7 September, 2005

wednesday links

Short links after a long humpday.

Reality TV in Malaysia sounds like it’s just as bad as it is elsewhere, although bizarrely wholesome.:

Malaysianidol0907Featuring a group of ambitious young men and women confined in a house and given
voice and dancing lessons, "Akademi" culminates in a concert finale after most
of the contestants are voted out weekly via SMS text messages.

The conclusion of its third season recently attracted 12 million SMS votes, no
mean feat for a country with a population of 25 million.

Its winner, 24-year-old Asmawi Ani, drew a cult following, and his popularity
among the show’s largely Malay audience was mainly due to his clean-cut image,
religious background and past experience in Koran recitals.

However, Najib was incensed that some contestants were shown hugging each other
tearfully as their peers were voted out.

"No hugging please, we are Muslims," he was quoted as saying. "This is about
religion. It is forbidden in the religion."

"We should not blindly follow the west and come out with programmes like
‘Mencari Cinta’, ‘Mentor’ and ‘Akademi Fantasia’ where the scenes don’t portray
our way of life," he thundered.

Mentor, another talent search, sees wannabes teamed up with well-established
chart-topping singers who groom their proteges for success.

Former premier Mahathir Mohamad, known for his outspoken anti-Western rhetoric,
has also expressed his concern, saying reality shows could lead to moral
decadence among Malaysians.

Do you Yahoo? If so, be careful. You could go to jail!

ShitaoReporters Without Borders
said court papers showed that Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. gave
Chinese investigators information that helped them trace a personal
Yahoo e-mail allegedly containing state secrets to Tao’s computer. . is part of Yahoo’s global network.
Shi, a former journalist for the financial publication Contemporary
Business News, was sentenced in April to 10 years in prison for illegally providing state secrets to foreigners.

More at Global Voices.

I posted Marmot’s call for Americans to thank Koreans for their quick response to providing aid to victims of hurricane Katrina. How quickly my goodwill evaporates, I concur with Nomad, and as a former resident of Daegu, I suggest we add bath houses and subway lines to his list.

New Orleans
wants South Korea to take an active role in relief efforts in the
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  U.S. Louisiana State Representative
Arthur Morrell and other politicians made the call in a Tuesday
interview, thanking South Korea for its aid to the city on behalf of
New Orleans residents.
The politicians said the city seeks
South Korean assistance in engineering, construction materials, medical
aid and hospital reconstruction.  They said Americans and New Orleans
residents will reciprocate if South Korea suffers a disaster.

Just don’t let them build any bridges or department stores!  (Baaad Nomad…baaad Nomad Dont_1 - sorry, just couldn’t pass that one up Wink_0001_1)

Speaking of goodwill evaporating, a blogger in Tamil Nadu reminds us that Asia has not yet recovered from the Tsunami, Sadly, I expect New Orleans will also fade from people’s attention before everything, from relief to correcting bureaucratic incompetence, is fixed.

Hey - we’re nowhere near finished yet!
For the past 7 months I have
been working with tsunami victims in Tamil Nadu. Well, let me re-phrase
that, I have been trying to work with Tamil Nadu’s tsunami victims, but
unlike most organisations who are in the area, I don’t work with
fishermen communities. Instead I work for organisations interested in
the rehabilitation of people of other professions. People who too have
lost their livelihoods and had their means of income destroyed, but who
have not had them replaced. I work with the STs, SC and MBCs. Their
fate after tsunami has been rather different from the fate of the

China’s insurance sector is relatively solid compared to its banks - partly because its a fairly young industry and hasn’t had as much of chance to make (ahem, state-ordered) mistakes. I’m know nothing about North Korea’s banks, but even though insurance is a new ‘industry,’ I wouldn’t trust it. (Korea Times via OFK):

South Korean companies setting up operations in
the Kaesong industrial complex face difficulties due to a North Korean
obligation that they must purchase insurance policies from a North
Korean state-run firm.
North Korea demands that South Korean firms have
insurance against accidents with a North Korean state-run firm, but
they question whether it is financially stable enough to cover all
possible accidents.
According to related regulations set up by North
Korea last November, South Korean firms in the Kaesong industrial
complex must buy insurance policies from North Korean firms. If South
Korean companies didn’t follow the rule, they had to pay $10,000 in

Joel points to a survey that leaves me curious. Here’s one for the mathematicians: how much would an average ethnic-Korean gay man smoke if he was a Marine in California?

Smokers_lat_20050907kstMarines, gays and Korean men smoke at rates far above the average of all Californians, according to a study released today.
15.4% of residents smoke, more than 30% of lesbians and gays do,
according to the study done by the California Department of Health
“These studies show marked disparities
among California’s communities and confirm that we must continue our
efforts so all of our communities can avoid the disease and death
caused by tobacco addiction,” said Sandra Shewry, director of the
Department of Health Services.
Among active military
stationed in California, Marines reported the highest smoking rate of
26.9%, compared to the Navy’s 20.2%; and 50% more than the Army’s 17.8%
and the Air Force’s 17.5%.
The overall smoking prevalence of Korean-heritage Californians was 15.3%, with 27.9% of Korean men reporting that they smoke.

(image LAT via oranckay.)

WendythewriterWeirdness. Mr Wang Says So, perhaps the most critical Singapore blog this side of Edinburgh, is the Straits Times ‘blog of the week.’  And on the ‘infantile’ side of the S’pore bloggosphere, XiaXue finds her muse (with help from Miyagi).

I never worried about terrorism in Singapore. They react swiftly to any threat. Including large ‘white elephant‘ cut-outs at an unused MRT station.

White_elephants1The blithering idiot/s, who called the police hotline at 999 &
complained about the 8 cut-outs of white elephants outside Buangkok MRT
station, must’ve thought they were some sort of a pre-arranged signal
among terrorists to mount an attack!!! If you think this is bloody
ridiculous, what’s even more ridiculous is the police investigation!!
I’m not surprised about the police investigation. In fact, I wouldn’t
have been surprised if the police started the investigation on its own!
… It’s nit-picking in a police state. Especially when that nit-picking
relates to such issues as freedom of expression and politics in general.

Did I mention that it’s feeling more and more like 1997.:

RupiahVia Jakarta Post, Rupiah fails to gain on Bank Indonesia rate hike
Via Antara, Indonesia’s US Dollar Reserves in Crisis: Analyst
Its fiscal mismanagement chickens are now coming home to roost in world’s largest Muslim nation. It’s a pity few are watching.

Fumier has banned Burberry:

BurberryA huge quantity of
Burberry knock-offs, confiscated by the Hong Kong Customs chappies, is
being shredded. This is a departure from the previous practice of
removing only those parts of counterfeit items which contravened
copyright, such as the labels and logos, and then auctioning the rest
of the item to the public, effectively making the government a
distributor, and the tax payer a beneficiary, of such products.
Personally, I liked the old policy, except in the case of Burberry
Quite why Burberry gear has such appeal in Asia – you can’t walk ten
yards in Tokyo without seeing a Burberry scarf, probably a genuine one,
or a similar distance in Hong Kong without seeing a fake Burberry item
on someone from the lower socio-economic orders - or indeed any appeal,
anywhere, is beyond me, but then these days so many things are.
I long ago instituted a Burberry ban in my office, dressed up, so to
speak, as an anti-copy initiative, requiring that all Burberry items
must be left at the door unless an invoice could be shown to me proving
that the items were original. I am pleased to say that Burberry has not
reared its ugly head in my office for many months. The next stage must
be for all Burberry products, genuine or fake, to be banned and
destroyed everywhere.

by @ 10:22 pm. Filed under South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Weblogs, North Korea

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