27 April, 2006


AsiaPundit is in the process of changing hosts, servers and switching to a WordPress platform. Access to this site will be interrupted from Friday. Updating will resume next week following the holiday.

by @ 11:14 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

26 April, 2006

betelnut documentary

AsiaPundit thanks Michael for alerting us to the documentary on Betelnut Beauties, and is happy to present the first clip mentioned. For the second one, follow the links.

The Real Taiwan sent me a link to his blog, so I went and looked and saw an interesting pair of betel nut girl videos. The first is a few BNGs discussing their lives, the second, well, don’t show your kids….

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by @ 11:43 pm. Filed under Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

major advances in central asia

At the Registran, Nathan provides news that beer consumption is rising in Central Asia.:

CapRFE/RL reports that beer consumption is skyrocketing in Central Asia.

“Clearly, market research in countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, is at a lower level of sophistication than it is in, say, Russia or China,” he says. “But I’ve seen massive volume growth in both Russia and China in terms of the beer market, and all the indications are that in Kazakhstan, in Turkmenistan, in Uzbekistan, beer is on a steady upward growth curve.”

Silvester cites a recent market-research report in Central Asia and the Caucasus carried out by the beer-market consultancy Plato Logic. The report found that, from 2002 to 2005, beer consumption in Turkmenistan grew by a staggering 177 percent. Other Central Asian countries are not far behind. Kyrgyzstan has shown a 112 percent increase, Kazakhstan a 75 percent increase, and Tajikistan a 71 percent rise.

And he adds the even better news that beer quality is increasing.:

I think that the issue of quality is very important, and I am surprised it was not mentioned especially because a Baltika employee is quoted in the story. I picked up some Baltikas at the supermarket the other day for nostalgia’s sake and to see if they were better than last time I’d had them. They were better. In fact, since I first tried Baltika seven years ago in Russia, I have noticed constant improvements in quality, and I know that they are not the only brand to have improved over the years.

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by @ 11:12 pm. Filed under Food and Drink, Asia, Central Asia

the podcast crackdown begins

Via Singabloodypore, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) have been ordered to remove podcasts from the party website.:

 Blogger 4785 200 1600 Radiosdplogo.2SINGAPORE : The Returning Officer for the General Election has ordered the Singapore Democratic Party to take down audio files and podcasts from its website.

The Elections Department says the podcast contravenes the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations.

It says those found guilty are liable for a fine of up to S$1,000 or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.

Dr Chee, the SDP’s Secretary-General, had recorded a podcast message and posted it on the party’s website two days ago.

The SDP’s website cannot be considered a blog, and the audio files on its site are not really podcasts. Nevertheless the PAP is making good on its threat to squash political speech in Singapore. The SDP is also making good on its attempt to be the most prosecuted political party is Southeast Asia.

In a related matter, the PBS MediaShift site takes a decent look at political speech in Singapore, including this money quote from Yawning Bread (yawningbread.org).:

“The freedom available to Singaporeans is quite wide,” Au told me via email. “However, there is a climate of fear that the government can clamp down anytime. There have actually been very few instances of arbitrary clamping down, but the fear persists, and thus a lot of people in Singapore, including bloggers, self-censor to some extent. With the passage of time, there is increasing confidence that freedom of speech on the Internet is pretty wide. The more years that pass without incident, the more confidence people gain.”

The article also cites AsiaPundit, somewhat unexpectedly but without causing any offense.

AP would like to clarify that his mention of the word ‘nepotism’ was done to illustrate an example of one of Singapore’s ‘out-of-bounds’ markers and that he was in no way implying that such a thing exists in the Lion City.

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by @ 9:29 pm. Filed under Blogs, Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Weblogs, Censorship

china law blawg and copyright

While AsiaPundit admits to schadenfreude over the ‘censoring’ of Mahathir Mohamad, AP generally doesn’t relish in the misfortunes of others. Still, AP’s first reaction when hearing of Dan Harris’s recent plight was to chuckle:

Is Beijing Law Firm Violating Copyright Laws?
My blog assistant (everyone should have one) just e-mailed me to ask if I had seen the relatively new Blawg of China. I had not, so I followed the link he gave me and was instantly shocked; This blog’s design appears to be a direct rip-off of my law firm’s website, which our Russian design team Fokadan/3dots.ru had copyrighted.

