16 June, 2005

interesting e-mail

Stephen just sent me this via e-mail.  I won’t read it until tomorrow but it has something to do with Microsoft, censorship and circumventing. Tell me if it’s useful.


by @ 11:00 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Censorship

malaysian wins ‘freedom blog’ award

For the Asian category, blogger Jeff Ooi won the Reporters sans frontiers’ Freedom Blog award. RSF gives the reason why Jeff Ooi was short listed:

An extremely popular blog that takes an independent approach to Malaysian politics and society. Its editor, Jeff Ooi, was threatened with imprisonment, at the beginning of October 2004, because he allowed on his blog a comment “insulting Islam”.

As I noted here, Jeff Ooi hardly allowed “Anwar”, that infamous commenter, to comment on his blog. He even said here:

In the interview, I plug for blogs and bloggers, but I also emphasise that the privilege of freedom of expression comes with a strong sense of responsibility, all the time. [emphasis mine]

I’ll leave it to you to interpret that.

by @ 10:45 pm. Filed under Malaysia

malaysian state now ‘developed’

Malaysian blogger Jeff Ooi notes the amount of money that is going to be spent by the Malaysian state Selangor (Malaysia’s most populous, surrounds Kuala Lumpur) planning to celebrate it being declared a “developed state”.

A little bird tells me that millions of ringgit of taxpayers’ money has been allocated to celebrate “Selangor achieving a fully-developed state” status in August.

As many of Jeff Ooi’s readers have noted - what criteria is Selangor being declared a develop state? Infrastructure? Gross domestic product? A combination?

by @ 10:14 pm. Filed under Malaysia

congrats mr bow-tie

One country, two systems. One is a capitalist system but un-democratic, illiberal and corrupt. The other is Hong Kong.:

Hong Kong has a new leader, Donald Tsang. As expected, he tied up so much support on the Beijing-selected election committee during the nominating process that no formal vote was needed.
The election was over before the votes were even cast. On Thursday, career civil servant Tsang effectively became Hong Kong’s new chief executive, after securing the endorsement of about 80 percent of the 800-member election committee.
The committee members, selected by the Chinese government, were scheduled to cast their votes on July 10. But with such a big lead, the ballot is considered unnecessary. Tsang’s nearest challenger - Democratic Party head Lee Wing-tat quickly conceded defeat. Tsang is expected to be sworn in in Beijing next week.

by @ 9:50 pm. Filed under China, Hong Kong, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

rent a doll

Words escape me. The Mainichi Daily, found via Dean’s World, runs an article on the thriving rental business that has developed for high-end sex dolls. Dean also notes the fembot.

It’s hard to tell whether it’s a condemnation of Japanese men or Japanese women, but workers in one of the fastest-growing sectors of the country’s thriving call girl market are all absolute dolls - really, according to Spa! (12/21).
Several companies are involved in the bustling trade supplying customers looking to slip it into some silicon, with lifelike figurines that set back buyers something in the vicinity of 600,000 yen as opposed to the simple, blow-up types with the permanently open mouths that can be bought from vending machines for a few thousand yen….
"We’ve got four dolls working for us at the moment. We get at least one job a day, even on weekdays, so we made back our initial investment in the first month," Kimura says. "Unlike employing people, everything we make becomes a profit and we never have to worry about the girls not turning up for work."
Doll no Mori charges start at 13,000 yen for a 70-minute session with the dolls, which is about the same price as a regular call girl service. The company boasts of many repeat customers and a membership clientele topping 200.

The report doesn’t mention if the company charges extra for cleaning.

by @ 7:14 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

high hopes

As the resumption of six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program seems increasingly likely, the Bush administration is preparing itself mentally. This New York Times item shows they have the right idea. It’s never good to go into a negotiation with overly high expectations. (below summary via OneFreeKorea):

I’m really not at all surprised by DiTrani’s comment, in light of what I’ll just call "other information." The real issues here are: (1) North Korea isn’t serious about disarming (2) because it has no fear that there will be consequences if it does not disarm, and because (3) its greatest fear is the openness and transparency that are essential to verifying any disarmament agreement. They’re right, in other words, so the question of security guarantees is probably irrelevant anyway. Transparency is the key to both disarmament and human rights, and there isn’t going to be transparency unless we persuade North Korea that opacity and mendacity will have serious consequences. Threats of war won’t do that, because they know (or worse yet, may miscalculate) we won’t follow through. Threats of bankruptcy and instability will.

by @ 2:02 pm. Filed under South Korea, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Current Affairs, Global/grober, North Korea


Chinese defector Chen Yonglin says the US has also declined to acccept his application for asylum. Like Richard, I have to admit, I don’t understand this.

The high-ranking Chinese diplomat who defected here two weeks ago only to be rebuffed by the Australian government says he also sought political asylum at the United States Embassy, and was turned away there as well.
The defector, Chen Yonglin, a 37-year-old career diplomat, said in his first interview with a foreign journalist that he had called the American Embassy in Canberra and followed up with a fax.
"My wife, my 6-year old daughter and I are now in a desperate status," Mr. Chen wrote on June 4 in imperfect English in his faxed appeal, which he showed to The New York Times. "I have no choice but seeking the only hope of political asylum of the United States." He gave his cellphone number.
Later that day, Mr. Chen said in the interview on Monday, he received a call from an American Embassy official, whose name he could not recall, who told him the United States could do nothing for him.
Why Mr. Chen was dismissed without even an interview is not clear. Generally, in the past, defectors from Communist countries, whether athletes, dancers or diplomats, have been protected and assisted with their asylum claims.

