3 June, 2005


mr brown has started a new meme:

sgblogconspiracy: Write your Singapore Blog Conspiracy story now!
I have an idea! I am so inspired by all the government conspiracy theories surrounding the Singapore Bloggers Conference (Bloggers.SG 2005) and Tomorrow.sg, that I have decided to kick off a new meme.
Let’s have a Singapore Conspiracy writing game! Just write your version of the great Singapore Blog Conspiracy in a post, and I will link to it. Tag it "sgblogconspiracy", or have that word in the title, so that we can do a Technorati search of the conversations and links.
If you have photos (photo essay?), you can also tag it in and it will show up there.
Start writing now! All Your Blogs Are Belong to Gahmen!

Myrick and asiapundit will not be participating. This is partly because I’m never mentioned as a co-founder of either the Bloggers.SG 2005 conference or the Tomorrow.sg site.

But, I was very much involved. Early this year, on behalf of Lee Kwan-yew, I had instigated the initial S’pore blogger brunch that later spawned the dinners, drinks and meetings that gave rise to the site and conference.

Then, wheels in motion, I conveniently skipped the country.

by @ 7:05 pm. Filed under Blogs, Singapore, Southeast Asia

piracy and censorship

Angry Chinese Blogger has a good post on why a Chinese crackdown on ‘objectional’ material in video and online games is likely to fail.:

Every day, countless counterfeit games are brought and downloaded in China, all of which bypass Point of Entry censorship, and are almost impossible to stop without a wider crackdown on pirates and counterfeiters; which Beijing is so far unwilling to commit to because of the benefits that these industries have for China’s domestic economy.
A similar problem has already been observed with Chinese language movies imported from Hong Kong and Chinese Taiwan, many of which have been censored to remove political commentary, and some of which have been altered to change the nationalities of mainland Chinese villains to be other Asian nationalities.
As is likely to happen with games, censored or government approved movies that are retailed legally are often disregarded by the public in favor of counterfeits made from uncensored source because the counterfeits are cheaper and because they often arrive on the market significantly before censored additions are release or original additional are approved for distribution, giving them a notable edge.

While much of China’s intellectual piracy is driven by high prices for legitimate goods, it’s my experience high censorship causes high rates of piracy regardless of per-capita income. In my two previous homes - wealthy Singapore and oil-rich Kuwait - there was always a brisk trade in pirated movies.

The reason, for many buyers, was that legitimate versions had been horribly censored.

Singapore relaxed its censorship somewhat last year, allowing legal sale and rental of uncut R-18 movies. I haven’t seen data yet, but I expect the trade of illegal DVDs from Johor has likely slipped considerably.

by @ 6:34 pm. Filed under Singapore, China, Malaysia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia


The Dinocrat smells hubris:

We have to admit an unexpected and strong admiration for the strategy
and tactics of the Chinese government’s commitment to raising the
country, and its 1.4 billion people, out of poverty. Our admiration for
the effort is strongly influenced by our belief that, as with King John
and the Magna Carta, the development plan sows the seeds of the end of
the Party’s absolute rule.

by @ 6:15 pm. Filed under China, Northeast Asia

berlin 1936, beijing 2008

Tokyo’s mayor has equated the CPC with the Nazis. Tak points to a report from the Times of London and comments:

During an exclusive interview with the Times, Ishihara, the right-wing mayor of Tokyo who is fanatically bent on blaming all social ills on Asian immigrants and mainland countries, called for boycotting the Beijing 2008 Olympics games.
There has been calls for boycotting the Beijing Games (for example, see this site by Reporters Without Borders), but not for reasons given by Ishihara. He says that Beijing will be used by China in the same way that Hitler used Berlin to display Nazi power and prove their Aryan supremacy.
Not that China’s never done wrong, but I have to ask: who resembles Hitler more?

Personally, I’m hoping that Beijing 2008 will be more like Seoul 1988 (although I see no evidence of that happening.)

Tak also continues his look into the relationship between journalism and blogging in Japan.

by @ 5:40 pm. Filed under Japan, Blogs, China, Northeast Asia, Media

is burma loosening up on net censorship?