Compare my firm’s website, here with the Blawg of China, here. What do you think? Seems awfully close to me. Is this a counterfeit? A fake? Why would one law firm do this to another?

Handm   Blawg

Looks to me like there is a big problem here and I am going to be contacting our friends at Fokadan to advise them of this situation.

Copyright violation or not, I would have expected better.

AsiaPundit and Dan have corresponded - through comments and through e-mail - about the ability and willingness of Chinese authorities to enforce intellectual property laws. AP has always been far more skeptical than Dan. For example, see our recent posts on Xiangyang Market (here and here). With that, the irony of this was amusing.

That said, Dan does have AP’s sympathies. And AP hopes that Lehman Law conceeds the contested design to Harris & Moure. A dispute over web design copyright - even if infractions were likely done without knowledge - surely would deter clients from the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice.

by @ 8:39 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

adsense uncensored

Internet Censorship Explorer, a blog associated with the Citizen Lab initiative, discovers that while Google is censoring its search results for Google.cn, it is not censoring the keyword-based advertising that is displayed on the site .

After buying an advertisement for the banned website for the Human Rights Watch lobby group, ICE discovers that the ad is displayed on Google.cn.

I created my ad (which does not appear to fall under these categories) for hrw.org, which is censored by google.cn, and it was held in a queue waiting to be viewed and labeled “Family Safe”. Only “Family Safe” ads are allowed to be shown by Google in China. Eventually my ad was approved as “Family Safe” and was labeled as currently being shown…

HrwMy ad was being shown on the uncensored Chinese language Google, but not the censored Google.cn. Google checks what ads to deliver by location (determined by IP address) and the language setting of your browser. Despite both of these showing that my language was Chinese and my location was in China the ad did not properly appear.

Eventually, my ad began to be shown on Google.cn. While my ad does not appear every time the keywords are searched, it does periodically appear.

Although there are no search results available for hrw.org, my ad for a censored website did appear on some occasions.

While it is news that the AdWords service does display uncensored advertising on Google.cn, AsiaPundit has been aware of the lack of censorship in AdSense for some time. The right-hand corner of the below screencap, taken in Shanghai minutes ago, clearly indicates that advertisers bidding on China-related terms are not necessarily pro-CCP.


While some groups have over its China censorship, in light of this evidence, AsiaPundit suggests a new tactic of buying Chinese AdWords terms.

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by @ 7:48 pm. Filed under China, Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech, Censorship

lest we forget

More than one year.

ChingcheongThe Hong Kong Journalists Association and Reporters Without Borders have campaigns to save Ching Cheong, a Hong Kong journalist charged by China with spying. RSF says he faces a possible death sentence although the Chinese authorities have produced no evidence against him.

Over two months.:

FreehaoReporters Without Borders today said it considered Chinese blogger Hao Wu to be the victim of state abduction as more than two months have gone by since his arrest by the National Security Bureau in Beijing without his family getting any news about him. His lawyer has not been allowed to see him, but has been told his client is under house arrest.

“This case shows the Chinese security services operate without any control by the courts,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Hao is the victim of an arbitrary system that interprets the law as it sees fit. We call on European and American diplomadts to raise his case at their meetings with the Chinese authorities. We are curious know how they will justify the National Security Bureau’s procedures.”

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by @ 7:55 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Censorship

25 April, 2006

mahathir mohamad dissident?

Now is the moment at AsiaPundit when we enjoy our feeling of schadenfreude. After a long career that included maintaining control by silencing independent media and internet critics, Malaysia’s former prime minister is complaining that the country’s mainstream press is  ignoring him and that he has to independently publish on the internet to get attention.:

DrmWith his comments increasingly ‘censored’ in the pro-government mainstream media, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad has now resorted to air his hard-hitting arguments in cyberspace, says Malaysiakini.

