18 June, 2005

at least they beat the quotas

AFP via CNA:

LONDON : Some 2,000 Chinese tourists swooped on a British shoe shop and snapped up armfuls of shoes - made in China, a report said on Saturday.
The visitors descended on the Clarks store at the Bicester Village shopping centre, near Oxford in south-east England, leaving staff stunned, the Daily Express reported.
"There was a queue outside the door and we need to do a lot of restocking this weekend," said Miranda Markham, deputy director of the Village.
"They all made a bee-line for Clarks.
"The fact that many of the shoes may have been made in China seems to have been lost on most of them," she told the newspaper.

Just because something is "made in China" doesn’t mean it can be easily bought in China. And in regards to shoes, it may soon be a little harder to get them in Europe.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union’s trade chief decided to launch
a probe into whether Chinese shoes are being dumped on the EU market
after workers demonstrated in Brussels on Wednesday.

by @ 4:18 pm. Filed under Culture, China, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

great curries… legal worries

HandighandiNote to prospective restaurateurs, KFC aside, resurrecting dead people to sell food is generally a Bad Marketing Idea. (via Moderate Voice)

The family of vegetarian Indian pacifist icon Mahatma Gandhi is fighting mad over an Australian company using their beloved ancestor to sell their products and has asked the Indian government to intervene.
The firm is Handi Ghandi — "Great Curries…No Worries" and its curries reportedly include meat curries…including beef…which is a no-no for Hindus. Reuters reports:
"It’s offensive," Tushar Gandhi, the activist’s Bombay-based great-grandson and head of the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, told Reuters. "It goes absolutely against all his beliefs. Using his image to sell beef curries and such doesn’t gel.
"He was not a foodie."

Indeed: Gandhi was best known for his hunger strikes.

Truth be told, I was a touch offended when the Colonel was resurrected as a cartoon, and he was already a KFC trademark.

by @ 3:37 pm. Filed under Culture, Food and Drink, India, Asia, South Asia, Australia

the nk-sk summit

Robert at the Marmot’s Hole between South Korean unification minister Minister Chung Dong-young and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.:

Some interesting stuff coming out of today’s meeting between Unification Minister Chung Dong-young and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.  I have absolutely no idea what to make of some of these comments out of the meeting, so I’ll just give you the highlights….

by @ 1:07 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

blogging and the law

Freedom_sakeKUDOS to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for recently coming out with the Legal Guide for Bloggers, a compilation of FAQs to help bloggers understand their rights, and when necessary, defend their freedom.
In creating the legal guide, EFF has taken cognizance of the fact that
bloggers have been getting into trouble for what they post…
Though the legal guide is based on United States laws, the general
underlying principles and situations should still apply to some extent
to our local context given the existence of a (presumably) strong
constitutional protection for speech here similar to the U.S.
Certainly, this reference should come in handy, especially in these

by @ 12:53 pm. Filed under Blogs, Asia, Weblogs

art projects

Setting: a home in Seoul:
MOTHER: What did you do in school today son?
SON: I drew a picture of three Koreans beating up a Jap.
MOTHER: Can I have it? I want to put it on the fridge.
SON: No mummy, it was so good they’re displaying it at a subway station.


(more pictures here - via Japundit)
(UPDATE: Sunday 11:23 - more discussion at OneFreeKorea.)

by @ 12:37 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

etiquette on dear leader iconography

First the restaurant guide, now etiquette tips. AsiaPundit strives to provide all your necessary North Korean travel information. The Tanuki Ramble points to a Christian Science Monitor item on how to properly handle images of North Korea’s dictators,:

In Pyongyang, the rules are very specific about how physically to handle the Kim image.
No one is permitted to point casually at a portrait of Kim Jong Il or his father, Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea. If you find yourself holding a book with a picture of a Kim on the cover, you’d best carry it with two hands, face up, in a dignified manner. And no thumb or fingers are ever allowed to touch or cover Kim’s face.
The image and name of the Kims are deeply ingrained as the sacred goods of North Korea, and a special etiquette has evolved in dealing with them. Rules exist for handling, carrying, hanging, and even disposing of Kim faces and portraits. There are also rituals for their printed names.

by @ 11:55 am. Filed under Culture, Blogs, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

sentencing in indonesia

Australians remain worked up about the Shapelle Corby verdict - in which the Australian native was give a 20-year sentence for smuggling drugs to Bali. While there is debate over her guilt or innocence, there is a general consensus in the English-language blogosphere that the sentence was far too harsh.

