nthposition online magazine

Stephen Chan

Chan is Professor of International Relations in the University of London, and was foundation Dean of Law and Social Sciences at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Of Chinese descent, he grew up in the South Pacific, lived many years in Africa, is married to a Croat, and now makes his home in England and many aircraft.

Livingstone’s land

[ places - april 13 ]

Jump-starting the city of Lusaka. "A giant statue of a ‘hybrid chicken’ adorns a roundabout on the Great East Road. No one knows why. Maybe it was a sculptured advertisement. But it’s just a landmark now. ‘Turn left at Hybrid Chicken roundabout.’ "

The legend of Sursum Antigone and Under Tao One

[ fiction - september 12 ]

"Sursum Antigone liked to kill because he hated perpetuity. He was doomed to perpetuity and was determined to test it in himself and end it in others."

A Parliament of Birds in South Sudan

[ politics | places - june 10 ]

"Every field command, anywhere, detests its high command. Every high command detests its political masters. The further you are from the field, the more death and suffering become notional."

The stirrings of a new nation in South Sudan

[ politics | places - june 10 ]

"South Sudan could become Africa's 54th state and a precedent for the stable Somaliland being recognised as an entity independent of the turmoils of the south. Suddenly the map of Africa could begin to change."

The end of certainty

[ people - july 09 ]

The adventures that contributed to the writing of a book

A world of racisms, reversals and resurgence

[ opinion - may 09 ]

"Racism is often regarded as a binary phenomenon - white against black and, in Robert Mugabe's vision, black against white. But this is incomplete."

Bonded for the future

[ fiction - march 09 ]

"He wouldn't miss his Aston Martin. He'd had his licence revoked anyway for speeding too much.

A little assassination down south

[ fiction - july 08 ]

"After that, the Dictator's own trusted lieutenants would excoriate the West, then enter negotiations with the opposition party and emerge with a lion's share of the portfolios in the new coalition government."

A little scene in Zagreb

[ fiction - june 08 ]

"A lifetime's friendship could be founded on a hint so subtle that no one else at the table would ever know."

The big steal in Zimbabwe

[ politics | opinion - may 08 ]

There are a lot of people running scared in ZANU-PF, and their time-honoured tactic is now to start running violent.

The South African storm season and Zimbabwe

[ places - december 07 ]

"The Grace Hotel is sometimes full of elderly American tourists, attracted by the claim - without obvious foundation but much pretence - it has one of the world's top 100 restaurants."

Letters from Washington

[ places - november 07 ]

"Obama will be a relief, a new symbol, in a town where to be a symbol is even greater than being a player."

The negotiator's letter from Beijing

[ places - november 07 ]

"I also am Chinese and I am flying to a land of immensities that my parents once fled, and I am flying to the northern capital that they never saw..."

Monkey’s biographer writes from Beijing

[ opinion | places - october 07 ]

"[Beijing] is the vengeance of the demon kings, as day succeeds day, and the visitor chokes to death and the resident thinks foulness is normal."

Evil and its discontents: a 21st Century bestiary

[ politics | opinion - june 04 ]

"We have all become Manichean - concerned with a huge confrontation between two empires, two faiths, two ideologies, each with the same vision of each other."