16 May, 2006

Evil Car

Given the evil mouthless one from Sanrio’s tendency to inspire violence and disaster, AsiaPundit expects the below evil vehicle to be soon involved in a drive-by shooting.:


(via Mad Minerva)

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by @ 11:34 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Hello Kitty watch

Free James Gomez

AsiaPundit is happy to note that the word ‘free’ in the above headline is an adjective and not — as in the previous item — an imperative-form verb. Singapore authorities have decided not to charge opposition candidate James Gomez with ‘criminal intimidation.’
It’s a pleasant surprise, given their record of jailing and bankrupting opposition leaders. The Feynman Boson ponders the reasoning behind the decision.:

 Leadphoto Pages 1 James Mugshot MidsizeFirstly, the Public Prosecutor claimed Gomez used threatening words to a civil servant. Unless I’ve read wrongly (from other sources), I believe he used the word “consequences” against the civil servant. So everyone, next time, please be very careful of using the word “consequences” on a civil servant.
Next, this move of not charging Gomez strengthens The Negative Man’s argument that the PAP (and the Elections Department) cannot do nothing after kicking up the storm. This move is probably employed to gradually lower the momentum of the storm, to cushion the ground for landing.
Then, the next question is, why does the PAP, traditionally intolerant of political opponents, willing to let go of this chance of eliminating a member whose team snatched a harrowing 44% in a GRC? There could be several reasons to this, and they’re not mutually exclusive. One, times are changing, and the new PM has greater tolerance that his daddy. Two, instead of scaring people away from the opposition, it has achieved an opposite effect. Three, there is insufficient ground to justify that Gomez has committed the act of criminal intimidation; even many experts agree that it is pushing the boundaries of the law. Four, the Enernorth case in Canada has sparked worries that the Singapore judicial system is deemed as unfair. Five, pursuing this matter will cause PAP to lose votes, judging from online public opinion.

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by @ 11:21 pm. Filed under Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

Fake Yuan

AsiaPundit could have used this information a year ago. Via China Rant, advice on how to detect fake Chinese bills.:

 Photos Uncategorized Fakermb

Thanks to for the below picture. Supposedly, “Checking the black vertical line is really black is a good idea, and a quick scratch of Mao’s jacket (which should be slightly ribbed) is usually enough.” The top one is fake.

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by @ 10:43 pm. Filed under China, Money, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

Eight Years Ago

As well as the Cultural Revolution, May marks another more positive anniversary for Asia - the fall of Indonesian dictator Suharto. It was eight years ago that he was driven from power. And while that is an odd number to commemorate an anniversary, Indonesia’s blogosphere has been remembering the riots that prompted his resignation.

Jakartass rounds things up and recounts his own experiences of the riots that brought down the dictator.:

250Px-Suharto Resigns-1Reports of hundreds dead, most trapped in the malls and supermarkets they were looting.
Americans, as usual the first, have initiated evacuation procedures. Our Kid’s in a good mood.
Just as the storm hit, we could see black smoke rising, not quite camouflaged by the clouds.
We made it to Bank Universal’s HQ ATM, one of only two in service in town. A long but patient queue as the machine was refilled. The bank itself was shut. So we’ve got enough cash for the duration (?).
A fleet of buses was parked outside the packed Malaysian Embassy but I only noted three cars in the Russian Embassy compound down the road.
Some shops are open, a few, belying the TV news of the city returning to ‘normal’.
We hear tell of officials at the airport charging Rp.5 million instead of the official Rp.1 million for the exit tax (fiskal). There are also reports of cars being sold to pay the extortionists. I’ve got cash so it’s a pity I don’t drive.
I’ve put a couple of beers in the fridge for tonight’s FA Cup Final.
A ring round. Two colleagues are heading off to Bali ~ and later for ‘home’?
Another is heading off, with his Indonesian wife, for the happy hour at Hard Rock Café
Most of us are settling in for a week’s siege.

Indcoup, also a 1998 veteran writes:

I’m in one of Jakarta’s huge office buildings, not far from the Semanggi cloverleaf intersection. With the office up on one of the upper floors, we have great panoramic views of this frantic city. This is usually a good excuse not to do any work and to just put your feet up and enjoy the view. But not today.
It’s about 11.00 in the morning. Someone shouts out something in Indonesian that I don’t understand, but I join everyone else by the huge window with views to the north of the city anyway.
Huge plumes of smoke are drifting upward. But these are not just normal fires that can often be seen in Jakarta. These fires are taking place in Mangga Dua, Glodok, Gadjah Madah. Chinatown.
So the rioting has finally started.
But it doesn’t come as a surprise. It was inevitable really. The economy’s going the drain; the rupiah’s crumbling; inflation’s soaring. And a dictator at the helm for Christ knows how many years. This is it. This is when the pressure cooker is finally gonna blow its fu#king top off.

