14 June, 2005

chengdu sk8ter boi

Skaters6jpgCo-Asiapundit Gordon, of the Horse’s Mouth, today posted photos of Chengdu skateboarders. I enjoy the blogs of all co-Pundits and hope to meet all of them for beers eventually. Now, I would like to meet Gordon even more so. I assume the photo of the skateboarder, and admission of being a skater, implies a liking of three-chord punk rock.

Segue to something more intellectual, according to the Christian Science Monitor, Beijing has now endorsed skating and other xTreMe sportz:

BEIJING – It might be hard for even the most lateral thinker to see how the Lions Club, skateboarding, and "American Idol" could have anything in common. But maybe they do in China, where all three are among popular culture imports that receive direct or indirect backing in a carefully crafted state practice of opening up - as well as shutting out. . .
Extreme sports is another example of what’s in. With the 2008 Beijing Olympics coming, and with skateboarding a possible medal competition, the Association of Extreme Sports in China invited about 75 Chinese kids to Beijing for the televised June 12-13 competition. There are some 6,000 serious skateboarders in China, and only slightly fewer in-line skaters. BMX biking is just catching on, the extreme sports group here estimates.
"China still doesn’t have that many skateboard parks, but I was pretty shocked at the number of boarders," says Reno-based Jimmy Coleman of Action Sports Association, who helped run the event. "And they are almost up to par, I mean competitively."

If I were a consultant, I’d tell my clients that a country of 1.3 billion with only 6,000 serious sk8ers has xTreMe growth potential. Of course if I were a consultant I’d have a tendency to exaggerate. I’m a journalist, that means I call consultants to get xTreMe exaggerated quotes. (Hopefully finding equally xTreMe contrarian quotes for ‘balance’ though)

by @ 11:19 pm. Filed under Culture, China, Asia, Northeast Asia


The Japanese have a new lifelike robot. I consider this progress, (via n-line)


Next stop, Stepford.

by @ 10:47 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, Asia, Northeast Asia

an open letter to xiaxue

While I can access blogspot sites from China, I cannot post comments. I apologize for this indulgence. Below the fold, an open letter to XiaXue.


by @ 10:25 pm. Filed under Blogs, Singapore, Southeast Asia, Censorship

cafta vs china

Macroblog has a fine roundup of coverage on China’s deal with Europe on textile quotas.  The most interesting point for me is a paragraph from the WSJ on whether the Bush administration would be willing to sacrifice pet-project Cafta (Central American Free Trade Agreement) for China.

The EU deal comes at a delicate time for President Bush, whose push for trade liberalization with Central America has run into unexpectedly strong opposition in Congress. Opposition to the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which is considered Mr. Bush’s top trade priority for 2005, has been fueled by worry about the treaty’s effect on U.S. sugar producers and textile makers, who will face greater foreign competition, and broader concern about Beijing’s economic clout. The import curbs slapped on Chinese-made textiles by Mr. Bush this spring helped to dilute opposition from U.S. textile manufacturers to Cafta.

Here’s a question.  If you were in charge, would you risk Cafta to make the Chinese happier?  Or would you calculate that the relationship with Beijing swamps any gain from trying to maintain the momentum for hemispheric free trade agreements?   (No fair assuming that Congress will give you both — the political equivalent of a free lunch.)

by @ 8:33 pm. Filed under China, Money, Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Global/grober

state secrets?

Jing beats Danwei in a pickup on state secrets, sex and exam cheating.:

A Beijing Jiaotong University professor allegedly leaked exam questions and answers to a female applicant of a master’s program after she had sex with him.
Police in Beijing’s Haidian District on Wednesday confirmed they would investigate, The Beijing News reported yesterday.
The woman has accused the professor of leaking state secrets. Under Chinese law, some exam papers are considered state secrets. In focus were educator Ouyang Lin, 51, and a 26-year-old woman known by the alias A Fang. Ouyang teaches in the Humanities and Social Sciences college. A Fang is studying a further education degree at the university, according to the newspaper.