Yesterday, Malaysiakini carried a story that summarises, in English, Dr Mahathir’s open letter that was gagged by the mainstream media though some of them maintained that they practised a ‘deliberate policy of openness’ under the Abdullah administration.

In his seven-page letter published in a pro-Umno website called Kelab Maya Umno, Mahathir reiterated that the government had failed to defend the nation’s sovereignty.Quote:

“I must publicise the facts in this manner because not many of my statements are being published by the mass media, although they send representatives to attend my press conferences,” he lamented.

Malaysia’s press is largely state-controlled and the current administration doesn’t care to hear from Dr M. But Dr M may want to consider the following: just because the press doesn’t print your comments doesn’t mean you are being censored, it may just mean that you are irrelevant.

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by @ 10:43 pm. Filed under Malaysia, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

the final seduction of christ

This is not yet the time at AsiaPundit when we dance. This is the time at AsiaPundit when we again pause to appreciate the weirdness of Japanese television.:

KissjesusCohost Tamura Atsushi set about to help one of the show’s regulars, former-gravure- idol-turned-short-lived-80s-pop-star Aota Noriko (pictured), achieve her dream of reviving her singing career.

To accomplish this, Tamura went to famed music producer Komuro Tetsuya and received an unproduced single from his back catalogue. He then went to one of Komuro’s most successful acts, pop/ dance group TRF, for help with choreographing. After nearly a month of voice training, dance lessons and intense exercise, Aota — performing under the stage name of Bubble Aota — gave a live concert before 2,500-strong audience, including Japanese impersonators of Madonna, Michael Jackson and Robert De Niro (Teru from comedy duo Doyo).

Sounds pretty uninteresting, right?

…consider the title of the song: ‘Jesus‘. No, it isn’t a religious hymn praising the Lord and Savior of Christianity or whatever; it’s actually bumping dance track about seduction and the bearded fellow from Nazareth, with a nutty chorus of “I wanna kiss Jesus power and soul.”

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by @ 9:55 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

got gravity?

AsiaPundit has been an on-and-off admirer of Paul Krugman for many years. AP particularly enjoyed some of his essays prior to and after the Asian FInancial Crisis, although he did find much of Krugman’s non-economic New York Times work excessively polemic.

But all things considered — and whatever your political inclination — when Krugman speaks on currencies he should be listened to.

Via the New Economist, a Krugman essay (not column) on the prospects of a dollar crisis.:

Wile Gravity Small2Concerns about a dollar crisis can be divided into two questions: Will there be a plunge in the dollar? Will this plunge have nasty macroeconomic consequences?

The answer to the first question depends on whether there is investor myopia, a failure to take into account the requirement that the dollar eventually fall enough to stabilize U.S. external debt at a feasible level. Although it’s always dangerous to second guess markets, the data do seem to suggest such myopia… The various rationales and rationalizations for the U.S. current account deficit that have been advanced in recent years don’t seem to help us avoid the conclusion that investors aren’t taking the need for future dollar decline into account. So it seems likely that there will be a Wile E. Coyote moment when investors realize that the dollar’s value doesn’t make sense, and that value plunges.

(Image stolen from here.)

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by @ 9:38 pm. Filed under Money, Asia, East Asia, Economy

paper mistresses

If anyone in China is keeping a paper mistress, AsiaPundit recommends that she be burned before this law comes into effect.:

Paper Doll

CHINA will ban the burning of paper villas, condoms and mistresses as sacrificial articles to curb the “vulgar” practice in future, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Those who burn these things will be punished, the Huaxi Metropolis Newspaper reported, citing Dou Yupei, vice minister of civil affairs, without elaborating.

Dou was attending a national meeting on funeral services in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, on Sunday.

Burning such articles will be prohibited in the funeral services regulations that the State Council, China’s Cabinet, is revising, Dou said.

Around the Qingming Festival, which falls on April 5, people traditionally burn fake coins and banknotes at a cemetery in the hope that their ancestors and deceased relatives have enough money in the after world.

