1 September, 2005

thursday links

Shanghai is a great place to shop! If you buy your DVD player at Shanghai Carrefour - even a cheap one - you may get a free DVD.:

Carrefour…so, on our usual weekly/fortnightly/we have no food trip to the Wuning Lu Carrefour, we purchased a new DVD player. All RMB400 worth (about AUD$60). We bought an Oritron-branded DVD player, it looked sweet. It was a lemon. We took it home, hooked it up, and our problems started.
My major gripes were as follows. It wouldn’t turn on. Well, you would
plug it in, and the player power button wouldn’t work - most of the
time. Unplug, wait for 5-10 minutes, and then it would work. Strange.
The converse was also true, you couldn’t turn the thing off. Unplugging
it was the main way we got around this. No worries right? Nah. The
discs we put into the machine would stall, cause the player to crash,
and other such petulant behaviour. Annoying.
But the crux of our decision was the fact that a lovely
surprise was included inside the player. To our delight, we were given
the added bonus of the ‘Adult Tempt‘ DVD. Lovely. It had several, suspicious, greasy fingerprints on the bottom side of the disc. I think ‘the playa’, as it will now be known, had seen some action.



How does Jiang Zemin want to be seen by the world and more importantly China. His state-sanctioned bio may give some indication (NYT via Imagethief)

ManwhochangedTo write his biography, Mao Zedong chose Edgar Snow, a member of the
U.S. Communist Party; Jiang chose Kuhn, a member of the U.S. business
elite. An investment banker with a zeal for science, high culture, and
business, Kuhn personifies the new ideology that has swept through
China since 1989. China’s state propaganda team even chose to leave the
name of Kuhn’s Chinese collaborator out of the book to emphasize the
American financier’s authorship. Nothing better symbolizes Jiang and
his cohort’s transition to a right-wing developmental dictatorship;
every year, they carefully chip away at their socialist heritage

AsiaPundit features a lot of Western expat bloggers in Japan and elsewhere, Global Voices looks at Japanese expat bloggers abroad.

The new CIA director in Seoul is likely a hottie. Or at least I expect she is. Every female Korean spy I’ve seen in a film has been hot.

ShiriIt was learned Wednesday that a Korean-American woman, identified by her
family name of Han, has taken over as the new station chief of the US
Central Intelligence Agency in Seoul. This is the first time a Korean,
and a Korean women in particular has assumed duties as head of the CIA
station in Korea. Officially, there is no organization going by the
“CIA Korea station.” Instead, the Office of Regional Study inside the
US Embassy plays the role of CIA station here in Korea.

Xinhua, China’s state news agency, may be changing it’s tone on the issue of revisionist Japanese textbooks.:

According to the major Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun, of all
11,035 state and private junior high schools across Japan, only 48
adopted the Fusosha textbook, merely 0.4 percent of the total and far
less than the publisher’s target of 10 percent…

… I don’t remember the Chinese press so clearly mentioning the fact
that less than one percent of Japanese schools use the textbook, or the
fact that some Japanese people don’t like it either. Progress? I wonder
if they are saying these things more clearly for internal consumption
as well, or Xinhua is tired of receiving the same counterarguments.

Google Earth is a spy satellite for the masses. Not only can you get the South Korean presidential compound Cheong Wa Dae, David at Jujuflop noted in the comments that you can get the Chinese Communist Party’s well-guarded compound of Zhongnanhai. Now Curzon of Coming Anarchy turns .:

Pyongyang, North Korea. Note the Ryugong in the upper-left corner.

And the Wannabe Lawyer likes Google Earth too, and says it will cause trouble for one particularly litigious patent holder.:

Virtual-Map, a business entity that specialises in converting public domain data into private ‘intellectual’ property,
had been successful so far in demanding extortionate amounts from
people who make use of their maps. What they have yet to face though,
is competition. No longer.
Now that I have , I don’t see how I would ever need Streetdirectory.com anymore. In fact, I can’t wait for the day when everyone in Singapore starts using . Then its bye bye Virtual-Map, find a new business model please.

There were a number of items in Malaysian blogs about this event, but the NSFW Asian Sex Gazette gives a good summary.:

Kuala Lumpur - A Malaysian men’s magazine may be censured for a cover featuring
a seminude female model draped in the national flag that has sparked an uproar
among Muslims, a senior official said Monday.

The pictures in the August edition of Sensasi Lelaki, or Men’s Sensation, is an
insult to the national flag and disrespectful to the country as it prepares to
mark National Day on Wednesday, said Deputy Internal Minister Noh Omar.

Brand New Malaysian has a picture:


Before anyone gets too upset at the Malaysians for being too uptight, please remember that the West also has its share of fundamentalists and flag worshipers. Why in the US, the issue of making flag burning a capital offense emerges every six months or so. No one in the US would tolerate anyone wrapping themselves in the flag like that. (link nswf near the bottom):


Err, both Japundit and Barbarian Envoy alerted me to this piece of incredible weirdness, OPERATION NUKE KOREA, you don’t even need to scroll to read… just sit back and enjoy the piano.


