17 January, 2006

south korea president has three blogs

Oranckay says the South Korean president has three blogs:

It’ll probably be in the English press by morning but president Roh Moo Hyun has got his own blog.

Or two.

Or three.

One at Naver, one at Daum, and one at Paran.

Some have said one of Roh’s biggest problems is that he’s got his head buried in the internet. You know, instead of just governing without constantly trying to be best buddies with The Netizens all the time. I wonder if he is going to be able to sleep at night without wondering what kind of comments he’s been getting. (He’s been known to leave a few himself here and there.)

Hopefully these will be more active than the three blogs of his northern counterpart. Kim Jong-il has let two of them slide. Speaking of that, we should have all checked the infrequently updated Beloved Leader site for details of his China trip. It would have spared us a lot of speculation:


Screw those Beijing Clowns

I am going Shopping!
Damn! Is today a holiday? I had some of my Overseas Bureau lads put me ashore this morning so I could shop for some hard-to-get items. Are those little LG things the same as iPods?

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by @ 11:45 pm. Filed under South Korea, Blogs, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs, North Korea

save the white elephants

Singapore’s ‘white-elephant’ MRT station is opening, and after some clever investigative work, the Singapore Police have decided that a group of school girls selling T-shirts does not constitute a public disturbance.:

CONTROVERSY has trailed the Buangkok MRT station for the past two-and-a-half years - right up to its long-awaited opening day.

On Friday, while preparations went into overdrive for the carnival to celebrate the opening of the $80-million station on Sunday, drama knocked on its doors yet again. This time, it was over some "Save the White Elephants" T-shirts that former Raffles Girls’ School (RGS) students were planning to sell at the carnival.

That day, the students and Punggol South organisers received a reminder from the police that they needed a fund-raising permit before they could sell the T-shirts to the public, in line with existing regulations. The 27 students were also told that they might break the law if the T-shirts were worn "en masse".

The last minute reminder had apparently caught the 17-year-old students — who had created the T-shirts last year after the infamous white-elephant incident — off guard. When contacted, a police spokesperson confirmed that the advisory was sent out.

"In view of the nature of the event, we had advised the organisers that they should be aware that the wearing of T-shirts en masse may be misconstrued by some as an offence under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public & Order & Nuisance) (Assemblies & Processions) Rules. Should Police receive any report or complaints, we would have to look into the matter. This is consistent with all reports made to the Police," he told Today.

But the police have no objections to the fund-raising initiative per se, and are prepared to expedite the permit, which normally takes three days to process.

"In this case, we have made an exception for the students. We have communicated to the event organiser that the fundraisers can still apply for a permit on Saturday, as long as they are able to produce a memo of understanding with the charitable organisation," said the police spokesperson on Friday night.

It’s nice to see the boys in blue were hard at work. Wankers.

If any of the 60 unsold T-shirts are available AP is interested in buying.

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by @ 11:06 pm. Filed under Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

clarification from rsf

Julien of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) mentioned in the comments that the RSF did send its petition to European authorities as well as US ones, and that the concentration on US companies is due to the fact that they have a higher visibility. As that is the reason AP has a Cisco logo in his left-hand sidebar, instead of one by Alcatel, the point is well taken.

In other RSF news, China climbed a few notches in the most recent Press Freedom Index, Running Dog reports.:

Beijing. January 16. Xinhuanet: China has now overtaken Libya in the annual press freedom index compiled by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders organization, marking the growing opportunities for open media enquiry in the country.

Since 2002, China has also moved above Burma, Turkmenistan, Nepal, Iran, Eritrea and Cuba, signifying the progress China has made in protecting journalism and developing the harmonious society.

“We’re not as bad as those North Koreans, make no mistake,” said Xiao Huang, a former editorial assistant with The Beijing News.

Meanwhile, the US has plummeted more than 20 places since last year, and Japanese press freedom has also fallen in the last three years, according to the index.

“That Koizumi bloke should stop visiting that shrine, the bastard,” said Xiao Huang, who now drives a cab.

Given the Beijing News incident, AP expects the country will drop a couple of notches in the 2006 index.

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by @ 10:48 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Censorship

china to research ‘advanced’ marxism

More evidence of the creepy emergence of the new left.:

MarxBEIJING, Jan. 16 (Xinhuanet) — A senior Chinese leader Monday urged the country’s Marxism researchers to enhance research on the application of Marxist theory in China and put forward sound theories for China’s development.

“Results of the research should be able to enhance the appeal and influence of Marxism,” said Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee at a work conference on Marxism Theory Research and Construction Project held here.

Li called the project, which has been in implementation for a year, a major theoretical innovation project and an important component of the drive to build China into an innovation-oriented country.

