27 September, 2006

Motivational Posters

We were tempted to link to Despair Inc’s Motivational Poster Generator in our daily links, but decided against it as it was not really Asian content.

We hope the below posters rectify that problem.




(Found via IZ)

by @ 5:27 pm. Filed under Northeast Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Thailand, North Korea, Asia, Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Japan

28 July, 2006

links for 2006-07-28

by @ 12:28 pm. Filed under Indonesia

26 July, 2006

links for 2006-07-26

by @ 12:28 pm. Filed under Indonesia

20 July, 2006

links for 2006-07-20

by @ 12:32 pm. Filed under Indonesia

21 June, 2006

Asian Cities are Rude

Via Miyagi, we learn that Asian cities came out at the bottom of the list in global courtesy rankings based on a survey by Reader’s Digest.:

CourtesylionA Reader’s Digest survey conducted in 35 various cities across the globe analysed and tested the politeness and helpfulness of people in each urban centre. More than 2000 separate tests of behaviour were conducted to try and find the world’s most courteous place….
Researchers awarded the cities points for various tests such as holding doors open for other people, assisting in picking up dropped documents and whether shop assistants said “Thank you” to customers after they paid…
Asian cities featured highly on the survey’s least courteous list. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Bangkok and Seoul were all ranked in the bottom ten. Other unhelpful cities included Sydney, Moscow, Milan and Amsterdam.

The bottom of the list is a who’s-who of great Asian cities including Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Taipei, Singapore, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai. No mainland China or Japanese cities are mentioned in the list.

AsiaPundit is actually shocked by this, in no small part because New York captured the number one position as the most courteous. The Big Apple is a favorite city, but it does not have a reputation for politeness.

AP’s immediate reaction is to disregard the survey as a vacuous marketing gimmick, but he will briefly entertain the possibility that it is an accurate measure.

This article suggests there has been a change in NY since 9/11 and Rudy Giuliani’s politeness bylaws — noting a $50 fine for putting feet on subway seats. It the latter is the case, Singapore’s government should ask why its creation of a Fine City and it’s 37-year long courtesy campaign have been such a failure.

(Image of Singapore’s Courtesy Lion, ubiquitous in the City State, stolen from the Singapore Kindness Movement website.)

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by @ 6:57 pm. Filed under East Asia, Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Culture

8 June, 2006

Plastic Surgery Disasters

The Chief ponders plastic surgery in China, favoring the natural look and, moreover, preferring that Asian women look Asian.:

Xin 5907010712559693228720 1Every two minutes somewhere in China, a woman has cosmetic surgery to give her Western double eyelids. It is now a $3 billion business, divided among 1 million plastic surgery clinics employing 6 million people. Hilariously, Beijing hosted the first “Miss Artificial Beauty” for “manmade beauties” in 2004 - contestants included a transsexual.
The plastic fantastic here is more for investment than personal vanity - what’s going to make you stand out from 1.3 billion other Chinese, to get that job or that husband? Rounder eyes, or a straighter nose, or longer legs (the bones are broken and forced apart by pins. More bone grows to fill the gap, but is hardly strong enough to carry the body’s weight. Ouch!). Then again, every 25 minutes somewhere in China, someone complains that plastic surgery had disfigured them.

In Indonesla, Indcoup argues that Baywatch has been a negative influence.:

DeadkennedysThey should never have allowed Baywatch to be shown in Asia.
Cos week after week of seeing ultrasexy American beach babes has really affected the Asian psyche, and even resulted in feelings of gross inadequacy given that most Asian women – the Chinese in particular – are not exactly noted for their measurements in the mammary department.
So what happened?
The obvious of course – Asian women started to go in for breast implants in a big way.
Done professionally, this ain’t a problem of course.
But it is when a lot of women who can’t afford high priced breast implants decide to opt for a much cheaper solution.
So what do you have?
Thousands and thousands of young Chinese women maimed by an “amazing gel”:
LI MEI is slim, with hair that falls almost to her waist, and pretty enough to draw looks in the street. But her husband refuses to come near her, and, in any case, her breasts are too painful to be touched.
She is one of hundreds of thousands of Chinese women who wanted bigger breasts and spent several hundred pounds at beauty salons for injections of Ao Mei Ding — or Amazing Gel. But in Mrs Li’s case, such as countless others, the operation went wrong.
The gel has formed hard lumps in her breasts, caused infections and migrated around her body.

