21 November, 2005

don’t ban bikes, ban all movement

The Shanghaiist notes with concern that Chinese cities are banning electric bicycles.:

…bans on electric bikes are already in place in Zhuhai, Guangzhou, Wenzhou and Fuzhou. A Beijing ban could go into effect as early as January. Those in favor of such bans say electric bikes cause traffic congestion, accidents and - get this - pollution (from discarded lead batteries). Those opposed to the bans said in response: “Are you all out of your fucking minds?” Electric bikes use very little energy, are quiet, much smaller than cars and cause no pollution if cities provide users means to recycle batteries properly.


Serial Deviant Andrea doesn’t share the Shanghaiist’s concerns:

We all know that China is far more friendlier to cars than bikes these days. The good thing is most motorists (most of whom barely have any driving skills, by the way, but that’s a rant for another day) are aware of cyclists. China may be a city known for bicycles, but it is staggering how few of these cyclists actually know how to go in a straight line, follow traffic rules, watch where they’re going, take care to pay attention to their surroundings, and be sensible road users in general.

Those on (silent) electric bikes are exactly the same, they just do it without pedalling and go much faster. There is nothing worse than someone who is out of control on a push bike — except for someone who is out of control on an electric one. Electric bikes are dangerous between the legs of these people. Therefore, they should be banned.

Gaijin Biker retorts.:

Serial Deviant says the ban is a good idea because China’s bike riders are dangerous. But if that’s the case, China should ban dangerous riding, not the bikes themselves.

In theory, I agree with Gaijin Biker here. And I should add that before the authorities start cracking down on cyclists, they start doing something about other vehicular traffic. AsiaPundit takes taxis everywhere. On every journey the driver will break some form of traffic law. Most frequently it’s taking an illegal turn to get access to my flat. However, pulling into oncoming traffic to pass or driving in dedicated bike lanes are also common. As China is expected to see car use grow by double digits for the near future, now is a fine time to force drivers to abandon bad habits.

I don’t want to sound like a bitchy expat, but after addressing cycles, scooters and cars, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start developing pedestrians’ walking skills.:

…not only are straight lines and predictible behavior frowned upon in Shanghai traffic - both vehicular and pedestrian - but most people here have only one use for the concept of vectors: to figure out how to cause a near-collision and disrupt the other guy’s course.

So I was crossing a street, walking a straight line, a head taller than anyone else in site, with a clear (that is, empty path before me when WHAM! a woman’s face connected with my left shoulder at high velocity.

Mrs AsiaPundit has a recurring back problem that is often set off by collisions with other pedestrians.

Technorati Tags: , ,

by @ 9:45 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

shiny ears, hairy hands

ESWN is a fine translator, but sometimes the cultural gap is still beyond me. For example, this report from a Chinese journo/blogger on George Bush’s church visit in Beijing on Sunday. Among other things: Bush is sleazy but cleans up well; the First Lady has impressive shiny ears; Condie looks good for a black person and the president has hairy hands.:

ChurchAt 730am, Bush arrived. Very much on time. He was nicely dressed. He is a sleazy person, but he looks nice and clean when well-dressed. His wife was dressed in light-brown colors, her ears were shining and quite impressive. When Bush entered, he said, “Morning everyone!” An American politician! Everybody paid him respect and replied. Rice was also there. She was not as ugly as seen on television. She even looked good, and that is not bad for a black person.

Then we sat down and sang. I must be talented because I could sing without having learned the songs. These are the same old hymns with some new verses. It was easy. My voice was especially loud and moving and I looked sincere, and that convinced the believers around me that I must have been around for years.

That little boy was naughty, as he played my PALM all the time and did not sing. But I used his bible for disguise. When Bush sang, his head bobbed and weaved and he was really into it.

When Bush left, he shook hands with the believers on both sides. The people kept clapping. I have seen this type of scene often enough. When Lian Chen came and when Li Ao came, the Chinese people who have been devoid of political experiences and whose desire to express themselves have been suppressed too long therefore felt excited when they see political figures show off.

I was sitting in the middle, so I felt too embarrassed to rush forward. So I shoved the little boy to move forward to shake Bush’s hand. When Bush saw the little boy, he was delighted. He went up, grabbed the boy and spoke the very officious “Thank you.” Although he had the sincere look, he said nothing more. So my plan failed.

