The Bruce Lee statue unveiled in the Bosnian city of Mostar as a way to promote peace between Muslims and Croats has been vandalized.:
He used to conquer rooms full of bad guys without breaking sweat - but now the mighty Bruce Lee has been mugged by petty vandals.
A life-size brass statue honouring the martial arts legend in Bosnia had its nunchucks swiped just hours after it was unveiled.
The chain and sticks were reportedly taken from the kung fu equipment and empty wine bottles were left scattered around the park where the statue sits.
Nightkeeper Veljo Dojcinovic said he saw a group of teenage hooligans entering the park in the middle of the night.
“I heard a loud bang but I was alone and I couldn’t stop them. Police should have been more agile. They know that hooligans visit this park regularly,” he said.
A German cultural foundation has financed the erection of a statue of Chinese-American martial arts icon Bruce Lee in an effort to provide representation of a hero for Bosnian Croats and Muslims in Mostar. Any questions?
BELGRADE, Nov. 26 (Xinhuanet) — A bronze statue of martial arts legend Bruce Lee was unveiled in the ethnically divided city of Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday, a day before a second statue of him is unveiled in Hong Kong to mark his 65th birthday.
The life-size 1.68 meter statue depicts the Chinese-American kung fu cinema icon in a typical defensive fighting position as a symbolic protest against ethnic division, said reports reaching here from Mostar.
"Lee fought for justice freedom and reconciliation. I hope his statue will bring you happiness and prosperity," Chinese ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Li Shuyuan told the unveiling ceremony, held in Mostar’s central park.
The ceremony was also attended by the German ambassador, whose country’s cultural foundation financed the project, and staff of the US embassy here.
In a rare show of unity some 300 Bosnian Croats and Muslims attended the ceremony. During the ceremony members of a local kungfu club, dressed in colorful kimonos, demonstrated the martial art skills using the kung fu accessories that included nun chucks, swords and sticks.
The statue, made by Croatian sculptor Ivan Fijolic, was unveiled by Nino Raspudic of the Urban Movement of Mostar, a youth association that pushed for a statue to be erected more than two years ago.
Lee was chosen as a hero that all ethnic groups could relate to, in a city that was nearly destroyed during fierce fighting between Croats and Muslims and remains bitterly divided.
South Africa’s Mail & Guardian notes that Mostar unveiled the statue a day ahead of a similar unveiling in Hong Kong.:
Youths in the Bosnian city of Mostar said on Thursday they were delighted they would beat Hong Kong to erect a statue honouring the late martial arts film legend Bruce Lee.
The statue is to be unveiled at the weekend in the southern city more famous for its 16th-century Ottoman bridge, which reopened last year after being destroyed during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war.
"We initiated this long before Hong Kong. I am sure they did not have as many problems as we did in securing the permits … but it all turned out well," said Nino Raspudic of the Urban Movement of Mostar.
AsiaPundit has always hoped that Queen Elizabeth II has a long reign. I’m not a fan of the monarchy, but I am a Canadian and would dread having Prince Charles on the currency when he assumes his role as head of state. I expect the Chinese leadership aren’t looking forward to that day either.:
Bureaucratic, corrupt, and in possession of an overactive superiority complex’. In so many words, that was how Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, is reportedly to have described Mainland China, in a personal journal titled “The Handover of Hong Kong -`The Great Chinese Takeaway’”. Sections of which were published earlier this month in the Mail on Sunday, the Sunday edition of one of the world’s leading English language newspapers. Much to the distress of face conscious China.
In the journal, written by the Prince as a chronicle of his experiences and opinions during the 1997 hand-over of Hong Kong, form British control to Mainland Chinese rule, and obtained by the Mail on Sunday through undisclosed means, Prince Charles describes Chinese officials as being “appalling old waxworks” and the hand-over ceremony as being an "awful Soviet-style display" where the Chinese military ‘goose stepped’ around in a ‘ridiculous’ ceremony before turning on an artificial wind generator to make sure that the newly raised Chinese flag could be seen to ‘flutter enticingly’.
The journal, which was never intended for public consumption, then goes on to describe then Chinese President Jiang Xemin taking the podium and making an undisguised ‘propaganda’ speech to a crowd of loyalists, who had been gathered together by Beijing especially for the occasion in order to give the impression that the speech was well received by the masses.
Things haven’t improved much since the handover and passing of the Jiang era, ACB notes that Charles hasn’t taken a liking to Hu Jintao.:
The publication of the Prince’s acidic comments on China come at a particularly delicate time in relations between the British Imperial family and the Chinese State. Emerging, as they did, in near tandem with the circulation of rumors that Prince Charles purposefully arranged his travel plans so as to make himself unavailable for an official banquet with Hu Jintao, in effect arranging a boycott of the event, during President Hu’s recent visit to London.
Officially, Prince Charles was ‘recovering from jet lag’ during Hu’s visit. Unofficially, however he is said to have refused to attend as in protest against Beijing’s human rights record.
ESWN translates a defense of Zhang Ziyi, who has upset Chinese nationalists over her role in Geisha.:
Let us look at what Shi Changqing wrote:
She is not being screwed by just one Japanese person, for she is being screwed by every Japanese person! She is not the only person to be screwed by the Japanese people, for every Chinese person is being screwed by the Japanese people! She let shame fall on the Chinese people! How could such a person deserve to be a Chinese?
After reading those words, I became super-dispirited. How did all the Chinese people get screwed by all the Japanese people? If you think that Zhang Ziyi’s butt can represent your face, then I do not object to that. But could you please not bring the entire Chinese population into this! When I read you words, I did not feel screwed by the Japanese people; instead I thought that you were screwing me when you decided to use Zhang Ziyi’s butt to represent my face as well as the face of all the Chinese people. Why do you want to screw the Chinese people? What kind of patriotism is that? Do you deserve to be a Chinese person? Do not use patriotism to elevate yourself, do not think that you win just by invoking the word ‘patriotism’ and do not think that you are elevated, haloed and flawless. It is not so. When you used Ms. Zhang’s butt to represent the face of the Chinese people, I consider you to be unpatriotic; instead, you have insulted the 1.3 billion Chinese people.
Even though AsiaPundit has spent a decade in the Orient, there are things that he will never understand about Asia: the dominance of Miracle Whip clones and 1,000 island dressing as the only form of salad toppings available, the adding of sugar to tomato juice and, now, to find Zhang Ziyi’s naked butt as a source of nationalist outrage.
AsiaPundit has always noted with pride that Christy Chung is Canadian even though she was topless in Jan Dara (reportedly, at least, I’ve not yet investigated):
AsiaPundit is even happy to claim that Pam Anderson is Canadian.:
More from the evil mouthless one from Sanrio. AsiaPundit is glad that this wasn’t reported before his summer wedding (Mrs AsiaPundit may have gotten some bad ideas).:
In a move that caused mass fainting fits across Japan (and audible gasps in neighbouring countries) the Hankyu-Daiichi hotel chain launched its Princess Kitty wedding package. For a pretty penny you can spend your wedding day immersed in Hello Kitty tweeness, from the ring pillow to the seating cards to the flowers. What better way to be the envy of your single friends by snaring a man and out Sanrio-ing them at the same time!
Worse follows, a line of Hello Kitty wedding gowns.:
AsiaPundit again notes that Kitty has been a cause of violence, riots and mayhem. I expect a higher-than-average percentage of Kitty-related weddings will result in divorce. And remember, cats are not monogamous. (h/t Simon)
Most of Asia still retains poor rankings in the Transparency International (TI) annual corruption index.
Singapore, Hong Kong retain solid low-corruption rankings and of the 159 states surveyed they are the only Asian states among the top-20 least corrupt nations. Japan almost makes the top-20, but shares 21st place due to a tie with Chile. Taiwan and Malaysia are the only remaining nations to score above the mid-way point for corruption while South Korea hits the median five points.
The results largely correspond with wealth of each country, with the developed states performing better than the developing states - and with high-growth China being seen as less corrupt than India, despite the latter’s more-developed justice system and democratic institutions.
Still, TI notes that wealth is not a prerequisite for control of corruption, singling out my native Canada for some targeted criticism.:
Wealth is not a prerequisite for successful control of corruption. New long-term analysis of the CPI carried out by Prof. Dr. Johann Graf Lambsdorff shows that the perception of corruption has decreased significantly in lower-income countries such as Estonia, Colombia and Bulgaria over the past decade.
In the case of higher-income countries such as Canada and Ireland, however, there has been a marked increase in the perception of corruption over the past ten years, showing that even wealthy, high-scoring countries must work to maintain a climate of integrity.
The Standard reports on the long arm of Sanrio and its damn cat:
The stage enthusiasts, a group of secondary students and drama lovers, said they received a letter Wednesday last week from local solicitor Victor Chu and Co representing Sanrio of Japan accusing them of stepping on Hello Kitty’s copyright tail.
Sanrio requested that the drama group disclose all the details of activities connected with the production, promotion and staging of the play Kitty Hunter, including advertising materials, ticketing information, audience counts, revenue and profit…Banky Yeung, artistic director of the group and writer of Kitty Hunter, said the drama was simply a love story about a girl named Kitty, even though plush Hello Kitty toys are used as props and images similar to the cartoon character serve as promotion materials…
The good news for the theatre troup is this kind of publicity will do far more for ticket sales than any flyer.
If you can stomach it, you can eat Hello Kitty.:
ESWN makes a good argument in defense of Yahoo!’s co-operation with Chinese state security, and says he expects stone silence to his post. Because of that, it gets top of the page in today’s roundup.:
The police came quickly, assessed the situation
and decided that there was a chance of a bomb. Hong Kong is one place that
takes possible explosives very seriously on account of the 1967
disturbances. All pedestrian and vehicular traffic along Nathan Road was
stopped, and all shoppers and workers were evacuated. This led to massive
traffic backups in one of the busiest part of the city. At around 930pm, the
explosive disposal squad was in place to defuse the bomb. A robot was sent
up and used a water gun to break open the box. Fortunately, there was no
bomb inside, just two bricks.
The investigators then looked at the piece of
cardboard. It read like a note from a disgruntled ex-employee of
PCCW. There was an email address: .
Based on this and other information (note: there was a web page URL that is
blurred out in the magazine photo), the man was arrested. He has been
tried and found guilty of threatening behavior. The judge said: "In
the 21st century of our times, there are numerious incidents of violence,
attacks and bombing in the world. To make the people of Hong Kong live in
a state of constant fear is a serious crime." The man has not yet
been sentenced. . .
If several hundred requests come into Yahoo!
every day, how would they know which is which? As Jerry Yang said,
"We do not know why they want that information. We’re not told what
they look for." So in order to tell which is which, Yahoo! will have
an in-house Chief Privacy Officer, who will demand the law enforcement agency to
produce the full evidence, explain the purpose of the inquiry and then he/she
will play God/Supreme Court Justice and render a decision in his/her infinite
wisdom. Routinely, this CPO will have to make several hundred potentially
life-and-death decisions every day. Now who wants that Chief Privacy
Officer job, with all the pressures and the legal and moral liabilities?. . .
In the case of Shi Tao, the law enforcement
will simply say the subject is suspected of having sent a state secret document
overseas via the Yahoo! email account on a specific date. There is no
personal identification because the purpose of the request for the IP
information was precisely to detect the unknown subject. Would you think
that the CPO will then demand to read the state secret document before deciding?
Is the CPO a good judge? And does the CPO know how to deal with a genuine
national secret (such as the date and detailed plans of the invasion of Taiwan)?
I submit to you that Option 3 is not a good idea and corporate employees should
not be making these types of decisions.
As I said before, I expect stone silence to
this post, because the world is enjoying Yahoo!-bashing too much.
We now return to our regularly scheduled Yahoo! bashing.
Essential reading for cyber-dissidents, Reporters Without Borders has issued its guide for bloggers (pdf). Rebecca reviews it here.:
The Handbook for Bloggers is useful for beginners and veteran
bloggers alike. It starts out with several introductory chapters,
explaining how blogs differ from other kinds of websites, blogging
terminology, how to select a blogging tool and web-host, and how to get
started. The middle chapters focus on tips that even veteran bloggers
will find useful. Journalist, blogger and We the Media author Dan GillmorMark Glaser
offers tips on how to "make your blog shine." I learned a lot from the
chapter on how to get your blog picked up by search engines, written by
internet consultant Olivier Andrieu.
A while back, I posted an Atanu Dey item praising Singapore over India. Today, via Amit Varma, an item that argues Singapore’s northern neighbor also has some lessons for India.:
My wife and I are in Malaysia now on a short term assignment for our
company, and every time we step out of our house in Penang, we feel the
amazing effects of a liberal economic policy. This small, densely
populated island off the coast of Malaysia (Penang) is a big
electronics manufacturing base (thanks to a Free Trade Zone, and a port
that was formerly duty free) and it is easy to see what this has done
to the local economy.
There is a booming free-spending middle
class, and almost no poverty. Everyone who wants to work seems to be
able to find a job, and they are doing well enough to import labor from
Indonesia for low-paying jobs. There are signs of development
everywhere - new roads, new bridges, new high-rises. And from what I’ve
heard, Penang reflects what is going on around the rest of the country.
to say Malaysia doesn’t have its problems, but economically, they seem
to have found the secret to growth. We see all this, and naturally, the
next thing we think is, "When will this happen to India?"
doing it backwards, it seems - Malaysia had manufacturing move over
here first, and that brought in a support engineering force which
slowly grew into a full fledged "high-tech economy." We got some
"low-tech" engineering activities first, and are hoping for the trickle
down from this to help our economy in other areas.
Far Outliers links to a study on the divergence of opinions in China and Canada on separatism.:
Whereas Canada has acclimatised to living next to its superpower
neighbour, absorbed the values of a virtual state and discarded the
traditional expectations of the importance of territory, China is a
rising power with an acute sense of grievance from the way it has been
treated historically, or at least the way it perceives it has been
treated. This strong inferiority complex has stimulated an intense
desire to do something about what many Chinese believe is their
misfortune, to occupy an international position that conforms to
traditional power politics and emphasises the value of territory.
Canada’s attitude is reinforced by its commitment to democracy and
interdependence, and to the granting of the wishes of the people of
Quebec, whatever they may be. The Chinese, on the contrary, lacking
both a commitment to democracy and self-determination or the status of
a developed state, view Taiwan not as an area containing a population
that should have some say in how they are governed, but as a
geopolitical object to be manipulated to maximise the glories of a
Richard brings a troubling tale from the NY Times on police brutality and injustice in China.:
For three days and three nights, the police wrenched Qin Yanhong’s arms
high above his back, jammed his knees into a sharp metal frame, and
kicked his gut whenever he fell asleep. The pain was so intense that he
watched sweat pour off his face and form puddles on the floor.
On the fourth day, he broke down. "What color were her pants?" they
demanded. "Black," he gasped, and felt a whack on the back of his head.
"Red," he cried, and got another punch. "Blue," he ventured. The
This is how Mr. Qin, a 35-year-old steel mill worker in Henan
Province in central China, recalled groping in the darkness of a
interrogation room to deduce the "correct" details of a rape and
murder, end his torture and give the police the confession they
required to close a nettlesome case.