We can be thankful that Korea’s top celebrities are setting a positive example with their natural beauty.:

I don’t see how anyone can look at these pictures and say that the woman in the photos have not been under the knife.
To my untouched eyes, the only ones that might be as “pure” as the writer would like to believe are Kim Tae-hee and Song Hae-gyo. You make the call…


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by @ 11:17 pm. Filed under Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia, China, Indonesia, South Korea

Playboy and Democratic Development

After being driven by Islamists to relocate its offices from Jakarta to Denpasar in Bali , Playboy Indonesia has relaunched. And it’s not about objectifying scantily clad women… its about promoting democracy.:

BallyUnlike the first edition, the 160-page second edition contains no paid advertisements. Instead, there are almost entirely blank pages featuring only the Playboy bunny logo in different colors and a short message headlined “Playbill”. The message states: “This blank page is dedicated to our loyal clients who were threatened for placing advertisements in this magazine.” Each message then mentions a product that should have appeared, for example: “This page is owned by a cigarette product” and “This page is owned by a cellular telephone product”.

Arnada writes in the latest editorial that Playboy Indonesia was forced to relocate to the Bali capital of Denpasar because of concerns that staff would be unsafe if the magazine had remained based in Jakarta. “The safety and convenience of our employees comes first. People in Bali are more open to ideas, they are more adaptive,” he wrote.

“What we experienced over the past month… shows the name is an important thing. Our launch in April was marked by enthusiasm, prejudice, fear and various assumptions,” he said.

The editor said that although some legislators have called for the magazine to change its name, publishing Playboy is necessary for Indonesia’s democratic development. “The absence of a growing monopoly of a set of values and views in our beloved country in the end is our final purpose. We believe that is also the target of all of us who live with reason and want to understand the meaning of democracy and a pluralistic society.”

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by @ 12:36 am. Filed under Media, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia, Indonesia

6 June, 2006

Michelle Leslie Speaks

Indcoup brings us a transcript of an Australian television interview with Michelle Leslie - the Australian lingerie model who was busted in Bali for ecstasy while with the son of an Indonesian government minister, faked a conversion to Islam while in prison (abandoning the lingerie for a burqa) and now states that she was threatened with rape and worse.:

…it was with great anticipation that I awaited for Michelle Leslie to come clean on the Aussie TV show 60 minutes (You can either see the video or download the show’s transcript here).
While she admits she ain’t really a Muslim but took to wearing a burka (to avoid getting raped by those nasty horny Indonesian prison guards, obviously), and that she paid up to US$300,000 in bribes to the Indonesian officials, she doesn’t, unfortunately, really say much about the involvement of Bakrie’s kid:

MichelleleeLIZ HAYES: This 25-year-old, who’d made her career in front of the camera, now shrank from the overwhelming attention. But then it was revealed that the son of the Indonesian Finance Minister had been in the car the night of Michelle’s arrest. Once again, she was front-page news, and days later, a late-night visitor came to her cell.
MICHELLE LESLIE: He was like, you know, ‘Make sure you don’t tell anybody about the people that’s in the car or you’re in danger here. We can get in here, there’s no problems. Be careful for your life.’
LIZ HAYES: Did you believe him?
LIZ HAYES: So you took that as a threat?
LIZ HAYES: And do you still believe that that was a threat?
LIZ HAYES: Who would do that?
MICHELLE LESLIE: I don’t know. He was obviously well-connected enough to be able to get in there, because nobody was allowed in there.
LIZ HAYES: But the strategy of ‘whatever it takes’ succeeded. She was released after just three months.

But that’s it. Too many questions are left unanswered. How did she come to know Bakrie’s kid in the first place? Whose car was she in? And most obviously of all, why didn’t he stop the police from searching her? And couldn’t he have arranged to pay off the police BEFORE it went to court?