“His hand was very hairy,” the little boy yelled out to me in delight!

(AsiaPundit’s hairy hands have also impressed Northeast Asian children.)

(UPDATE: ESWN in the comments points to an alternate translation at Danwei that clarifies the point that was most perplexing - Jeremy translates ’shiny ears’ as ‘earrings ‘. I had thought it was a colloquialism of which I was unaware.)

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

by @ 8:55 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

bush’s mongolia visit

Mongolia receives little attention in the press or in the blogosphere. Part of the reason for that is possibly that the country is making significant strides both economically and in terms of democratization. US President George Bush’s provides a welcome bit of recognition to a country that deserves substantial praise.

Still, while Bush deserves kudos for the visit, it’s a touch unfortunate that he chose to mark the occasion with an analogy that doesn’t really seem appropriate for a newly democratizing state.:

“There is a legend of a Mongolian woman who gave each of her five sons an arrow. She told each to break the arrow in his hand — which they did. She then tied five arrows together, and told each to try and break the bundle. None could do it. And she told them: Brothers who stand alone, like single arrow shafts, can be broken by anyone - but brothers who stand together, like a bundle of arrows, cannot be broken.”

It’s not quite a full-blown Bushism, but the speechwriter could have put a little more thought into things. From Wikipedia:

During the nineteenth century, the bundle of rods, in Latin called fasces and in Italian fascio, came to symbolize strength through unity, the point being that whilst each independent rod was fragile, as a bundle they were strong. By extension, the word fascio came in modern Italian political usage to mean group, union, band or league….


In November 1921, the National Fascist party came into existence.

New Mongols is quiet today, but further on the visit is available at Mongolian Matters.

Technorati Tags: ,

by @ 7:46 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Mongolia

china’s missile capability

Mei ZhongTai has an excellently researched post evaluating China’s ballistic missile capability and Taiwan’s missile defenses. One creepy point is that the Mainland’s battery isn’t capable of an efficient debilitating strike on military targets and in the event of a conflict - which AsiaPundit sees as a very remote possibility - the People’s Liberation Army may choose to hit non-military targets.:

Css6The above analysis assumes that China has a specific list of targets that it deems most important to destroying Taiwan’s will to defend itself, such as the Presidential Palace, the Ministry of Defense building, command and control facilities, and Taipei 101. This may not, however, be the case.

    That’s the lesson that Saddam taught us, that ballistic missiles may have little military value but do have great terror potential. [GEN Charles Horner]

If China were to target populated areas instead of specific targets, it would be able to create great destruction. No longer would China be launching 20 or more missiles at one target, and it could send all of its missiles toward Taiwan’s residential and commercial areas with the greatest population density. This would be a direct attack on national will–as would any missile attack. China could not take any ground with missiles, only boots on the ground can do that, but China may hope to convince Taiwan to surrender because of the vast destruction and threat of more destruction (see the importance of reserves).

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

by @ 7:17 pm. Filed under China, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

philippine president’s electoral machinery

The real big news comes from Newsbreak, actually. Five stories:

Madame Operator, Part I: At long last, the various camps that worked with, against, and without knowing, each other during the President’s campaign are fleshed out. The President’s role as the one knowing everyone and having the big picture is clarified, too:

NEWSBREAK revisited the 2004 Arroyo campaign. We established the following:

*There were at least four groups that operated independently of each other. Only the President knew of the businesses of all four.

*The President worked with unaccountable persons in three of the parallel groups.

*Ms. Arroyo appears to be the first post-Marcos presidential candidate to have combined and maximized electoral dirty tricks from over half a century, foremost of which were the utilization of the armed forces for partisan activities, and tampering with election results.

*The alleged large-scale cheating was easily carried out because the election manipulators who honed their skills since the time of President Ferdinand Marcos, and who worked in the campaign of Fidel Ramos, also played crucial roles in the Arroyo campaign.