Travel writer Carl Parks notes another reason why it’s dangerous to use drugs in Bali.:

Orangutan_etching1Few Western tourists actually arrive in
Bali with drugs, since Kuta and other beach towns are overrun with
local Balinese drug dealers who quietly whisper their sales offers near
many discos and nightclubs in Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak. So you buy a
couple of tablets, walk up to the nightclub for an evening of partying,
and find yourself searched and arrested at the front door. An
Australian model (Michelle Leslie) was recently arrested with two tabs
of E in her purse as she approached a nightclub, and now faces 10 years
in prison.
How in the world does the police know to search your
bag or purse? The answer is obvious. The police are the drug dealers in
Bali. Or at least the drug dealers cooperate with the police to turn in
their victims, collect the reward, and most likely enjoy the return of
their drugs. This scam has been going on in Thailand for several
decades, but now it enjoys official endorsement by the Indonesian

One of the first questions asked by the foreign ministry, who needed to authorize my journalists’ visa, was: Do you like Chinese food?" My boss told me to be very diplomatic in the interview, so instead of saying "I prefer Thai," I said: "Yes, especially Sichuan."

I still like Chinese food, though I’m a bit nervous about eating anything here.:

More on the food scandals gripping China - news just in that the
majority of food production, handled by mom-and-pop producers, do not
meet even rudimentary safety standards. An article on Asia News Network
carries the story on why you can’t trust anything you eat in the country…

FoodIn 2003, the output value of China’s food industry reached 1.29
trillion yuan (US$161.62 billion), nearly 20 per cent up on 2002. In
the first six months of last year, the industry achieved an output
value of nearly 710 billion yuan ($421.95 billion), a 20 per cent
increase over the same period in 2003.
But reports in the local press say more than 70 per cent of China’s
106,000 registered food makers are family-run outfits of fewer than 10
people. And at least 60 per cent of these cannot meet basic sanitary
standards.Professor Luo Yunbo, dean of China Agricultural University’s college
of food science and nutritional engineering said: "China does not lack
regulations, but there’s a lack of unified supervision and control.

At least food across the Strait is safe… Oh my god is that the chef?!?


I have Taiwan blogger Brian David Phillips on my blogroll and in my Bloglines reader but, truth be told, I never really take the time to read his stuff long enough to figure out what he’s talking about.:

_brian_podcasting_post_versionviFolks will notice that I have added a new links category in the rightside bar here at Life of Brian . . . hypnocasts which is directly above hypnoblogs.
If you discover other podcasts related to hypnosis, neurolinguistic
programming, influence, focused trance, meditation, changework, and the
like . . . then let me know the address of the webpages that support
the feed and I’ll check ‘em out and add it to the hypnocasts
list (of course, I appreciate linkbacks as well). No, I do NOT mean
commercial sites with payfor mp3 downloads or even free mp3 downloads,
this list is for podcasts or sites that distribute information
interactively or on a semi-regular basis.

Atanu Dey has a must-read opus on the differences between Singapore and India, I’ve had a number of arguments in which I’ve either defended Lee Kwan-yew or lambasted him, but Atanu’s item actually leaves me speechless.:

LeeflagTo root out corruption you can use all sorts of means. You can lecture school children to take an oath to eschew corruption (as in here), you can prosecute a poor milkman for diluting milk (as in here)
— that is, basically you can start at the bottom and implement an
idiotic policy of targeting marginal players while shielding the really
corrupt. Or you can do it by catching the big fish and handing out
exemplary punishments and — this is the important point — publicizing
it so that anyone who is even minimally aware understands that
corruption is not tolerated by the society no matter how powerful the
person is.
This is what I heard. A certain minister, very close to Lee Kuan
Yew, in charge of housing (or some such) was involved in some
kick-backs. The word went around that the guy will surely get off easy
since he was in the inside circle. Lee asked the minister to see him.
The meeting was brief. Two days later the minister blew his brains out.
The message was clear: zero tolerance.

Michael Turton also has some thoughts on Lee’s recent comments on China’s anti-secession law.

This looks promising, Indi Blog Review a profile of Desi or not so Desi Blog(ger)s. First subject, Patrix and Nerve Endings Firing Away.

by @ 9:31 pm. Filed under Culture, Food and Drink, Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Media, South Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs, North Korea, Film, Religion

thursday philippines roundup

If there’s big news today, it will be the Supreme Court’s decision on the VAT law. The Supreme Court likes releasing its decisions, though, late in the day.

So the news for now is what happened yesterday at the Philippines House of Representatives (which I tried to cover, and which Miron tried to cover, though neither of us covered the final blow, which PCIJ did).

ArroyoBy their headlines, ye shall judge them. The papers all screamed today about the decision of the Committee on Justice to throw out all the impeachment complaints. The Inquirer said, 6 votes shy to impeach; the Star said, Panel kills impeachment; the Manila Times said, Lozano complaint dead; the Manila Standard Today said, Plenary showdown last impeach hope; the Daily Tribune said, House kills complaint, wraps up hearings; Malaya said, ‘Garapal’! Gloria allies kill all 3 impeach bids; the Manila Bulletin said House votes 50-4-1. The newspapers’ editorials give contesting views, as well: the Inquirer says there are now Two new arenas; the Manila Times proclaims there was a staged walkout; Malaya thunders, Spare us the hypocrisy;

In other news, Carlos Conde reports on something someone mentioned to me recently: one reason the President is genuinely popular in many parts of the Visayas is her Strong Republic Nautical Highway project.