AsiaPundit agrees that there is much more to this, and it expects it will be answered following a book deal and ‘movie of the week.’

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by @ 10:56 pm. Filed under Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia, Indonesia

5 June, 2006

Asia Blog Awards: Q1 2006-2007

AsiaPundit is pleased to announce the commencement of the new round of Asia Blog Awards. The awards are based on the Japanese financial year, which ends on March 31, and nominations are now open for the April 1-June 30 period, full-year awards are to be based on the quarterly contests.

Details are below, nominations for the below categories can be made on the individual pages linked below until the end of June 16 (Samoan time).

Awards are at present limited to English-language or dual-language sites.

Region/Country Specific Blogs:

Non-region specific awards:

Podcasts, photo and video blogs must be based on original content — which means a site such as Danwei.tv is acceptable but TV in Japan is not (although it is an excellent site).

Some categories may be deleted or combined if they lack a full slate nominations - and some may be added should it be warranted.

Winners will be judged in equal parts on: (a) votes, (b) technorati ranking and (c) judges’ selection.

While judges will naturally have biases, they will hopefully offset imbalances in other areas (such as inevitable cheating in the voting and inflationary blogroll alliances in the Technorati ranks).

The names or sites of the judges will be public.

Judges will be ineligible for nomination. As the awards largely intend on providing exposure to lesser-known sites of merit, we are hopeful that authors of ‘A-list’ sites that tend to dominate such contests will disqualify themselves by being judges.

The contest has been endorsed by previous ABA host Simon who is also serving as a judge (thereby disqualifying Simon World).

Traffic — the most telling and accurate measure of a site’s populatity — may be a consideration in future awards. However, at present, there is no clear or universal way to accurately measure and contrast traffic (sites such as Sitemeter, Statcounter offer results that cannot be compared, while services such as Alexa.com do not work for sites that are not hosted on independent domains).

This is all imperfect and will be tweaked in future events (with transparency, of course).

Most importantly, this is intended to be fun.

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by @ 3:02 pm. Filed under Thailand, Web/Tech, South Asia, Media, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Weblogs, North Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, Uzbekistan, Central Asia, Mongolia, Nepal, Myanmar/Burma, Northeast Asia, Pakistan, India, China, Singapore, South Korea, Blogs, Taiwan, Malaysia, Asia, East Asia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan

25 May, 2006

Anti-Porn Law Threatens Indonesia Democracy

The SCMP argues, in an editorial reprinted by Asia Media, that Indonesia’s proposed anti-porn law is a threat to the country’s democracy.:

Playboy-IndonesiaIndonesia’s secular identity is under threat from a proposed, Islamic-inspired anti-pornography law that would satisfy increasingly militant Muslims but begin curtailing the rights of the majority moderate followers of the faith. There is no room for such legislation in a country fighting to maintain the democratic freedoms it won so boldly by forcing dictator Suharto’s resignation eight years ago.

The overwhelmingly Muslim-majority nation of 210 million already has laws curtailing pornography; implementation is difficult, though — the rule of law is weak due to corrupt judges and police used to the ways of autocrats rather than democrats.

For conservative Indonesians, the result is the exploitation of women and children and the everyday prospect of being exposed to offensive images on news-stands and through the media.

But the bill before parliament goes much further than the law that exists, banning kissing in public and erotica of all forms. Be it erotic dancing or poetry, it would be illegal if the new law was passed.

There is no universal measure of standards of decency; each society has its own customs, traditions and beliefs. The Muslim faith is conservative by nature, but not all Indonesians follow the religion — the country has significant populations of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.

(Image stolen from the Telegraph)

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by @ 11:34 pm. Filed under Media, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia, Indonesia

19 May, 2006

Approval Ratings

Michael Turton notes that Taiwan’s Chen Shui-bian - in a survey of civic groups - has an approval rating in the single digits:

President Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) approval rating has dropped to a new low of just 5.8 percent, with 88 percent of respondents dissatisfied with the performance of Chen’s administration over the past six years, according to the results of a survey released yesterday.

The survey was conducted by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) — the Democratic Progressive Party’s ally in the pan-green camp — on 69 civic groups from May 5 through May 12.