Fabian thinks Indonesians should be also be upset about disproportionate administration of justice within their country, and not just when it comes to Corby.:

Indonesia has two main anti-drugs laws, which were introduced in 1997 to replace a 1976 law on narcotics offenses….

Critics claim that former president Suharto’s regime passed the separate law on psychotropic substances - with the lighter penalty - because children of certain powerful members of the ruling elite were allegedly involved in the ecstasy trade.
Following the fall of Suharto in May 1998, some of the elite’s children were no longer immune to prosecution for possession of narcotics, although they received more lenient sentences than other offenders.

by @ 11:42 am. Filed under Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

the coming collapse… (ii)

Milton J Madison thinks the Bank of America just made a $3 billion mistake.:

Bank of America announced today that it was taking a US$2.5 billion dollar stake in China Construction Bank [CCB]. Additionally, BoA plans to take an additional US$500 million stake in the upcoming IPO bringing the total stake to 19.9%….
Credit risk management is the essence of what banking is and they still don’t do it. Today’s Standard has an interesting article on credit risk management in banks in China. Risk controls are practically non-existent and I seriously doubt if they will have anything workable in the next 5 years. I was involved with implementing credit risk management processes at various institutions around the world and I know a little about what is going on in Chinese banks these days….
I am just not very bullish on the Chinese banking system and it will be very difficult for them to adjust to the real world on such a large scale. My guess is that BoA will make very little money from their investment in CCB. The Chinese are probably laughing all the way to the bank. This is an old saying where someone gets ripped off the perpetrators laugh while they take the money stolen from you to the bank. But in this case, the criminals sold the bank, in this case probably a bank that isn’t worth very much, so they are probably laughing at BoA’s stupidity.

by @ 11:20 am. Filed under Coming collapse

it’s all about oil

I never post on Central Asia, it’s an area I know very little about. Besides the Registran’s coverage is so good it would be futile to compete. Read the whole site, regularly, but today also note the debunking of a widely held fallacy.:

Uzbekistan does not have “huge oil reserves.” Unless, you know, you consider Italy and 52 other countries with bigger reserves oil giants.
Sorry to be a bitch, but it’s my least favorite and most repeated Uzbekistan mistake (part of the Saddam=Karimov comparison that drives me so batty–I mean, come on, it’s like saying these are the same thing as Shetlands).

by @ 11:11 am. Filed under Asia, Economy, Central Asia, Uzbekistan

the passion of outsourcing

The outsourcing (or offshoring) of jobs to India has stirred up protectionist passions in the West, but it may also be stirring up other sorts of passions in India. If this report from Asian Sex Gazette is to be believed there has been an increase in office sex (article worksafe, ads on site possibly not):

… Lalit Tiwari, a former employee of Wipro Spectramind, "Sex happens on a large scale in call centres. However, people generally desist from such acts within the premises. This is because most of the BPO execs live alone as PGs or rent a house. At the most, in office, one gets to see arms around the waist/shoulder, two people hand-inhand or couples coochie-cooing in empty corridors."…
Why does it happen? When in Rome, do as the Romans do - this is exactly what seems to be the mantra of the BPO exec. So they are making a point of aping America - be it their lingo or lifestyle.
As Sanjay Shah of Daksh (name changed) says, "Execs want to portray a cool, modern attitude and for them it translates into blindly following the US, even in sexual mores." In other words, they believe in living life American ishtyle in every way.

by @ 10:48 am. Filed under Culture, India, Asia, Economy, South Asia

chinese bloggers on microsoft

Yesterday Jeremy at Danwei complained:

There are a lot of earnest people in the USA and UK complaining about Microsoft’s complicity with an evil regime etc.
But what about in China itself, inside the clammy embrace of the Nanny?
It appears that nobody here gives a shit.

Rebecca corrects this assumption at Global Voices:

Chinese Bloggers on Censorship, MSN, Etc.
Filed under: China — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 6:52 pm
At CNBlog, Isaac says: “Don’t Use MSN Spaces, ” and creates a NoMSN Technorati tag for the boycott movement.
Kaihong posts a showing results similar to what I found: the blog’s title is filtered, but he was able to post sensitive words in the body of the blog.
Wangjianshuo (in English) describes the website registration process. He says his site is “almost legal in China,” and that the process so far has been surprisingly easy.

by @ 10:32 am. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Weblogs, Censorship

no dogs or chinese

20050618_6_1The Peking Duck has a good post offering an explanation and debate (read the comments) on that sign from Fists of Fury. The content of one actual existing sign from 1917 in Shanghai, as shown in photos at the duck, was less provocative but similarly intentioned.:

1. The gardens are reserved for the foreign community.
2. The Gardens are open daily to the public from 6 a.m. and will be closed half an hour after midnight.
3. No persons are admitted unless respectably dressed.
4. Dogs and bicycles are not admitted.