AsiaPundit assumes that conclusions such as “Marxism is bollocks” won’t be permitted.

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by @ 10:27 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

japan’s horror of diminishing returns

Sorry, that title should have been the diminishing returns of Japan’s horror.:

What if Takashi Shimizu (JU-ON, THE GRUDGE) released a movie and nobody came? That’s exactly what happened with last week’s release of his new movie REINCARNATION (RINNE). A relatively well-reviewed flick, even Variety said that "Local and international success look certain…" but then…psyche! The movie came out and made 98 million yen, 45% of what ONE MISSED CALL grossed.

But that’s just part of the pattern of declining J-horror revenues in Japan. RING 2 and the American remake of THE RING both grossed big, and ONE MISSED CALL did pretty well but every other J-horror flick, including the Hollywood remakes, have made less and less money. Nick Rucka gives a nice recap of the history of Japanese horror movies and looks at the creative deadend this particular trend has reached over on Midnight Eye, and Hoga Central provides a handy graph that charts the declining fortunes of the J-horror wave.


J-horror has been yesterday’s news for a while but now it might just be dead enough that producers stop wringing its corpse for a few more cents.

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by @ 9:50 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Film

prediction: the kospi will crash

As AsiaPundit noted in a recent item, South Korea had a booming equities market in 2005 - with equity returns up 53.96 percent in local currency terms during the year. So why is AP expecting a bust? While many analysts have said the index has overshot in the past year and have used various accounting measures to suggest that it is already overvalued, AP just has a hunch.:

Here’s a great photo found at the blog of Nyquist Capital.  It’s of a rally to encourage people to invest in the stock market.  The up arrows, gigantic bull, and Rally Korea! sign pretty much gets the message across.  In a way it’s not that much different from those Nasdaq-100 ads with the CEOs of Starbucks, Staples and Microsoft, but in Korea it’s been deemed that there’s a pressing need to broaden participation in the market–in 2005 only 8% of the population owned stock.  Too bad, they’ve really missed out.  I guess that’s why they have a need for this kind of public rally.

One of the strange things about South Korea is that public rallies often work. Moreover, they often work so well that they create brand new problems.  In one of the notable recent examples, the government and banks promoted credit card use to encourage domestic consumerism and reduce tax evasion (cards leave a paper trail). That one worked really, really well.

As the above mentioned Nyquist Capital blog notes:

The shocking thing about this photo is the naked embedded marketing message. Buy now or you will be left behind. This is just one picture, but if this is the tone the exchange wants to set, it looks like the birth of an irrational exuberance investor culture. The folks that run the exchange should realize they are running a market, not a casino.

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by @ 9:32 pm. Filed under South Korea, Money, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

the dutch invasion

Can anyone explain why this site is getting so many hits from the Netherlands today?:

Picture 2

That’s just based on the past 100 visitors. While there was an unusually heavy flow of Dutch traffic earlier today, it has turned into a flood in recent hours. Almost all of the visitors have been arriving without a referring link.

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by @ 7:48 pm. Filed under Blogs

microsoft in trouble in china

but in the Republic of China this time:

Software giants Microsoft face more opposition in future adoption of their software applications. Now, the parliament of Taiwan has voted and passed a resolution, which would lessen the government’s reliance on software products developed by Microsoft. The government has been told to reduce purchases from the software giant by 25 percent this year.

This resolution was passed on Friday and is aimed to end the domination of Microsoft products in the software application used by the government bodies in the country. However, experts have claimed that the decision might not be effective in the real world as it runs against fair trade regulations in Taiwan.

As for the People’s Republic, the article reminds us that the Mainland is still promoting open-source alternatives such as Linux.

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by @ 7:11 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

support the japanese game show depositary

Because we need one:

CrazyjapanesegameshowsjwzYou’ve probably seen , but have you also seen , and ?

I don’t know what it is that makes these shows more entertaining than the similar crap on TV here. Maybe it’s just that I can’t understand them. But somehow I think that "Fear Factor" with the sound down would still just be fratboys eating bugs.

Don’t hit stop on before the boys show up. Also here’s a , and for some American horror, please and a furry stripper.

Comment below with links to more videos of absurd Japanese game shows. My scarred inner child thanks you in advance.

(Via Boing Boing)

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by @ 12:11 am. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

integrated circuit bindi

AsiaPundit is a bit of a tech geek so the first thing he thought when he saw this was “cool.”


An Indian model wears a Analog integrated circuit (IC) with intelligent charging capabillities for Lithium-ion batteries pasted on a bindi during a launch ceremony in Bangalore.

The second thing was: “Why?”

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by @ 12:03 am. Filed under India, Asia, South Asia

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