Madame Operator, Part II: The “Little Big Brother” and “Antidote” Groups in the President’s electoral machinery are described: they’re the most interesting. “Little Big Brother” refers to the President’s younger brother, Diosdado Macapagal, Jr.; the “Antidote Group,” the magazine says, infiltrated the House of Representatives to steal and substitute electoral documents:

We reported that the operation in Mindanao during the canvassing period, which was led by Garcillano, was done in haste and that operators only tampered with the figures in the certificates of canvass. The figures, therefore, could not be supported by the data in the election returns and statements of votes. Since Fernando Poe Jr. had filed a protest, there loomed the possibility that the mismatch in the figures would be discovered. Thus, there was an operation to sneak into the ballot boxes in Batasan the election documents with “corrected” and consistent figures.

Suspicious Operations: How a War Room was established within the premises of the Department of National Defense to “covertly monitor electoral results”:

Based on documents gathered by NEWSBREAK, it appears that the plan was hatched in February 2004 under the cover of an information and communication technology (ICT) support plan for the DND Election Action Committee (Deac). This action committee is a first in contemporary DND history.

Supposedly, the ICT support plan aimed, among others, to identify problem areas, facilitate database buildup of identified areas of concern; map out and monitor election-related events and enable network connectivity of the Deac. Tapped for the ICT support plan was the Defense Information and Communication Office (Dicto).

In the Shadows: Who wiretapped Virgilio Garcillano and who ordered the wiretapping? At last, something approximating an answer (and the President’s brother won’t like this article):

The motive? Some of the key campaign supporters of President Arroyo were not certain of Garcillano’s loyalties. They wanted to make sure that he was working for the President alone, thus the decision to monitor him. Note that the recorded conversations were those between the President and Garcillano during the most critical part of the election period, the canvassing of votes, or weeks after election day.

The other leading investigative journalist’s group, PCIJ, has three stories on food and the Filipino. One is about corned beef, which has become a Filipino staple; besides beef there’s carabao in those cans, too. The other story is an ironic story indeed: at a time when life is getting harder and harder, why are more and more Filipinos getting fat?

In other news:

The Palace announces that the President does not blog. Really. So, uh, if you didn’t know, Philippine President Joins Blogosphere is a parody blog. Really. But what can’t be ignored is that ( according to Leon Kilat) .

Mindanews has survival tips for traveling in Mindanao.

Israel announces it’s going to welcome more Filipino caregivers.

by @ 4:15 pm. Filed under Philippines

michelle leslie freed

AsiaPundit doesn’t have much sympathy for those who use - and especially those who smuggle - drugs into Southeast Asia. While I have libertarian leanings and favor legalization of most drugs, I have little respect for those who lack the common sense to realize that Southeast Asia is not a good place to be caught with illicit narcotics.

Unless, of course, one of your partying pals in the son of Indonesia’s economics minister.:

Michelle-Lee-06BThe title of this post just about says it all. A young Australian model is arrested in Bali holding two tabs of ecstasy. She is busted going to a party south of Kuta at some theme park centered around giant Garudas. She is spotted in a truck painted with the logo of the Nirwana Bali Resort. Among the passengers is the son of the Minister of Economics with the Indonesian government. He is a major real estate developer in Indonesia and among the important investors of the Nirwana Resort, located right in front of a holy temple. One of Bali’s most controversial real estate developments. Ever.

So. We have Michelle the Australian model with two tabs of ecstasy, the son of the important government bigwig from Jakarta, the truck from fancy property owned by bigwig. She keeps her mouth shut. Her attorney is extremely diplomatic. A trial is held. Michelle is acquitted and can return home to Australia.

What part of this picture are we missing?

IndCoup has a further and not quite worksafe, commentary on the subject.:

MichellelesliehijabSurprise surprise. Aussie model Michelle Leslie’s suffering is over.

Although she was found guilty on Friday of using a prohibited psychotropic drug (ecstasy), those kind judges in Bali unsurprisingly opted to give her only a three-month sentence, which considering that she was arrested almost exactly three months ago, means that she’s now a free woman.

Michelle Leslie won’t have to dig too deeply into her pockets either. Although the judges had recently fined an Indonesian dude over US$1,000 for a similar drugs offence, they only fined Michelle the princely sum of 1,000 rupiah (about 10 cents!!!). How very considerate of them: it really seems that Michelle’s considerable charms won them over in the end!!!

