12 December, 2005

not quite disney

Chinese director Sun Lijun is making a movie scheduled for release on International Children’s Day that will have a messages about the importance of loving your nation and the value of tolerance good aim.

The film chronicles the adventures in the 1930s of Little Zhang, a cute 12-year-old boy feeling his way through an unfriendly world. But the resemblance to Pinocchio ends there. After Japanese invaders shoot Little Zhang’s grandmother in the back, the boy seeks revenge by joining an underground Red Army detachment.

He moves among heroic Chinese patriots, sniveling collaborators and sadistic Japanese. The finale comes with Little Zhang helping blow up a trainload of Japanese soldiers and receiving a cherished reward: a pistol with which to kill more Japanese.

“I thought about including one sympathetic Japanese character, but this is an anti-Japan war movie and I don’t want to confuse anyone,” says Sun, who will premier his film on International Children’s Day.

One hopeful sign is that this is from a China Daily item that is mildly critical of China’s own education system and entertainment media for preaching hate. The article doesn’t, however, seem like a fully state-approved item. This line in the conclusion, for instance, is pretty off the mark from what the central party would want stated.:

Most Japanese are aware of what happened but their society has never engaged in the type of introspection common in Germany after the Holocaust. Carefully worded official apologies have landed far short of the five-star kowtow demanded by Beijing,

It is not typical for the state press to use terms such as kowtow, or to suggest that the Beijing leaders are ‘demanding. It is, however, common in China for movie reviews - even of movies still in production - to give away the whole plot.

AP withholds opinion.

UPDATE: The source is Time magazine, and Will at Imagethief has further comment and a great essay on Sino-Japan relations,)

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by @ 11:28 pm. Filed under Japan, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media

india needs women

India’s most wealthy states are apparently the ones most suffering from a gender deficit, with the number of male children outnumbering females by a more than 10:9 factor.:

MarsStates such as Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Delhi now have fewer than 900 girls per 1,000 boys.” He explains:

    The phenomenon of declining sex ratio that showed up in Census 2001 is worst in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharastra. This defies all demographic theories as these are prosperous states. You expect that when people live better, have better education and economic security, there will be less of a traditional bias against the girl-child; but in India, like China, it has only worsened the situation. Suppose like China, instead of just one, we had a two-child policy, then the Jats and Punjabis would ensure that they had two sons.

    In India, there is an unholy alliance between tradition and technology. Tradition is marked by son-preference. Technology started in the ’80s with amniocentesis, most readily available in Punjab, the state made most prosperous by the Green Revolution, and having a long tradition of son- preference. Today ultrasound is the sex-selective technology that is widespread in most prosperous states.

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by @ 10:29 pm. Filed under India, Asia, Economy, South Asia

cobrapost bites

Cobrapost, an independent Indian news portal, has shaken Indian politics by exposing a ‘bribes for questions’ scandal in India’s Parliament. Via India Uncut.:

The Times of India reports:

A sting operation by a television news channel has caught 11 MPs taking bribe purportedly for asking questions in Parliament.

These aren’t only the more down and out MPs either, they are from across party and ideological lines. While most belong to the BJP, there is healthy representation from in-power parties like the Congress and RJD. Mayawati’s BSP also finds a place in the line-up.


The Left parties, happily out of the mess, have demanded the immediate resignation of all the MPs.

For once, I’m emphatically with the Left on this. This instance also shows the importance of a free media in a democracy. Sting operations have got a bit of a bad name of late, but when they are in the public interest, as in this case, they provide an invaluable service. Kudos to Aaj Tak, the news channel in question.* More, more. This is just a shadow of the tip of a rather gigantic iceberg.

Update: The BJP has sacked those of its MPs who were caught taking bribes on camera. I presume the other parties will follow suit. I won’t be surprised, though, if the politicians concerned keep a low profile for a while and then return to active politics. In India, you can’t keep a good con down.

*Update 2: It turns out that the sting operation was actually conducted by Cobrapost, and more details will emerge there in the hours to come. Well done!

Well done indeed.

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by @ 10:20 pm. Filed under India, Asia, Media, South Asia


An outrageous burst of cheating has hit the Best Asian Blog category at the Weblog Awards, leading to heavy deductions of votes from frontrunners XiaXue and mr brown.:

The total votes for Xiaxue have been reduced by 5048 votes for cheating committed from the following the 220.255 subnet. Nine individual IP addresses have been banned.

The total votes for Mr. Brown have been reduced by 9944 votes for cheating committed from the following the 218.186 subnet. Three individual IP addresses have been banned.

