5 September, 2005

short monday links

It begins… Hong Kong’s Disneyland has started dress rehearsals, Little Cart Noodles takes an advanced look. (via Caleb):


Chris at Ordinary Gweillo looks at an SCMP report on the park.:

Via Howard French, an essay on Japan, nature, vending machines and pornography.:

PornmachineJapan also has beer vending machines, something I have always
enjoyed the freedom — I mean convenience — of. But by law, beer
machines have to be turned off at 11 p.m. I’ve never understood this,
though. It seems to me this is the time the beer machines should open,
not close. But beer machines are slowly disappearing in a national
movement to curb underage drinking. Instead, let’s encourage people to
wander around at any time of the night looking for a vending machine
where they can drink caffeine, then continue walking around the
neighborhood because they’re wide awake.
Recently, I was surprised to find a stand alongside a country road,
at a place where you’d normally expect to find a fruit stand, where
they were selling something even juicier: porn. From vending machines.
Apparently countryside peeping Toms need reading material too. But even
more surprising was that these machines selling porn DVDs and magazines
were on a bus route. You can actually take the bus to your favorite
porn vending machine. Talk about, um, convenience!


Above image from Photomann’s page of Japanese vending machines.

Mr Wang is starting to take this citizen-journalism thing seriously, interviewing Singapore’s Cyril Wong, an openly gay poet in a country where homosexuality is still technically illegal.:

CyrilCyril is also gay, and openly writes about it in his poetry. That makes
him somewhat controversial (in Singapore, and to some people, at
least). Mr Wang exchanged email correspondence with Cyril over the
weekend, and with Cyril’s permission, reproduces some excerpts here.

On whether Mr Wang can blog about him:

"Yes, sure you can feature me. I am very openly gay. And I
think it is possibly immoral to even hide the fact when I am not
exactly living in a place like Iran, where I would get killed for
something like this. So with regards to being seen as gay very
publicly, I do not mind at all. In fact, I kind of encourage myself to
be as open as possible – it’s my one-man ideological war."

From Flying Chair a one-line look at US coverage of Hong Kong’s milkshake murderess.:


I’m sorry, but a headline about Nancy Kissel right next to an ad for Desperate Housewives had to be kept for posterity.

Given the bad blood that often divides Korea and the US, I recommend US readers take the Marmot’s suggestion to heart and .:

UsrokThe Korean government decided Sunday to offer US$30 million in aid to the United States
in order to help the country recover from the destruction visited upon
the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina. The government will also dispatch
a 50-man search and rescue team to the affected area, and consideration
is also being given to the dispatch of military personnel (which would
require National Assembly approval) should a request be made by the
United States.
South Korea’s offer of US$30 million is, as far
as I know, the second largest offer behind Qatar’s offer of US$100
million, and dwarfs the offers made by other nations in the region
(Japan, for instance, will send US$200,000 and has offered US$300
more). Considering how the Korean economy has seen better days, Seoul’s
offer is beyond generous and I can only hope the U.S. media gives it
more attention than from what I’ve seen so far….
I encourage you to send a message of appreciation to the Korean embassy
in the United States at , or, perhaps even
better, to the Korean consulate-general in Houston
(), which is handling the relief effort in the
devastated areas.

I’ll add that a thank you to another one of my expat homes should also be in order.:

KUWAIT CITY (Agencies): Kuwait said Sunday it was offering $500 million
in oil products to victims of the devastating hurricane in the United
States, the latest contribution from Gulf Arab states to the relief
effort. “We, Kuwaitis, feel it is our duty to stand by our friends to
alleviate this humanitarian tragedy and express our gratitude for the
support extended to us by Washington throughout the distinguished ties
between the two friendly nations,” Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahd
Al-Sabah told the official KUNA news agency. He said the $500 million
would come in the form of “oil products needed by the afflicted states
in these conditions and other humanitarian assistance.”

Gojira finally crosses the pond.:

GojiraThe original Godzilla movie - with its strong antinuclear message that
was lost in the version edited for American audiences - will be shown
in British cinemas for the first time. The movie, which was influenced
by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is being screened
next month in Britain partly because of the 60th anniversary this year
of those attacks. The British Film Institute, which is distributing
“Gojira” to several London cinemas in October, also wants audiences to
see there is a serious message behind the original monster creation.
Some argue this has been lost with the 20 sequels over 50 years and
countless rip offs.

Malaysia is getting rid of its one ringgit coin.:

RinggitOne week after the news broke on Oriental Daily News, Bank Negara finally confirmed that the RM1 coin will cease to be legal tender with effect from December 7, 2005. However, the RM1 ringgit note will remain valid.
Here’s the BNM official statement on the demonetisation of the RM1 coin, in PDF, 162k. Thanks readers TerenceG, KW Chook, and for the alert.
Without the RM1 coin, I wonder how would Carrefour motivate its customers to self-manage the shopping trolly?

This is really promising news, perhaps someday people won’t have to type dem0cr to get past the firewall.:

Today, according to Reuters,
Wen Jiabao, the Premier of China, has made official what we’ve all
suspected; that democracy in China is just a matter of time. His words:

"China will press ahead with its development of democratic politics,
that is reconstruction, in an unswerving way, including direct
elections," Wen told a news conference ahead of an EU-China summit.

"If the Chinese people can manage a village, I believe in several
years they can manage a township. That would be an evolving system."

China has introduced direct elections for village chiefs in more
than 660,000 villages, and many of those elected are not party members.
But it has dragged its feet on expanding suffrage for the election of
officials at higher levels.

The ramifications of this
statement, though, are immense. It means China has finally admitted
that 1) democratic government is ultimately the best form of government
for social stability, given a mature polity; and 2) that forces within
China are acting as inexorable agents of change that are forcing both
this admission and the evolution itself to a more democratic,
representative form of government. Why do I make conclusion 2)? Because
it seems that when a party such as the CCP has a monopoly on power,
that it would not necessarily want to cede control of that power to
competitive elections.

Finally, happy Labor Day to US and Canadian readers, we close with a cartoon and message from TMV.:

It’s a  somber Labor Day this year.
But for all of us, we can take Labor Day to also labor to think about
how we can help Hurricane Katrina’s many victims — if not by money,
then by giving some old clothing to a local charity that can get it to
the storm’s victims or doing something to help a charity out.


Donate to the Red Cross

by @ 9:37 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Media, South Asia, Weblogs, North Korea

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