 1991 by a local farmer, then in 2009 British explorers relocated it with the farmer's help. About 9km (5.5mi) long, with a rushing river and caverns that could hold an entire New York City block with 40-floor skyscrapers, it's more than twice the size of the largest previously known cave, Deer Cave in Malaysia. Just imagine—a Boeing 747 jet plane could fly through some areas without the wingtips touching either side!

Even more incredible is the rainforest that has grown beneath a place where the limestone ceiling collapsed. Vegetation, insects, birds, and other animals (including tigers!) all live in this miniature forest. Elsewhere, there are "cave pearls" the size of baseballs, stalagmites 70m (230ft) high, and even a sandy beach.

A most interesting host

On a recent trip to Kathmandu, Nepal, my friend and I had a great conversation with an incredibly interesting AirBnB host. Over a few beers, he explained how he became a host after retiring from the national police force, where he was the Chief Superintendent.

Clearly captivated by this, my friend and I asked him to talk more about his past experiences. He talked about his time in Bosnia, Sudan and Iraq as part of a UN Peacekeeping force in the 1990s. Having grown up only knowing Baghdad as one of the most dangerous places on earth, I was fascinated by his recounting of the city as a safe cultural oasis back then.

The Songkran Water Festival

If you go to Bangkok during the Thai New Year in mid-April, you might get splashed with water or get soaked with a water gun. That is because the Thai celebrate New Year with a water festival called Songkran. It is a holy festival where people bless each other with water. So, in Bangkok, people with water guns take part in huge water fights.

People of all ages take part in Songkran. You should be careful when refilling your water gun since older folks might pour ice-cold water down your back while you’re not looking. Thankfully, it’s extremely hot in Thailand year-round, so the cold water feels refreshing. Some tourists join in the fun. Others don't. For example, you can find Japanese students studying English with pen and paper in the middle of the street. They act like nothing is happening even when people spray them and their notes with water.

What a fun way to spend New Year!

Rugby requires beer

When hosting an international rugby tournament and welcoming thirsty fans from around the world, the last thing you want to do is run out of beer.

That’s the message from Rugby World Cup bosses to Japanese hosts as they gear up for the global showcase that kicks off on September 20.

Rugby bosses have warned host cities about running out of ale, using anecdotes such as when Australian and Irish fans drank the city of Adelaide dry, forcing emergency supplies to be brought in from surrounding areas.

Around two million litres of beer were downed at stadiums and nearby areas during the 2015 Rugby World Cup with rugby fans having a reputation for outdrinking their football counterparts.

Huawei offers higher salaries

China’s Huawei technologies, the world’s third largest smartphone maker after Apple and Samsung, has announced plans to build new R&D facilities in Chiba, Japan.

This news shows the general trend of Chinese corporations becoming multinationals, but what struck Japanese people is not this news, but other news that Huawei Japan is offering the starting monthly salary of 400,000 Japanese yen.

According to Rikunabi, one of the largest Japanese on-line job search sites, Huawei is offering 401,000 yen for college graduates and 430,000 yen for Masters degree holders.

Age discrimination in South Korea

A startup in South Korea is making headlines for only hiring staff that are aged 55 years and over.

The founder of content monitoring company EverYoung established the rule to prove the futility of age discrimination – a phenomenon that's reportedly prevalent in modern Korean corporate culture.

Employees at EverYoung monitor blog content on Korean web portal Naver and detect sensitive information on Naver Maps, as well as perform other IT tasks, including running coding classes for school students.

The Seoul startup, which has 420 seniors from a variety of career backgrounds working for it, mandates a 10-minute break for every 50 minutes of work, and staff are rostered on four-hour shifts.

Manager Kim Seong-Kyu told ChannelNews Asia that older employees have an attention to detail not as common in the younger workforce, with distracting mobile phones stored away during work time.