The respondents gave the administration’s overall performance a failing grade of 57.5 percent.

Meanwhile Indonesia’s Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has also :

Just 37 percent of the public approves of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s (SBY) job performance, the lowest rating he has registered in his 18 months in office, a poll has revealed…

The economy is the public’s greatest concern, with 73.9 percent saying they believed the Yudhoyono administration had failed to tackle the chronic problem of unemployment.

The poll also found 70.4 percent of respondents felt there had been no improvement in their household incomes.

Over 60 percent of respondents said they had experienced a drop in their purchasing power…

72.2 percent of the respondents said they were not impressed by the work of the economic team.

There is no need to fear for democracy in Asia. SBY’s ratings are still higher than those enjoyed by George Bush. Plus, Singapore’s People’s Action Party is still polling well.:

 Pm Images Uploads Irongrip2

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by @ 12:15 am. Filed under Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore

17 May, 2006

Girlie Photos Promote Longevity

Lonnie notes a China News report indicating that looking at girlie pics can be good for your health.:

… Huang Chunyi, is 94 years young and does not credit vegetables, meditation, Tai Chi or Metamucil with his health. He says it is because he cuts out photos of beautiful women and stores them in scrapbooks. China News reported this is a daily event. The Taiwan resident (the China News said Taiwan Province) says looking at photos of beautiful women every day is the secret to his longevity. He has been doing this for twenty years since he retired as a chef while in Japan.
I wonder if it was Japanese manga that did this to him.
His collection, which includes favorites Cameron Diaz, Penolope Cruz and Taiwan model Chiling Lin.

With that, we are happy to note the recent medical discovery of Tiara Lestari’s ‘lost’ German FHM photoshoot.:

 Blog Images Uploads Fhm0512 Tiara1 800-2

(via Indcoup and the Not Worksafe Asian Sirens.)

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by @ 1:35 pm. Filed under East Asia, Northeast Asia, Asia, Indonesia, Taiwan, China

16 May, 2006

Eight Years Ago

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

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

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

Indcoup, also a 1998 veteran writes:

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

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

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

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

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

10 May, 2006

Street Stall Operations 101

At Indonesian economy blog Sarapan Ekonomi, a look at the strategic planning of .:

“We usually do day and night surveys to see how crowded the street is before deciding to start selling in one,” said Tabroh, a 60-year old seasoned stall owner in Ampera, South Jakarta.
“All you need to do after you decide to stay in one place is contact the local district officer, and, you know … give them a contribution,” he said.
… “One can do well with Rp 5 million as a start, to have the stall built and shop for first stock,” he explained.” Now, I only pay Rp 5,000 a day for electricity and a security fee of Rp 10,000 a month.”
They could earn as much as Rp 3 million (about US$ 300) of monthly income. Not bad, compared to the salary of tenured professor which, according to Ahmad Syafii Maarif, is about Rp 2.7 million.

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by @ 10:26 pm. Filed under Southeast Asia, Economy, East Asia, Asia, Indonesia

25 April, 2006

michelle leslie unveiled

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

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

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

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

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

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

19 April, 2006

asia, sex and happiness

According to a study by the University of Chicago, Asians - and Asian women in particular - are not as happy as Westerners with their sex lives.:

The survey published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior looked at how they viewed their sex lives, their health, and their happiness.

It found that a greater proportion of people in Europe, North America, and Australia, where men and women have more or less equal relations, enjoyed sex physically and emotionally, Laumann said.

A smaller percentage of people reported satisfying sex lives in male-dominated cultures in poorer countries, the research showed.

But the gender gap persisted around the world.

“There’s a systematic disparity between men and women, where men are on the average substantially — or about 10 points — higher in their levels of satisfaction as women in that country,” he said.

Most of those surveyed at random were married, though there was an obvious bias toward participants who were willing to talk about sex, and toward urban populations in less-developed nations.

“Pleasure is not part of the story” in sexually conservative cultures in the Far East — China, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand, Laumann said. “Procreation is the rationale for sex. Many women … characterize sex as dirty, as a duty, something they endure” — and often stop having it after age 50…..

