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:
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.
Nepal’s authoritarian monarch, King Gyanendra, looks to be either on the verge of either being deposed or instigating a more brutal crackdown. After six days of riots, police have started firing on protesters.
Curzon sees things ending badly.:
Almost a year ago, I predicted that without serious aid from India and the West, the regime in Nepal would eventually collapse, giving way to a Maoist horror equivalent to what we’ve previously seen in Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan. As I write this, demonstrations are taking over the streets of Kathmandu in Nepal. When you see pictures of police beating protestors and unhinged state violence, it’s easy for naive idealists to fret about the “pro-democracy protests,” get outraged over such tactics as the police shutting down cell phone service, and even take the pro-Maoist “Democratic Nepal” blog a little seriously.
Maybe these people genuinely believe that a collapse of the monarchy will lead to a democratic regime. But consiously or not, many of these people more accurately believe something closer to what Mark Safranski deconstructed and plainly translated in a comment last year:
“I want the Maoists to win but don’t really want to say that openly because that position doesn’t have much intellectual credibility – and it will hamper my disclaiming moral responsibility for Maoist atrocities in Nepal after the fact, should they win.”
Look at the flags many of these demonstrators are waving in the streets, it’s not the flag of liberty.
While Gyanendra is running, as Curzon describes, “probably the most unhelpful, reactionary regime that one could imagine,” it would be ludicrous to imagine anything better from the Nepalese Maoists. Long disowned by the capitalist rulers of ‘communist’ China, the Maoists are more similar in nature to Sendero Luminoso or the Khmer Rouge, the former being a major influence on the Nepalese Maoists in terms of both tactics and ideology.
It may be good to see Gyanendra gone but what comes next is be a big concern. AsiaPundit would consider intervention by New Delhi, Beijing or both far more welcome than a Maoist regime.
Sepia Mutiny has other views and an interesting comment thread.
Via the Acorn, a look at the way the Subcontinent’s nationalist sentiments play out in real time.:
Officially it was to save daylight. But the standardisation of time is just another way in which the countries of the subcontinent seek to assert their distinct national identities. Start with India, which in a style befitting the character of its polity, centralises its reference meridien by splitting the differences, ending up five and a half-hours ahead of UTC. That makes it inconvenient for many people, not least the makers and users of traditional world-time clocks and watches: Karachi and Dhaka are marked out as they are conveniently a whole number of hours ahead of UTC. That’s changing now with the proliferation of palmtop computers and mobile phones that can put up with Indian idiosyncracies much better.
Given its position almost bisecting India’s east-west expanse, it was natural for Sri Lanka and India to adopt the same standard time. But in 1986, Sri Lanka decided to move the clock forward one hour ahead and then, on second thoughts, back half-an-hour to, well, save daylight. But the Tamil Tigers cried foul, and refused to tweak their watches. The politics of standard time kicked in, as the difference no doubt helped set their own ‘nation’ apart. The Sri Lankan government finally gave in and has decided to set the clock back again, to five and half-hours ahead of UTC. Astrologers, airlines and Microsoft Windows users are among those who need to make necessary adjustments.
But it is Nepal that wins the prize for asserting a distinct national identity. It is five hours and forty-five minutes ahead of UTC, or 15 minutes ahead of Indian Standard Time.
Rifat of ‘Close your eyes and try to see’ discusses premarital sex in the context of Bangladesh.
Shappir of ‘Bring your own Shisha’ recollects the story of Joseph/Yusuf/Yosef, the prophet of three religions to uphold the virtue of forgiveness.
Razib of ‘Me, myself and Bangladesh’ links to a report that Designers from Bangladesh are using khadi for designing bridal sarees and suits. What more they are fast becoming popular in India.
Sadiq tells about the golden rules of various religions in his blog “Inspirations and Creative Thoughts”.
Salam of ‘Salam Dhaka’ comments that the current Bangladeshi government is not doing good for poor people.
Selva of ‘The Scientific Indian’ tells how an American outsourced his life to India.
Madman blogs his lunch in an Italian restaurant. Yummy!
