8 December, 2005

black lung

AsiaPundit, a journalist by day, returned to the office today after a late lunch and asked his invaluable assistant: “Is anything interesting happening?”

Invaluable Assistant:: “Mine explosion.”

Asiapundit: “How many?”

Invaluable Assistant:: “96… missing.”

TPD offers a link to a group of shots that are described as “beautiful”. They are indeed touching, and well done. But, with all respect to Richard, ‘beautiful’ strikes AsiaPundit as the wrong word.


The above photo is a ‘beautiful’ artistic shot. But it reminds AsiaPundit that the 6,000 or so men who die in the reported coal-mine accidents each year are only the tip of a very dark iceberg.

The 1940s were not an exemplary time for US labor standards, but do consider the following.:


In most coal miner photos that AP can recall from the West, the miners were at the very least wearing masks - albeit likely cotton ones - over their mouths and noses. Photos of unmasked miners usually revealed large white spaces around the mouths and noses, although their features were completely blackened everywhere else. But those were from enlightened times such as the 1920s-40s.

So, 6,000 or so will die in ‘unsafe’ coal mines this year in China. That’s bad, but in comparison to the numbers that AP expects will perish due to ‘black lung’ over the coming two decades, it’s probably statistically insignificant.


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by @ 10:45 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

the weirdest question

AsiaPundit has spent the majority of the past decade in Asia, but there were two years he spent in the Middle East (Kuwait specifically). Though Kuwait was not an exceptionally open place for public free speech, it was bizarrely open and uncomfortably personal when small groups of men were gathered in a room. The weirdest question that AsiaPundit has been repeatedly asked, on numerous occasions, was "what does it feel like to be uncircumcised?".

So, Michael’s discovery that Muslims are circumcised isn’t a surprise for AP. But the post still is of interest.:

Uyghur BrisCall me ignorant, but I didn’t know that Muslims practice circumcision. The topic has just never come up before. That is, the question never came up before the other evening, when I attended what I’d like to call a Uyghur bris. Now, I didn’t even know what I was attending at the time, and there was no cutting going on at the party. I was aware, however, that the party, know in Uyghur as hatmatoi, was celebrating the coming of age of a certain young boy (see photo). If the circumcision had been performed live for our enjoyment (as is the custom with Jews) it would have been a mighty disturbing spectacle, seeing as the boy in question was eight or nine years old. (Circumcision is difficult enough to watch when the circumcisee is an eight day-old baby.) Anyway, I’m told now that the circumcision was likely performed days or weeks in advance of the party, which explains the boy’s ability to smile for my camera.

For what it’s worth, if you are in the Middle East and asked "what does it feel like to be uncircumcised?", don’t answer "Normal, I suppose. I was born with a foreskin. That’s like asking ‘what’s it like to be born with 10 fingers and 10 toes."

That’s a real conversation killer.
Try something diplomatic such as: "I can’t answer that. I really have no basis for comparison."  That’s also a conversation killer, but it goes over far better.

by @ 9:41 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

the digital cavalry are coming

Good news, AsiaPundit hopes, OMB has secured his first corporate sponsor to help raise funds for impoverished cancer victims. Details will follow soon.

0111Finally! A top Taiwan-based manufacturer ( producing in Shenzhen, China) of digital products has agreed to supply innovative and useful digital imaging products for the digital cavalry!

Every two to three days for several months Onemanbandwidth will showcase new products for your purchase and that of your friends or customers. You will able to make money, save money for your friends and do some good for cancer patients all at the same time.

Sign-ups will begin in 2-3 days

By signing up you can give visitors to your site or blog, yourself, or friends and family a 10% discount on all products featured, make 10% for yourself. All items will ship from the U.S. and still be lower in price than any retail outlet.

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by @ 9:00 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

misbehaving monks

AsiaPundit has decided against joining that Cambodian monastery he was accepted at earlier this year. Being a monk no longer sounds like any fun.:

Wayward, womanizing monks face arrest and expulsion

By Sam Rith

Regulations announced jointly by the Ministry of Cults and Religion and the Supreme Patriarch of the majority Mahanikaya Order have restricted the activities of Phnom Penh’s more than 3,000 Buddhist monks.

From December 1, monks may not beg for food in crowded places such as markets. Nor are they allowed to solicit donations with loudspeakers or stroll with women along the riverside. Violators face arrest and re-education for a first offense, and expulsion from the monkhood for a second.

According to the new guidelines issued on September 13 the directives will guide monks to behave as the Buddha intended

Chhoeng Bunchhea, cabinet chief for Patriarch (Sangharaja) Tep Vong of Wat Ounalom, said the regulations were aimed at the small number of monks observed during the past four or five years whose unacceptable behavior was bringing Buddhism into disrepute….

