The strange tale of a kung-fu master in Madagascar


This week on Sinica, Jeremy and Kaiser chat with Jackson Miller, a master’s candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School’s public policy program. Jackson’s research of illegal trade in Malagasy hardwood led him to discover the bizarre story of Gao Jose Ramaherison — an unemployed man from Liaoning, China, who parlayed his kung-fu skills into political prominence in Madagascar.


Jeremy: Recommends that everyone should visit Madagascar, especially for its beautiful and diverse natural environment. He recommends Ile Sainte Marie, an island off the east coast of Madagascar. Jeremy also recommends visiting a bunch of islands near Madagascar before they are all underwater: Comoro Islands, to the northwest of Madagascar, along with Mauritius and the Seychelles.

Jeremy also likes the weird Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch and his painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. The Twitter account @artistbosch highlights particular parts of this and other paintings by Bosch in bite-sized pieces.

Jackson: Joe Studwell’s Asian Godfathers: Money and Power in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Also, the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief, a fantastic weekly newsletter that gives you a rundown of the big stories from all across Africa every Sunday morning, as well as a schedule of events for tech conferences and more, plus music recommendations.

Kaiser: Recommends taking up a new instrument in middle age. With Youtube, there’s no shortage of convenient ways to learn the basics — Kaiser picked up a used drum kit and has been bashing away at it for a while now.

This podcast was edited and produced by Kaiser Kuo and Jason MacRonald.