(via Bills Due, Sailor Moon ‘paper mistress’ stolen from here.)

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by @ 9:01 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

the political economy of the miniskirt

South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo notes with alarm that women are wearing shorter and shorter skirts.:

MiniskirtsMiniskirts which are so short that passersby feel embarrassed just to see them are hitting the street in Korea in the spring season of 2006. They are not just mini. They are super-miniskirts with their total length less than 25 cm. Such super-miniskirts, which got some 10 cm shorter from 10 years ago, are selling like hot cakes, some 2,500-3,000 units on average a day in G-Market, a local online shopping mall, and Auction, the trading site…..

Why are super-miniskirts so popular? There are a variety of socio-economic explanations. As the economy slips into deeper recession, miniskirts become increasingly popular, some say. When skirts get shorter, stock prices rise, say others. Gong Min-kyung (26), a woman wearing a super miniskirt in Yeoksamdong, Seoul on Friday said it is just for their satisfaction. A college student said, “When I wear a super-miniskirt, mesh stockings and 7-cm heels, it creates an optical illusion to make me look more than 10 cm taller than I really am.”

AsiaPundit will note that South Korea is not presently in a recession, leading him to concur with The Flea that the socio-economic theory is less satisfying than this optical-illusion explanation.

More seriously, the increase of miniskirt wearing is a significant symbol of Korea’s democratic development and should be welcomed.

Police Cracking Down On Mini Skirt-Wearers In 1973Until recently, Korean police officers regularly stopped those young people who were brave enough to make attempts at fashion statements and measured their miniskirts (right) and forcibly cut their hair. Both these photos are from 1973. Even nowadays, many older Koreans won’t hesitate to publicly chew out young strangers they think are behaving immodestly.

by @ 8:38 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

michelle leslie unveiled

Michelle Leslie, the Australian lingerie model who was tried and acquitted after being charged with drug possession in Indonesia, has returned to the catwalk — shedding the burka that she had donned for the trial.:

MichelleEight months after walking into Bali’s Kerobokan Prison on drugs charges, five months after walking into a media storm in Sydney, Leslie made her triumphant return to the Sydney fashion scene doing what she knows best: walking the runway.

Closing the show in one of the most modest one-piece swimsuits ever to grace an Azzollini collection - which is better-known for its ultra-skimpy styles and risque catalogue shoots - Leslie looked nervous. But the look on her face after the show said it all: palpable relief.

“It was amazing. I had a great time, thank you, it’s great to be back at work,” she told the Herald, before being mobbed by a throng of paparazzi and camera crews outside the Rosebery venue with her boyfriend, Scott Sutton, and Azzollini’s business partner, Kate Nicholes, in tow.

Leslie announced after the arrest that she had converted to Islam prior to the charge, and underwent trial in a burka (generally excessive dress even for Indonesian Muslims). Michelle was also fortunate enough to have been with the son of Indonesia’s economics minister at the time of arrest. More details here.

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by @ 11:58 am. Filed under Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

silent but deadly

China’s is continuing to modernize its military with the latest advancement being the adoption of human stealth technology.:

PlawomenChina’s military is tightening its standards for recruiting potential officers as it adjusts to changing social trends, ordering drug and psychological tests, among other new requirements, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday, citing a military health official.

The People’s Liberation Army headquarters released the new recruitment rules Sunday, it said.

Recruits with fashionable tattoos will be barred from military schools, although traditional tattoos of ethnic minorities will be allowed if they are not too obvious when the recruit is wearing summer shorts, Li Chunming, the army health official, was cited as saying.

“Tattoos will tarnish the military’s image, even the scars of removed tattoos,” Li said.

Heavy snorers will also be banned, he said. The report did not say how the army would test for that problem.

As well as the above linked GI Korea, the new PLA regulations have also been noted by Imagethief:

Now, Imagethief has never served a day in the armed forces (and he notes that he would be disqualified from Chinese military service under the new rules), so he is not an expert on such things. But word has it that life under arms can occasionally be a bit loud. Tanks, helicopters, angry drill instructors, shellfire. If one is expected to be able to sleep through all that din, surely a little midnight sinus-tune couldn’t hurt that much? Or could it?

