12 June, 2005

spg bares all

I have Sarong Party Girl in my bloglines reader. The site is a guilty pleasure. With that, I saw the post that has caused a storm on the day it was sent to the ether. As a family site, I didn’t post a direct link. If you want to see it, try going through WiRED.pod.:

A Singaporean blogger is now taking it off on her blog. The local
blogging community is buzzing after a girl posted nude pictures of
herself on the Internet.
Writing under the moniker Sarong Party
Girl, her weblog chronicles her life and numerous sexual escapades. But
though she is posing nude, most lawyers said that she is probably not
breaking any obscenity laws.
In an interviewed, the girl, a
19-year-old waiting to enter university, revealed that the blog is kept
secret from her parents, but maintained she is not ashamed of her
photographs. “There is nothing wrong with having a nude picture of
yourself published or on show, as long as there is an artistic and
aesthetic value to it and these pictures were nice,” she said.

SPG is right, although guilty of understatement, she does have a ‘decent’ body. And as last year’s Asia Blog Award winner for best diarist I’m hoping this ups the competition between her and Xiaxue.

by @ 11:59 pm. Filed under Blogs, Singapore, Southeast Asia

eu seeks wider access to us arms market?

Via Red Star News, a bit of analysis that - if true - leaves me feeling a little warmer towards Europe:

Yesterday saw an interesting broadcast on arte about EU’s arms politics. Guillaume DASQUIE, expert on geopolitics and member of the IRIS ( INSTITUT DE RELATIONS
) had an enlightening comment on the EU arms embargo towards China. He said that the proposition of some EU members like France and Germany to lift the embargo has to do with European and American military industrie’s competion. The USA closed it’s market (the biggest and only one where you can realy make profits) to arms from the EU almost entierly. So now the proposition to lift the arms embargo was a hint to the US: If you don’t open your market again and don’t stop to preassure European governments to buy your arms we will find somebody else to do buisness with.
I think this is called Realpolitik.

by @ 10:05 pm. Filed under China, Money, Taiwan, Northeast Asia, Global/grober

if you have a problem, call sby

Indonesia’s president has announced an admirable experiment in open government (though I expect it will be short lived). (via Macam Macam):

Call me! So says Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono:

"If you think (government officials) don’t care, never come to you and your problems are left unsettled, my cellular phone is active 24 hours a day," Susilo told farmers and fishermen attending a ceremony to mark the launch of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Revitalization Program at Jatiluhur dam here.

For the record, his number is 0811109949.

by @ 5:10 pm. Filed under Indonesia, Southeast Asia

western fashion models in india

Until the 90s, Indian television and print ads were not allowed to feature foreign fashion models. The Economic Times covers the new trend  in Indian advertising industry.

The fetish for foreign skin is all across product categories. Switch on your TV screen and you may find Katka in a Maruti Zen ad, Liya in a Citizen ad, Kora in Tanishq and Wills Lifestyle ads, Ilene in a Lakme ad, Francesca in Emami and Bacardi ads, Agnes in Trendz ad…the list is endless. You may not be familiar with their names but the chances are that they may have inspired you to buy the brand they are endorsing.

Brands that can’t buy professional  models like Yana Gupta (a Czech  model based in India) are trying to get in the game with whoever they can afford.

A leading Mumbai-based model coordinator says, "Those who can’t afford the likes of Yana Gupta settle for blondes from Ukraine and Russia who are in India as students or tourists or even part of some international dance troupes. They are available for as little as Rs 2,000 only for a day’s shoot."

(Rs 2000 = 45 US$)

While some brands want to show a western face, others prefer western models who can pass off as Indians.

Liril TV ad demanded a very careful treatment to make it look classy and sensual. We used South African models who looked like Indians. But being South Africans, they were able to emote and act as we wanted which may not have been possible with Indian models. There is a complete contrast in the body language of Indian and foreign models when it comes to exposing and portraying sensuality."

by @ 4:43 pm. Filed under Culture, India, Media, South Asia

abc in north korea

OneFreeKorea reviews ABC’s series on life inside North Korea and notes a few questions that should have been asked.:

report isn’t completely devoid of interesting information; the wierd
emptying of North Korea’s cities for farm work is informative even
through the emerald-green glasses. But "a snapshot of everyday
existence inside North Korea" it isn’t. Brainwashed tour guides,
privileged military officers, and terrified schoolkids are not an
accurate representation of public opinion. The reporters, for their
part, acknowledge that they are followed everywhere by government
minders. They just don’t ever question it. They tour the world’s most
repressive, controlling state, but never seek–or seek permission to
seek–the unsupervised answer to what the North Korean people are
really thinking

by @ 3:52 pm. Filed under Northeast Asia, Media, Censorship, North Korea

up in smoke

The Horse’s Mouth point’s to an article that highlights a disturbing trend within China’s tobacco industry to advertise smoking as a cure all for various health afflictions.