In Japan, by contrast, just 18 percent of the men and 10 percent of the women answered positively about their sex lives. And in Taiwan, only 7 percent of the women said sex was very important in their lives.

There is likely a great deal of untruthful answers in a survey like this, given the taboo nature of the subject, but it is almost certainly more reliable than the Durex survey,

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by @ 1:17 pm. Filed under Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Thailand, East Asia, Asia, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan

18 April, 2006

indonesia’s miracle

IndCoup noted an article last week by ex-World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz praising Chinese planning. Sarapan Ekonomi, an Indonesian economics blog, .

IndCoup ponders Joseph Stiglitz’s praise on China’s miraculous economic development, on which Greenstump speculates that IndCoup “believes China is a model Indonesia should follow”.

Regardless, in terms of economic growth, poverty reduction, and population control, Indonesia is every bit as “miraculous” as China.


Since the late 1960s, both Indonesia and China has been growing fast. Moreover, as shown in the graph above, average Indonesians had been always richer than people of China. Until the 1998 financial crises, that is, when the Indonesia’s economy shrank by 13 percent and has been growing slower since.

Still, Indonesia’s poverty today is in no way worse than China’s; For example, China’s poverty gap at $1 a day (a measure of incidence and depth of poverty) is 4 percent, while Indonesia’s is less than 1 percent.

AsiaPundit also took exception with the Stiglitz article which starts out with this premise.:

Part of the key to China’s long-run success has been its almost unique combination of pragmatism and vision. While much of the rest of the developing world, following the Washington consensus, has been directed at a quixotic quest for higher GDP, China has again made clear that it seeks sustainable and more equitable increases in real living standards.

It surprises AP that Stiglitz, after three years of working with the World Bank, would feign such ignorance. Since the Deng Xiaoping-era China has consistently put emphasis on GDP growth over income equality or social welfare. The shift he is now praising is largely a creation of the newest five-year plan.

That said, AP agrees that much of the five-year plan is reasonable. It’s largely agreed that more even income distribution and stronger domestic consumption are needed. The fallen tigers of ‘97, generally, did not consider the importance of domestic demand until after their export-driven economies collapsed. China is wise to do so now.

The respective rebounds of the victims of ‘97, in part, were based upon how quickly they shifted to policies that stoked domestic demand.

South Korea quickly cleared bad loans and, in a rather insane manner, promoted consumption through personal debt (creating a new credit crisis in the process), Thailand did less but it did extend rural credit and ran a moderately successful asset management program for debt. Indonesia struggled with political turmoil and indecision for most of the post-1997 years. AP will not speculate on how China will fare.

That China is preemptively addressing issues that the rest of Asia did after 1997, and after Japan’s bubble burst, is welcome. However, AP is not confident that the country will do so successfully before its own imminent correction.

China’s miracle is impressive. So too were Korea’s, Thailand’s and Indonesia’s. AP will withhold judgement on how China’s overall economic management rates until after he sees how the country responds to a deep recession. He will give the state some credit, for instance, this is far more sensible than anything he was hearing from the pre-1997 Bank of Korea. But broader comparisons of China and Indonesia will be withheld until the former has its crisis.

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by @ 10:59 pm. Filed under Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Economy, East Asia, Indonesia, Asia, China

8 April, 2006

playboy indonesia launched

Playboy has launched the first issue of its Indonesian edition - a nudity free version that is less racy than competing local lad mags. Still, the launch of the product has sparked outrage among many of the country’s more fundamentalist Muslims.

Indcoup is also unimpressed, but for different reasons.:

PlayboyindonIt’s not Indah Ludiana. It’s not Sarah Azhari. And it’s not even Tiara Lestari.

Cos the playmate for the first edition of the Indonesian version of Playboy is Andhara Early.

But who the fu#k is she? I can hear you all shout.

Well, to be honest I haven’t got a clue.

Probably a second rate sinetron (Indonesian soap) actress I guess. Or perhaps they found her at some university campuses in this huge sprawling city.

But what about the product itself?

Well although the cover is a total … disgrace by Playboy’s normally high standards - have you ever seen a worse cover than that? - the inner pages are said to be a lot more revealing.