On the strength of his coerced confession alone, prosecutors
indicted Mr. Qin. A panel of judges then convicted him and sentenced
him to death. He is alive today only because of a rare twist
of fate that proved his innocence and forced the authorities to let him
go, though not before a final push to have him executed anyway.
In light of the bird flu scare in neighboring Indonesia (which authorities there are calling an epidemic) Malaysia is cracking down on chicken smugglers (surely there are more lucrative illegal trades).:
I mean real chickens, the ones we have on our table for dinner. Yes,
it seems Malaysia actually has a shortage of chickens, hence a window
of opportunity opens itself for more dubious characters to actually
make a living smuggling them from neighbouring countries.
Now I know why a friend of mine who was an accountant quit his job
to open a chicken farm. The ‘rumour’ that McDonalds Malaysia created
quite a few ‘chicken’ millionaires might be true then.
From a Reuters report,
Malaysia said on Wednesday it was boosting precautions
against bird flu, and considering fines or jail terms for smugglers of
poultry from neighbours such as Indonesia, now battling the disease.
Seven-years to the day following his jailing, as Lone notes, former Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim announced he plans to sue former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for defamation.:
Former Malaysian deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim said Tuesday he will
launch a lawsuit against one-time prime minister Mahathir Mohamad for
accusing him of being a homosexual.
Mahathir said earlier this
month that he was forced to sack Anwar in 1998 to prevent mainly-Muslim
Malaysia from having a homosexual leader. Anwar was jailed for sodomy
after his sacking but the conviction was overturned last year.
cannot have a person who is like that in my cabinet who may succeed and
become the prime minister. Imagine having a gay prime minister. Nobody
would be safe," Mahathir told reporters.
Anwar said he was
"shocked" to hear of Mahathir’s "defamatory" remarks, particularly
after a court last month awarded him 1.2 million dollars in damages
over a book that aired the sodomy allegations.
"I will not
allow this lie and slander to continue. Thus I have instructed my
counsel to initiative legal action against Tun (honorific) Mahathir,"
he said in a statement.
Lucia Lai notes that some concerns are being voiced over Dr M being allowed to participate in a human rights conference.:
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) marked its 6th
anniversary and Human Rights Day in Malaysia recently by holding a
hypocrisy party in the capital city, with former premier Dr Mahathir
Mohamad giving the opening address.
A group of 30
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had initially written an open
letter to Suhakam urging it to "close the door" on Dr M for a simple
reason that he had committed a host of "human wrongs" with regard to
human rights at home.
They had provided Suhakam a list of human
rights abuses in Bolehland by Dr M and pointed out that it would be
wrong to invite "a leader who perpetrated extensive human rights
violations" during his 22-year political reign."
AsiaPundit has earlier noted South Korean concerns about how Google Earth allows users to view the South Korean presidential compound and military bases, Pyong’yang, and the secretive Communist Party of China compound of Zhongnanhai. Politics 101 Malaysia is now noting that the spy satellite for the masses is .:
After recent my recent comments on Google Earth and , the fear continues.
A United Press International report on
Tuesday says terrorists and “rogue state” intelligence agencies could
be making use of free internet satellite images that leave sensitive
British military facilities exposed.
Yet again I ask, will our parliament address this issue during this session?
As far as video games go, the 2005 Tokyo Game Show
was something of a let down. Microsoft to its credit had the Xbox 360
up and running, yet the playable games on offer hardly sent the pulse
racing. Sony on the other hand managed to do nothing but frustrate,
showing only videos of future PlayStation 3 software, the majority of
which contained very little (if any) in-game footage.Thankfully
the ubiquitous booth babes saved the day, the scantily clad young
ladies more than making up for the lack of quality games on offer….
Yet amazingly, this bevy of beauties was upstaged by the event’s
massive cosplay contingent. ..
However despite the coy smiles and tasteful wigs, I think it was the
shapely legs and green leotard of the group’s feminine leader that
grabbed most people’s attention.
A Taiwanese in China creates a blog dedicated almost entirely to toilets (seriously).:
This one is the same as last one. Toilet in tibet temple. These walls
are higher than those in 1st picture. So, you can not play cards with
your friends who go to toilet next to you. …
This toilet is more "modern". This one was taken in
a famous tibet temple in yovnan. The small metal spot on the wall is
the button for you to clean your "waste".
you know how to go? Yes, face out. No door, of course. But, in this
toilet, there is water. You can push the button on the wall. Yes, that
very small metal spot in the picture. So, in this kind of toilet, no
shit smell. It’s clearier. There is also another kind of toilet in the
very courtryside place. I did not take pictures. CAUSE, I CAN NOT GO
INTO THAT KIND OF TOILET. Shit everwhere near the door of that kind
toilet. How can I go? It’s really very strange. How do local people go?…
this kind of very local & old toilet are in very small viliages.
"public toilet", mm, maybe. So, next time when you have a chance to
drive along a road in small countries in mainland China, remember to
find "public toilet". Then you can see this very localized toilet in
Monty Python needs to reform and do a skit on Taiwan politics, like the WUFI, the People’s Front of Judea are also Splitters/Splittists.:
In case you were wondering the ‘World United Formosans for Independence’ and the ‘Taiwan Defence Alliance’ should not be confused with pro-formal independence political parties like the Taiwan Solidarity Union (which regularly polls between 5-10% in national elections), the ‘Taiwan Independence Party’ (which gained 0.3% of the vote in the last election), the ‘Peasant Party’ (0.4%) or the ‘Taiwan Number One Party’ (didn’t bother standing).
Someone will not be getting another invite to speak at Beijing University.:
Prominent Taiwanese commentator/legislator/raconteur Li Ao delivered one mother of a speech
at Beijing University yesterday. In front of a stunned audience, with
several high-ranking mainland government officials openly squirming on
stage, Li .
He openly criticized China’s censorship, saying that went against
what even Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai would have wanted. Quoting the
Collected Writings of Mao Zedong, he said,
"凡是歷史上發生的東西，都要在歷史上消滅。因此，共產黨總有一天要消滅…，S’s" i.e. "Every
historical figure that has risen has also been destroyed. One day the
Chinese Communist Party will also be destroyed by history…our mission
is to bring about its destruction a little more quickly." He made
not-so-subtle references to the Tiananmen massacre, saying that all
governments are bastards who are willing to open fire on their own
people. He even got in plenty of digs against the
charismatically-challenged former KMT chairman Lian Zhan and the
charismatically-gifted but politcally-challenged current KMT chairman
Mr Wang notes Jacob’s run in with the authorities because his number was saved on Singapore Rebel director Martyn See’s cellphone. Mr Wang says the Singapore police really should exercise some restraint, at least for PR reasons.
…please bear in mind that Martyn See is blogging about every stage of
your investigations. This is a highly sensitive case. All kinds of
media organisations, international and local, are closely following
Martyn See’s blog for updates. So Mr Wang advises you to take extra
care in how you conduct your investigations. If you do any silly things
like Haul Anyone and Everyone Who Is Found in Martyn See’s Handphone
Down to the Police Station For Interviews, Martyn will blog about it
and the whole world will read his blog and think the Singapore police
is really acting silly.
Japundit reminds us why Engrish.com should be a regular surf stop.:
American Expat in Southeast Asia ponders America’s moral compass.:
One of the most powerful images from the aftermath of the Southeast
Asian earthquake and tsunamis, was this one from Banda Aceh just days
after the terrible tragedy. The photo above is that of a young man, a
looter, who was beaten into submission and then paraded through the
village square with a placard around his neck that says in Indonesian
"Saya Maling" (I’m a thief).
Without the aid of the police or
militia the photo shows the determination and the will of a altruistic,
righteous and self-disciplined group of people desirous for the return
of law and order to their society. A people who did not require the "whip of tyranny" a people who knew right from wrong.
seems to be a troubling confusion here among many of the people here in
Southeast Asia at how many people in the United States could have
exchanged moral clarity for nothing more than feel-good relativism with
regards to the looting that took place in New Orleans.
SINGAPORE : A third person has been charged under the
Sedition Act with promoting feelings of ill-will and hostility between
different races of Singapore.
Gan Huai Shi, 17, faces seven charges of posting racist remarks on his blog site.
Mr Wang offers more, reproducing an item from the unlinkable Straits Times.:
Gan faces seven charges under the Sedition Act for offences he was said to have committed between April 4 and July 16.
He allegedly made four inflammatory comments about Malays and Muslims on the Internet within days of starting his blog.
In one entry on April 4, he allegedly made it clear that he was ‘extremely racist’.
The next day, in two entries within four hours, he was said to have
posted anti-Malay remarks. On April 6, he was allegedly at it again.
From May to July 16, he is accused of making racist comments once a
month on his blog, spouting his hatred for the Malay community.
In one posting, he also allegedly wrote of his violent tendencies
in an entry he described as having ‘explicit and candid content’. He
allegedly wrote how much he wanted to ‘assassinate some important
person with a sniper rifle’.
While the sniper comment would likely fall under some of the zero-tolerance regulations of the post-Columbine US, earning the blogger a possible school expulsion, criminal charges would be unlikely. It seems that expressing racist views in Singapore is almost as dangerous as talking about nepotism.:
FinanceAsia.com, a regional financial magazine based in Hong Kong, recently apologised unreservedly to PM Lee Hsien Loong, SM Goh Chok Tong, MM Lee Kuan Yew, Temasek Holdings and it’s board members.
re-produced the two apologies after my post. Furthermore, I’ve
re-produced a 2003 report from the Sydney Morning Herald as well.
this came about ‘cos the magazine, in it’s 19 Aug edition on it’s
website, published a report which described Temasek Holdings as "the Lee family trust
This is not the first time such things have happened. Singapore’s leaders have done this to other publications as well.
be honest here. People talk about it in their homes, coffeeshops and
stuff. But they don’t say it out in public. It just keeps rolling in
their minds or hearts: The PM is also the Finance Minister. His dad is
MM Lee. The PM’s wife & MM’s daughter-in-law, Ho Ching, is the
executive director and CEO of Temasek Holdings….
know, you can sue all you want, get paid for damages and stuff but
people’s perceptions, unspoken aloud as they are, were there even
before any of these publications put it in words. Try to get rid of
Frank Dai looks at China Telecom’s blocking of Skype, PC-to-PC calls are still working fine in Shanghai.
The Hoover Institute’s newest China Leadership review is online.
I don’t believe Michael Moore would even consider using .:
You’ll remember “Fucking USA” singer Park Seong-hwan recently did a song calling Gen. Douglas MacArthur a murderer and accusing him of ordering atrocities during the Korean War. In the song, he does a bit of narration:
verses two and three, Park adds his own narration. “Seize Seoul. There
are girls and ladies there. For three days, Seoul will be yours — UN
Commander Douglas MacArthur, September 1950.” Park says historical
records confirm that this is an authentic quote by the maverick
Well, this sparked OhMyNews’ Son Byeong-gwan’s curiousity,
namely as to where the quote came from. So he called up the singer, who
told him he got the quote from a June 25 op-ed by Jang Chang-hun, a
researcher with a center attached to a particular left-wing civic
group. Son then calls up Jang, who says he found the quote via an
Internet search when he was writing a 2002 report, and while he
couldn’t remember the source exactly, he believed it to be Sungkonghoe
University professor Han Hong-gu. Hong, however, denies ever saying
such a thing…
Later on Friday afternoon, however, Son got his answer.
Jang Chang-hun wrote OhMyNews to tell them that he had found the source
of the quote — a North Korean history book that had been translated by
pro-North Korean scholars in Japan in 1972 and retranslated into Korean
in South Korea in 1991. Jang noted, however, that the book did not
attibute sources, either…
North Korea is discovering
credit debit culture.:
The . Although deciphering the description of the card on the official North Korean news site. it sounds more like a debit card:
kinds of currencies can be deposited in a card at a time. With this
card, one can exchange money instantly without going to a money
exchange booth. A card can be shared by several persons… The bank
enjoys popularity among depositors."
"The North Korean Credit Card: Don’t Leave the Country Without It. Actually, Don’t Leave the Country, Full Stop."
ACB has a post on the protests that greeted Hu Jintao on his visit to Canada, noting that Hu was forced to make a face-losing entrance.:
Although protester groups were prevented from
confronting President Hu directly, their high visibility meant that
they were able to attract considerable attention from the world’s press
whic allowed them to serve as an embarrassing reminder to Beijing that
the outside world is aware of China’s many ‘issues’, even if many
mainland Chinese are not.
As an added bonus to protestors, the
presence of a large group of demonstrators outside the Toronto venue of
one of Hu’s scheduled diner engagements, forced the Chinese president
to humble himself by entering through a back door.
Chinese dignitary, being forced to use a back door or service entrance,
in a manner similar to a cleaner or trade person, is considered to be a
highly degrading act and an extreme loss of face.
Oh when will the West get tired of Musharraf? In the latest outrage, the general provides tips on how to be a millionaire through rape.:
must understand the environment in Pakistan. This has become a
moneymaking concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and
get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself
Amit Varma has .
Indaus is pleased that India is planning the world’s largest building. AsiaPundit agrees that the design is nice enough, but cautions that large erections typically mark the end of a boom rather than an arrival. (on which, the Shanghai Financial Centre is now under construction):
South Korea has been quietly leaving its footprint around Asia and Central Europe for some time. It has been the second-largest investor in Vietnam for a while now, and it doesn’t surprise me to hear that it’s now the biggest foreign investor in India.:
In one whopping megadeal, South Korea has become the
largest foreign investor in Asia’s second emerging giant, India. On
Aug. 31, Korean steelmaker Posco established a local subsidiary in the
eastern Indian state of Orissa, paving the way for a controversial mill
and mining complex that will cost the world’s fifth largest steelmaker
$12 billion and employ some 40,000 workers once it’s fully operational
in 2010.By the numbers, Korea now tops the list of
countries investing in India since New Delhi launched economic reforms
back in 1991—at more than $14 billion. South Korean firms like Hyundai,
LG and SK Group have carved out a notable presence in the country—the
world’s second largest and a potentially huge market for products like
refrigerators, washing machines and television sets….
Importantly, Korean companies have helped India gain
self-confidence as a manufacturing nation and an exporter with the
potential to rival China in certain industrial sectors.
For those interested in Chinese blog development, check out this research blog and ESNW’s excellent contrast on on-line citizen journalism (or lack thereof) in the US, Hong Kong and China.:
the Chinese mainstream media, there are quality workers with good ideas and
opinions. However, they are often not permitted to articulate those ideas within
the mainstream media. They can write something up, but it may be killed
for reasons that are either opaque or seemingly wrong. They do not
necessarily want to yell "Down with XXX" or "Vindicate YYY"
because XXX will not fall down and YYY will not be vindicated on account of some
more sloganeering. They only want to ask simple questions such as,
"Why are mining disaster victims and their families being kept away from
the press?" or some such.