Question: Wouldn’t the student, who admitted to acquiring the exam, also be guilty of acquiring state secrets?

by @ 8:13 pm. Filed under China, Asia, Northeast Asia, Censorship

mckinnion on microsoft

Rebecca McKinnion weighs in on the pro-censorship, anti-expression, position taken by Microsoft’s in-house blogger Robert Scoble on Microsoft’s preemptive censorship in China:

I lived in China for nine years straight as a journalist, and if you add up other times I’ve lived there it comes to nearly 12. I don’t know what students and professors Scoble met with, and what context he met them in. But to state that Chinese students and professors have an "anti-free-speech stance" is the biggest pile of horseshit about China I’ve come across in quite some time. And believe me, there are a great many such piles out there these days.

Well said. Read the whole thing.

Rebecca is one of a handful of Sino journo-bloggers I admire, And on the Microsoft matter, I’m a bit disappointed with how another person I admire vacillates:

Obvious, many companies have decided that their business, and sometimes even their future, lies in China. While both individuals and companies might have different ways of drawing a line, for everybody there will be a bottom line. Bringing the discussion into the open is a plus and Microsoft should be applauded for doing it. In that way, they are a sign that things are changing, yet again, for all players involved in global business.

by @ 7:45 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Censorship

bollywood and awareness of the outside world

OxBlog’s Patrick Belton receives a letter from Bangladesh:

IT is the new buzz here, but it is unclear whether it actually exists
besides one sad-looking internet café with two computers in the
“wealthy” part of town (read: less than abject poverty). Both times I
went there was no current and hence no internet, but in theory you
could check your email. Dhaka still does not have a McDonald’s nor any
other international chain, although it does have a Dominous pizza (note
the ingenious way around copyright) and a restaurant that has stolen
the Chili’s logo and sells Thai food. The country has trouble
attracting foreign investment because it has one of the highest
corruption rates in the world, exacerbated by a political system run
almost entirely by two political families who trade off power almost
every election…

When I was here before, women did not adhere strictly to purdah and
many ventured into the marketplace wearing only hijab. Now, women are
largely kept to their homes and are required to wear a burkah in
public. However, some advances have been made in women’s health. Birth
control in the form of contraceptive pills from India is now available,
although apparently the local Madrassa has organized a campaign against
its use (not that it seemed to be having much effect; most of the women
see it as a Godsend)…

The biggest difference has to be the proliferation of cell phones and
televisions. Now, every third person seems to have a cell phone. The people in the
area may still not have reliable electricity, or safe drinking water,
or indoor plumbing, or much of anything else, but now many families do
have a television. The children look just as malnourished but now they
can sing Bollywood songs. Because of this, the people have a greater
awareness of the outside world than they did four years ago.[OxBlog]

by @ 5:07 pm. Filed under Culture, India, Asia, Current Affairs, South Asia, Film, Nitin Pai, Television

in china, all jedi are presbyterian


Anakin is a made man. Image stolen from Winterson.com (visit here for more):

by @ 5:06 pm. Filed under Culture, China, Asia, Northeast Asia, Film

why i support hate speech

A blog by China nationals studying in Australia has voluntary shut itself down after Australian Senator Andrew Bartlett criticized commentary on the site calling for the murder of Chinese defector Chen Yonglin. He became aware of the site via the Peking Duck.

Bartlett has his reactions here.  Mine are below.


by @ 2:07 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

india econ roundup

The 14th weekly blogside view of the Indian economy is hosted by Nitin at the Acorn.

by @ 11:36 am. Filed under Blogs, Money, India, Economy, South Asia

final post on spg’s nipples

In spite of the peak in hits that this site had yesterday from the items on Sarong Party Girl’s photos, I will be limiting reportage on the incident to this final statement from SPG herself.:

That photograph is of me taking a moment to appreciate myself, and telling everyone else that they should do that too…
But the newspaper articles.. what were they about?
They were about a nipple.
Give me a … break. Who has not seen nipple? Who in Singapore has not sucked a nipple in their life?
I KNOW nipples. To the jerk that insulted my parents, my mother sure raised me well, buster. From the time she suckled me, she sure as hell did.
Singapore will NEVER becoming artistically vibrant unless we really lighten up. Why is it all right to see naked pictures on the blogs of girls from the US, some of which are assuredly more highly eroticized then mine, but scandalous to have it come from a Singaporean girl? The last time I checked, we have all the same bits.
I will write more when I get back, but here are some thoughts for all of you in the mean time.
Kisses to the people that have been reading me regularly, and have sent me all those emails of encouragement. And to Gabriel Seah, who’s COMPLETE statement to The Straits Times (that deceitful paper) is this, "’The Internet is a free society, there is no reason why anyone should not do this, because it doesn’t hurt anyone. *A lot of things that used to be considered bad are now acceptable, so maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to judge and condemn.*

(UPDATE: mr brown has a roundup.)

by @ 8:44 am. Filed under Blogs, Singapore, Southeast Asia, Censorship

world record watch (ii)

Cathartidae 2.0 translates an item from South Korea’s Sports Hankook’s Erotic Blog recalling another (now broken) world record set by a Singaporean, Ms Anabelle Chong.:

For example, why do porno actors place so much emphasis on the frequency of sex? In Sex: The Annabel Chong Story, a documentary about the famous porno star, we learn that Chong had sex with 251 men at one time. She explained her actions as being consistent with the logic of the woman’s movement. But in reality, it was nothing more than an event designed to attract attention.
For proof, even afterwards, such events went on. A porno star named Houston continued the record-breaking by having sex with 500 men. As a millennium event, one Italian porn star had sex with 2,000 women, though it wasn’t officially recognized as a new record.

by @ 8:18 am. Filed under South Korea, Singapore, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Global/grober, World record watch

big macs, wages and choco pies

The Economist has revised its popular, although not to be taken too seriously, Big Mac index. As well as pointing to a 59% undervalued renminbi, it notes the euro has some room to fall.:

Our annual Big Mac index (see table) suggests they have a case: the euro is overvalued by 17% against the dollar. How come? The euro is worth about $1.22 on the foreign-exchange markets. A Big Mac costs €2.92, on average, in the euro zone and $3.06 in the United States. The rate needed to equalise the burger’s price in the two regions is just $1.05. To patrons of McDonald’s, at least, the single currency is overpriced.

Meanwhile, Simon and CSR Asia are developing an alternative index that also considers wages.:

The Economist reckons you can tell a lot about exchange rates by buying a Big Mac. Simon World and CSR Asia think buying one can tell you more and are combining to update my old Alternative Big Mac Index based on the number of hours a McDonald’s employee must work to be able to buy a Big Mac. The Economist has just released its latest Big Mac Index,
so we’re calling on bloggers of the world to unite and provide us with
three bits of information to keep up with msm’s attempts at economic

Meanwhile, another competing index emerges (via the Flea).:

The Flea will engage in some journalism with a visit to the big Korean grocery store down the way. South Korean food producer, Orion has released a Choco Pie index meant to emulate the Economist’s Big Mac index meant to evaluate currencies through relative purchasing power. A Canadian price comparison seems in order. Choco Pie is reportedly wildly popular in mainland China "where a box of Choco Pies is presented as a gift to well-wishers at weddings" and adding up to an impressive 60% of the Chinese cookie market.

by @ 8:01 am. Filed under Food and Drink, South Korea, Blogs, China, Money, Hong Kong, Economy, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia

controversial recordings spread on Internet

Controversial recordings spread on Internet    records mainstream media’s grappling with blogging and peer-to-peer systems for delivering files such as BitTorrent having a news-worthy impact on the continuing political troubles of Philippines president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The Philippine National Telecommunications Commission has attempted to put the squeeze on radio, television, and print journalists covering controversial recordings first released to the public by the Press Secretary of the President.

by @ 1:05 am. Filed under Blogs, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Manuel Quezon III, Philippines, Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs

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