On the broader controversy, this January item from from Roy Tupai offers some welcome perspective.:

Islamic groups across the country are strongly protesting against the magazine, due to hit shelves in March, claiming it will destroy the morality of the nation’s young generation.

That’s rather odd, given that the publisher of the magazine has promised that Playboy Indonesia will respect local values, will not contain any nudity and will not be on sale to minors.

Furthermore, Indonesia already has a thriving black market in hardcore pornographic films, including bestiality titles, thanks to the support of corrupt police. Pirated hardcore pornography magazines are also available from certain street vendors. It’s quite easy for members of the nation’s “young generation” to purchase such salacious films and magazines for no more than Rp5,000 a title. That makes them somewhat more accessible than Playboy Indonesia, which will sell for Rp50,000.

Keeping on the subject of the “young generation”, child prostitution and trafficking exist in Indonesia, again thanks to cooperation from police and immigration officials on the payroll of sex industry syndicates.

And while it appears Playboy Indonesia will be rather tame, no one is raising a hue and cry over existing men’s interest magazines featuring photos of scantily clad women. Meanwhile, a growing number of the country’s domestic television networks are airing late night programs that show lingerie models on fashion shoots.

Then there are the smutty tabloids, such as Jakarta’s Pos Kota and Lampu Merah, which are filled with graphic stories about rape, prostitution, domestic violence and sexual abuse. The tabloids also contain luridly illustrated phone sex advertisements, as well as columns of classified advertisements for the services of prostitutes. The latter are thinly disguised as massage or health services, but the wording makes it abundantly clear what’s on offer. Take this recent example from Pos Kota (phone number partly omitted):

PENGOBATAN CEWEK2 CANTIK SEXY SERVICE OK MODEL MHSISWI (CHINES & PRIBUMI) LIVE SHOW/ LESBI/PASUTRI 081.8080XXXXX. [Medical Treatment from Beautiful Girls, Sexy Service Ok, Female Students and Models (Chinese & Indigenous) Live Show/Lesbian/Couples 081.8080XXXXX.]

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by @ 7:03 pm. Filed under Media, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia, Indonesia

30 March, 2006

the economics of polygamy

At Cafe Salemba, Indonesia’s Aco ponders the economics of polygamy, a rare but permitted practice in the mostly Muslim country.:

University of Michigan’s Ted Bergstrom has an interesting paper on polyginy. Borrowing an approach used by evolutionary biologists, he concludes:

A society that allows polygamy and stable property rights will usually have positive bride prices and some polygynous marriages. In such a society, bride prices will go not to the bride, but to her male relatives and all women be allocated the same amount of resources by their husbands. The greater the amount of material resources available per woman in the society, the higher will be bride prices and the greater the amount of resources allocated to each woman. However, in societies with sufficiently low amounts of resources per woman, instead of positive bride prices there will be dowries, which unlike bridewealth, are paid directly to the newly married couple. In such a society dowries will be of approximately the same size as the inheritance of males who marry.

In plain words, Bergstrom is saying that polygyny is likely to increase the “value” of women. Isn’t that a good thing, ladies?

Here’s more on the debate with econ points of view: Gary Becker (women better off in polyginous society), Tyler Cowen (polygamy makes children worse off), Alex Tabarrok (polygyny good for working women), David Friedman (polygyny good for women, polyandry good for men), Tim Harford (it’s just a math), and Robert Frank (the victims of polygyny are men, not women).

Meanwhile, in Buddhist Thailand, Mr Wichai is having twins.:


After Mr Wichai (Tao), aged 24, from Samut Songkram province, who earns his living by dealing in old goods, got married to gorgeous twins Ms Sirintara and Ms Thipawan 22, he vouched his sincerest ‘equal love’ for both of them!

Mr Wichai, just yesterday, 23 March, got married in pompous ceremony to both twins simultaneously. On being interviewed by the Thai Rath reporters, Mr Wichai declared wholeheartedly, that he didn’t see much problem in having to perform tiresome marital duties with two wives.