With the arrival of the Internet, bulletin board
systems proliferated and these mainstream media workers
gravitated to those forums (such as Yannan, Xici Hutong, Tianya Club, etc) in
which they can express their ideas and opinions with like-minded people.
All the while, they continue to work at mainstream media organizations, but
their spare time is for them to use.
This created a unique situation. In the
United States or Hong Kong, mainstream media workers mostly treat the
non-mainstream media with mistrust, contempt and jealousy. In China, the
non-mainstream media sector (related to current news and commentary) is in fact
dominated by the mainstream media workers in exile on their spare time.
Japundit has a post on driver safety, AsiaPundit notes that the Japanese ‘driver-at-fault’ rule holds for most of East Asia (though compensation for pedistarians can vary wildly).:
…in Japan, if a driver is involved in an accident with a pedestrian,
a bicyclist or motorcyclist, the driver is 100% at fault, no matter
This may seem outrageous, especially if you’ve ever
watched school children returning home from school; there’s all sorts
of horseplay involved - little children in yellow hats and clunky red
backpacks chasing each other and darting onto the road. It’s not
unlikely that the hapless Chiba driver was in the wrong place at the
wrong time - that’s why it’s called an “accident.” But let’s face it:
in the eyes of a foreign driver, pedestrians and bicyclists do all
sorts of stupid things in Japan.
run out into traffic and wear dark clothing at night, and bicyclists in
particular have the annoying habit of reading manga, smoking cigarettes
and drinking canned coffee, all while holding an umbrella and punching
in email on a cellphone as they navigate a snow-bound Japanese road
constricted down to a single lane because of snow banks and illegally
The Fight Club (aka Parliament) has started again in Taiwan. Jujuflop and Taiwan’s Other Side take a look, from the former:
In England, the ‘Silly Season’ is when
Parliament is in recess, and so the newspapers need to look for silly
stories to replace the normal discussion of political issues. In Taiwan, it starts when the Legislative session starts - because the legislators specialise in silly behaviour.
Thus, it was no real surprise that the first day of the latest session was punctuated by scuffles and water fights.
The main item on the agenda, a policy report by Premier Frank Hsieh,
didn’t happen because opposition legislators blocked the podium, and
one enterprising individual even managed to rip up his speech.
female KMT lawmaker splashed tea on the sleeves of Foreign Minister
Mark Chen’s (陳唐山) suit, as scuffles broke out through the morning.
that KMT lawmakers blocked the podium where the premier was scheduled
to speak, DPP lawmakers decided to occupy the seat of the legislative
speaker and rip up the KMT’s placards in one of the day’s more chaotic
The KMT lawmakers said they prevented the premier
from speaking to draw attention to questionable measures and suspicions
of impropriety emerging from recent controversies.
found out Indonesian law makes no difference between soft ( marijuana)
and hard drugs ( heroine or cocaine ) and don’t separate user from
dealer , because the amount doesn’t matter.
as usual, Mr W.Y said :” don’t worry I can get you out, but due to the
circumstances, you will have to pay such amount of money”.
was in shock ; All the money I had was about a quarter of what he
wanted , which meant the worst for me : I had to call my mother.
From the very first moment of my arresting , it was my main concern.
I had no choice and I did it: She gave me everything she had so did my
We got the money asked which was promptly given to the
I was sent to jail where things got much better: I finally had a mattress , a space to run and met all the foreigners.
But then I started to hear their stories. There were two well defined groups: those who had
given the lawyers what they asked and got a minimum sentence and those
, who despite giving the money asked , got an absurd sentence because
their lawyers put the cash in their pockets and did nothing.
In Singapore, it’s illegal to take durians on the MRT or busses. I thought it was just because of the smell. But if this report is to believed, there may be other safety considerations.:
Via Global Voices Online, I found this post from Indonesian blog Jalan Sutera noting a press report that current speculation has it the cause of the recent Mandala airlines crash in Medan was an overload of……durians. Three tonnes of them, to be exact.
For the record, I hate durians. Can’t stand the smell. And these big, prickly fruits are just plain dangerous.
They grow on huge, very tall trees. I remember being nearly killed
by a ripe, falling durian as a kid when on a visit to a family friend’s
plantation. The bloody thing landed just a metre or so behind me. To
think - death by falling durian. What an ungracious way to go.
AsiaPundit has had a long week, actually AsiaPundit hasn’t had a day off since the fourth and won’t until the 24th (when he will have to spend a whole weekend moving the apartment and AsiaPundit Global Headquarters). So tonight, very, very, short links. I’m getting a nice tasty beer. See you at the Shanghaiist party.:
What: Help celebrate Shanghaiist’s first 67 days of existence!
Where: British Bulldog Pub, 1 Wulumuqi Nan Lu, near Dong Ping Lu (乌鲁木齐路1号,近东平路)
When: Friday, Sept. 16, 7 pm-ish to late
Live music: Xingfu 13 (Tang Hui Pub’s house band) at 9 pm, Shanghai Cowboys (old school country and western) at 10 pm
Drink specials: Those who bring a printout of the party flyer
get two extra hours of happy hour (2-for-1 on selected drinks). Normal
happy hour runs from 6-8 pm. Extended happy hour will go from 8-10 pm.
Dress code: We don’t care what you wear
Entrance fee: None!
Prizes: Guests will have the chance to win some great prizes kindly donated by local businesses:
While China shuts down blogs for comments that offend the state, in Malaysia a blogger temporarily shut his site for comments that he found offensive. (via Caleb):
Blogger to pull plug on culprit
Kuala Lumpur, Sept 16:
A blogger, angered by a seditious message on his weblog, intends to lodge a police report today against the sender.
Peter Tan, who owns petertan.com/blog, said he will provide the
Internet protocol (IP) address of the sender, nicknamed ‘good man’ to
Tan, who started his blog two years ago, said the abusive message containing racial slurs was posted at 7.16pm last Sunday.
Tan, 39, from Penang, said he was puzzled when he saw the message,
days after it was posted, as he was away attending a seminar for the
disabled between Sept 10 and 14.
“As I had no access to the Net during the seminar, I could not
screen the messages coming into the blog,” said Tan, a paraplegic.
Tan admitted that he had received several malicious messages on the blog last month but had deleted them.
“I’m keeping this one (message) for the authorities. This has gone
too far and I want the person who did it to be held accountable.”
It’s well known that China wants to continue putting men in space, we’re not yet clear on whether China wants to knock satellites out of the sky.:
Challenges to Space Superiority,
published by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, highlights two quotations by “Liying
Zhan” of the “Langfang Army Missile Academy” to suggest that China will
“threaten on-orbit assets.”
Gregory [Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists] tracked down the original article (here is the article in Chinese) after I noticed the quotes seemed, well, too good to be true.
Turns out, I was right. The term “translation” is less appropriate than, say, “distorted hack job.”
Now, Gregory Kulacki and David Wright have written An Analysis of a March 2005 Report by the U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center (15 September 2005).
Endemic cheating in school won’t help China produce all of those rocket scientists it will need, something should be done.:
Those who have spent any length of time
at all in a Chinese classroom know just how rampant the cheating and
plagiarizing runs in this country. There is absolutely no sense of
academic honesty in China, which somewhat helps to explains why they
don’t have any respect for intellectual property either. However, the
Central Government is now considering measures that would send cheaters to prison for exam fraud.
SHANGHAI, China — Exam cheats, think again — instead of four years of college, you might get seven years in prison.
government is considering a law calling for sentences of three to seven
years for particularly egregious cases of exam fraud, the official
Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.
the past, cheats were merely banned from future tests. A pair of widely
reported cheating scandals last year in the central province of Henan
involving crooked teachers and scores of students prompted calls for
A short reminder to US readers, not everyone in South Korea hates you.:
The always-excellent Jamestown Foundation has posted its latest China Brief.
Do you Yahoo!? Simon Patkin doesn’t!;
Following the revelation of Yahoo’s disgraceful leaking of email
details with regards to journalist Shi Tao, I have decided to switch my
home page from Yahoo to www.myway.com
I will still use Yahoo when I need to or it would be inconvenient to do
otherwise. But, at the same time if things can be done in another
company’s website, I will use that website in preference to Yahoo. If
you feel the same way and it does not inconvenience you too much, maybe
you can move from Yahoo too.
Disney is promising us a second theme
park, even as the Mainland pee-pee situation at the first one gets
worse. According to wild American friend Odell, the Chief Guest
Behaviour Management Artist’s lot is not a happy one. “All the
squatting, smoking and spitting – we can handle that,” he assures me
over a lingzhi and jojoba latte at the IFC Mall branch of Pacific
Coffee. “It’s the other stuff. We’ve had several babies die because
of milk formula made of talcum powder and chalk dust. There’s a gang
trafficking women. And yesterday a hundred people were killed in a
coal mine explosion in the bowels of the Snow White Grotto.” But is
the thing making money? He nods and mumbles something about harvesting
organs for transplant.
(nb. this post was accidently held in ‘draft’ status until Saturday morning.)
Gerald of the now defunct Chinese Adventure Blog has passed the torch; welcome to AsiaPundit’s first Carnival of Chinese Blogs.
For starters, ESWN brings us a partial translation on the most commented on post on Chinese BBS ever.:
The following story appeared in Nanfang
Weekend; It follows the story of one particular forum post at the Tianya
Club. The post first appeared in February 22, 2005. Since
then, it was been viewed more than 223,000 times, and almost 4,000 people have
commented on it. It is estimated that it will take a person 7 hours to
read the whole thread. With the national exposure from Nanfang Weekend,
there will probably be another huge traffic surge.
It is about rich
versus poor in China. The extraordinary thing is that the crucial discourse
contained little or no political, economic or sociological jargon. There
was no invocation of Marx-Engels-Stalin-Mao and no Chinese census data. It was
just two principal characters describing their daily lives and commenting on each other.
The precipitating cause for the forum post was a
frequent forum participant named Yi Yeqing. She described herself as
a Shanghai elitist and repeatedly asserted that society is divided into classes
of noble people versus the riffraff. From 2004, she wrote several essays
to express her contempt of peasants, migrant laborers, outsiders, beggars and
others. For example, in the essay "Today, I saw a migrant laborer
Fons looks at Yahoo!’s acquiescence to Chinese authorities request for information that helped secure a 10-year jail sentence for journalist Shi Tao, and notes that it’s a good idea to host websites outside of China.:
Why do I think Yahoo did more than it had to do under Chinese law. Let
go back a few year, when I attended a social event where I bumped into
one of the senior officials of the legal departments Ministry of the
Information Industry, who had just written the murky internet laws that
got introduced just months before our meeting. Since it was a social
meeting, I could not ask the 200 questions I should have asked, but the
few answers I got were interesting enough.
Since the Chinese law
writes about "Chinese" websites, companies, internet I wondered how the
nationality of a website could be established. He looked at me and it
was silent for a long time. "That is a good question," he said after a
very long time. I know that nowadays that is a standard answer on US
media you get after any question, but this developed really into a bit
of an painful silence. "We will look where a website is hosted," he
said after some time. "That would establish de nationality of a
One of the commentors at this legal website says that the servers of
Yahoo’s email service are actually hosted in Beijing. That would indeed
offer Chinese judicial authorities a handle to demand cooperation. And
it would indicate that hosting your servers in China might in this case
be a less-than-smart idea.
At the China Law Prof blog, it’s noted that Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd may have gone beyond the call of duty.:
Assuming that Yahoo HK is, as
it appears to be, a Hong Kong entity, then it is not generally subject
to PRC law. It is, of course, subject to Hong Kong law. But Article
18(1) of the Basic Law,
the PRC statute that serves as Hong Kong’s constitution, states:
"National laws shall not be applied in the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region except for those listed in Annex III to this
Law." Annex III to the Basic Law lists the following laws:
1. Resolution on the Capital, Calendar, National Anthem and National Flag of the People’s Republic of China
2. Resolution on the National Day of the People’s Republic of China
3. Order on the National Emblem of the People’s Republic of China Proclaimed by the Central People’s Government
4. Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea
5. Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China
6. Regulations of the People’s Republic of China Concerning Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities
of these would seem to provide any basis for requiring a Hong Kong
company such as Yahoo HK to hand over information to the PRC
Andrea at T-salon has more.
Chinese authorities may soon ban Skype and other Voice-over-Internet-Protocol services, a move that could cost AsiaPundit hundreds of dollars a year (provided he can’t figure out a way to run Skype through proxies), Imagethief looks at the problem from a broader perspective.:
It’s always awe-inspiring to watch a colossal dinosaur
struggling against the inevitable consequences of
intelligent design. That’s why I was interested to read reports from both Reuters and AFX (More from China Herald.)
Let me put this in context for you. It costs about a buck a minute to
call the US by POTS from China. I’ve had phone bills up to about 450
yuan, or about $60, in months where I’ve made just one or two
calls to the US. Now remember, I live in a country with a median urban income of just over $1000 per year,
or about $90 per month. Other than rent for expensive, international
apartments, boutiques and fashionable restaurants and bars aimed at
foreigners, the cost of living here is pretty low (which is why
underpaid Imagethief can save any dough). International phone calls,
however, remain ludicrously expensive by local standards.
ACB notes that the government may have other reasons for the possible attack on VoIP.:
its ability to compete with state owned firms is likely to make Skype
and other VoIP technologies a concern for Beijing, another of their
concern is likely to be that data based voice services are harder to
track and tap than traditional telephone systems.
Where as a
conventional telephone signal uses a standard form of encoding that is
publicly known, uses a single circuit between two fixed points, and can
be tapped directly through the use of a wire tap or indirectly through
monitoring equipment built into telephone exchanges, Skype uses AES -
Advanced Encryption Standard - block cipher encryption, and its
messages are split up and routed over multiple paths and through
multiple servers, making Skype calls more difficult to track calls back
to those making them and exponentially more difficult to eavesdrop on.
China is assemblying its Olympic sharp-shooting team.:
China has assembled a team of 30 sharpshooters - synonym for snipers - to guard the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The official China Daily newspaper reported Friday, that the
marksmen were picked from a group of more than 200 police officers.
They competed for places on the sniper team during a month of trials.
The paper says the sharpshooters could be dispatched to handle
kidnappings, riots or any incidents involving firearms that might
develop at the Beijing games.
Ma Qiang, a senior Beijing police official, says China’s Olympic
security team includes officers with outstanding skills in fields such
as forensics, bomb disposal and negotiations.
It’s amazing what gets counterfeit in China.:
Austin pays a visit to the National Museum in Beijing, where he was moved by the exhibit on the 60th anniversary of the defeat of the Japanese:
It was hard not to be moved by the images I saw today as I cruised
through the National Museum in Beijing. Not having any idea what was
there, I entered and realized that they were having a special exhibit
on contemporary interpretations of the War against “Fascism” or the
Shanghai Chinese blogger Bingfeng notes Premier Wen’s endorsement of democracy and ponders if political development should mimic economic development, with Special
Economic Democratic Zones:
…but the underlying presumption of the idea of SDZ is that democracy
enhances the social and economic development, this is exactly what
practical, result-oriented Chinese people expect from democracy. but
what if it doesn’t come out that way? the true value of democracy is
not to help the society become better but to prevent it from the worst.
will a SDZ show this to the Chinese people in the short run?
and which part of the country should become a SDZ? developed or less developed region? rural or urban? ……..