ESNW, meanwhile, looks at similar signs in China and Asia.:

"Notice: All unauthorized Chinese and dogs are not permitted to enter, or else you are responsible for all the consequences.  May 1".  This unsigned notice was written with a chalk pen on a small blackboard hung on the gate of a factory on Yuannan Street in Lihuan District.  When the reporter went there yesterday, the old factory building appears to be empty with no sign of production activities.  On the outside were two stone tablets which said "Guanzhou Bicycle Axel Cover Factory" and "Guangzhou City Wuyang Bicycle Enterprises Sports Equipment Factory."

by @ 10:20 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

happy birthday to The Lady

Vaclav Havel has an item in the Washington Post that is worth reading.:

On Sunday Aung San Suu Kyi will celebrate her 60th birthday, which in a Buddhist culture marks an important milestone in one’s life. I would like to meet her and give her a rose like the one she is seen holding in a photograph in my study. Such an ordinary wish, however, in the case of such an extraordinary woman as Aung San Suu Kyi may seem a silly idea. The last time I wrote about her in The Post [op-ed, Oct. 12, 2003] was shortly after "unknown" assassins tried to deprive her of her life and Burmese generals put her under house arrest for the third time since 1989. Since then, except for the occasional purge of senior generals, an ever-increasing population of political prisoners and multiplying human rights abuses, nothing in Burma seems to have changed.
Aung San Suu Kyi is still kept under strict house arrest, and the Burmese generals have fortified themselves even more against any attempts at a dialogue. A dialogue? To conduct a dialogue with a regime that consistently disdains basic human rights and freedoms — that uses arms instead of words and harassment and violence instead of discussion — probably does not make any sense.

UPDATE: FriskoDude has more.

by @ 9:59 am. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Asean, Myanmar/Burma, Southeast Asia

multiple and single choice

Dave of Under the Tenement Palm has a critique of China’s education system which, among other things, he says is too dependent on multiple-choice testing:

The “multiple choice test” rules with an iron fist in China - and I’m speaking as an American who shares many of Chirol’s concerns. But while I took many machine-readable #2 pencil tests in NYC, more than I think necessary, multiple choice tests are taken to an extreme here in Western China that I would’ve thought unthinkable in NYC… As a teacher in China, I’d have to say that I prefer that “a Bachelors Degree in America is pursued merely for the sake of having one", which allows a certain amount of personal reponsibility … rather than a system in which my students have had not only their majors changed by the Education Ministry, but have been relocated thousands of miles from the university of their choice (always the one closest to home) to the farthest flung western province of China…

As well as the multiple-choice tests, there are also the single-choice exams.:

Oh, and then theres the mandatory political exams (this years topics “WW2 and the Taiwan problem…. mostly Taiwan” my students said - followed by “no one ever fails". Small wonder, there’s only one answer here)

by @ 9:53 am. Filed under Culture, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

floating casino

Via Horse’s Mouth:

According to the Xinhua News Agency Zhang Guangqin, vice-minister of the Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense denied media reports that an aircraft carrier was already in the process of being constructed in Shanghai….

… that picture is of the Varyag, a full deck carrier the PRC purchased from the Russians, it is now sitting in a Chinese shipyard with a lot of activity going on on and around it. The Chinese originally indicated they purchased it to be a floating casino…but the buildup of the Chinese navy and their self-stated intentions to either acquire or build a carrier tells us otherwise.

Some strange history on the Varyag can be found here, here and here.

by @ 8:57 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

world record watch (iv)

Singapore takes another one.:

SHE owns three mobile phones, sends over 1,000 SMS messages a month and chalks up more than $100 on her monthly handphone bill.
A typical phone-obsessed Singaporean youth? Not really.
Singaporeans can claim what 24-year-old systems engineer Miss Kimberly
Yeo now can: A place in the Guinness World Records 2005.
Ms Yeo broke the
67-second world record set by an Australian in 2003 during the SingTel
SMS Shootout last June. Her entry in the Guinness World Records was
recently confirmed.
Within 43.2 seconds, she had typed — without
the help of predictive text — the 160-character message: "The
razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are
the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality, they
seldom attack a human."

by @ 7:26 am. Filed under Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, World record watch

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