26 May, 2006


Dili-gence, a newly discovered site that is well worth reading, brings updates on the situation on Timor Leste. From today’s entry international intervention arrives.:

Although the first of the Hercules planes touched down late yesterday afternoon followed soon after by an Australian frigate, last night remained a difficult night.

It is purely a logistical thing. Until the vehicles hit the ground and all the accommodation stuff, it is difficult for the boys to go far in safety. Hence the first points to protect were the airport and OZ embassy.

This morning, planes were cutting the air for the the first hour or two after dawn. I didn’t hear much until the first reports came in after lunch about the death of a mother and 5 children in a rather gruesome fashion. Those reports had hit the web sites within 2 hours of the bodies being confirmed by 2 Kiwi defence guys. I knew the press were now going to be onto anything that smelt of a story.

I have heard anecdotal evidence that there is probably a fair bit more of this sort of stuff. The Taibesse/Becora area has been the scene of gunfights almost continually for a couple of days. And I heard yesterday that Tibar may have a few problems but with no-one there to report it.

I didn’t know when would be a good time to get out and about again, but I was assured tonight that OZ troops were indeed patroling in central Dili. I playfully thought that they would also protect the supermarkets and a few key bars around town. So yes, I will be getting out tomorrow during daylight, but central Dili only and well clear of the UN Obrigado Barracks.

(Via E)

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by @ 11:33 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

Cell Phones and Teen Depression

The Los Angeles Times seems to have it in for South Korea this month, first an expose on the carcinogenic nature of kimchi, now Kushibo points to a report noting a correlation between cell phone use and depression among Korean teens.:

 Blogger 1903 115 1600 Kim-Tae-Hee-Has-High-Self-EsteemThe teen obsession with yakking, text messaging and ring-tone swapping on cellphones might mean more than a whopping phone bill. For the most crazed, it’s a sign of unhappiness and anxiety, according to a new medical study.

A survey of 575 South Korean high school students found that the top third of users — students who used their phones more than 90 times a day — frequently did so because they were unhappy or bored. They scored significantly higher on tests measuring depression and anxiety than students who used their phones a more sedate 70 times daily.

The study, presented Tuesday at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Assn. in Toronto, was among the first to explore the emotional significance of teens’ cellphone habits as the device becomes more entrenched in today’s youth culture.

Lower in the article it notes that high cell phone use is not likely a cause of depression but rather a means of dealing with anxiety.:

Dr. Jee Hyan Ha, lead author of the latest report, said heavy cellphone users involved in his study weren’t clinically depressed. Rather, he said, the students probably had some serious cases of teen angst.

The youths may have been unhappy because of a problem in their lives or anxious about their social status. “They are trying to make themselves feel better by reaching out to others,” he said.

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by @ 10:08 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

Hedgehog MuMu vs Pajamas Media

A Chinese blogger recently overtook Boing Boing for the number one place in Technorati. AsiaPundit believes that was is only the first event in China’s comming domination of the medium. As well as arguably bigger numbers, China’s bloggers have more aesthetic appeal.

For instance, high-profile bloggers in the US have been disparaged for being a bunch of guys in pajamas. In China the popularity contests are being won by hot semi-nude women.:

A recent ‘beauty contest’ for female bloggers has attracted huge attention and aroused fierce controversy in China.

The contest has been criticised as “sexist” and “immoral” after some contestants posted nude photographs on their blogs.

MediumIn the first stage of BlogChina’s Beautiful Blogger contest, which was held earlier this month, several million Chinese web users voted for female bloggers whose online diaries are hosted on the BlogChina site.

The 20 highest scoring finalists were brought to Beijing to compete in a more traditional beauty contest, for which BlogChina provided free hair styling, make up and beauty treatments.

As well as physical appearance, the contestants were ranked on a variety of other criteria, including the quality of their blog postings and the popularity of their blogs.

The winner, who blogs under the name Yi Lan, is a business student from Beijing. She received a $2,500 prize.

Additional prizes of $1,250 each were awarded in four runner-up categories including ‘most talented blogger’ and ’sexiest blogger’.

BlogChina announced that more than two million people voted to choose the finalists. However, the contest attracted harsh criticism in some quarters, with accusations of sexism and sensationalism from the media and other bloggers.

One finalist, blogging under the unlikely name ‘Hedgehog Mumu’, posted several semi-nude photographs of herself on her blog. She received the most votes in the public voting, but won none of the prizes in the finals.

AsiaPundit regrets to note that Hedgehog MuMu’s site is currently inaccessible — although this may be due to bandwidth pressures rather than censorship. In lieu further story related photos, AsiaPundit will again present pictures of the other MuMu.:


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by @ 2:33 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Weblogs, Books

China Bans Voodoo

Newsweek reports the Beijing has outlawed Voodoo Dolls, concerned that they promote feudalism and feudal beliefs.:

Not content with jailing subversive reporters and restricting access to prodemocracy Web sites, the Chinese government has turned its attentions to a new destabilizing influence: voodoo dolls. Central government authorities are so bothered by the political implications of the dolls that they banned them entirely from Beijing’s retail stores in April.

VoodooThe dolls have become increasingly popular among the Middle Kingdom’s misanthropes and trend-conscious teens. Customers purchase a doll (pin included), attach a piece of paper bearing the name of their enemy to the doll and then stab away. Voodoo Dolls Online offers a wide range of dolls in assorted colors. “Do you want to make your enemy feel as if someone is always stalking him behind his back?” reads the caption next to a doll clad in black. ” ‘The Magic Shadow Killer’ will thoroughly destroy his spirit.” Another popular item is the “Little Angel,” which purportedly brings good luck and helps its owner find true love.

Authorities at Beijing’s Industrial and Commercial Management Department claim the dolls encourage superstition and “promote feudalism and feudal beliefs.” When officials first cracked down on the import of dolls from Thailand two months ago, Chinese entrepreneurs filled the growing demand by making the toys themselves, wrapping colorful yarn around wire skeletons and adorning each with a crude felt heart. The toys were a marvel of marketing: told that one doll could not be used to harm multiple enemies, the youths who bought them kept coming back for new ones as their hit lists grew in length. Moreover, some stores offered protective dolls that could ward off attacks from other would-be witch doctors.

The above image is taken from the Virtual Voodoo Doll, which is not yet banned in China. Story tip via China Challenges.

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by @ 12:01 am. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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