I recommend Hong Kong, they deserve it; and they’re almost there…
I was asked a really interesting question today:
So, Zhang has basically been in detainment all year? What did he do so different from you?
Because I live in Hong Kong.
Jian Shuo Wang has some concerns about the upcoming Chinese Blogger Convention.:
I don’t know why, but I just have the mixed feeling of this event. I
didn’t got any notification/invitation of this event yet. I am worrying
about this event. I met Isaac and discussed my concerns: it is more
like a conference of only some people, instead of the blogging world.
BSPs like blogbus, bokee, blogcn, anyp.cn
seem not involved yet, and many bloggers like me are not involved yet.
The speakers are great persons but seem to be only in a small circle.
Although many bloggers are encouraged to participate, but there is not
good way to organize the participation. There are many panel
discussions, but I worry how to organize it if there are so many people
- I don’t know what the panel discussion will look like if it is 100
The KungPao Chicken lists the 10 things he’ll miss about China.
Our expat China Daily editor managed to squeeze one past the censors, securing Voice of the People instead of Voice of Youth.:
Free Tibet or
Hu Jintao - How corrupt is he?
I shall return to some serious blogging tomorrow when I get my keyboard
fixed. Now I’m off out to a North Korean restaurant with the other
In the myriad of pro-democracy, anti-Communist events that I have been
fortunate enough to attend, I am usually the only one who brings up the
War on Terror (and I have nearly every time, in large part because I
have written a book
on this subject). Sadly, the consensus inside and outside the
“movement” is that Communist China and the War on Terror are separate
and distinct issues. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact,
when one examines our enemies in the War on Terror – the Taliban, al
Qaeda, the Ba’athists in Iraq, and for the more expansive among us, the
regimes of Syria, Iran, and Stalinist North Korea – one finds only two
things they all hold in common: hatred for America, and support from
the Chinese Communist Party.
Thomas Barnett posts an article with a different perspective.:
History has already proved that the United States is not China’s
permanent enemy. Nor does China want the United States to see it as a
foe. Deng Xiaoping’s prediction that "things will be all right when
Sino-U.S. relations eventually improve" was a cool judgment based on
China’s long-term interests. To be sure, aspirations cannot replace
reality. The improvement of Chinese-U.S. relations will be slow,
tortuous, limited, and conditional, and could even be reversed in the
case of certain provocations (such as a Taiwanese declaration of
independence). It is precisely for this reason that the thorny problems
in the bilateral relationship must be handled delicately, and a stable
new framework established to prevent troubles from disrupting an
international environment favorable for building prosperous societies.
China’s leadership is set on achieving such prosperity by the middle of
the twenty-first century; with Washington’s cooperation, there is
little to stand in its way.
I won’t argue whether Taiwan is a part of China, but it is a part of the carnival.
Mei Zhong Tai notes that People First Party head James Soong has received a guarantee of peace in our time.:
The heads of the two main Pan Blue parties, Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang and James Soong of the People First Party, have agreed to oppose the special arms budget requested by the Ministry of National Defense.
The ministry recently reduced the size of the arms budget by shifting
some weapons to the general military budget in hope of gaining Pan Blue
support. According to the China Post, the weapons were rejected because they are still too expensive, unnecessary and against the people’s wishes.
Most amazing about this whole ordeal is a quote from James Soong explaining the decision:
May, when I went to China, (Chinese President) Hu Jintao clearly said
if Taiwan doesn’t pursue independence, there won’t be any military
threat in the Taiwan Strait.
Mr. Soong is taking the word of
President Hu that Taiwan needn’t fear China and thus doesn’t need to
buy more sophisticated weaponry. This is baffling to say the least.
Meanwhile, reports of KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou’s death have been slightly exaggerated.:
Two months ago, Ma Ying-jeou beat Wang Jin-pyng to become the new
chairman of the KMT. This weekend there’s an interesting contrast of
news articles on the two men involved in that race. On Friday evening, Yahoo! Taiwan released a story on their website that (election winner) Ma Ying-jeou had been assassinated - which came as a bit of a surprise to the man himself:
general manager of the Internet company, who was in the U.S. when the
incident occurred, telephoned Ma to present the company’s deepest
The company promised to strengthen its internal management in order to avoid similar episode from occurring again in the future.
Who needs a pit-bull when you can have one of these loyal beasts.:
"’The Formosan has more capabilities than most breeds: It can be a
guard dog, a companion, a hunting dog and a stunt dog. It is very
intelligent and loyal," Chen said.
Traditionally kept by
Aboriginals as a hunting dog, the breed is athletic and has a jaw like
a vice grip. This tenacity, coupled with the Formosan’s famous loyalty
makes it an excellent guard dog, if a bit on the small side. Their
medium-small frame can pack tonnes of attitude."
For more on Taiwan, check out Michael’s most-recent weekly Taiwan Blog Roundup.
AsiaPundit is looking for hosts for future Carnivals, and always welcomes tips on blogs of interest.For a chance to host the next edition, or to highlight a post that deserves inclusion email me at "AsiaPundit @ gmail . com"
For more on China do check out the main page and the China economic roundup section.
My statcounter usually tells me that my top sources for visitors are the US, followed by China, with third place shifting between Hong Kong and Singapore. I recommend that visitors from that final location avert your eyes.:
The message is clear: Filmmakers should exercise caution in their promotional materials.
While Mr Eric Khoo’s latest film Be With Me has been approved uncut
with a rating of M18, the Media Development Authority (MDA) has banned
its original promotional poster for depicting "lesbian intimacy"
between the actresses.
Be With Me, which received good reviews at the Cannes Film Festival
in May, opens in cinemas today and has already been sold to more than
The original poster depicted a scene from the movie with two
teenage girls (played by Samantha Tan and Ezann Lee) lying and
embracing each other on some steps. It has since been replaced with an
image of a man necking Tan.
I apologize for offending any of my sensitive Singapore readers. For Chinese readers, don’t visit this link, and for heavens sake don’t send its contents to anyone using Yahoo! mail!
Below is a Chinese copy of the abstract of an
official Propaganda department circular that was distributed to Chinese
media editorial groups in April 2004. This document has been declared
to be a State Secret’ by the Chinese Government and is the document
that journalist 师涛 (Shi Tao) received 10 years imprisonment for
transmitting to a foreign website.
A full English translation has been provided.
Shi Tao was arrested and sentenced after Yahoo! provided state security with Shi Tao’s user information. Most bloggers are bashing Yahoo! for this, ESWN is playing devil’s advocate.:
I checked around the blogosphere and hoped that
someone will be the ‘bad’ guy for once. But no, so it falls upon me again
to the ‘baddie.’
Let us get the case of Shi Tao out of the
way. You can check my post here way back on May 1, 2005: The
Case of Shi Tao. I think that it is bloody ridiculous that Shi Tao
should get a sentence for doing what he did. It was not national secret;
it was known policy and quite stupid at that. I can repeat that until my
voice turns hoarse. That is not the purpose of this post. The focus
is on Yahoo! and how it supposedly enabled Shi Tao to be arrested.
The jailing of journalists in China is the abuse of law by an authoritian dictatorship, the murder of journalists in the Philippines is simply troubling.:
NONE of the twenty-five Filipino journalists killed from 2000 to
2005 belonged to a national news organization; most of them were
provincial broadcasters with local radio and television, either doing
freelance reporting or buying block time. At the time of their deaths,
these journalists were reporting on anomalies in their communities.
These were some of the key findings of a recent study by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR)
that sought to find a pattern in the killings of journalists in the
country. International press organizations have called the country "the most murderous of all"
for journalists, second to none, even countries where drug lords rule
or civil strife rages. This year, five journalists have been killed on
In Taiwan, it’s ok for politicians to associate with crooks. All politicians have friends in the mob.:
The China Times reports that Four Seas gang leader Chen Yong-he
celebrated his 26 year old son’s marriage at the AsiaWorld Hotel
Tuesday evening. Guests at the 83 table reception included legislators
Zhong Rong-ji (PFP, Legislator at large and Vice Speaker), Cai Hao
(independent, Pingtung), and Luo Ming-cai (KMT, Taipei County. Son of
notorious but now retired gangster-legislator Luo Fu-zhu.) Variety show
host Jackie Wu also graced the event…
And all this just a week after what
has to be one of the great quotes of the year. Ke Jun-xiong (KMT,
Hsinchu) and TSU caucus leader He Min-hao took advantage of their
taxpayer-funded junket to Japan to visit a notorious Yakuza
leader there. Ke defended the visit by telling reporters that "I’m sure
that most of the men sitting in this room have friends in the mob." Ke
and He are both members of the legislature’s defense committee.
The above image is a woman with a Yakuza-style tattoo, it’s only marginally related to rank’s post, but it was more attractive than any picture of the Taiwan mob I could find.
China is cleaning up its signage, which will make Beijing both easier to navigate, and a little less charming.:
As part of its campaign to prepare the city for an influx of foreign
visitors attending the Olympic Games, Beijing is in the process of
correcting and standardizing translations on signs across the city.
Beijing began turning its attention to multilingual signs as part
of the "reform and opening up" in the 80s, especially in preparation
for the 1990 Asian Games. Latin characters are certainly more familiar
to most foreign visitors than hanzi, but translations vary from
serviceable to eyebrow-raising to completely incomprehensible. To avoid
embarrassment come 2008, the city is overhauling the signs, and in
early August it set up a website for city residents to point out areas
that needed attention. The media got into the act; for a week or so in
August, Beijing’s Legal Mirror published a "mistake of the day" photograph.
China also continues to "scrub" the internet as noted in this Slate item (via Black China Hand).:
Another Chinese attempt at control involves the Internet’s physical
infrastructure. Within China, the Web looks more and more like a giant
office network every day, centralized by design.
Last month, China announced its latest build-out—the "Next Carrying
Network," or CN2. This massive internal network will be fast, but it
will also be built by a single, state-owned company and easy to filter
at every step. Its addressing system (known as IPv6) is scarcely used
in the United States and may make parts of the Chinese Internet and the
rest of the world mutually unreachable. While such things are hard to
measure, Internet maps
suggest that, powered by projects like CN2, growth in China’s domestic
bandwidth is rapidly outpacing the speed of its international
connections. Networkwise, China will soon be like a country with a
great internal transport system but few roads leading in or out. The
goal is an inward-looking network that is physically disconnected from
the rest of the world.
Global Voices has a wrap of the South Asian blogosphere’s reaction to Katrina and its aftermath.
AsiaPundit always has a jar of kimchi in his fridge. He can’t believe that anyone would hate kimchi! Mr Pak should be left on a desert island with nothing but crates of kimchi to eat!! he should not be permitted to return until he learns to love kimchi!!! (via Nomad)
SEOUL: A nationwide emergency intervention is being
planned to force Mr Bak to eat the nation’s signature food after it was
revealed yesterday that he doesn’t like it.
The allegations came to light while Mr Bak was attending dinner with work colleagues on Saturday evening.
couldn’t believe it," said Mrs Lee who is a colleague. "We were all
sitting around the table discussing what our favourite food was and
everyone agreed that it was kimchi by far. When we asked Mr Bak to
agree with us, he muttered something about not being able to stand the
Further probing by his friends revealed that he hasn’t
eaten the food since being repulsed by it while in his youth. "Kimchi
is the most repulsive thing I’ve ever tasted," Mr Bak said. "When I was
a child I used to skirt around it at the dinner table, or just leave it
hidden underneath my plate if I was forced to eat it. It makes me sick
just to think about it."
This is a cool way to avoid the draft.:
According to Reuters,
a 20 year old Singaporean dude was granted mandatory military deferment
just to compete in a video games competition… ok, it’s the BIGGEST
video games competition which makes this the exception to the rule.
While gaming is still a novelty for many, games with “mastery learning”
applications are being developed in the entertainment industry. First
Person Shooter (FPS) games such as America’s Army, Rainbow Six, or even
HALO might teach you a thing or two about army tactics. For now, I have
a feeling that Stanley’s going to start a new trend in National Service
Ooh, the nanotechnology wars begin.:
I found out about this from RSS feed. Wow, this new iPod very teh nice.
So when will we see iPod naboo (Star Wars special edition) and iPod nabeh (Turf Club special editon, comes with radio to listen to results)?
Ivan points out that Creative also has their own Nano. The Zen Nano Plus. Take that, Apple! Our Nano came first and our Nano got Plus leh!
Is it legal or politically correct for enforcement officers of a
town council to seize beer that’s being sold from a convenience store
in a Muslim majority residential area?
exactly what happened last Sunday when officers from the Majlis
Perbandaran Kuantan (MPK) confiscated 277 bottles and cans of beers
from a 7-Eleven store after complaints from local Muslims.
I guess both sides have valid arguments. We need to find the middle ground.
No we don’t. There should be no middle ground between property rights and mob rule.
Afro Samurai is coming:
Short links after a long humpday.
Reality TV in Malaysia sounds like it’s just as bad as it is elsewhere, although bizarrely wholesome.:
Featuring a group of ambitious young men and women confined in a house and given
voice and dancing lessons, "Akademi" culminates in a concert finale after most
of the contestants are voted out weekly via SMS text messages.
The conclusion of its third season recently attracted 12 million SMS votes, no
mean feat for a country with a population of 25 million.
Its winner, 24-year-old Asmawi Ani, drew a cult following, and his popularity
among the show’s largely Malay audience was mainly due to his clean-cut image,
religious background and past experience in Koran recitals.
However, Najib was incensed that some contestants were shown hugging each other
tearfully as their peers were voted out.
"No hugging please, we are Muslims," he was quoted as saying. "This is about
religion. It is forbidden in the religion."
"We should not blindly follow the west and come out with programmes like
‘Mencari Cinta’, ‘Mentor’ and ‘Akademi Fantasia’ where the scenes don’t portray
our way of life," he thundered.
Mentor, another talent search, sees wannabes teamed up with well-established
chart-topping singers who groom their proteges for success.
Former premier Mahathir Mohamad, known for his outspoken anti-Western rhetoric,
has also expressed his concern, saying reality shows could lead to moral
decadence among Malaysians.
Do you Yahoo? If so, be careful. You could go to jail!
Reporters Without Borders
said court papers showed that Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. gave
Chinese investigators information that helped them trace a personal
Yahoo e-mail allegedly containing state secrets to Tao’s computer. . is part of Yahoo’s global network.
Shi, a former journalist for the financial publication Contemporary
Business News, was sentenced in April to 10 years in prison for illegally providing state secrets to foreigners.
More at Global Voices.
I posted Marmot’s call for Americans to thank Koreans for their quick response to providing aid to victims of hurricane Katrina. How quickly my goodwill evaporates, I concur with Nomad, and as a former resident of Daegu, I suggest we add bath houses and subway lines to his list.
wants South Korea to take an active role in relief efforts in the
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. U.S. Louisiana State Representative
Arthur Morrell and other politicians made the call in a Tuesday
interview, thanking South Korea for its aid to the city on behalf of
New Orleans residents.
