14 September, 2005

very short wednesday links

Both Mr and Mrs AsiaPundit are vegetarian, naturally we prefer to use those not-tested-on-animals  and not-made-with-animals products provided by the Body Shop. Mrs AP especially! She’ll be so happy to hear that China cosmetic firms don’t need to test on animals, a loosely sourced Guardian report indicates that body shops do exist in China.

BodyshopA Chinese cosmetics company is using skin harvested from the corpses of
executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in Europe, an
investigation by the Guardian has discovered.

Agents for the firm have told would-be customers it is developing
collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments from skin taken from prisoners
after they have been shot. The agents say some of the company’s
products have been exported to the UK, and that the use of skin from
condemned convicts is "traditional" and nothing to "make such a big
fuss about."

The report doesn’t state whether the cosmetic company or the prisoner’s family is charged for the bullet.

The Asian Naturist blog notes a progressive development in cross-Strait tourism, though I doubt that governments on either side have approved it.:

A Taiwanese travel agency is developing a new market: taking nude photographs amid some of the most beautiful scenery in China.
some 38,000 New Taiwan dollars - that’s about 1,300 US dollars - you
can book a 6-day trip to Guilin, the city in southern China’s Guangxi
province famous for its tall rock formations and scenic rivers.
tour also includes the presence of nude, presumably female, models who
pose by the side of the water with the scenery in the background…
The travel agency
- which is owned by the same media group as the newspaper which
published this report - warns that any photographer wanting to exhibit
the fruits of his labor in a gallery or on a Web site back home has to
respect the law. In other words, the Taiwanese authorities might be
less lenient for scenes of nudity than the Chinese ones.

Oddly, the poorest state in the Malaysian union, and one that has elected Islamist governments, has the highest reported usage of sex toys.

The Malaysian state of Kelantan may be orthodox in many ways - but not in matter of sex it seems, official studies have shown.
Sex-aids and stimulants are more widely used in this Malay state than any other in the country.
These are popular even with women who have reached menopause the studies have
Human Reproduction Specialist Centre head for the National Population and
Family Development Board Dr Mohd Ismail Mohd Tambi said studies showed most
couples here opted for sex aids such as beads, rings and studs.

Dr Ismail said this was because many wanted to experience more pleasure in
their sex lives to maintain a happier marriage.

Thomas Barnett sees a media trend.:

Burst of media OMYGOD! coverage on China because of Hu’s visit

"U.S.-Chinese trade relations get trickier: Security concerns put pressure on already-testy relationship," by David J. Lynch, USA Today, 13 September 2005, p. 1B.

"Japan’s Rivalry With China Roils A Crowded Sea," by Norimitsu Onishi and Howard W. French, New York Times, 11 September 2005, p. A1.

"Mexico Builds Trade Ties With China:  Hu Furthers Quest For Latin Resources," by James C. McKinley Jr., New York Times, 13 September 2005, p. A3.

"China’s State Secrets Agency Will Guard One Less:  Death Tolls," by Joseph Kahn, New York Times, 13 September 2005, p. A3.

"China Promotes ‘Peaceful Rise’ to Quell U.S. Fears," by Charles Hutzler, Wall Street Journal, 13 September 2005, p. A15.

At Rank, AsiaPundit is informed that visitors are flocking to the Kuomintang’s headquarters to view Chairman Ma’s asset.:


A painting of KMT Chairman and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou now hanging in
an art gallery on the fifth floor of KMT headquarters in Taipei. The
caption in the China Times explains that this photo has been popular
with female visitors (I guess only straight people go to KMT
The portrait actually evokes a campaign ad from
the KMT chairman election in July showed a brooding, windswept Ma
staring into the pounding surf on Taiwan’s coast. Maybe he’s thinking
of getting direct links with China going by swimming across the Taiwan
Strait in the buff?

Also from Taiwan the Bureau of Health Promotion has denied that its logo is, umm, suggestive.:

BhpStop thinking those dirty thoughts, you bad, bad person! That Bureau of Health Promotion logo is NOT a sexually suggestive depiction of threesome–the BHP has even issued a statement about it, OK?

The Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP) issued a statement to clarify the
meaning of its logo after the media described it as sexually

The bureau’s emblem features three stick figures
spelling out the bureau’s acronym — BHP (see inset). A television news
station pointed out yesterday that the figure in the center, with a
protruding stub as the bridge for a capitalized "H," seems to be
engaged in a sexual act with the figure on the right, which is caved in
to represent the curve on a capitalized "P."…
The three characters
on the emblem represent "mutual caring and the promotion of health,"
said BHP. The surrounding circle symbolizes the unending sky and the
bureau’s omnipresence when promoting health concepts.

Do you Yahoo!? … yes? Well stop!

Yahoo is getting burned after a conflict with the Chinese government
over a journalist. According to the South China Morning Post:

Bloggers and human rights groups are calling for a boycott of Yahoo
after the United States internet giant supplied information to the
Chinese central government that led to a 10-year prison sentence for
mainland journalist Shi Tao.
Several posters to internet forums and blog sites criticised Yahoo
for its actions and promised to quit using the company’s services. "I
do not intend to click on Yahoo ever again, and I’m urging everyone I
know to do the same," one internet poster said.
The controversy surrounding Yahoo’s involvement in the case
highlights the risks foreign internet companies take on as they pursue
the lucrative mainland market: complying with the government’s strict
demands on regulation of the internet could end up damaging a company’s
reputation back home.

AsiaPundit is a journalist by profession, although he narrowly missed the pursuit of academia and still always enjoys research blogs such as Harvard Extended and this developing thesis on the Chinese blogosphere.