Summing up the court’s verdict, Judge I Gusti Ngurah Astawa said that Michelle was given a light sentence because she had been “honest, polite and remorseful during trial”.

“The defendant is still young and has no prior criminal record, has been well behaved and conveyed her regret in front of court,” he explained.

Whether Michelle will keep her mouth shut after returning to Oz, or will cave to checkbook journalism, remains to be seen. A safer wager would be on whether the lingerie model will shed the hijab she donned for the trial.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

by @ 2:13 pm. Filed under Indonesia, Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia

a profile of shi tao

Glutter alerts us to an item in the Guardian profiling jailed Chinese journalist Shi Tao:

ShitaoAccording to Kultalahti, the main evidence provided against Shi Tao came not from inside China, but from the global internet service provider, Yahoo. In its defence, Yahoo claims that it was only following local legislation. When quizzed about the case in China earlier this year Yahoo’s co-founder Jerry Yang said that the company was never informed by the authorities of the reasons why they were requesting the firm to provide information. “To be doing business in China, or anywhere else in the world, we have to comply with local law,” he said.

Kultalahti offers further explanation. “Every company has to sign a public pledge on self-discipline for the internet industry,” she says. “In effect it means that they agree to the Chinese system of censorship and control. “There has also been some debate as to whether Yahoo was legally bound to provide such information to the authorities, since they are based in Hong Kong, which has a separate legal system from mainland China. We are very disturbed by Yahoo providing information to the Chinese authorities which was used to convict Shi Tao.”

In a second item, a Guardian-hosted blog reports on a Amnesty International poetry event.:

Yang Lian’s outrage seemed much closer to the surface as he brought up the case of Chinese journalist and poet Shi Tao, imprisoned in Chishan Prison, Yuanjiang City for distributing a Chinese Communist Party memo to websites based outside China. “When people speak of China there are two different pictures in mind,” he said. “China presents one face to the world and another to its own people. Shi Tao is a very important symbol of this split. Western companies rush to China and shake that blood hand and shut their mouths.” He told of how protests with which he was involved in New Zealand at the time of the Tiananmen Square massacre made it impossible for him to return to China, before moving to the lectern to welcome the actor Peter Forbes to the stage.

Yang began his readings with ‘June’, a poem by Shi Tao remembering the Tiananmen Square massacre, which he performed in Chinese before Forbes provided the translation. He was louder as he leant towards the microphone, suddenly more insistent, reading with an unstoppable momentum. Forbes seemed almost diffident in reply. Yang continued with a poem of his own about the massacre, ‘1989′, and a poem about the day when he discovered his work had been banned in China, ‘Banned Poem’, before finishing with ‘London’, a striking description of the texture of exile.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

by @ 1:38 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Censorship

[powered by WordPress.]

Free Hao Wu
Keep on Blogging!

Support Bloggers' Rights!
Support Bloggers' Rights!

Search Blog


November 2005
« Oct   Dec »
  1 2 3 4 5 6
8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
29 30  




Hong Kong

The Koreas


India & South Asia

Global & Regional

Meta Data

Listed on BlogShares Ecosystem Details


Design By: Apothegm Designs


AsiaPundit Friends



Mr. China - by Tim Clissold:

How to lose $400 million in the world's biggest market.

Imelda - Power, Myth, Illusion:
A documentary on the former Philippine first lady that is damning, sympathetic and incredibly funny.

Yat Kha - Re Covers:
Siberian throat-singing punk band searches for its roots's - Bomb the Twist:
Three Japanese women play 1950's-inspired punk.

Gigantor Box Set Volume 1:
The original giant Japanese robot

Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.

Recent Posts

recent comments

  • Falen: Michael, Are you trolling from one website to the next? How dare you to call Blues "anti-democratic"! I think...
  • Michael Turton: Both those commentors above are incorrect. Taiwan must have weapons to guarantee its own security,...
  • mahathir_fan: The source of the anger is probably because the Stephen YOung the unofficial "ambassador" to Taipei...
  • mahathir_fan: I want to applaud legislator Li Ao for his outspokenness on the arms procurement issue and for debating...
  • mahathir_fan: "A widening Chinese anti-corruption inquiry has targeted Beijing’s party leaders, in a sign that...


Your Ad Here






More from China

27 queries. 0.524 seconds