The politicians said the city seeks
South Korean assistance in engineering, construction materials, medical
aid and hospital reconstruction. They said Americans and New Orleans
residents will reciprocate if South Korea suffers a disaster.
Just don’t let them build any bridges or department stores! (Baaad Nomad…baaad Nomad - sorry, just couldn’t pass that one up )
Speaking of goodwill evaporating, a blogger in Tamil Nadu reminds us that Asia has not yet recovered from the Tsunami, Sadly, I expect New Orleans will also fade from people’s attention before everything, from relief to correcting bureaucratic incompetence, is fixed.
Hey - we’re nowhere near finished yet!
For the past 7 months I have
been working with tsunami victims in Tamil Nadu. Well, let me re-phrase
that, I have been trying to work with Tamil Nadu’s tsunami victims, but
unlike most organisations who are in the area, I don’t work with
fishermen communities. Instead I work for organisations interested in
the rehabilitation of people of other professions. People who too have
lost their livelihoods and had their means of income destroyed, but who
have not had them replaced. I work with the STs, SC and MBCs. Their
fate after tsunami has been rather different from the fate of the
China’s insurance sector is relatively solid compared to its banks - partly because its a fairly young industry and hasn’t had as much of chance to make (ahem, state-ordered) mistakes. I’m know nothing about North Korea’s banks, but even though insurance is a new ‘industry,’ I wouldn’t trust it. (Korea Times via OFK):
South Korean companies setting up operations in
the Kaesong industrial complex face difficulties due to a North Korean
obligation that they must purchase insurance policies from a North
Korean state-run firm.
North Korea demands that South Korean firms have
insurance against accidents with a North Korean state-run firm, but
they question whether it is financially stable enough to cover all
According to related regulations set up by North
Korea last November, South Korean firms in the Kaesong industrial
complex must buy insurance policies from North Korean firms. If South
Korean companies didn’t follow the rule, they had to pay $10,000 in
Joel points to a survey that leaves me curious. Here’s one for the mathematicians: how much would an average ethnic-Korean gay man smoke if he was a Marine in California?
Marines, gays and Korean men smoke at rates far above the average of all Californians, according to a study released today.
15.4% of residents smoke, more than 30% of lesbians and gays do,
according to the study done by the California Department of Health
“These studies show marked disparities
among California’s communities and confirm that we must continue our
efforts so all of our communities can avoid the disease and death
caused by tobacco addiction,” said Sandra Shewry, director of the
Department of Health Services.
Among active military
stationed in California, Marines reported the highest smoking rate of
26.9%, compared to the Navy’s 20.2%; and 50% more than the Army’s 17.8%
and the Air Force’s 17.5%.
The overall smoking prevalence of Korean-heritage Californians was 15.3%, with 27.9% of Korean men reporting that they smoke.
(image LAT via oranckay.)
Weirdness. Mr Wang Says So, perhaps the most critical Singapore blog this side of Edinburgh, is the Straits Times ‘blog of the week.’ And on the ‘infantile’ side of the S’pore bloggosphere, XiaXue finds her muse (with help from Miyagi).
The blithering idiot/s, who called the police hotline at 999 &
complained about the 8 cut-outs of white elephants outside Buangkok MRT
station, must’ve thought they were some sort of a pre-arranged signal
among terrorists to mount an attack!!! If you think this is bloody
ridiculous, what’s even more ridiculous is the police investigation!!
I’m not surprised about the police investigation. In fact, I wouldn’t
have been surprised if the police started the investigation on its own!
… It’s nit-picking in a police state. Especially when that nit-picking
relates to such issues as freedom of expression and politics in general.
Did I mention that it’s feeling more and more like 1997.:
Via Jakarta Post, Rupiah fails to gain on Bank Indonesia rate hike
Via Antara, Indonesia’s US Dollar Reserves in Crisis: Analyst
Its fiscal mismanagement chickens are now coming home to roost in world’s largest Muslim nation. It’s a pity few are watching.
Fumier has banned Burberry:
A huge quantity of
Burberry knock-offs, confiscated by the Hong Kong Customs chappies, is
being shredded. This is a departure from the previous practice of
removing only those parts of counterfeit items which contravened
copyright, such as the labels and logos, and then auctioning the rest
of the item to the public, effectively making the government a
distributor, and the tax payer a beneficiary, of such products.
Personally, I liked the old policy, except in the case of Burberry
Quite why Burberry gear has such appeal in Asia – you can’t walk ten
yards in Tokyo without seeing a Burberry scarf, probably a genuine one,
or a similar distance in Hong Kong without seeing a fake Burberry item
on someone from the lower socio-economic orders - or indeed any appeal,
anywhere, is beyond me, but then these days so many things are.
I long ago instituted a Burberry ban in my office, dressed up, so to
speak, as an anti-copy initiative, requiring that all Burberry items
must be left at the door unless an invoice could be shown to me proving
that the items were original. I am pleased to say that Burberry has not
reared its ugly head in my office for many months. The next stage must
be for all Burberry products, genuine or fake, to be banned and
We interrupt Asia-related matters to bring you breaking news.: "Generalísimo Francisco Franco is still dead!"
In other expired dictator news. Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo are also dead… and soon to be buried.:
Late Presidents Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo will be laid to rest next March or April, according to the
. It is understandable if some readers are confused by this fact. After all, CKS died in 1975 and CCK died in 1988.
Upon CKS’s death, he was temporarily entombed in Taoyuan. I say
temporarily because his body was just ‘awaiting proper burial in
China.’ Likewise, his son was temporarily buried nearby upon his death.
The state funeral at Wuchih Mountain in Taipei County is being
conducted in accordance with requests by CCK’s widow (who has since
passed) and other members of the Chiang family.
This burial is interesting because of the symbolism of permanently
burying Mr. "Retake the Mainland" himself on the island of Taiwan (as
opposed to the Zhejiang Province of China, where he wanted to be buried).
In other expired Asian dictator news, Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh are not yet buried, and Kim Il-sung is still the president of North Korea.
I saw this picture at Wandering to Tamshui and the first thing I thought was: "I’ve seen Canada’s Paul Martin do the same thing." The second thing I thought was: "Damn, U2 will never be allowed to play Shanghai."
President Chen Shui-bian and pal
Bono are treated to a tour of a Taoyuan sunglass and blowtorch factory
on Saturday. The tour was followed by an impromptu acoustic concert for
factory workers featuring such popular hits as "Sunday Bloody Sunday"
An odd leak from the NSA, apparently China did stop cooperating with Iran’s nuclear weapons program… and there’s some bad blood between them.:
Perhaps there were times when the
Chinese even mocked us and said we were not on a level to accomplish
this task. One of our hard days in Beijing was the day when the Chinese
sarcastically told us that we wouldn’t be able to carry out this
project. They told us that even if we managed to do anything,
we would only make some headway in the primary stages and encounter
difficulties in the next high-tech stages of the project, just as they
did when they reached those stages, and then the Russians came to their
assistance. Hearing that remark was really hard for us. Nevertheless,
that remark by the Chinese was probably one of the most effective,
sweet shocks that struck the Atomic Energy Organization and convinced
us that we had to design and build the UCF facilities all by ourselves.
Bingfeng offers some Chinese BBS posts on the disaster in New Orleans, and notes how similar disasters have been handled in China.:
in China, the relief work are mostly carried out by PLA soldiers. the
mobility of the army and especially the spirit of sacrifice of many
soldiers make PLA an effective and respected relief forces in crisis
like the floods of 1998.
Ahem, Gloria Arroyo was not impeached. While I have said before that I didn’t want Ms President to be ousted by people power, the post at Walk this Way doesn’t leave me overwhelmed with confidence in Philippine democracy.:
I haven’t been adding much to the Riot Watch or Coming Collapse categories lately, Publius Pundit offers a link to a speculative item that allows me to do both.:
RFE/RL has an interesting story on the rise of social unrest in China.
a month goes by without news coming from rural China of often-violent
protests by locals over corruption, land-grabs, taxation, or
environmental issues. The authorities are struggling to stem this
rising tide of challenges to abuses that are probably inherent in any
Given the South Korean government’s attempts to suppress comments by defectors from North Korean, it’s nice to hear that on-line essays from an 18-year-old North Korean refugee are stirring emotions in Seoul.:
A series of essays written by a teenage North
Korean defector looking back on five years of hardship before arriving
in South Korea has moved many people’s hearts.
In his 18 stories, which have been posted on the Web site of the Haja Center (www.haja.or.kr) in February, Byun Jong-hyuok speaks of the obstacles he had to overcome…
In many of his nonfiction essays, the
poverty-stricken situation of the North seen through the eyes of a
youth was recorded and the grammatically incorrect sentences with
misspellings seem to reflect the boy’s unusual childhood.
One episode recounts an instance when the boy
found a lamb’s intestines in the toilet of a public outhouse and took
them home to make soup for his elder sister and younger brother.
Although he had to clean the intestines over and over again, he
recalled, it was the most delicious supper he had ever had in his life.
Still, even if the North brutalizes its own citizens, we should remember that all Koreans are brothers and blood is thicker than military alliances, or at least according to Korea Herald movie reviewers:
A U.S. Navy aircraft pilot downed on a bombing
mission, three stragglers of the North Korean People’s Army and two
deserters from the ROK Army come to Dongmakgol, a miniature Shangri-la
somewhere in a mountain valley in Gangwon-do. Life and death enmity
among the three sides gradually ameliorates and warm friendship
develops under the care of the innocent villagers, including a mentally
deranged but nature-loving girl.
U.S. rescue team for the missing pilot roughs the villagers up but is
smashed by the unlikely alliance of South and North Korean soldiers.
The five men then go on to feign an anti-aircraft battery on a hill far
from Dongmakgol to divert U.S. carpet bombing away from the village.
They all perish in napalm flames but Dongmakgol is saved.
Much of the popularity of the film may come from the earnest acting
of the five characters and Director Park Kwang-hyun’s skillful camera
work on the pristine scenery of the valley. But most reviewers focused
on the appeal of the clear political message - anti-Americanism mixed
with the "North and South are one nation" pronouncement - to the
younger generation, the main clientele of movies.
The brutality on Dongmakgol villagers by the U.S. rescue team is
portrayed in the most realistic manner in the otherwise generally
comic, fairy-tale touch. And the five soldiers’ sacrificing their lives
for the village, despite the improbability of the plot, poses as a
contrast to the atrocities at My Lai and other places during the
U.S.-led war in Vietnam.
The comments for that link should be read, the movie sounds more melodramatic than anti-American. Or read Joel’s review.
At Singapore Ink, an insightful essay about the shift in Lee Kwan-yew’s opinions about detention without trial. And, while the author complains that the essay is not that good, it’s much better prepared that what makes up 99% of the blogosphere. Seriously, it’s nice to see a blog with comprehensive footnotes.:
I blame Andy. It’s all his fault for putting up those juicy old
quotes from our MM and goading me into posting an essay I did a year
ago that was pretty much built around them. So here goes. As an essay
it’s not very good - I have learnt that from my tutor. In terms of the
content I stand by what I said, with one observation: it’s amazing to
see Lee talk so forthcomingly like a… leftist, using words like
“freedom”, “democracy,” even “social and economic frustration.” Today,
in Singapore at least, we use words like “democracy” as punchlines.
Times have changed.
In China blogger news, risking their jobs today are Zhuan Jia and Dave in China.
From inside the Beltway, Pundita points to an item that argues the US should accept all offers of aid for the Katrina disaster.:
Bruce Kesler has written an article that covers several points about
aid to the US. Pundita strongly agrees with his advice that the US
should consider accepting all offers:
and private individuals and organizations of prominence should be
task-forced to work out arrangements with all the offerers, including
those like Cuba and Venezuela and Iran normally hostile toward the U.S.
some are false, they will be embarrassed and revealed, and meanwhile
the sincere majority will be encouraged perhaps to be even more
forthcoming now and in the future elsewhere. An “international zone”
might even be created, with facilities and communications, to
facilitate other nations and international organization’s help.
Chris at Ordinary Gweillo looks at an SCMP report on the park.:
Via Howard French, an essay on Japan, nature, vending machines and pornography.:
Japan also has beer vending machines, something I have always
enjoyed the freedom — I mean convenience — of. But by law, beer
machines have to be turned off at 11 p.m. I’ve never understood this,
though. It seems to me this is the time the beer machines should open,
not close. But beer machines are slowly disappearing in a national
movement to curb underage drinking. Instead, let’s encourage people to
wander around at any time of the night looking for a vending machine
where they can drink caffeine, then continue walking around the
neighborhood because they’re wide awake.
Recently, I was surprised to find a stand alongside a country road,
at a place where you’d normally expect to find a fruit stand, where
they were selling something even juicier: porn. From vending machines.
Apparently countryside peeping Toms need reading material too. But even
more surprising was that these machines selling porn DVDs and magazines
were on a bus route. You can actually take the bus to your favorite
porn vending machine. Talk about, um, convenience!
Above image from Photomann’s page of Japanese vending machines.
Mr Wang is starting to take this citizen-journalism thing seriously, interviewing Singapore’s Cyril Wong, an openly gay poet in a country where homosexuality is still technically illegal.:
Cyril is also gay, and openly writes about it in his poetry. That makes
him somewhat controversial (in Singapore, and to some people, at
least). Mr Wang exchanged email correspondence with Cyril over the
weekend, and with Cyril’s permission, reproduces some excerpts here.
On whether Mr Wang can blog about him:
"Yes, sure you can feature me. I am very openly gay. And I
think it is possibly immoral to even hide the fact when I am not
exactly living in a place like Iran, where I would get killed for
something like this. So with regards to being seen as gay very
publicly, I do not mind at all. In fact, I kind of encourage myself to
be as open as possible – it’s my one-man ideological war."
From Flying Chair a one-line look at US coverage of Hong Kong’s milkshake murderess.:
I’m sorry, but a headline about Nancy Kissel right next to an ad for Desperate Housewives had to be kept for posterity.
Given the bad blood that often divides Korea and the US, I recommend US readers take the Marmot’s suggestion to heart and .:
The Korean government decided Sunday to offer US$30 million in aid to the United States
in order to help the country recover from the destruction visited upon
the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina. The government will also dispatch
a 50-man search and rescue team to the affected area, and consideration
is also being given to the dispatch of military personnel (which would
require National Assembly approval) should a request be made by the
South Korea’s offer of US$30 million is, as far
as I know, the second largest offer behind Qatar’s offer of US$100
million, and dwarfs the offers made by other nations in the region
(Japan, for instance, will send US$200,000 and has offered US$300
more). Considering how the Korean economy has seen better days, Seoul’s
offer is beyond generous and I can only hope the U.S. media gives it
more attention than from what I’ve seen so far….