Among those critical of some monks’ behavior is 47-year-old Chea Chamroeun who lives under a banyan tree on the riverside in front of Wat Ounalom. He said he respects only those monks who have good Buddhist discipline - and reckons that would be only 10 percent of the monks currently in Phnom Penh.

“Since I was born [in Kampong Chhnang province], I never saw monks tickling girls, and climbing trees to whistle and wave at girls as the monks in Phnom Penh do,” he said.

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by @ 8:27 pm. Filed under Cambodia, Asia, Southeast Asia, Religion

an ode to bush

AsiaPundit earlier this week expressed concern over the curriculum of Pakistani madrasas, what was being taught in mainstream public schools is also disturbing.:



by anonymous

Patient and steady with all he must bear,

Ready to meet every challenge with care,

Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,

Strong in his faith, refreshingly real.

Isn’t afraid to propose what is bold,

Doesn’t conform to the usual mould,

Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight won’t do,

Never backs down when he sees what is true,

Tells it all straight, and means it all too.

Going forward and knowing he’s right,

Even when doubted for why he would fight,

Over and over he makes his case clear,

Reaching to touch the ones who won’t hear.

Growing in strength he won’t be unnerved,

Ever assuring he’ll stand by his word.

Wanting the world to join his firm stand,

Bracing for war, but praying for peace,

Using his power so evil will cease,

So much a leader and worthy of trust,

Here stands a man who will do what he must.

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by @ 7:31 pm. Filed under Pakistan, Asia, South Asia


Prospectors get ready. The domain names ‘google.asia,’ ‘dell.asia’ and ‘anyotherfamousbrand.asia’ addresses will soon be available.:

Main-Logo2Internet governance board moves ahead on `.asia’ domain, stalls on red-light district

BOSTON — The quasi-governmental organization that oversees the Internet has tentatively approved a ".asia" Web domain to unify the Asia-Pacific community, but the group has delayed a decision on whether to move forward with a ".xxx" zone for pornography sites.

At its annual meeting this past weekend in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers took up several topics related to the global administration of the Internet, which has become a heated topic because the U.S. has insisted on maintaining oversight.

The new ".asia." domain would supplement suffixes available for individual countries, such as ".cn" for China and ".jp" for Japan. ICANN earlier approved ".eu" for the European Union; registrations for that begin Wednesday.

Registrations for English-language names in ".asia" could begin six months after ICANN grants final approval. But first, ICANN and the DotAsia Organization Ltd. will have to spend weeks or months ironing out contract details. The DotAsia group, which consists of domain name operators in Asian countries, also plans to explore permitting site addressess in Asian languages.

(via the Asianist)

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by @ 2:01 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Web/Tech

sex & drugs & dear god no!

The evil mouthless one from Sanrio, with the help of Fender, is threatening rock n’ roll. Witness the evil that is the Hello Kitty® Stratocaster ®:


The Squier branded guitars, which draw upon classic Fender brand designs, offer an affordable, everyday instrument that is suitable for beginning guitarists and experienced musicians, alike.  Potential Squier brand Hello Kitty instruments will include the Squier Affinity Stratocaster® guitar, the benchmark entry instrument model for the Squier line, and the Squier Mini electric guitar, a _ scale instrument suitable for beginners with small hands.  In addition to these exciting guitars, Fender also plans to create a line of co-branded accessories including Hello Kittyguitar picks, straps, soft cases and a portable battery powered Hello Kitty amplifier.  The Hello Kitty guitars will
range in price from $200 to $300 and are expected to be available at music stores and select Sanrio stores in October 2005.

(via Boing Boing)

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by @ 1:43 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Hello Kitty watch

hu’s travelling loo

This is an example of citizen journalism at its finest. Wanbro discovers, from an anonymous diplomatic source, that Chinese President Hu Jintao refuses to travel without his portable toilet seat.:

LooNo doubt slightly concerned about the state of his own country’s loos, President Hu Jintao will not leave the mainland without being equipped with his own personal toilet seat, according to a reputable source. On his world tours to such savage nations as Spain, Germany and to those soap-dodging Brits, Hu will lug around his bathroom furniture, clearly deeply mistrustful of the efficiency of Jif and bleach.

Intrigued, but not convinced, I got digging around, determined to find some confirmation, however spurious, about this. So then, to the embassy.

“Erm… we don’t really have much comment to make about this” replied a somewhat baffled man on the other end of the line, “but we can confirm there is truth behind the rumour”.

This indicates that Hu is far more westernized than commonly thought. Before being elevated to Beijing, Hu mostly served in China’s rural hinterland. AsiaPundit had suspected that this would mean that Hu was more accustomed to the seatless squat toilet. That he carries a toilet seat indicates otherwise.

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by @ 1:23 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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