by @ 1:49 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

maid in hong kong

Simon notes a disturbing case of domestic abuse and bureaucratic oversight.:

The Standard says cheated employees ‘will have to blow the whistle‘ if they’ve been cheated on salaries by their employers, and testify if they want redress, otherwise the Government won’t help them. The article is concerned with Government contractors but the same applies for domestic helpers. For proof, let’s turn to a staggering case reported in the SCMP:

A Labour Department suggestion that a domestic helper who complained about harassment, death threats and abuse by her employer should be less sensitive and focus on her work has been described as "hopeless" by a judge… Under discussion was a Labour Department reply to a five-page hand-written letter sent by Ms Aquino detailing the extensive abuse she said she was suffering at the hands of her employers, Betty So Mei-ngor and her husband, Leung To-kwong….
Project officer Kwok Fu-ming from the department’s Tuen Mun branch office replied on Christmas Eve that year. "Do you think you should be so sensitive to the insulting words exhibited by the employers," he wrote after saying the contents of the letter had been noted. Focus on your job and reflect your feeling toward your employers’ temperament. Should you need further service, approach Family Services Centres of Social Welfare Department or other non-governmental services at your district."

by @ 1:33 pm. Filed under Hong Kong, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

1.3 bln people, but few good beers

As well as AsiaPundit, I maintain a personal blog and contribute to the Good Beer Blog. I haven’t been contributing to the GBB as much recently - nor have fellow China-based beer bloggers Unabrewer and YellowFrog. There is a reason for that. SABMiller CFO Malcolm Wyman explains  (via The China Stock Blog):

….the beer industry in China is way behind in levels of sophistication….you’re talking about what perhaps the U.S. or other industries might have looked like 50 to 80 years ago when you have total fragmentation across the country. When we entered you had over 800 breweries we are now down to I think just under 400 breweries.
…. there are so many cheap beers that those are definitely not brandable. We try and move our beers up into the upper mainstream and the local premium levels where you can get slightly better margin
….but if you take the vast amount of beer and if you take your normal pyramid — probably from two thirds and down is all very much low quality, low-priced beer and that beer is certainly lacking in any sort of brand capacity.

by @ 1:13 pm. Filed under Food and Drink, China, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

dear pakistani people, we love you

A friendly neighborhood Indian blogger tries to communicate his feelings towards his neighbours. Chanakya at vichaar.org writes:

Dear Pakistani People,


We like Pakistani people. And we dont just mean Adnan Sami, Jal or Strings – we mean regular Pakistani folks. In fact, we like most people and cultures. Heck, we tolerate Laloo and he’s totally out of this world. We can understand your accent much easier than his!

Sounds good, but what about Jammu and Kashmir, you say. Ah yes. A real party pooper that. Well, here’s the truth. We’ve grown up seeing the “whole” of Jammu and Kashmir as a part of India in our textbooks. But then, so have you. So here’s the plan. Rid yourselves of the party pooper in the army costume and get a real government. Then lets talk over a few beers (okay, kawa or whatever for you guys. Lighten up, its just a figure of speech!). Let the guns stop talking and the kawa start taking effect. Then who knows what we will think of together ? Whats the tearing rush ? The Himalayas aren’t going anywhere. At least lets first stop slapping one another around and running to the U.S. like two silly brats in a school yard. The world is laughing at us, you know.

by @ 12:00 pm. Filed under Pakistan, India, South Asia, Nitin Pai

(name here)pundit.com

Oh I see? You think a geographical location followed by ‘pundit.com’ will get you links and traffic, eh?

Works for me. Welcome aboard Singaporepundit.com.:

Seah Chiang Nee comments about the blurring of ethnic lines.
At the end of the article, Lee Kuan Yew is quoted as saying that it
will still take a number of generations before people break out of
their natural predisposition to their own race - an assessment that’s
right on the mark.

by @ 11:27 am. Filed under Culture, Blogs, Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

freedom blog awards

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has announced the winners of the first Freedom Blog Awards. As RSF’s site is difficult to access in China, this news comes from Singabloodypore.

The East Asian winner, Jeff Ooi’s Screenshots:

An extremely popular blog that takes an independent approach to Malaysian politics and society. Its editor, Jeff Ooi, was threatened with imprisonment, at the beginning of October 2004, because he allowed on his blog a comment “insulting Islam”.

by @ 8:39 am. Filed under Blogs, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Media, Weblogs, Global/grober

stuck with burma

The Aseanist comes to a depressing conclusion that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations needs Myanmar/Burma more than the despotic nation needs Asean.

He pointed out that ASEAN needs Myanmar more than Myanmar needs ASEAN.
I have to admit that he’s largely right. In his eyes, Myanmar, if somehow expelled from ASEAN for its reluctance to change, could go either to India or to China. I think there’s more of a worry about the latter than the former. Yangon and New Delhi, of course, have history, and Myanmar is particularly sensitive about its colonial history. A link to New Delhi would seem like a reconstituted Raj, although there are enough Burmese Indians to make this happen. China is the greater worry. Even though, like most Southeast Asians, most Burmese are rather suspicious of Chinese intentions, China has long developed an economic foothold in Myanmar, particularly in the north. And I’d wager many of the ruling generals have developed quite cozy relationships with Chinese business interests.

by @ 8:27 am. Filed under China, India, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Asean, Myanmar/Burma, Southeast Asia, South Asia

more on the fembot

The Mutant Frog offers a closer look at Japan’s Robots of the World Expo, including a link to a video clip of the lifelike fembot (provided via Pie2K).

Some find the whole thing creepy.

by @ 8:18 am. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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