The blogosphere has the administration blog, renamed Rational Sphere, switching off its comments function. Someone emailed me about this:

I hope you have not made up your daily blog yet but check out the government blog, rational sphere, and interestingly, they took out the comments section apparently anticipating a deluge of criticism.Before they removed it , there were 2 comments but after the Justice Committee threw out the 3 complaints, they also threw out the comments part of their blog.

So much for a healthy interaction between those governing and the governed.

The punditocracy of course is all a-twitter over the opposition walkout and the killing of the impeachment complaints. My column for today The walkout by the minority, differs in outlook from Bel Cunanan’s; Alex Magno calls the oppositionists a band of brats; Emil Jurado calls them young goons; Dong Puno’s column is a bit dated but he did predict what happened: a quick death for impeachment, premised on this gamble:

If the majority chooses instant death for impeachment, its calculation must be that it would be better to take the heat now. Its hope would be that the economic situation will both focus the public on basic survival issues and give ample opportunity to GMA to prove that she can lead the country out of crisis. The risk, of course, is that that crisis will escalate to the point where she will be unable to govern in any case.

Connie Veneracion has her best column so far, when it comes to politics, anyway. Paying generous tribute to La Vida Lawyer and his Sun Tzu analyses (the latest of which is online, today), she says,

In its obsession with media coverage, as though its victory depended on it, it would seem that the opposition missed its most glaring mistake. It put the administration in a position where it was prepared. It gave the administration time and opportunity to fight back. This was true during the “Gloria, resign!” campaign and just as true during the period when the amended impeachment complaint was being prepared and even thereafter when the campaign for signatures was on. The widespread publicity garnered by the Hyatt-10 was an even bigger blow. If there are people in a position to know what electoral frauds had been committed by the Arroyo administration, that would be the Hyatt-10. But of what use are they now? Even if another impeachment rap is filed against the President after a year, the Hyatt-10 had already divulged their aces. The element of surprise had already been lost.

Tony Abaya thinks too much time has been wasted in covering the House, because the real story may be that Garcillano, the witness that really matters,  is dead.

Conrado de Quiros insists the solution remains a snap election; Ellen Tordesillas recounts the dinner given by Susan Roces for pro-impeachment congressmen; Lito Banayo thinks the President’s former cabinet people are sincere, and her lawyers, clever; Federico Pascual thinks killing impeachment will hurt the President;  Alfredo G. Rosario denouncing Armando Doronila as unfit to be a diplomat; . H. Marcos C. Mordeno thinks the military won’t be an instrument of change (as Alejandro Lichauco has argued); JB Baylon argues that the public doesn’t have the luxury of thinking it can ignore politics.

Blogosphere roundup:

Extremely thought-provoking entries from Newsstand. First, a meditiation on Tuchman’s book, "The Guns of August," and John F. Kennedy’s reaction to the book during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The entry says,

I readily agree with Rep. Teddy Locsin, who told David Celdran and Karmina Constantino yesterday afternoon that the pro-impeachment congressmen’s walkout was "premature." He had said that after the Committee on Justice voted to bar the two other impeachment complaints, but before the Committee found the original Lozano complaint insufficient in substance. Last night’s vote, I think, gives us more reason to say the walkout came a day early.


Newsstand continues by pointing out that if the opposition walkout was premature, the administration’s steamroller tactic was a disaster, too. At the time it took place, my instinctive response, texted to a colleague, was "too soon." Then, as events unfolded, I texted my colleague, "it seems they can spin this."

The spin came with Edmund Reyes’s speech the next day, which Newsstand also commented on:

Maybe something was lost in the translation, from live feed to replay, but I must say I found the speech halting and awkward…We should never underestimate the capacity of any politician to eat crow, or to endure humiliation, as long as his interests are served, preferably in the short run. But the self-righteousness of the impeachment spokesman couldn’t have been more off-putting.

Newsstand eloquently sums up what may be the brewing reaction to the majority’s subsequent moves. Referring to the Inquirer’s front page photo of happy administration congressmen saluting each other, he says,

That is why the picture disturbs us, makes us uneasy: It shows us the generals of this particular victory congratulating themselves, breathing in the smell of napalm, unaware, or heedless, of the rustling in the neighboring hills.

Gari has two posts on the violence that took place outside the gates of the House here and here. Big mango continues his series on nation building; Go figure analyzes how the "bust" in the "boom-and-bust" cycle of our economy can be eliminated; Philippine Politics asks people to join the campaign to text their representatives to support impeachment; Edwin Lacierda writes an open letter to Edmund Reyes; and Punzi pens an elegy to the impeachment process.

by @ 4:27 pm. Filed under Blogs, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Weblogs

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