22 December, 2005

don’t download music/kill your maid

A Singapore woman faces a fine of S$250 (USD150) for alleged negligence leading to the death of her maid.:

Ngu Mei Mei who is charged with endangering human life - "killing" her domestic worker, faces three months in jail, a S$250 (US$150) or both. A domestic workers’ life is cheap in Singapore. Do we respect human life?

A Singapore woman has been charged with negligence for ordering her Indonesian maid out of a window from where she fell to her death, a court document and a press report said Friday, Dec 16 (2005).

Ngu Mei Mei, 37, is charged with ordering the maid, Yanti, to climb with laundry from a study room window to hang out the laundry, a court document said.

It said the roof "was not designed for such ordinary human access". The incident allegedly happened on December 20, 2003.

The Straits Times reported that Yanti fell to her death but the charge sheet says only that Ngu "did an act so negligently as to endanger human life."

She faces three months in jail, a S$250 (US$150) or both.

Measuring the value of a human life is a tricky business. Although most states and religions regard all men as equals, legal systems generally when considering compensation for wrongful death will look at such things as life expectancy; expected earnings, inflation and a range of other factors.

But beyond that, deterrence has to be considered. For a country as wealthy as Singapore a S$250 for for killing a maid is hardly a deterrent. That can typically just cover dinner and a night at the pub.

Singapore obviously does not care to deter this sort of behavior as much as it does other things. A first-time copyright piracy offense can, for instance, get you a fine of S$20,000 (USD11,900).

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by @ 10:50 pm. Filed under Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

wordpress china shuts blogs

(UPDATE: Wordpress China is not affiliated with Wordpress.)
Whether this is because of state-mandated censorship or incredibly bad customer service remains to be seen, but blog service provider Wordpress.com.cn has been deleting blogs without giving advanced notice to their owners.:

Picture-4Many registered users of wordpress.com.cn found that their accounts have been deleted by the site without any notices. The deleted user name is available for re-registration. In blog of Zhuo Zuran, the domain name holder, he explained that inactive accounts will be deleted by system. But many users complaint that even for those who publish posts, the accounts have been deleted too. And an anomynous user said he got email from wordpress.com.cn, it is said that the site was set up by overseas Chinese in WordPress development team(is it true?) to target overseas Chinese, so they delete the registered users from mainland China.

I have no idea whether wordpress.com.cn has any relationship with Wordpress.com and don’t know the exact resons to delete the accounts, but to delete users accounts in such a short time after registration without any notice or reasonable explanation is really irresponsible and unacceptable.

Fons writes:

The relations between the Chinese edition and Wordpress.com remains unclear as are the reason to delete weblogs without any notification.

Fons also notes the shutdown of  the site of one of the first English-language native Shanghai bloggers, Wang Jianshuo, which currently remains inaccessible in Shanghai. AsiaPundit offers his wishes that the site will be restored quickly.

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by @ 9:31 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Censorship

lee kwan yew vs jawaharlal nehru

Jeff Ooi made an interesting and persuasive argument on how South Korea beats Singapore (interpreted here as LKY vs PCH), but there was still lots of room for debate.

Not so in AsiaPundit’s second round of battles between the founding fathers of modern Asia; Atanu Dey’s  essays on how Lee Kwan Yew beats Jawaharlal Nehru really leave little room for argument. Read Part 1, Part 2: and Part 3 (part 4 pending):


LKY transformed a third-world mosquito infested swamp into a rich developed city state within one generation. An autocrat to the core, he sequenced the changes and orchestrated the development of his city without apologizing for what he had to do. Singapore is one of the least corrupt economies of the world. He made Singaporeans clean up their act, both figuratively and literally. No other dictator has been able to achieve that sort of transformation. It is a random draw from which dictators are drawn. India drew a lousy hand and got saddled with dictators that were incompetent to the core. And staggering from one calamity to another, the country got rid of the dictators and with only a brief break, got a government that is headed by a foreign-born rather reluctantly naturalized citizen of India and supported by a bunch of treasonous communists.

There is sweet irony in LKY delivering the Nehru Memorial Lecture: a successful dictator lecturing the family members of a failed dictator who made a mess of the economy that was so full of promise. Just in case it is not entirely clear, Nehru was a dictator, never mind the fact that there may have been an election. The laws of the universe do not preclude the democratic election of dictators. Adolf Hitler was also elected, and he enjoyed the confidence of the majority just as much as Nehru enjoyed the confidence of the people of the newly minted republic of India. There was no opposition worth its name and Nehru did precisely what he willed.

Based on Nehru’s policy prescriptions, the Indian economy grew at a sorry 2 or 3 percent a year—the aptly named “Nehru rate of growth.” Per capita figures were even more dismal than that because the population grew rapidly. The Nehru dynasty continued to favor policies that kept India locked into the Nehru rate of growth until about 1991. Then economy grew at a more respectable rate but only compared to the Nehru rate of growth. In absolute terms, the “post-reform” growth rate was nothing to write home about. China had been growing for over a decade and at a much faster rate.

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by @ 8:58 pm. Filed under South Korea, Singapore, India, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Southeast Asia

hard gay kiki ippatsu

Christmas gift review #4: The Hard Gay Kiki Ippatsu game

AsiaPundit is torn on what sort of review he should give this toy, in which players poke plastic swords into a plastic barrel containing a doll of Japanese television celebrity Hard Gay (aka Razor Ramon, neither of which seem like his real name).