And A.M. Mora y Leon recounts his story at Publius Pundit.:

I was at a mysterious Javanese graveyard of tombs outside Yogyakarta, where old and young many of them in traditional Javanese dress of batiks in ancient cinnamon and indigo dyes, alongside boulevards of tombs and walls, a lot of dark palms shading it all, mysteriously gloomy, even as amid the equatorial sun its shade made it all refreshingly cool. The old women, like the men, wore no shirts, in the ancient Javanese style of royalty. I was walking down a thousand tiny and ancient mildewed steps of some ancient palace, talking to an abangan military man who spoke English and who was there to pay his respects his ancestors. News had just broken of students shot dead by troops in Jakarta at Trisakti University. I asked him about it. Should I worry about returning to Jakarta tomorrow? He told me he did not have much information and I pressed him as to why. Then he said, “Have mercy on me, I am afraid to talk about it.”
That evening, I understood why. I went to the threadbare house of my warm, friendly Acehnese student friend who went to Gajah Madah University. He had a big picture of the Ayatollah Khoemeini on his wall of the rented house amid the leafy residences, where bikes and motorcycles were parked out front by the tropical greens and stone fixtures, and we talked about Indonesia’s currency crisis which interested me.
But what really interested him more was ‘demokrasi’ and the great political struggle for that that was rumbling and erupting in Indonesia. We watched dictator Soeharto on the television from a summit in Egypt and mocked the bastard on the television, sitting on the floor by the kitchen because there was no furniture, just him, the TV, two Achenese friends smoking kretek clove cigarettes with an ashtray, me, and the ayatollah.
I can’t tell you how pregnant that moment seemed as those were the days of thousands of young student moving to defy the thuggish Soeharto regime all by themselves. I had been going to the first demonstrations in March, taking photographs, to see for myself. Something big was going to happen, but I did not know what or when. Would we get shot? Would we get caught? Would the students throw the tinpot out? My friend wanted to forge forward.

While Suharto has escaped prosecution for corruption he will be judged by history in a generally unfavorable light. While he did deliver some benefits, in comparison to fellow most of his Asian authoritarian contemporaries, he was a failure.
Suharto did not build the sustained growth that still supports the legacies of Lee Kwan Yew, Mahathir Mohamad, Park Chung Hee, Chang Kai-shek and Deng Xiaoping, Although he remains a notches above Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Mihn and Kim Il-sung.
AP, who has a bad habit of ranking dictators, would place Suharto just below Fidel Marcos.
Comments are open for readers who wish to contribute Top-10 lists of Asian dictators.

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by @ 9:37 pm. Filed under Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

40 Years Ago

It’s the 40th anniversary of the start of the Cultural Revolution, and Howard republishes an item from the Times interviewing the woman who sparked years of death and terror.:

On May 16, 1966, the People’s Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece, published a coded attack on Chairman Mao’s political rivals.

Ms Nie, then Communist Party secretary of Peking University’s philosophy department, said the attack inspired her to put up a poster charging that the elite school was under the control of the bourgeoisie. Mao then had the poster read out over national radio, effectively giving his blessing to attacks on those in authority and triggering a decade of chaos.

Students rose up to oppose “revisionists” bureaucrats, academics, officials, leaders. Radical students calling themselves Red Guards paraded their teachers and professors though the streets in dunce caps. Government ministers were forced to kneel as they were beaten


The party papers are, naturally, being quiet on the matter. Me Old China .:

 Web Myupload Image TeachersNews about the anniversary in the state press is, naturally, conspicuous by its absence. The essayist Ling Feng explains that there are several reasons why the current government is hoping to keep a lid on any commemorations. Simply put, the persecution of as many as 100 million Chinese people is the worst thing that the Chinese Communist Party has ever done, and to publicize these events would damage the fragile image of a ruling party already racked by dissent and discontent. Furthermore, the Party has already achieved “closure” of a kind, saying in its daintily titled 1981 Resolution on Certain Historical Problems since the Establishment of the Nation that the chaos was, erm, Mao’s fault, of course, but that his mistakes were “used” by a counter-revolutionary clique led by his appalling wife, Jiang Qing, and his second-in-command, the phobia-ridden megalomaniac Lin Biao. All correct discussions are restricted to the old formula that Mao was “70% right and 30% wrong” and had, in his dotage, been led astray by the Gang of Four, and anything that might draw attention to the fact that, well, if there was indeed a counter-revolutionary clique, then Mao was its undisputed leader, has to be forbidden, as it would undermine the very foundations of the Party’s right to rule, Ling writes.


Images stolen from Stefan Landsberger’s collection.

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by @ 9:29 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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