The Irrawaddy reports that a banned news website Mizzima.com can now be accessed from Burma. (via 2Bangkok.com)

Exiled Burmese media group Mizzima, based in New Delhi, recently announced that the Rangoon government had lifted the ban on its website, a fact corroborated by internet users in the capital. The move has drawn praise from several quarters, including the International Federation of Journalists in Brussels, but many feel it is in actual fact far from being a step along the road to press freedom.

The real reason for the unblocking may have nothing to do with junta’s desire for open information

Sources in Rangoon even suggest that things are getting worse, and that the government is in fact tightening its leash on internet use, possibly through the use of a new firewall program. One idea floating about is that the reappearance of the Mizzima website may actually be down to a technical glitch.

by @ 4:04 pm. Filed under Myanmar/Burma, Media

the great firewall spreads south

Malaysia took a few years before following China’s lead in pegging its currency, Rajan notes that Malaysia may soon join China in censoring the internet.

After years of trying to allay fears that Malaysia might start censoring the Internet, a minister not only recommend it being our custodian of moral rights and wrongs, he says it’s completely democratic.

by @ 8:53 am. Filed under Malaysia, Southeast Asia, Media

beating heart sashimi

Sushi and sashimi should be served fresh - but perhaps not this fresh.

In my many years in Japan, I have twice eaten fish that was still moving. In one instance I ate sashimi of a small fish that was still trying to breath, i.e. the gills were still moving (despite the fact that the head was severed from the rest of the fish—it was only a nerve reaction). In another instance, I swallowed miniscule fish (1 cm long and translucent) that were swimming around in a vinegary liquid. They are swallowed whole with the vinegar, and you can feel them riggle down the back of the throat.

But never had I see what I saw this morning. (video)

by @ 8:48 am. Filed under Food and Drink, Japan, Northeast Asia

something missing…

Bingfeng earlier linked to a report from a China news site that mentioned:

    Dell public relations officials in Beijing contacted by XFN-ASIA would not offer any immediate comment on the matter and said the company was preparing a statement for release later today.

    The Japanese company saw its Chinese sales and market share drop sharply in 2000 after a Beijing-based web site reported that the Japanese company had settled a lawsuit in the US over a flaw with its floppy disk storage device and would not be compensating Chinese buyers..

Dell is not a Japanese company. There should be an additional line in that report (from the original, no link).

    Dell public relations officials in Beijing contacted by XFN-ASIA
would not offer any immediate comment on the matter and said the
company was preparing a statement for release later today.
    Nationalist sentiments have previously hurt rival laptop producer Toshiba.
    The Japanese company saw its Chinese sales and market share drop
sharply in 2000 after a Beijing-based web site reported that the
Japanese company had settled a lawsuit in the US over a flaw with its
floppy disk storage device and would not be compensating Chinese

It seems the editor/censor found something objectionable.

by @ 8:18 am. Filed under Japan, China, Economy, Northeast Asia, Media

dell’s mea culpa

Dell has apologized for the actions of a salesman who was dissing Lenovo to boost sales (attempting deter US customers from buying from the company by pointing out its connections to the Communist Party). The Red Herring has a nice item on the case.

Bingfing has an update, which notes that some online comments have reported that Dell salesmen were using similar tactics in China:

…although it’s pretty sure that is not an official policy from dell, commentators and chinese customers who have purchased dell’s systems confirmed that dell sales persons used the same trick in their sales pitch before, like "why you consider a japanese system instead of an american one, you guys don’t like japanese, do you?"

This doesn’t surprise me. Perhaps Toshiba can use the Dell-Lenovo incident to regain some market share ion the laptop market

Perhaps adding fuel to the fire, Inquirer.net notes that Dell may be using other dirty tactics against Lenovo… hoarding chip supplies

The tale from Lenovo is that Dell seems to have acquired all the 1.7
GHz and 1.8 GHz Pentium M parts from Intel for the next 14 days or so.
The question in my mind is Intel just mad that IBM released their Opteron blades and found out that Lenovo is almost ready to ship an AMD based Thinkbook?

by @ 6:25 am. Filed under China, Northeast Asia

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