Kenny Sia has a on what it means to be a patriot, and an excellent round of comments. As a Canadian who is often attacked by fellow citizens for being critical of the government, I’m on the same page. A patriot does not seek to excuse his country’s faults, he seeks to correct them.:

200509091Why should we accept the flaws of this country? Are we saying that
we should accept handbag-snatchers, dirty streets and crazy-ass traffic
officers seeking a contribution to their retirement fund as the norm?
Of course not.
I’m just disappointed that there are people I know who’s saying we
should all just shut the fook up and quietly eat all the crap being
thrown at us JUST because that’s what we grew up with and that’s the
way things work around here. I mean, if I were to follow THAT advice
during my fiasco with the Malaysian Customs, I’m probably never ever gonna get my money back.
No, I will not let you screw me in the ass just because that’s the
way things work around here. If you’re being unfairly treated because
of some stupid policy, stand up and speak up for yourself. Challenge
the authority.
What everyone ought to remember is that love for the country is very different from love for the government.
A lot of shits we had to put up with are the direct result of both the
government’s lack of planning/lack of foresight/lack of common sense
and some uncivilised citizens. Keeping our cities clean is everyone’s
responsibilities, but how many people actually follow that principle?

by @ 11:40 pm. Filed under South Korea, Blogs, China, Malaysia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Weblogs, North Korea

cultural preservation or xenophobia?

According to , Chinese authorities in Kunming have banned the practice of naming properties with foreign titles.

SHANGHAI, China - Farewell, "Aladdin Gardens" and "White House Mini District." Hello, "Good Living Business Estates."

The southwestern Chinese city of Kunming is forcing developers to change the names of properties deemed too foreign-sounding, saying they debase traditional culture, officials said Tuesday.

At least nine developments in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, have changed their names since officials began implementing new guidelines last month. That means "Paris of the East Plaza," "French Gardens" and "Ginza Office Tower" are no more.

"It’s not proper to name those communities with so many weird foreign titles," said an official with the Kunming Urban Planning Bureau, who, like many Chinese bureaucrats, would only be identified by his surname, Xiao.

"We feel obligated to keep our local characteristics."

…."The fashion for foreign-sounding names on buildings is a loss to native culture and reflects poor taste," Yang said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. "We must correct his practice immediately."

hmm…I can understand wanting to preserve one’s culture, but I’m not so sure this is the way to go about it.  Then again, maybe it is a good way to limit some of those cheeky signs that are known to dot the landscapes of China.

by @ 3:06 pm. Filed under Culture, China

reactions to MacArthur statue controversy in Korea

Today is the 55 year anniversary of the Inchon Landing Operation that dramatically turned the tide of the Korean War and saved the country from North Korean aggression.  Currently leftist anti-American protesters have for the past year been trying to rally support to tear down the statue of General MacArthur that was constructed by the citizens of Inchon in memory of the General’s Inchon Landing Operation.  There most recent protest this past weekend turned violent when the protesters brought bamboo and metal poles to assault the South Korean policemen guarding the statue. 

Violence1 This protest however has created a reaction that is unusual in the wake of prior anti-American protests in Korea; the government and the media are both condemning the protesters:

South Korea’s presidential office expressed "serious concern" over a violent protest by anti-American activists seeking to demolish a statue of US war hero Douglas MacArthur.

"We express serious concern at violence yesterday over the statue of General MacArthur," the office said in a statement.

"Such an illegal attempt to demolish the statue is not good for friendly relations between South Korea and the United States."

The meeting chaired by presidential Chief of Staff Lee Byung-wan expressed concern that calls to take down the statue have turned violent. "An illegal attempt to pull the statue down would not only be of no help to the Korea-U.S. relationship, but would run counter to a mature historical understanding in our society,” spokesman Choi In-ho said. “President Roh Moo-hyun recently said the statue must not be pulled down, and to do so would not reflect the wisdom needed to live in the modern world.”

Here is an editorial from the South Korea’s leading newspaper the Chosun Ilbo demanding an even stronger response from the government against the protesters:

In other words, we have had more than four months of a confrontation between one side that denies the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea and another that believes in it. The ruling party has not yet made it clear on which side it stands, but it has classified those who deny the legitimacy of South Korea as "future-oriented people” seeking unification, and those who want to preserve the republic as “ultra-rightists” who are against reconciliation. It is in effect a signal to those who want the statue gone: "Though we can’t say so openly, we are on your side."

The ruling party must make it very clear if the Korean War was a unification war that failed because of U.S. interference or a national tragedy that should not have happened; whether the Incheon Landing was an illegal occupation by the U.S. or a feat that saved the Republic of Korea; and whether the Korean War broke out because of a surprise attack by North Korea or because of cause directly provided by the U.S. The party in charge of our national government cannot wiggle out of taking a position on the historic incident that determined the fate of the Republic of Korea.

The recent MacArthur statue controversy may end up becoming a turning point in South Korean society that has usually turned a blind eye towards the leftists who continuously protest and cause violence against the US military presence in South Korea.  The recent realization that the US is currently downsizing by a 1/3 it’s troops in Korea has now awakened many Koreans to the fact that the US government is willing to withdraw even more troops if the relocation of troops away from the DMZ and South of the Han River is not realized. 

Many Koreans are not ready to see the US troops leave Korea yet with a nuclear armed North Korea still a threat.  The leftist groups however hope to cause a complete withdrawal of US military from Korea by blocking the land deal that would relocate the troops by stirring Korean pride by first of all blaming General MacArthur for causing the Korean War and a series of war crimes that are all untrue. But when it comes to history in Northeast Asia, truth really does not mean much; perception and myth making does. For the time being, however, the myth making has backfired against the anti-US groups.

by @ 7:37 am. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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