I encourage you to send a message of appreciation to the Korean embassy
in the United States at , or, perhaps even
better, to the Korean consulate-general in Houston
(), which is handling the relief effort in the
I’ll add that a thank you to another one of my expat homes should also be in order.:
KUWAIT CITY (Agencies): Kuwait said Sunday it was offering $500 million
in oil products to victims of the devastating hurricane in the United
States, the latest contribution from Gulf Arab states to the relief
effort. “We, Kuwaitis, feel it is our duty to stand by our friends to
alleviate this humanitarian tragedy and express our gratitude for the
support extended to us by Washington throughout the distinguished ties
between the two friendly nations,” Energy Minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahd
Al-Sabah told the official KUNA news agency. He said the $500 million
would come in the form of “oil products needed by the afflicted states
in these conditions and other humanitarian assistance.”
Gojira finally crosses the pond.:
The original Godzilla movie - with its strong antinuclear message that
was lost in the version edited for American audiences - will be shown
in British cinemas for the first time. The movie, which was influenced
by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is being screened
next month in Britain partly because of the 60th anniversary this year
of those attacks. The British Film Institute, which is distributing
“Gojira” to several London cinemas in October, also wants audiences to
see there is a serious message behind the original monster creation.
Some argue this has been lost with the 20 sequels over 50 years and
countless rip offs.
Malaysia is getting rid of its one ringgit coin.:
One week after the news broke on Oriental Daily News, Bank Negara finally confirmed that the RM1 coin will cease to be legal tender with effect from December 7, 2005. However, the RM1 ringgit note will remain valid.
Here’s the BNM official statement on the demonetisation of the RM1 coin, in PDF, 162k. Thanks readers TerenceG, KW Chook, and for the alert.
Without the RM1 coin, I wonder how would Carrefour motivate its customers to self-manage the shopping trolly?
This is really promising news, perhaps someday people won’t have to type dem0cr to get past the firewall.:
Today, according to Reuters,
Wen Jiabao, the Premier of China, has made official what we’ve all
suspected; that democracy in China is just a matter of time. His words:
"China will press ahead with its development of democratic politics,
that is reconstruction, in an unswerving way, including direct
elections," Wen told a news conference ahead of an EU-China summit.
"If the Chinese people can manage a village, I believe in several
years they can manage a township. That would be an evolving system."
China has introduced direct elections for village chiefs in more
than 660,000 villages, and many of those elected are not party members.
But it has dragged its feet on expanding suffrage for the election of
officials at higher levels.
The ramifications of this
statement, though, are immense. It means China has finally admitted
that 1) democratic government is ultimately the best form of government
for social stability, given a mature polity; and 2) that forces within
China are acting as inexorable agents of change that are forcing both
this admission and the evolution itself to a more democratic,
representative form of government. Why do I make conclusion 2)? Because
it seems that when a party such as the CCP has a monopoly on power,
that it would not necessarily want to cede control of that power to
Finally, happy Labor Day to US and Canadian readers, we close with a cartoon and message from TMV.:
It’s a somber Labor Day this year.
But for all of us, we can take Labor Day to also labor to think about
how we can help Hurricane Katrina’s many victims — if not by money,
then by giving some old clothing to a local charity that can get it to
the storm’s victims or doing something to help a charity out.
Shanghai is a great place to shop! If you buy your DVD player at Shanghai Carrefour - even a cheap one - you may get a free DVD.:
…so, on our usual weekly/fortnightly/we have no food trip to the Wuning Lu Carrefour, we purchased a new DVD player. All RMB400 worth (about AUD$60). We bought an Oritron-branded DVD player, it looked sweet. It was a lemon. We took it home, hooked it up, and our problems started.
My major gripes were as follows. It wouldn’t turn on. Well, you would
plug it in, and the player power button wouldn’t work - most of the
time. Unplug, wait for 5-10 minutes, and then it would work. Strange.
The converse was also true, you couldn’t turn the thing off. Unplugging
it was the main way we got around this. No worries right? Nah. The
discs we put into the machine would stall, cause the player to crash,
and other such petulant behaviour. Annoying.
But the crux of our decision was the fact that a lovely
surprise was included inside the player. To our delight, we were given
the added bonus of the ‘Adult Tempt‘ DVD. Lovely. It had several, suspicious, greasy fingerprints on the bottom side of the disc. I think ‘the playa’, as it will now be known, had seen some action.
How does Jiang Zemin want to be seen by the world and more importantly China. His state-sanctioned bio may give some indication (NYT via Imagethief)
To write his biography, Mao Zedong chose Edgar Snow, a member of the
U.S. Communist Party; Jiang chose Kuhn, a member of the U.S. business
elite. An investment banker with a zeal for science, high culture, and
business, Kuhn personifies the new ideology that has swept through
China since 1989. China’s state propaganda team even chose to leave the
name of Kuhn’s Chinese collaborator out of the book to emphasize the
American financier’s authorship. Nothing better symbolizes Jiang and
his cohort’s transition to a right-wing developmental dictatorship;
every year, they carefully chip away at their socialist heritage
AsiaPundit features a lot of Western expat bloggers in Japan and elsewhere, Global Voices looks at Japanese expat bloggers abroad.
The new CIA director in Seoul is likely a hottie. Or at least I expect she is. Every female Korean spy I’ve seen in a film has been hot.
It was learned Wednesday that a Korean-American woman, identified by her
family name of Han, has taken over as the new station chief of the US
Central Intelligence Agency in Seoul. This is the first time a Korean,
and a Korean women in particular has assumed duties as head of the CIA
station in Korea. Officially, there is no organization going by the
“CIA Korea station.” Instead, the Office of Regional Study inside the
US Embassy plays the role of CIA station here in Korea.
Xinhua, China’s state news agency, may be changing it’s tone on the issue of revisionist Japanese textbooks.:
According to the major Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun, of all
11,035 state and private junior high schools across Japan, only 48
adopted the Fusosha textbook, merely 0.4 percent of the total and far
less than the publisher’s target of 10 percent…
… I don’t remember the Chinese press so clearly mentioning the fact
that less than one percent of Japanese schools use the textbook, or the
fact that some Japanese people don’t like it either. Progress? I wonder
if they are saying these things more clearly for internal consumption
as well, or Xinhua is tired of receiving the same counterarguments.
Google Earth is a spy satellite for the masses. Not only can you get the South Korean presidential compound Cheong Wa Dae, David at Jujuflop noted in the comments that you can get the Chinese Communist Party’s well-guarded compound of Zhongnanhai. Now Curzon of Coming Anarchy turns .:
Pyongyang, North Korea. Note the Ryugong in the upper-left corner.
And the Wannabe Lawyer likes Google Earth too, and says it will cause trouble for one particularly litigious patent holder.:
Virtual-Map, a business entity that specialises in converting public domain data into private ‘intellectual’ property,
had been successful so far in demanding extortionate amounts from
people who make use of their maps. What they have yet to face though,
is competition. No longer.
Now that I have , I don’t see how I would ever need Streetdirectory.com anymore. In fact, I can’t wait for the day when everyone in Singapore starts using . Then its bye bye Virtual-Map, find a new business model please.
There were a number of items in Malaysian blogs about this event, but the NSFW Asian Sex Gazette gives a good summary.:
Kuala Lumpur - A Malaysian men’s magazine may be censured for a cover featuring
a seminude female model draped in the national flag that has sparked an uproar
among Muslims, a senior official said Monday.
The pictures in the August edition of Sensasi Lelaki, or Men’s Sensation, is an
insult to the national flag and disrespectful to the country as it prepares to
mark National Day on Wednesday, said Deputy Internal Minister Noh Omar.
Brand New Malaysian has a picture:
Before anyone gets too upset at the Malaysians for being too uptight, please remember that the West also has its share of fundamentalists and flag worshipers. Why in the US, the issue of making flag burning a capital offense emerges every six months or so. No one in the US would tolerate anyone wrapping themselves in the flag like that. (link nswf near the bottom):
Err, both Japundit and Barbarian Envoy alerted me to this piece of incredible weirdness, OPERATION NUKE KOREA, you don’t even need to scroll to read… just sit back and enjoy the piano.
Travel writer Carl Parks notes another reason why it’s dangerous to use drugs in Bali.:
Few Western tourists actually arrive in
Bali with drugs, since Kuta and other beach towns are overrun with
local Balinese drug dealers who quietly whisper their sales offers near
many discos and nightclubs in Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak. So you buy a
couple of tablets, walk up to the nightclub for an evening of partying,
and find yourself searched and arrested at the front door. An
Australian model (Michelle Leslie) was recently arrested with two tabs
of E in her purse as she approached a nightclub, and now faces 10 years
How in the world does the police know to search your
bag or purse? The answer is obvious. The police are the drug dealers in
Bali. Or at least the drug dealers cooperate with the police to turn in
their victims, collect the reward, and most likely enjoy the return of
their drugs. This scam has been going on in Thailand for several
decades, but now it enjoys official endorsement by the Indonesian
One of the first questions asked by the foreign ministry, who needed to authorize my journalists’ visa, was: Do you like Chinese food?" My boss told me to be very diplomatic in the interview, so instead of saying "I prefer Thai," I said: "Yes, especially Sichuan."
I still like Chinese food, though I’m a bit nervous about eating anything here.:
More on the food scandals gripping China - news just in that the
majority of food production, handled by mom-and-pop producers, do not
meet even rudimentary safety standards. An article on Asia News Network
carries the story on why you can’t trust anything you eat in the country…
In 2003, the output value of China’s food industry reached 1.29
trillion yuan (US$161.62 billion), nearly 20 per cent up on 2002. In
the first six months of last year, the industry achieved an output
value of nearly 710 billion yuan ($421.95 billion), a 20 per cent
increase over the same period in 2003.
But reports in the local press say more than 70 per cent of China’s
106,000 registered food makers are family-run outfits of fewer than 10
people. And at least 60 per cent of these cannot meet basic sanitary
standards.Professor Luo Yunbo, dean of China Agricultural University’s college
of food science and nutritional engineering said: "China does not lack
regulations, but there’s a lack of unified supervision and control.
At least food across the Strait is safe… Oh my god is that the chef?!?
I have Taiwan blogger Brian David Phillips on my blogroll and in my Bloglines reader but, truth be told, I never really take the time to read his stuff long enough to figure out what he’s talking about.:
Folks will notice that I have added a new links category in the rightside bar here at Life of Brian . . . hypnocasts which is directly above hypnoblogs.
If you discover other podcasts related to hypnosis, neurolinguistic
programming, influence, focused trance, meditation, changework, and the
like . . . then let me know the address of the webpages that support
the feed and I’ll check ‘em out and add it to the hypnocasts
list (of course, I appreciate linkbacks as well). No, I do NOT mean
commercial sites with payfor mp3 downloads or even free mp3 downloads,
this list is for podcasts or sites that distribute information
interactively or on a semi-regular basis.
Atanu Dey has a must-read opus on the differences between Singapore and India, I’ve had a number of arguments in which I’ve either defended Lee Kwan-yew or lambasted him, but Atanu’s item actually leaves me speechless.:
To root out corruption you can use all sorts of means. You can lecture school children to take an oath to eschew corruption (as in here), you can prosecute a poor milkman for diluting milk (as in here)
— that is, basically you can start at the bottom and implement an
idiotic policy of targeting marginal players while shielding the really
corrupt. Or you can do it by catching the big fish and handing out
exemplary punishments and — this is the important point — publicizing
it so that anyone who is even minimally aware understands that
corruption is not tolerated by the society no matter how powerful the
This is what I heard. A certain minister, very close to Lee Kuan
Yew, in charge of housing (or some such) was involved in some
kick-backs. The word went around that the guy will surely get off easy
since he was in the inside circle. Lee asked the minister to see him.
The meeting was brief. Two days later the minister blew his brains out.
The message was clear: zero tolerance.
Michael Turton also has some thoughts on Lee’s recent comments on China’s anti-secession law.
This looks promising, Indi Blog Review a profile of Desi or not so Desi Blog(ger)s. First subject, Patrix and Nerve Endings Firing Away.
After being one of the bloggers who ran with the Reuters item saying that Sister Hibiscus was the target of a crackdown, I’ll hold off on comment on this item in the Telegraph suggesting that the CCP are seeking to ban the Mongolian Cow Sour Yoghurt Super
Girl Contest because it’s too democratic.:
China’s propaganda tsars are even less
impressed by the second year of the Mongolian Cow Sour Yoghurt Super
Girl Contest, to give it its full title. One official of the main
broadcasting regulator has said that the show could be taken off the
air if it fails to correct its “worldliness”. Critics from CCTV, the
state-run broadcaster, initially labelled the show vulgar, boorish and
lacking in social responsibility.
Sources said that censors were concerned that the democratic
methods used to select the winner from 120,000 entrants could stir
trouble. For weeks fans have been crowding shopping centres across the
country, carrying posters of their favorite contestants in an attempt
to rally votes for them. On Friday the streets of Changsha, the capital
of Hunan, were swamped with thousands of fans who celebrated until
dawn. Security guards were called in last week at two shopping centres
after Super Girl fans became unruly.
Kim Jong-il’s online public relations site has just received praise from UPI.:
Since it was
launched last summer, North Korea’s Web site to promote the country
with foreigners in mind has taken many by surprise, not least because
of its sleek look and well-organized contents.
There are currently about 30 Web sites backed by Pyongyang, but most are like http://www.uriminzokkiri.com,
which is a site largely devoted to singing the praises of Kim Jong-Il
and his father, as well as the virtues of the hermit nation. In
contrast, Naenara is available not only in Korean, but also seven other
languages, which also include the languages spoken in the five
countries that make up the ongoing six-party talks over the disarming
of North Korea, namely English, Russian, Chinese and Japanese, in
addition to French and German.
I often give UPI a pass over their links to South Korea’s Unification Church (aka, Moonies) but I really must question the agency’s editorial independence from its owner and church head Sun Myung Moon if they consider this to have a "sleek look and well-organized contents."
Gutmann was basing his arguments on those made in his book titled
"Losing the New China - A Story of American Commerce, Desire and
Betrayal," which discusses in detail how American businesses played a
role in restricting freedom of thought in China, in turn betraying the
American values of liberty, democracy, and human rights. Doing business in China could potentially
endanger the national security of Taiwan and the United States as well
as violate democratic values, American scholar-businessman Ethan
Gutmann argued yesterday at a forum held in Taipei.
Warning, the Asia Financial Crisis is coming back! I was going to point to an item in which Andy Xie of Morgan Stanley makes that argument, but I’ll save analysis of Xie for the next China Economic Roundup. Instead, some annecdotal evidence. Why does AsiaPundit sense a crisis? He sees similarities between now and 1997. For instance, we have hot money inflows, overcapacities, and …
once went to a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop here in Korea and asked
for a chocolate shake. I was told they could only make mocha,
strawberry or melon shakes (not the exact flavors because I can’t
remember the exact ones but it doesn’t really matter). Being that they
do advertise themselves as having "31 Flavors," I politely offered to
pay the same price they charge for those options except I would like
The worker freaked out. "It’s not on the menu," I was told.
I know," I responded, "but can you not just make one and charge me the same as any other?"
among co-workers took place, a phone call was made and the manager came
out from the back to tell me that no, a chocolate shake was impossible.