As someone who requires dead silence to sleep, I may be the wrong person to ask. Nevertheless, one gets the feeling the PLA may be becoming a tad too choosy in its recruiting.

AsiaPundit has never been a soldier, but as someone who does snore and has been on camping expeditions with fellow snorers, he endorses the PLA’s new regulation. As well as lessening the chance that sleeping soldiers will be detected by enemy forces , the new anti-snoring policy will improve the quality of sleep achieved by its troops. Taipei should implement countermeasures.

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by @ 11:53 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

24 April, 2006

moonie sushi

Bingfeng asked where the FLG get their money. AsiaPundit has no idea. But it seems another Far Eastern spiritual movement cult sect get a significant chunk of change from running a near monopoly on US sushi restaurants.:

 Wikipedia Fr Thumb 6 6D Sushi.Png 300Px-Sushi-1Adhering to a plan Moon spelled out more than three decades ago in a series of sermons, members of his movement managed to integrate virtually every facet of the highly competitive seafood industry. The Moon followers’ seafood operation is driven by a commercial powerhouse, known as True World Group. It builds fleets of boats, runs dozens of distribution centers and, each day, supplies most of the nation’s estimated 9,000 sushi restaurants.

Although few seafood lovers may consider they’re indirectly supporting Moon’s religious movement, they do just that when they eat a buttery slice of tuna or munch on a morsel of eel in many restaurants. True World is so ubiquitous that 14 of 17 prominent Chicago sushi restaurants surveyed by the Tribune said they were supplied by the company. [Chicago Tribune]

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by @ 11:32 pm. Filed under Food and Drink, Japan, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

hiroshima boilermaker

As bad as Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington may have seemed from a diplomatic perspective, it is hardly the worst incident recently.:

ShotarooshimaEvery time I think I’ve seen the most exasperating demonstration of Korean grudge-holding and hostility towards the Japanese yet, I’m trumped by the discovery of another even more outstanding gem of idiocy. This time, it’s a TV event, amongst whose participants is Japan’s ambassador to Korea, Shotaro Oshima, the recipient of a rather special sort of attention. Pay particular heed to the closing portion of this clip and listen carefully: even if you don’t understand a word of Korean, you ought to be able to recognize at least one word there.

Yes folks, if you were listening carefully, what you heard was indeed a head of beer foam being compared to the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, right in front of Japan’s ambassador, and very clearly for his particular consumption (that’s why the camera repeatedly returns to his face). To his credit, he gave this rude, childish display the response it deserved - silence - but I think it, along with the never-ending bellicose rhetoric over Dokdo - says a great deal about why all the goodwill built up in Japan towards Korea over the last few years is now quickly slipping away.

You Tube . This translation via Occidentalism.:

Oshimakorea6“Recently Japanese illegal trespassing on Dokdo (Takeshima) has been increasing frictions”

“OK, lets quickly change the subject! Putting aside ‘Poktanju’ (note: Koreans call a mixture of beer and soju ‘Poktanju’ - bomb wine) for a moment. From the Ambassadors facial expression”

“It seems like he does not like this Poktanju”

“For him, the Poktanju”

“Is like a flash and explosion of bubbles”

“Like the moment of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima”

“It resembles a mushroom cloud”

“For this reason, we will call this ‘atomic bomb wine’!”

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by @ 10:18 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

sleeping cheney / hu vs singh

AsiaPundit did not write further on the embarassment at the White House, and recommends Roland for an excellent summary of the negative reactions the percieved ill treatment of Hu Jintao provoked in China.
It is worth noting, however, that the following photo of a seemingly napping Dick Cheney did not provoke much outrage.:


Vice President Dick Cheney says he was looking at his notes, not sleeping, during a briefing by President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao in Hu’s first Oval Office visit.
(Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)

Why the outrage over Bush grabbing Hu’s arm but not the sleeping Dick? We can only speculate. However, as someone who has visited the Great Hall during a National People’s Congress session, AsiaPundit will attest that it is perfectly normal to nod off during the speeches of CPC leaders.