For starters, as was the case with Wok ‘n Roll, AP is hesitant to endorse any game that may be offensive to minority groups, and this one has raised some ire.:

A sexual minority network has sent complaints to toy giant Tomy and Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) over a new version of Tomy’s Kurohige Kiki Ippatsu game that uses a character based on television personality Razor Ramon HG, alternatively known as Hard Gay.

The Kyoto-based sexual minority teacher’s network is demanding that Tomy halt sales of a version of the game titled “Kurohi-gei Kiki Ippatsu.”

In the game, which is scheduled to go on sale on Dec. 30, plastic swords are inserted into holes in a barrel until the character inside jumps out.

The game was planned by TBS, the channel on which Razor Ramon frequently appears, and Tomy is marketing it.

The complaints claim that selling a toy in which a gay or similarly associated person is put in a barrel and people ‘enjoy’ poking swords into it discriminates against homosexuals. They also raise fears that the game instills the impression in children that discrimination against gays is fine.

Surely as someone who is very sympathetic to the hard time gays get in much of the region, where many countries still outlaw homosexuality, AsiaPundit should take this complaint seriously. But as someone who appreciates kitsch, AP says this is brilliant!

Besides, Hard Gay has been know for doing hip thrusts behind , being crucified as a Yahoo! publicity stunt and thrusting his PVC-wrapped crotch at captive motorists. Essentially, it strikes AP as odd that the group’s complaint isn’t that the character portrays a ridiculous stereotype of gays.

That said, AP does not endorse this as a Christmas gift, if only because it isn’t released until five days after Christmas.

(via Tokyo Times)

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by @ 8:28 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

hong kong democrats possibly pyrrhic victory

Gateway Pundit has a decent roundup of press coverage and photos on yesterday’s rejection of government ‘reforms’ by Hong Kong’s LegCo, but it is far too optimistic (be sure to read the comments).

it very much remains to be seen whether this can be called a ‘victory’ in the longer term, without requiring the addition of the adjective ‘pyrrhic.’ Simon has one of the better pieces of analysis.:

YanThe democrats will enjoy the headlines and kudos for the next few days. In the actual vote they played a smart political game and ran rings around the government and pro-Beijing forces. But what have they achieved? They’ve rejected a positive step forward towards universal suffrage for the longer term goal of a timetable. They have reduced the chances of eliminating appointed district councillors; they have rejected a chance to expand the electoral college that elects the Chief Executive in 2007; they’ve rejected an expansion in the Legco for 2008 that would likely benefit them and remove the functional constituency veto. Perversely, the democrats have voted to stymie democratic reform and played into Beijing’s hands. Beijing and The Don can now say they offered progress and were rejected. Beijing has won thanks to the democrats. This game makes for odd bedfellows.

In short, they’ve gone for a double or nothing strategy, but with nothing looking the more likely outcome. It highlights the short-termism that pervades the democrats in Hong Kong. It is all well and good to be a purist and hope for an instant transition to full democracy. But politics is the art of the possible and as such it involves compromise and messy reality, not high ideology. The lack of courage and leadership from the democrats is as lamentable as it was predictable.

Unfortunately, Hong Kong is the loser.

In a related note, it’s great to see Hemlock again be cited in Slate.

Photo lifted from Mooncake Productions, the commercial site of Glutter’s Yan Sham-Shackleton.

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by @ 3:24 pm. Filed under China, Hong Kong, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

seaman ship

Further on Asian militaries, while Japan’s SDF is not known for protecting agriculture their recruitment video is still truly fruity.:


(Via 3Yen)

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by @ 2:43 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

agriculture wars

AsiaPundit has no military expertise and is always on the lookout for good trusted sources and commentary on questions about potential military conflicts (i.e., how North Korea would react to a surgical strike on nuclear facilities or whether Taiwan or China would have an upper hand in a conflict).

Unfortunately, AP can find no sources of information on a question that is currently bothering him.: “In a conflict, which would have the advantage: the PLA’s lychee protection unit or Thailand’s newly formed rubber-tapping squad?”

Thai Rubber Soldiers

Thai soldiers are to be trained as rubber tappers under new plans announced by cabinet to help increase security for rubber farmers in the violence-plagued south of the country.

Deputy government spokesman Chalermchai Mahakijsiri said around 200 specialist troops would be sent to protect local farmers from possible insurgent attack. At the same time, they would be equipped to help the farmers in the routine tapping of rubber trees. He said the Agriculture Department and the Army had been ordered to cooperate in the training of the soldiers.

AsiaPundit is concerned that Western powers are gravely unprepared for future agriculture-related conflicts. On top of the two above examples of Asian advantage, North Korea’s KPA has gained a clear strategic lead over NATO forces in pig and duck farming.

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by @ 1:37 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Terrorism

biodegradable phone

AsiaPundit Christmas gift suggestion #3.

Given the relatively short lifespans that mobile devices have in Asia, due to regular need for upgrading due to either prestige or technological advances, the biodegradable phone is a brilliant idea.:


NEC’s N70i cell phone case is made from potatoes, corn and kenaf so it’s BIODEGRADABLE. Plus it tastes great with butter and a little salt.

(Via Japundit)

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by @ 8:09 am. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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