In the engagement ceremony before the wedding, Mr Wichai successfully offered a dowry of eight baht of gold and 80,000 baht EACH for his lovely darlings. Both families celebrated the marriage with joy and were said to be delighted for the threesome.

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by @ 7:43 pm. Filed under Thailand, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia, Indonesia

26 March, 2006

indonesian aggregator

Indonesia has a new blog aggregator service.

Logo Yellow

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by @ 10:59 pm. Filed under Southeast Asia, Weblogs, East Asia, Asia, Indonesia, Blogs

12 March, 2006

kerobokan prison blues

Judging from the prison treatment being received by two of Indonesia’s biggest celebrity inmates, smuggling pot is a much more serious crime than assassinating a Supreme Court judge.

Indcoup notes that imprisonment hasn’t prevented Tommy Suharto from living the high life.:

Villa-1Money goes a long way in Indonesia - even if you’ve ordered the murder of a Supreme Court Judge.

Tommy Suharto’s original prison sentence for this indefensible crime was 15 years (why wasn’t it life?), but through some unseen magical forces it has now been cut down to just seven years.

He’s even had his cell in Batu prison spruced up a bit: cable TV, private fishponds and badminton court, as well as special quarters to receive his many girlfriends.

Not that Tommy’s often there to make use of these facilities however.

An astonishing report published yesterday reveals that this arsehole spent 13 days in Jakarta over the last one month:

In the records showed to Detik.com, Tommy obtained permission to go to Jakarta between February 8-13 and February 17-22. Earlier Tommy had also been given permission to leave between January 25-30. In total, Tommy has been able to enjoy freedom for 13 days in a period of just one month. …

But what’s really incredible is news that he’s been staying at his luxury villa in the outskirts of western Jakarta, rather than in the VIP suite at Gatot Subroto hospital!!!

Meanwhile celebrity Australian prisoner Shapelle Corby is seemingly not just stuck in prison - she’s now become a zoo attraction.:

Schapelle Tours TouristMy name is Eddie Hutauruk and I have been running tours in Bali for over 8 years. Schapelle Corby Tours is our latest venture, and is fully respectful of Schapelle and her situation.

For further information or suggestions, email me at:

Shapelle Corby is a convicted Australian drug runner, and my tours allow people to see Schapelle in her cage at Kerobokan Prison in Bali. Tours can be arranged for most days of the week and pick-up is possible from most Bali hotels.

Friskodude adds:

Some Balinese guy (at least I think he is Balinese, but he might be Javanese) has been running tours of Bali for many years, and he’s just started a "prison tour" of the island, where you can meet-and-greet with some of Bali’s most famous expats now serving time in Kerobokan for those ridiculous charges. Pot? Twenty years. Heroin? The Bali Nine will ALL be killed or incarcerated for the rest of their lives for a foolish mistake.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Islamic country, whips women in the town square. What else do you expect when religious fundamentalists get to take out their sense of justice on Western culprits.

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by @ 2:39 pm. Filed under Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia, Indonesia

28 February, 2006

thaksin and arroyo


The year of the dog should be interesting for Asia. A little over two months ago, AsiaPundit visited Austin’s site and questioned the possibility of a coup happening in either Thailand or the Philippines, arguing that after a decade of democratic rule it seems unlikely either country would really care for a return of dictatorship (even if elected governments were seen as corrupt or incompetent).

Two months has made quite a difference, and while neither country seems likely to suffer a coup, stability has suffered a double blow. The pace at which the governments of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra have unravelled is impressive.

While it’s quite possible that some sort of people-power backed coup was being planned in the Philippines, its success was not assured, and Arroyo’s declaration of a state of emergency seems extreme. That civic groups are now reproducing literature on what constitutional rights citizens have under military rule is disheartening. Todd Crowell has a good summary of recent events.

The situation in Thailand is more surprising, while Arroyo has been facing increased pressure since the alleged election fraud allegations emerged last summer, the populist Thaksin was simply facing growing rumblings from a relatively weak opposition. The backlash to the sale of his family’s Shin Corp conglomerate to Singapore’s Temasek went far beyond expectations. The Foreigner in Formosa has a good backgrounder.