AsiaPundit has had several beers with mr brown and can assure readers that mr brown would not engage in mass cheating. As a father of three, plus an xbox junkie and blogger, there’s no way he could find the time to rig a contest. Plus, like AP, mr brown is so technically clueless that he is completely reliant on TypePad to run his blog. Essentially, mr brown does not have the smarts to pull such a stunt.

Seriously, just look at him:


I can’t speak as strongly on XiaXue’s behalf, having only met Wendy once, but she also seems pretty clueless. Even more so than mr brown, in fact. To anyone who has read her blog, it should be obvious that she can barely type.

Obviously this is all a plot by Mr Miyagi (AKA the silencer) to get the front runners disqualified. Unlike mr brown and XiaXue, Miyagi is very smart… plus, he’s evil (as evidenced by the fact that he still owes us beer).

Kevin at Wizbang has banned the IP addresses of the cheaters. Unfortunately, based on comments at mr brown, this may have shut out all users of Starhub cable broadband ISP Maxonline, one of the city state’s main providers. AP hopes that this is not the case or, if so, that it can be rectified quickly. If not, tens of thousands of Singaporeans will be effectively disenfranchised.

Of course, given that the People’s Action Party has effectively intimidated the opposition to such a degree that many ridings are uncontested in parliamentary elections, as well as the presidential ‘vote’, being disenfranchised is something that Singaporeans are pretty used to.

Still, it’s not very nice.

(Full disclosure: mr brown bought the beer the last time AP was at a S’poreblogger meetup (has it been mentioned that Miyagi still owes both AP and mr brown a round?).

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by @ 9:09 pm. Filed under Blogs, Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Weblogs

anti-free traders invade world’s freest port

Legions of WTO opponents have descended on Hong Kong, possibly the world’s most free economy, to protest or advocate a myriad of conflicting causes. Simon, who’s office is just a stone’s throw away from the site of the WTO conference (unfortunate as protesters have been known to throw stones), is offering great summaries.:

Wto-1What do the protesters stand for? It’s a diverse collection. There’s the migrant workers, the rural protectionists, the manufacturing protectionists, the anti-globalisers and the merely confused. In short, it’s a collection of all those who don’t understand economics and aren’t interested in eliminating their ignorance. For example, try this guy in a chicken suit:

British activist Tom Grundy was dressed as a chicken and held a sign that said, “WTO: more dangerous than chicken flu.” “We need to raise awareness of the true intention of the WTO,” he said. “It’s undemocratically elected. It undermines and overrides any law a country wants to bring to protect workers and the environment.”

“It’s undemocratically elected” - just like FIFA and the UN. Just to remind you, this is a meeting of the trade ministers from 149 countries. What’s to elect? Undermines and overrides laws? You bet - that’s what treaties do. This guy is an insult to chickens.

There is another irony. To some extent the protesters have valid points. World trade is unfair as it stands, with massive subsidies and market distortions making the world’s poor poorer for the sake of rich French framers’ vanity. Labour does get exploited. But the answer isn’t to destroy the one multilateral avenue for negotiating improvements in world trade. To compound the irony, many of these same anti-globalisation protesters are fiercly pro-UN. Apparently some kinds of globalisation are OK.

Also, a prime quote from Hemlock.:

Which of the wide variety of brainless causes does our scantily clad friend here espouse? Is she fighting for higher food prices for Korean families? Higher clothes prices for Europeans? Higher steel prices for Americans? Or is she fighting for foreign-owned factories in Southeast Asia to be shut down so the workers are thrown back into subsistence farming and have to pull their kids out of school?

Photo from .

by @ 8:05 pm. Filed under China, Hong Kong, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

terminator hello kitty

Some damn fool has decided to create a robotic version of the evil mouthless one from Sanrio. Worse still, that fool has given it some basic elements of artificial intelligence, Odd Things reports:


… today we have the "Hello Kitty robot", which height is 52 cm (20.4 in) and weight 6.2 kg (13.7 lb). These are some of its capabilities:

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by @ 7:27 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Hello Kitty watch

more adjusted maps

Sun Bin has gathered a brilliant collection of global maps, adjusted for economic and demographic considerations. This one adjusts country size according to (1995) gross domestic product data.:

Wealth Scale

As Sun Bin notes, Russia and China have grown a lot over the past decade, so a new wealth adjusted map would be welcome.

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by @ 3:07 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia

ginseng porn on the bund

Not since Jenna Jameson’s late 2003 Times Square billboard has there been such a blatant display of flesh in a major urban business and tourism center. Via the Shanghaiist.

Shanghai Ginseng

This, friends, is a distinctly R-rated piece of perennial herbaceous herb. At first we thought we were the only ones to notice something a bit … revealing … about the ginseng in this advertisement. But a little judicious Googling reveals that the offending root has caught the eye of several commentators: for instance, here and here (blocked in China).

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by @ 2:54 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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