….Instead, the government-run tobacco industry clearly promotes smoking as a way to improve health in the nation of 1.3 billion people.

Ads in China tout smoking as a cure-all for diseases and ailments — from Parkinson’s to ulcers. In fact, smoking can even make you smarter and happier, if you listen to the government.

The pro-smoking campaign is perhaps a reason why China has not only the largest population of smokers anywhere in the world, but a growing one — with an estimated three million people choosing to light up every year.

"I don’t believe all the talk about cancer. Most people who smoke don’t get sick," a resident of Guiyang told CTV News.

Disturbing indeed. So much for the Chinese government’s crackdown on such false advertising.

by @ 2:40 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Gordon

carrots from ulaan baatar

New Mongols points to an interesting article on how Mongolia could exert positive force for change in North Korea.:

By encouraging the minuscule economic reforms in North Korea, Mongolia hopes it can offer Pyongyang a carrot to complement the US stick, Baabar said.
Doing this is in Mongolia’s interest because North Korea’s peaceful transition to a more open system would foster economic growth in the region, and open up the possibility of a trade pipeline between the Koreas and Europe, via Russia and Mongolia.

Given that North Korea has resisted constant pressure from China and the South to open its economy, I have serious doubts that Ulaan Baatar can do much to influence Pyongyang. But it’s nice that an attempt is being made.

by @ 12:35 pm. Filed under China, Northeast Asia, North Korea, Mongolia

people power iii

At Publius Pundit there is a nice roundup of commentary on the storm surrounding the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Administration in the Philippines.:

Manila, Philippines, is seeing huge protests over the discovery of a tape which purport to show that that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the daughter of a founding president of the Philippines, rigged her last re-election a couple years ago, a contest she just barely won. She got her initial power in a People Power coup in 2001, an event I witnessed in Manila, and now apparently it’s her turn to exit the same way. Sad, because none of this is democratic. Initial news accounts are here, here, and here. Most of the blogging sentiment in Manila is that bad as she is, the threat to democracy is worse and it’s got to stop.


by @ 12:14 pm. Filed under Culture, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Media

proper spelling and economic growth

Ethnic Indians have been outperforming Americans of European ancestry at the US national spelling bee for about a decade.  While this should be (and is) a source of pride, it is also prompting some introspection. Vinod at Sepia Mutiny points to a couple of paragraphs in WSJ item that ask whether India’s obsession with education had held the country back economically.:

When an Indian-American 13-year-old won the Scripps National Spelling Bee last week–the fifth time in seven years in which a child from that ethnic group has won this stirringly absurd contest–my first reaction, naturally, was to ask why such a striking pattern of success has emerged. (Indians are 0.66% of the U.S. population.)
…For millennia, India was a land where the poorest scholar was held in higher esteem than the richest businessman. This approach to life proved disastrous for modern India. Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister and a Brahmin to his manicured fingertips, had such contempt for business (and for profits) that his economic policies condemned his people to two generations of stagnation.

by @ 11:28 am. Filed under Culture, India, Economy, South Asia

yoda in urumqi

Silkworms has a review of the Star Wars Episode III opening in Urumqi - the Chinese city farthest from the sea. There, few were expecting Anakin to turn dark and Yoda spoke using proper grammar:

Yoda speaks in Subject - Verb - Object sentences, as opposed to the Object - Subject - Verb format that we all know. Theories as to why include: a) with all the bad dialogue, Chinese translators figured it was just a mistake by Lucasfilm, b) it is impossible for audiences to understand Chinese in this syntax, or c) the previous Star Wars movies were not dubbed by Lucasfilm and used normal syntax, so Lucasfilm decided to change the way Yoda speaks all the sudden would confuse the audience.

by @ 10:27 am. Filed under Culture, China, Northeast Asia, Film

hello kitty vibrator

Via the flea. The odd business history of the infamous Hello Kitty vibrator.:

The emergence of the Hello Kitty vibrator as a cult adult item caused friction between Sanrio and Genyo, and Sanrio ordered the company to stop making the units. Genyo refused, since it had paid a lot of money to license Kitty for their products. There seemed nothing Sanrio could do, since they had approved the item for sale (see the official Sanrio sticker on the boxes). The answer came when the Japanese tax authorities raided Genyo on suspicion of tax evasion. . .

by @ 10:13 am. Filed under Culture, Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Hello Kitty watch

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