The Foreigner and Todd, of course, are far removed from the events and have the extra perspective that distance provides. Bloggers on the ground provide a more varied perspective.

From Thailand, Magnoy’s Samsara offers some links to opposition mixed media projects and an outline of the coalescing of Thailand’s opposition.

From the Philippines, a greater multitude of English-language voices is available: MLQ3 has amazing coverage and linkage following the events of Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Torn looks at the restive situation and the legality of 1017. the Unlawyer thinks it’s 1972 all over again. Carlos backs Gloria.

And from the mainstream press, there’s a lot of commentary that would have unimaginable just a couple of years ago including this piece praising the stability and democratic development of Indonesia compared to the neighbors.

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by @ 11:04 pm. Filed under Philippines, Thailand, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia, Indonesia

21 February, 2006

keitai girl, wet wet kid, nude skater, dayak tattoos

AsiaPundit has has a long day and is too tired to write. In lieu of words, AP is pleased to present images.

Via ‘We Make Money Not Art,’ links to Almond Chu’s Wet Wet Kid Cosplay Generation:


Almond Chu photo exhibition at the Shanghai Street Artspace.

And Keitai Girl:

Ya Kg2

In Keitai Girl (2003), Yamaguchi Noriko wears a body suit crafted from cell phone keypads, large headphones and is draped from head to toe with wires. Certain guests are given the phone number of her body suit and can dial her up from their own cell phones and talk with her during her performances. This suit—a full-body prosthetic that turns her into a walking and talking cellular device—to investigate the future development of the human body and its interaction with technology.

Via 3Yen, a nude Chinese ice skater on Japanese television (usual disclaimer: this is not porn, this is an international incident):

Zang Full

The Torino Olympics have been a total failure for the Japanese teams for far …so the Japanese have broadcast a naked Chinese iceskater to cheer things up.

Right now Japanese broadcasters have given up on promoting the Olympics. Low TV ratings have given the Japanese broadcasters a nasty hangover because the public is angry and bored with the worst Japanese showing in 30 years—Japan has yet to win any Winter Olympic medals.

Watch the video here on furl.com.

Via Indcoup, Dayak Tattoos:


… tattoos and death are inextricably bound in Dayak beliefs. When the soul (beruwa) leaves its human host, it journeys through the murky depths of the afterlife in search of heaven - the land of ancestors. Dayak souls encounter many obstacles on their supernatural flight: The River of Death the most formidable.

According to tradition, only the souls of tattooed women who provided generously for their families and headhunters who possessed hand tattoos - a token of their success - were able to cross the log bridge that spanned these dangerous waters.

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by @ 10:29 pm. Filed under Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia, China, Indonesia, Japan

12 February, 2006

dewi sukarno

Who will be the first model to be featured in Playboy Indonesia? Tiara Lestari* has said that she doesn’t want the honor. Perhaps the US publication could go with a historical pictorial, featuring former Indonesian first lady Ratna Sari Dewi Sukarno. That link is mildly not safe for work but this not porn, it’s history:


Not too many Indonesian celebrities are willing to undress for the cameras.

But Dewi Sukarno, former first lady of Indonesia, was.

Born Naoko Nemoto, she was working days in an insurance company and nights as a hostess at the Kokusai Club in Akasaka, a place for foreign VIPs. It was there that a fateful meeting with a powerful world leader changed her life. In 1962, at the tender age of 19, she left Japan to become the third of the nine wives of Achmed Sukarno, the president of The Republic of Indonesia. Her full married name was Ratna Sari Dewi Sukarno.

Many years later, in 1993, at the ripe old age of 53 she published a book of photos, many of them nude. The book was slammed in the mostly Islamic Indonesia for "violating eastern norms and insulting Indonesia’s dignity" and was banned by the Attorney-General’s office. Several years later, an Indonesian magazine published some photos from the book without permission.

Today the book is out of print and a highly valued collectors’ item.

*AsiaPundit would also congratulate Tiara on passing the 100,000 visitor mark. This site also crossed that threshold this weekend (although by another Statcounter, AsiaPundit had 100,000 visitors as of mid-December).

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by @ 5:38 pm. Filed under Media, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia, Indonesia

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