We’re all screwed!!
Speaking of economic bubbles, I had thought that Shanghai’s recent crackdown of was a draconian but understandable measure. I haven’t read up on Seoul’s problems but ouch!:
On the demand side, the government will raise the capital gains tax
on owners of two houses to 50 percent from the current 9 to 36 percent.
Property holdings tax on apartments and unused land will be raised to 1 percent by 2019 from the current 0.15 percent.
assessment base of the comprehensive real estate tax, a national tax
designed to crack down on real estate speculation, will be raised to
100 percent of the standard price gradually by 2009 from the current 50
And owners of properties worth more than 600 million
won will be subject to a comprehensive real estate tax beginning next
year. Currently, the tax targets people with homes worth more than 900
And still more bubbling in Hong Kong! We’re all screwed! Blame Baskin Robbins and their inability to make chocolate milkshakes in Pusan.
And on milkshakes, I’m so happy the Brits left Hong Kong with a functional legal system.:
Nancy Kissel slept alongside her husband Robert’s body for two nights, therefore she is not guilty
of murder. He was into black gay porn websites, cocaine-fuelled sodomy
and other normal, healthy investment bankers’ pastimes, therefore she
is not guilty of murder. She was helping to organize the United Jewish
Congregation annual dinner, therefore she is not guilty of murder. Her
handling of pre-Dad’s-visit rotting-corpse- disposal issues was a tad
inexpert, therefore she is not guilty of murder. The Tai Lam Women’s
Prison baseball team are in high spirits today.
The image of Kissel is snatched without attribution from a Yahoo! image search. Curiously, the first result is Phil!
Congrats, Phil. In a few years your mug will show up in a poorly researched true-crime novel.
Warning to Olympians, if you beat out India for the gold then Bollywood will be mean to you.:
Ahmed Al Maktoum, the shooter from Dubai, is that an assassin from Dubai in the film Sarkar
is referred to as an Olympic gold medalist in shooting. Al Maktoum won
an Olympic gold in the double trap last year, beating India’s
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and feels it’s a derogatory reference to
More on lingerie model Michelle Leslie’s ‘conversion’ at IndCoup:
Indonesia is an unpredictable place. You should always expect
the unexpected. Maybe it’s something they put in the water. But
whatever it is, the latest news concerning the Aussie model recently
arrested in Bali for drugs possession is simply astonishing to say the
least. Because, right out of the blue, Michelle Leslie, who was only
recently posing in raunchy photoshoots covered in nothing more than
body paint is now donning the full Muslim headdress!
But why? Bali is a Hindu island after all. And what’s more, her
actions have caused such an uproar back in Aus that her family have had
to make a public apology to offended Muslims who quite understandably
think she’s taking the piss.
You can’t judge a book by the cover, but you can usually judge a movie from the trailer; Danny Bloom says Geisha sucks.
Having recently seen the trailer for Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha,
which Hollywood has tried to turn into a movie to hit world movie
screens for Christmas viewing (and Oscar nominations time), I can’t
help but feel this film will be a dud.
Why? Well, I’m not a
New York Times film critic, and I don’t have a Ph.D. in film studies,
but one look at the trailer and it’s obvious that the American
producers erred bigtime by deciding to cast Chinese actresses in the
roles of the Japanese characters in Golden’s book.
thing, the big-name Chinese actresses “look” like Chinese women, from
their faces to their hair to their body language, and they speak
English in the movie with Chinese-accented English. It’s obvious they
are not Japanese. The film becomes a travesty of movie-making.
It’s Blog Day! And no one gave me a present!
Jeff Ooi celebrates with a tour of the Malaysian blogosphere. Kenny Sia celebrates with a tour of the Malaysian babe-o-sphere.
At one level, Mr Wang agrees with Tomorrow’s position, for the reasons
that Agagooga has stated. Mr Wang himself regularly links to other
bloggers’ posts without seeking their permission. Although "Did Mr Wang Say So?" is on a much smaller scale than Tomorrow, the same principles ought to apply.
On the other hand, Mr Wang uses his brain when choosing his
hyperlinks. And Mr Wang considers it inappropriate for Tomorrow to take
an overly cavalier approach to this task. It is one thing to say, "Oh,
YOU put your personal story on the Internet yourself, don’t blame US
for publicising it." This kind of excuse, while not entirely invalid,
is a poor excuse for the Tomorrow editors to display bad editorial
taste, to make bad editorial choices and to be lousy human beings.
Tomorrow (or any other blog) is perfectly free to act as a
screaming tabloid if it wants to. It doesn’t necessarily follow that it
is a good thing for Tomorrow (or any other blog) to act as a screaming
tabloid. And the fact that people didn’t stick "Respect My Privacy"
banners or buttons all over their own blogs doesn’t mean that a
Tomorrow editor can’t exercise some good judgment on his own accord to
do what’s right.
AsiaPundit doesn’t mind being a tabloid blog. Asia has a three easily available English-language broadsheets - the AWSJ, IHT and FT all nicely acronymed to increase appeal in Singapore - and it could use a good tabloid. Further, most of the Tomorrow.sg-linked blogs are Blogger hosted. If you want your blog to be private… password protect it. Duh!
But speaking of Tabloid Crap, that’s the category under which :
According to the JoongAng Ilbo (Korean), Koreans fart a lot.
Hey, don’t blame me for this one — blame the JoongAng. Anyway, the
piece said that while it might be hard to draw a hard and fast
conclusion, one could guess that Koreans break wind particularly often
due to the large amount of gas-producing foods they consume — beans,
veggies, fruits and raw foods. The rising consumption of milk doesn’t
help matters, and those with trouble digesting lactose and the elderly
with weakening digestive power are particularly susceptible to
becoming, in the colorful choice of words by the JoongAng, “gas shells”
(like in the WWI artillery round).
And the JoongAng Ilbo, I recall, is a broadsheet.
Hey, Google solved that East Sea/Sea of Japan problem that was causing all of those DNS attacks across the
East Sea Sea of Japan body of water that separates the two countries.:
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is seeking answers from his cabinet!
There are some politicians that I’ve grown to like since they’ve left office, I’m adding another to that very short list:
Influential Muslim cleric Abdurrahman Wahid (aka Gus Dur) and one of Indonesia’s most respected public figures (and its fourth President) has made a stand against the anti-Christian activities of violent Muslim group Front Pembela Islam (Islamic Defenders’ Front):
Wahid on Tuesday (23/8/05) demanded that President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono take action against the Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI), which
is notorious for its attacks on religious minorities and nightlife
He warned that Banser, the security task force of the
nation’s largest Muslim group Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), would be mobilized
against FPI if the government fails to stop the radical group from
attacking churches. Wahid is the former leader of NU.
HK Dave at Simon World brings us a bit of interesting history.
The New York Times ran a story today about how 1963 tapes reveal that the United States was preparing to drop The Bomb on China
in the event that China invaded India again. President Kennedy and his
advisors, discussing the possibility of another invasion, strongly
believed, given his pro-India stance, that the United States should
support India against China. One of his advisors, Robert McNamara, is
heard on tape as saying that instead of introducing large numbers of
American troops, that nuclear bombs should be dropped on China instead.
From the article:
On the tapes, Robert S. McNamara, who was President Kennedy’s
defense secretary, is heard to say: "Before any substantial commitment
to defend India against China is given, we should recognize that in
order to carry out that commitment against any substantial Chinese
attack, we would have to use nuclear weapons. Any large Chinese
Communist attack on any part of that area would require the use of
nuclear weapons by the U.S., and this is to be preferred over the
introduction of large numbers of U.S. soldiers."
said in a telephone interview on Thursday that he could not remember
the conversation, "but it is probably correct."
First, though, there’s plenty of pervasive material available right out
on the street, before you even make it into a porno store. For example,
these delicious-looking treats I found at a market - "Yokohama Bust
At Peking Duck, something Gordon G Chang didn’t mention: "The Coming Collapse of (apartment buildings in) China"
Recently, a friend of mine was enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon in his
expensive Guangzhou apartment when suddenly the entire living room
ceiling collapsed. Fortunately, the only damage came from his
girlfriend who, amazingly, took great exception to the fact that he
took more interest in his new plasma television than he did of her.
Trying to diffuse matters by reminding her much it cost was a mistake I
think. Following this incident the neighbours informed the couple that
similar incidents had been occurring all over the estate. As well as
bits of the building literally falling apart, the electrical wiring in
several apartments had also packed in. Not good for an 18-month old
building of ‘executive’ apartments.
Poor workmanship is a common problem for rapidly developing economies - due to a lack of skills, corruption, evolving regulations and a plethora or other reasons. On my first overseas posting in South Korea, I was often asked: "Aren’t you worried about the North invading?" My reply was: "No, but I am worried about a shopping mall collapsing on me."
Anti-globalization protesters are having trouble finding accommodation, I thought they enjoyed camping out al fresco.:
Not unsurprisingly, WTO protester organizations are having difficulty securing hotel rooms for the weekend of the big meeting.
Hong Kong People’s Alliance on WTO, which says it’s helping about 3,000
overseas protesters find accommodation, said it has heard of at least
three cases in which hotels and travel agents refused to serve
Why should hotels want to serve people that
have been violent in the past? And also, the government probably
doesn’t want these clowns running around throwing rocks and clashing
with police either. It would be an embarrassment to both Hong Kong and
Though I am pro-globalization, I support the right to protest. If anti-WTO crowd can’t find real hotels, I suggest they try looking for some of the free locations reviewed here.
- "The 24 hour MacDonald’s on Peking Road in Tsim Sha Tsui (the Kowloon
side of Hong Kong) (two blocks west of Nathan Road, the TST MTR stop and the infamously nasty "Chungking Mansions") lets people crash out in the booths at night. On any given night there are a couple backpackers and at least a dozen "locals" snoozing on the tables. (Sorry, MacPillow is NOT on the menu.) It might not be comfortable and it is noisy, but it’s doable! To top it off, they wake you in the morning with a cup of coffee to get you out of there! "
Asiapundit is a pet owner and an animal lover. I will keep this site free of petblogging and stick to politics, economics and salatious tabloidism - I have other places to do my own petblogging. But I was touched by some petblogging in the Asiasphere this week.:
The good news, Jodi is a mother, and her son is a cutie:
The bad news, HK Macs has lost one of the family.:
Seeing a huge cost differential on dialysis treatment in Singapore and Malaysia, Mr Wang spots an opportunity:
The ever-entrepreneurial and creative Mr Wang thinks that
there is a potential business idea here. Singapore bus companies can
diversify into Malaysian health tourism, arranging for Singaporean
kidney patients to get treatment in Malaysia and also providing regular
transport direct from Singapore to the relevant Malaysian medical
centre, and back again.
Amit Varma sums up some of my thoughts on why AsiaPundit calls himself an libertarian. Though in my case I would add it’s because my prefered term, liberal, has been so abused that it is useless.
Indeed, why should we trust Musharraf?
As much as I will complain about Putin and the CPC, they woud probably run North Korea far better than Kim Jong-il and his clique.:
The truth is out. The joint war games on northern Chinese beaches, part
of a military exercise between China and Russia, are not designed to
send warning messages to the United States about the limits of its
It’s really all about China and Russia practicing for a joint
occupation of North Korea, or so the Russian media will have us
Two blogs that I don’t link to enough that you should be reading are The Aseanist and Friskodude.
Via the Flea, AsiaPundit presents art:
I’m not sure if this indicates a growing tolerance of homosexuality in Japan, of if it just further indicates that Japanese television is weird.:
Hard Gay it would appear struts the streets of Tokyo; performing acts
of ‘social improvement’, shouting “Wooooo!” and “Hard Gay!” a lot, and
interspersing all this with liberal doses of hip thrusting – his
With the connectivity problem resolved, we return to daily linking.
Kelvin at Plum Blossoms takes a look at the controversy surrounding Miss Hong Kong and plastic surgery.
Whatever the truth may be (my guess is that no, she hasn’t been under
the knife for cosmetic purposes), I’ve become quite tolerant of Asian
actresses getting cosmetic surgery. Mainly because it’s so hard to
tell. Take, for example, Niki Chow,
who also faces similar rumours. Personally, I distinctively remember
thinking that she’s not all that hot when she first appeared on the
scene. Now I think she looks great. It appears that perhaps it’s not my
taste that’s been changing.
As Kelvin notes, diet and exercise can change a lot. With that we can expect some positive change to come out of Malaysia’s National
Slimming Service Program.:
The biggest joke of all is that the Malaysian National Service isn’t
providing any military training at all. Heck, the trainees aren’t even
given the chance to handle weapons! All that pretty army uniforms and
they don’t even get to hold a gun. What the hell, right? I wonder why
the Ministry of Defence is running the program ‘cos all these "racial
integration" and "character building" exercises seem more like the
Education Ministry’s job.
There are military drills. Its just that at most, the
trainees are taught to climb ropes, do monkey bars, and run. But geez,
what are these kids gonna do if Malaysia came under attack? Throw
sticks at them?
As well as self improvement for humans, AsiaPundit is also interested in the betterment of our robotic friends. Boing Boing brings us news that the Japanese have built a robot that has a serious advantage over the average Dalek.
R Daneel, a humanoid robot, can stand up after falling over by kicking
up its legs and rocking onto its feet. Developed at the University of
Tokyo, the 60kg robot was named after an Isaac Asimov character.
While there is competition brewing between China and India, it’s worth noting that the two emerging powers have many areas where they can cooperate: resource development, seeking calm in Nepal, and covering up bird flu outbreaks.
Further in the spirit of regional co-operation, the Barbarian Envoy has a great roundup of opinion on the ongoing Sino-Russian wargames. In other
military non-military news, the PLA’s aircaft carrier floating casino is getting a paint job.
The Lost Nomad brings us this happy story about a Korean airline’s safety procedures.
Last January, aboard a flight from Sydney to
Incheon, a 36 year old housewife who suffered from depression hanged
herself in one of the bathrooms at the rear of the plane. The crew
quickly discovered the body and did everything they could to avoid any
commotion or disturbance among the other passengers.
But two months later, when the same aircraft touched down in
Washington D.C., the smoke detector in that bathroom went off. Crew
went to check but found no one there. Some of the crew recalled the
suicide two months earlier and were scared stiff. Another two months on
the crew was assigned to the same plane once again, and they decided to
bring some soju — traditional Korean liquor — and sprinkle it in the
bathroom to appease the vengeful spirit.
Soju appeases vengeful spirits? See, you can learn something new every day.
Silly Nomad, you’ve been in Korea long enough to know that soju does not appease evil spirits. Soju is an evil spirit. I’ve had lots of the stuff and dealt with hangovers so bad they required exorcisms.
Aside from missile-related exports, how does North Korea earn hard currency? Sometimes they just print it.:
Authorities said they seized $4.4 million in high-quality fake $100 bills,
more than 1 billion counterfeit cigarettes worth $42 million, and
ecstasy, methamphetamine and Viagra worth hundreds of thousands of
dollars. Some of the cigarettes were made in China, said acting
assistant Attorney General John Richter.