Elsewhere, Manish at Sepia Mutiny contrasts the treatment Hu received during his China trip and that received by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his state visit.:

China India
Got a state lunch Got a state dinner. Stayed for chai.
Says Iran isn’t a threat Joined U.S. in censuring Iran
Sold Iran nuke tech Will buy nuke tech from the U.S.
Falun Gong heckler One-Track Uncle
Criticized by Dubya for human rights Praised by Dubya for democracy
Mistakenly called by the official title of Taiwan Dubya finally stopped mixing it up with Indiana
Bill Gates bought leader dinner Bill Gates gave country two billion dollars
Left with vague promises Left with nuclear energy deal
by @ 9:02 pm. Filed under China, India, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, South Asia

blood and oil

Richard at the Peking Duck helpfully reprints Nick Kristof’s condemnation of Chinese support of the genocidal regime in Sudan, and challenge for Chinese netizens.:

The biggest obstacle to forceful action is China. The latest outrage came a few days ago when the U.S. and Britain tried to impose the most feeble possible sanctions — targeting just four people, including a midlevel Sudanese official. China and Russia blocked even that pathetic action.

Why is China soft on genocide?

Darfur MapThe essential reason is oil. China traditionally was self-sufficient in oil, but since 1993 it has been a net oil importer and it is increasingly worried about this vulnerability.

So China has been bustling around the globe trying to ensure oil supplies from as many sources as possible. And partly because most of the major oil fields are already taken, China has ended up with the world’s thugs: Sudan, Iran and Myanmar. China has been particularly active in Africa.

About 60 percent of Sudan’s oil flows to China, and Beijing has a close economic and even military relationship with Khartoum. A recent Council on Foreign Relations report on Africa notes that China has supplied Sudan with small arms, anti-personnel mines, howitzers, tanks, helicopters and ammunition. China has even established three arms factories in Sudan, and you see Chinese-made AK-47’s, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns all over Darfur.

Last month in a village on the Chad-Sudan border, I interviewed a man who told how a Sudanese militia had grabbed his baby boy, Ahmed Haroun, thrown Ahmed to the ground and shot him in the chest. The odds are overwhelming that that gun and those bullets came from China.

Likewise, the women and children I’ve seen torn apart by bullets in Darfur and Chad - that lead and steel was molded in Chinese factories. When women are raped and mutilated in Darfur, the gun barrels pointed at their heads are Made in China.

Let’s hope China’s 13 million bloggers take up this issue, for this has received very little attention in China but it is not so sensitive that discussion of it will get anyone arrested.

One of the central questions for the 21st century will be whether China’s rise will be accompanied by increasingly responsible behavior in its international relations. Darfur is a test, and for now China is failing.

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by @ 8:18 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

the fashion of bill gates

Should Bill Gates seek to expand his evil empire, he might consider a line of branded clothing for South Korean geeks.:

Gates-2Park Jin Sung, the 30-year-old founder of a wireless-technology company, combs through a rack of button-down shirts at a clothing shop. After close scrutiny, he picks out one in light blue that has a stiff, narrow collar and buttons spaced just right, so that the top two can be left open without exposing too much chest.

“Bill would wear this,” Park says. He points to a shirt he has rejected and notes: “The collar on this one is too floppy. Definitely not Bill’s style.”

William H. Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., may not be considered the epitome of chic in America, but in Seoul he is a serious style icon. Young South Koreans believe that dressing for success means mimicking Gates’s wardrobe, down to his round, tortoise-shell eyeglasses, unpolished shoes and wrinkle-free pants.

“Gates fashion,” as it is called here, will possibly strike American ears as an oxymoron. But it threatens to change the Korean sartorial scene.

(via Korea Liberator)

by @ 8:05 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

21 April, 2006

msn spaces, hao wu family site, still available in china

To update on a post late Wednesday, MSN Spaces is not being blocked in China and the blog written by Nina Wu, sister of illegally detained filmmaker Hao Wu, is still available.