Singapore’s talk radio is still limited what is allowed on government-regulated stations, and interviews with opposition leaders - unsurprisingly - do not feature prominently. But they haven’t yet regulated online talk show Pilot n’ Jo.
A look at a work-based prison rehabilitation program in Singapore. Mr Wang is impressed, but Stephen wants to know if the prisoners are getting paid. Personally I think being put to work in a call center qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.
Female inmates at a Singapore prison are working 12-hour shifts
as telephone call-center operators and telemarketers in a state
campaign to rehabilitate lawbreakers, an official said on Wednesday.
In what seems to be an annual event, a coup in Myanmar.
A Japanese bureaucrat protests "I’m a woman in a man’s body." The police retort, "you are a man in a woman’s changing room."
Whilst taking a day off work last week, a 41-year-old government
official in konan, Shiga Prefecture, was arrested for trespassing in a
women’s changing room at a local leisure facility.
Kameda was dressed as a woman when he was apprehended, but in his
defence he told the police, “I know I am a man, but I want to live as a
woman.” How this information will affect the bureaucrat’s case is
unknown, but Kameda-san may well have gotten away with his changing
room misdemeanour had he managed to curtail his cross-dressing
activities a little more.
It turns out that before his capture,
the 41-year-old had been for a swim. Yet as innocuous as such an
activity may sound, rather surprisingly Kameda chose to wear a
decidedly un-government like bikini.
oHong Kongers remain under the spell of the mouthless one from Sanrio. Simon cites an SCMP item on a promotional event that went sour.:
The opening of an art exhibition of Japan’s most famous cartoon
character degenerated into farce at the Arts Centre yesterday as more
than 1,000 outraged fans complained about unfair arrangements
preventing them from getting a limited edition Hello Kitty toy. After
hours of heated discussion, manufacturers Sanrio Hong Kong vowed to
produce another set of the toys to calm the crowd.
Exhibition organisers and Sanrio hoped to bring Hong Kong fans an
artistically inspiring and nostalgic experience to celebrate Hello
Kitty’s 30th birthday. But fans who had queued since 11pm on Wednesday
night had just one goal - to buy one of 300 "detective-style" Hello
Kittys made especially for the exhibition. The exhibition opened at
10.30am and the 300 toys, plus other limited edition items such as
umbrellas, went on sale when the doors opened. Only 70 fans were
allowed into the hall at a time.
By noon, however, more than 1,000 were queuing outside.
Unlike earlier such Kitty-related mobs, no injuries were mentioned.
Japundit reports on a tour bus based on a Hello Kitty theme. As nothing good ever comes from the mouthless one, I expect we shall soon be hearing of a horrific bus accident.
This evil must be stopped.
I live in Shanghai, China’s international financial capital. Today at the office I needed to visit the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) website, one of the leading international stock indicies.
I couldn’t access it. So I ran a test from a Shanghai-based virtual trace route site. The results are contained on the image on the left. A trace on this site, which is accessible in China, is on the right (click either image to enlarge).
For MSCI, the connection failed at the ChinaNet backbone server. This is the same result that you get when you enter the URL for banned blogs, such as RConversation, or blocked news sites, such as the BBC. Right now, I’m assuming that MSCI is blocked in Shanghai.
I can’t say whether this is a deliberate blockage or an accident, but I will say that this is a frequent event in China. Sites that ‘the party’ would likely find innocuous are often inaccessible - either due to the Great Firewall or related stresses that the filtering system puts on connectivity.
I’m in China’s financial capital and I cannot access a relatively important financial website without using a proxy.
There are people who argue that Shanghai will soon overtake Hong Kong. It may eventually do so. But it won’t be anytime soon. Censorship - of publications as well as the Internet - is part of the reason why.
Mainland China lacks the openess and transparency that a real financial center needs. So long as the CPP remains fearful of freedom, Hong Kong’s future is secure.
Is Taiwan a renegade province, independent country or a US protectorate?
… Japan renounced its sovereignty over Taiwan, but did not turn over that sovereignty to either the PRC in Beijing or the ROC in Taiwan. Neither the PRC nor the ROC were invited to the San Francisco treaty conference, and neither was a signatory to the treaty.
This means that the USMG remained the sovereign legal authority in Taiwan. Article 4(b) of the treaty states this in recognizing the authority of "the United States Military Government in any of the areas referred to in Articles 2 and 3," as does Article 23(a) recognizing "the United States of America as the principal occupying Power."
This treaty is still in effect. In the opinion of a number of scholars of international law, Taiwan is neither a province of China over which the PRC has legitimate sovereignty, nor is Taiwan a sovereign state of itself. It is, rather, an overseas territory of the U.S.
In South Korea, video games have been linked to two deaths.
The Communist Party of China have banned Sister Furong. XiaXue won’t miss the competition, though an alliance would benefit the Sister more than a competition. She could do with more of Wendy’s photoshopping.
The long-delayed Khmer Rouge trials may soon begin, and they will be blogged.
There’s an in-house argument at Coming Anarchy as Curzon reacts to Chirol’s earlier post on North Korea. Curzon says, Nuke it!
Meanwhile some in South Korea have started to act more French. On top of appeasing, now there is a move to rid the language of Japanese cognates.
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister was assassinated on Saturday. Munir at Diplomatic Review and Manish at Sepia Mutiny wonder if the Tamil Tigers have returned to their old ways.
But if Sri Lanka returns to war, perhaps we will be fortunate that Aceh, Indonesia, may finally find peace.:
A Leap of Faith That’s the peace accord between the Government of Indonesia (GoI) and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed today in Helsinki. The deal centers on a decommissioning of the GAM rebel movement, in exchange for participation in the political process, and a withdrawal of the Indonesian army and police forces from the troubled region, to be completed by the end of the year.
Not everyone is happy about the new agreement, Gateway Pundit reports on protests in Jakarta over the fact that the peace deal provides for peacekeepers.
Indonesian protesters raise their fists as they shout ‘Allahuakbar!’ (God is great) during a protest in Jakarta, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2005. Hundreds of Muslims staged the rally rejecting the presence of non-Muslim countries, especially the United States and European Union, in the troubled province of Aceh to participate in the monitoring of the peace accord between the government and the separatist rebels which will be signed in Finland on Monday.
So the other night, #7 was a story on "Miss Waria Indonesia 2005". And
I thought to myself, "Wow, those are some brave girls… er, guys." For
you see, waria in Indonesia is the same as kathoey in Thailand — although for obvious reasons, not as generally well accepted as part of the local fauna. The word waria
– in line with the Indonesian propensity for making new words out of
cryptic abbreviations for any and everything — is a combination of wanita (woman) and pria
(man). In Thailand, the transvestite cabaret shows are very popular
with locals and tourists alike. Huge venues like Calypso and Alcazar
are world famous for their shows, and are packed every night. For many
foreign visitors, attending a "ladyboy" cabaret is a must-do when in
the Kingdom. They are really quite amazing.
But, protesting ladyboy contests are expected, threatening to boycott Proctor & Gamble because they use this hottie as a model is just plain weird.
But no matter how odd nationalist Chinese netizens can be,
the Japanese can be even stranger (not porn, but nsfw).
Bruce at Naruwan Formosa brings us an Aussie open letter to China’s Premier Hu Jintao.
It seems that China continues to try to emulate Singapore, it’s testing out a state-sponsored matchmaking program for the PLA.
Single 25 year old officer looking for politically reliable, progressive thinking woman of upright conduct to be lawfully wedded spouse. Must be 23 years or older and prepared for extra one week holiday to celebrate our union.
Please apply immediately to my unit’s commissar.
In an effort to make up for any disturbance the katooey pic may have caused, I feel obliged to include another photo of an actual woman. The Sarong Party Girl is featured in an interview at Capital Region People (via Tomorrow.sg).
This may be a first, the Wanabe Lawyer has fisked a podcast.:
The ‘podcast’ starts off with a rant against the PAP, using the same old accusations and assertions that attempts to stir up anger and hate. The really funny part was when CSJ immediately went on to claim that they would offer alternative policy proposals, rather than just criticising the PAP, because ‘they believe in being constructive’.
I believe these proposals are rubbish, and I will explain why, and thus provide the reasons why I hold the SDP with particular disdain.
For Indian readers Happy National Day! For Koreans, Happy Liberation Day! Remember, .
Another Avian Flu Blog, H5N1, offers a look at computer modeling of how an epidemic may spread.
Both studies look at Thailand as the example source of an epidemic, in part because the Thai government has been more forthcoming with useful information than China and Vietnam (other locations of known human H5N1 infections), and in part because Thailand remains a hotbed of the virus. The Nature team took a case of a single rural resident of Thailand coming down with a human-transmissible form of H5N1, then calculated the patterns of infection across the nation. The results — visible in this movie (small .mov, larger .ram), with red representing flu cases and green representing locations where the disease has "burned through" the population — are sobering.
H5N1 also links to clips on how the plague could be controlled. Improvements in computer modeling are fantastic. And even if we don’t face Armageddon, a pandemic option would be a great feature for any new Sid Meier game.
I recommend that the man in this photo get out of China as quickly as possible, he won’t be popular after this is transmitted through the SinoBlogosphere:
While it’s not clear if this is the gentleman in question, ESWN reports an Australian named Paul said, "I cannot believe that I would be on top of the Great Wall; and I can’t believe that I can piss a full load right
the only man-made object visible from space the Great Wall isn’t going to win you many Chinese friends, although Xinhua is remiss in labeling a rave an orgy. Still, if Binfeng is right the guy who couldn’t hold it may herald a new wave of Great Wall preservation.
On the China blogosphere, we are being watched. Andrea notes an SCMP item on a lecture given by CCTV’s producer Hu Yong.:
"The mainland’s internet police are keeping a wary eye on messages posted by its 5 million bloggers, although most of them use cyberspace as a channel to express their desire for individualism, according to a leading network expert from the mainland."
Chirol at Coming Anarchy takes a quick look at the threat from the nutty nuke-wielding, shorter-than-average guy with a really bad haircut, noting that Clinton cannot be blamed for the current crisis.:
I take a dim view of those on the right who tend to immediately and anachronistically blame him for problems occuring during the present administration. Though the North Koreans indeed renegged on their agreement, it should firstly not come as a surprise nor as unprecendented. The Soviets broke almost every agreement we had with them but it was still better to have some sort of framework than nothing.
Not a surprise indeed, North Korea has not only reneged on any military agreement, it reneges on every agreement! It is a serial violator of trade agreements, even with friendly states such as the former USSR and China, and is a defaulter on its debt. It’s a nasty rogue state and should be forced to stand in the corner until it collapses.
Speaking of Rogue States, good news for Asia, the continent does not feature a single nation in the top-10 of Foreign Policy’’s Failed States index. Plus only three nations cracked the top-20: Afghanistan at 11, North Korea at 13 and Bangladesh at 17. Burma/Myanmar comes in 23rd,
A twisted tale comes from India Uncut, apparently the Congress Party has a problem with press freedom, although they still try to get press coverage when they organize a mob to attack a publication.
The group that came to the first floor roughed up the watchman, broke open the door and charged in shouting on the top of their voices.
This group broke computer keyboards, yanked out phone wires and one of them had even held up a chair to throw at the publisher’s glass cabin.
And here’s the bit I find most remarkable:
Ironically, other press had also arrived at the Mid Day office with the Congress persons, giving the indication that the ruling party had called the media in advance to flaunt their cowardly act.
From Sepia Mutiny, a study that damns public health care.:
Although doctors love to tell you that they work out of a sense of seva, and that the quality of care has little to do with the fee structure, it simply isn’t true. Surprising as it seems, the researchers find that you’re better off with a less trained private doctor than a better trained public doctor. Why? Because the private doctors try harder.
While not strictly Asia related, IndCoup of Indonesia notes an Egyptian report that states that French Kissing and Doggie Style are inventions of Islam. If this is true, I completely forgive the religion for inventing calculus.
After a lawmaker is reported dead after voting against Japan Post privatization, Joi Ito recounts a disturbing conversation with chairman of broadcaster NHK:
I remember him telling me that half of the officially reported suicides were actually political murders/assassinations and that the corruption went all the way to the top. If I had heard this from anyone other than the chairman of the largest broadcaster, life-long political reporter and behind-the scenes kingmaker, I would have thought it was a stupid conspiracy theory
The Lost Nomad reports that Mamon is alive and well on the Peninsula.
LG Electronics Inc., South Korea’s second-largest consumer electronics manufacturer, said Monday it has begun selling a new three-door refrigerator encrusted with about 4,900 crystals from Austria’s renowned crystal maker Swarovski.
Only 200 of the refrigerators, which are available in South Korea for 3.99 million won (US$3,934), will be sold, LG said in a statement.
I hate it when this happens. In Singapore, quite possibly the only first-world country that (embarrassingly) isn’t a democracy, the ruling People’s Action Party is again acting like Iran’s Guardian Council. Why? A challenger may emerge in the presidential election:
But not in Singapore though. Like in Ayatollah-ruled Iran, interested candidates must first be prequalified by unelected guardians of the faith (the PAP faith in Singapore’s case). Only safe candidates can be presented to voters.
In the Philippines, Sassy says pork-barrel politics must end.:
There’s this lawyers’ group called Lawyers against Monopoly and Poverty (LAMP) that filed a petition with the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional the appropriation of the Priority Development Assistance Fund, otherwise known as pork barrel funds–PhP 65 million for each member of the Lower House and PhP 200 for every senator, annually. The total is PhP 8.23 billion.
Why unconstitutional? Because the job of the Legislature is to legislate. The job of developing the countrysides, including infrastructure projects, properly belongs to the executive branch. The Constitution says that the three branches of government–executive, legislative and judiciary–shall be co-equal but separate. Therefore, if one branch encroaches upon the functions of another, there is a violation of the Constitution. Furthermore, the pork barrel funds “pet projects” of legislators and are a source of corruption.
Indeed, if Gloria is ousted, there should be a Sassy for President campaign.
Global Voices has been redesigned and relaunched.
From Xiamen, Andrea says she doesn’t like: "Caucasians who cut the queue in a bank with a clear number queueing system." She asks "We all take a number and wait, why the hell on God’s green earth shouldn’t you?" Answer: Because we all look like Dashan.
CSR Asia reports that Japan and Korea have started investigating whether or not Chinese brewers are using formaldehyde .
Coca Cola’s former CEO David Daft once remarked that the company’s main competitor was not Pepsi, but water. They may be aggressively trying to squeeze out the competition. Tak at the Old Revolution notes that Daft’s former company may sue an Indian artist.
"Mr. Sharad Haksar, a photographer in India, faces a possible lawsuit for a billboard he has displayed in Chennai in an effort to bring attention to the severe water shortage caused by the company’s bottling plants."
China is opening a memorial to martyred journalists. No monument for jailed journalists is expected.
Gloria Aroyo is willing to leave, but wants to set her own terms of exit.
Japan is diversifying away from China, Glenzo says everyone else should too,
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