AsiaPundit received an update from Microsoft on the status of MSN Spaces in China. There was an outage of the service for those who were using China Telecom’s ISP service - but there was no outage for users of CMC and other ISPs. Further, the problem with China Telecom has now been resolved. The above screen shot was taken minutes ago in Shanghai without a proxy.

If authorities were to request a block, it would likely be done by Microsoft at the server level and users in China would receive a notice similar to the one below.


That said, Nina Wu’s post suggesting a block also suggests that other odd incidents are happening.:

Lately, I have not received any replies to the emails I send out. Some “frequently mailed” accounts have stopped communicating. The phone is acting funny too, sometimes it will suddenly stop ringing; sometimes I pick up and no one answers on the other end. I have even been cut-off mid-conversation and heard high-pitched noises. Yet, I am still able to make sense of these disturbances. In the past few days, however, there occurred some really absurd events. I am shocked and confused, I really can’t think of other words to describe the way I feel. Dear God! Please don’t destroy the last dregs of respect that I have for my adversaries.

Is it worth it to go to all this trouble for such a vulnerable and insignificant person as me?

AsiaPundit believes that Nina is under surveillance. However, at the moment, he will suggest that MSN has too much of a presence for authorities to shut the service without causing embarrassment for the Party itself. State media have noted that the MSN service is overtaking local Chinese providers. It isn’t invulnerable, but it would take a severe incident for a shutdown of the service.

AP will now apologize for being a geek. The above is a jargon-filled distraction from the main issue.

Hao Wu is still imprisoned without charge. Tomorrow, he will have been detained for a full two months.


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by @ 8:16 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Weblogs

lets sexy english

Via Boing Boing, AsiaPundit offers this splendid Engrish education video for Japanese men seeking lessons on how to talk dirty. Not safe for work.:

AP can’t quite place the accent suspects that the ‘native’ speakers are Russian or from elsewhere outside of the Anglosphere.

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by @ 4:59 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, Asia, East Asia, North Korea

tropical singapore’s big chill

The Singapore election has been called and we are now just weeks away from a People’s Action Party (PAP) majority. Generally Singapore elections are as interesting as watching grass grow, but this one holds great interest - if only because AP is wondering how many bloggers will be arrested.

Signaling the certainty of a vote, AsiaPundit’s all-time favorite authoritarian Mentor Minister Lee Kwan Yew made a bold appearance on the PAP-friendly Channel News Asia, subjecting himself to a rare grilling from Singapore citizens.

Kevin Lim points to the Google video of the event and notes a spot to watch:

Note that 25 minutes in, there’s a relevant bit to where journalists and Lee Kwan Yew argue on the rationale behind the ban on political blogging and podcasting.

At Singabloodypore, it’s recommended that viewers zone in on  the 12m30s mark for an exchange where Lee attempts to interrogate a young Straits Times reporter to give up sources.

(previously: a journalist fields a question on whether any invasion of privacy and violation of the secrecy of the vote had been committed since (allegedly) the PAP does know the percentage of people, down to the apartment block or polling district, who voted one way or another)

MM Lee: But you won’t know who comprises the 60%, right?

Ken Kwek, 26 - Journalist; Never voted: You don’t need to know that to strike fear, though.

MM Lee: Oh, come off it! (laughter) You mean to tell me you have, you’re one of the 40% who voted against the PAP and something happens to you?

Ken Kwek: I mean, I’ve never voted for that matter, but I mean - we talk to hundreds of voters in the course of our work, and it’s either "no comment" or "if I vote against the PAP, I may…"

MM Lee: No, no. Let’s get down. What are the hundreds of voters? You name the hundreds of voters, a few of them. Tell me.

Ken Kwek: Well, I mean I can’t name them by name…

MM Lee: No, no.
You tell me you’ve spoken to and tell you they’re afraid.

Sensing that he may have been less than convincing, Lee later told the Straits Times that the audience was composed of ‘radical English-educated young’  and that ‘They will realize that a large majority of Singaporeans are steeped in their respective Asian cultures, whose core values will not be easily displaced."

Mr Wang correctly notes:

Mr Wang cannot help but chuckle at MM Lee’s remarks about "these radical English-educated young". Because Mr Wang cannot help but think of MM Lee’s own background.

Lee Kuan Yew may be old now, but once upon a time, he was young too. And when he was young, he left Singapore to study law in England. At Cambridge University, no less. And collected Double 1st Class Honours in English law. How much more "English-educated" can you get?…

Read also Lee Kuan Yew’s memoirs about his own university days. Note when he first started messing around in politics. No, not in Singapore. He started messing around in political activities when he was in England. Which was not even his own country.

A young foreigner. A student. Messing around in the politics of another country. The homeground of his colonial masters, no less.

And he has the cheek to say that our young TV show participants are "radical".

As Singapore does not allow political blogging outside of clearly defined guidelines, some political blogs are taking a vacation.

Nonpolitical content is still permitted. With that, the highly non-political mr brown and Mr Miyagi have made a non-political podcast set in a time long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Similarities to any real people, living or dead, are purely coincidental.


Technorati Tags: , , , ,

by @ 2:34 pm. Filed under Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

diplomacy at its finest

AsiaPundit did not foresee progress on any significant issues during the Hu Jintao visit to Washington … AP’s low expectations were massively exceeded.

Via Gordon:

…in a protocol gaffe, when China’s national anthem was announced, it was referred to as the anthem of the Republic of China - the formal name of Taiwan. China’s formal name is the People’s Republic of China.

The 88s:

Over here, son.” Bush proving that he can’t even master body language.

 Images Vzugwo

And the kicker, an FLG protester managed to heckle Hu during his address:

China Confidential - who is no CPC fan - in a meaty essay, sees the events as a major setback.:

…neither Bush’s personal apology to Hu for the arrival ceremony incident, nor excuses and explanations citing US press freedom and the tradition of permitting protestors to assemble across the street from the White House are likely to help. Hu rose to power in a system distinguished by secrecy and intrigue. At the national political level in China, very little, if anything, happens without a reason. Administration officials will no doubt try their best to persuade the Chinese that disruptive protests are as American as the apple pie reportedly served for dessert at the White House lunch; but the country that has shown an ability to turn protest on and off like a faucet–as revealed by the rowdy anti-Japanese demonstrations that rocked Chinese cities only a year ago–will inevitably draw its own conclusions. Hu is considered a pragmatic centrist on relations with Washington; but there is no shortage of hardliners in Beijing who will seek to make hay (to use an old American expression) out of the way things played out for their president when he visited there.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the longterm consequences of Thursday’s events for the US–and people everywhere yearning for a lowering of international tensions–could turn out to be both negative and significant.

And in D.C., Nikolas K. Gvosdev asks ‘was this incompetence of planned?’:

There is a long tradition in American politics of “accidents” at the White House which enable the president or senior government officials to meet controversial people or deliver unpleasant messages without having them be graced with the official seal of approval. JFK meeting Martin Luther King; Clinton “just happening” to run into Salman Rushdie; the first president Bush meeting the prime minister of Lithuania as a “private citizen” in order not to weaken Gorbachev …

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

by @ 1:45 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

20 April, 2006

cigarettes don’t kill people…

Cigarettes don’t kill people. Terrorists kill people.

SplodeA Kashmiri man was recently injured by an explosive cigarette either distributed by militants or airdropped by Acme Corporation. While I feel terrible for the guy who was hurt, the moral here is, don’t pick up stuff by the side of the road and, like, smoke it.

Thakkar landed in hospital after he lit one of the two cigarettes he found lying in a field in Mislai village of Doda district…

… terrorists are probably experimenting with the low-cost idea of filling cigarettes with explosives, leaving them in public places to tempt smokers to pick these and light up. [Link]

“Militants are now using explosive-filled cigarettes to carry out blasts in Jammu and Kashmir. One such cigarette has been recovered last night,” Col Badola said. [Link]

Technorati Tags: , ,

by @ 12:07 am. Filed under India, Asia, South Asia, Terrorism

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