Rajesh Jain of ‘Emergic’ quotes two gems on ‘Digital divide’ and ‘Computers and Education’.
Shaksi of ‘To each its own’ thinks of the Parsi community in India as a role model for the rest of the Indians.
Ahmed has had it with the elderly people.
International Nepal Solidarity Network reports that the identity and movement of all Indian and Nepalese nationals crossing the Indo-Nepal border will be recorded from November 1 by border security forces of both the countries.
Dinesh of ‘United We Blog’ remarks that the Nepali political parties want democracy, but the King talks election. This draws an interesting debate.
Laetitia-Marie of ‘Karma Sonam Gurung’ reports that the national human rights commission in Nepal accused both Maoists and security forces of failing to protect child rights as per national and international laws in a recent report.
Binita Shrestha blogs from New York and brings to us all about court reporting.
Mudassir of ‘Pakistani perspective’ links to some online credit card donations for Pakistan’s earthquake relief.
Shirazi of ‘Light Within’ links to some Pakistani bloggers response to the quake. Maria posts roundups of media responses to the quake.
Metroblogging Lahore has lots of info and links of the quake.
Pakistani Bloggers like Sepoy of ‘Chapati Mystery’ are taking personal initiatives to raise money for the victims.
Marisa Wikramanayake discusses the question of whether there is such a thing as a just war?
Via ‘Lanka Citizen’ the voice of the ordinary public warns the politicians for accountability.
Shandy, a British expatriate writes about his travel in many beautiful destinations in Sri Lanka, with lots of pictures.
Kate Baumgartner posts some beautiful pictures from Sri Lanka.
Here is today’s round up of some of the blogs of South Asia.
Bangladeshi rockstar James is due to make history to be the first ever Bangladeshi rock singer to have sung in a Bollywood Hindi film - via ‘The 3rd world view’.
Arnab of ‘A wave of alternative mandate’ says that human beings are becoming smarter.
Mezba shares his thoughts on Sharia law in Canada.
The latest Bharateeya Blog Mela (Indian Blog carnival) is up in Harini’s blog.
Anna of ‘Sepia Mutiny’ reports that an Indian college girl has temporarily married her teenaged boyfriend’s elder brother so she can live in the same house as her lover until he is old enough to marry her.
Amit of ‘India Uncut’ finds that there is a scarcity of Bengali foods in the eateries of Kolkata, the heart of West Bengal.
Dilip has thoughts on the comparison game people are playing with the Katrina disaster.
Kamesh’s catalog of interesting quotes.
Iruvaihudhu is not happy with the current Gayoom government’s actions against the pro-democracy movements.
Dinesh of ‘United we blog’ fears that the ubiquitous mentions of the military in the major national dailies may signal to militarization in Nepal. He also reports that Nepal Telecom’s deteriorating service quality frustrates mobile users in Kathmandu.
Ejaj links to some beautiful pictures of the Karachi beach.
‘The Glasshouse’ names the pakistani police as ‘the local crime boss’.
Pakistani perspective reports that in Pakistan the number of cellular phone subscribers in on the rise and has crossed the mark of 15 million already.
Shiraji takes us through the grand trunk road.
Indi.ca brings to us the history of asian chilli (capsicum).
Selvarajah blogs from the class!
Anush discusses about the Colombo International Book fair.
As if the arrest and imprisonment of buxom Shapelle Corby wasn’t enough to strain Australian-Indonesian relations, police in Bali have busted a Aussie lingerie model.
SYDNEY - Australian lingerie model Michelle Leslie could face up
to 10 years in jail after getting busted on the Indonesian resort of
Bali for allegedly possessing ecstasy tablets, officials said.
The 24-year-old, who has modelled for sassy lingerie line Antz
Pantz and works under the name Michelle Lee, was arrested at a party
near Bali’s popular Kuta beach at the weekend, they said.
The Swanker says:
If you’re one of those people who think the Australian media got into a
big tizz over Schapelle Corby solely because of her looks, wait til
they get a load of Michelle.
In other celebrity news, Other Lisa is horrified that ‘The Donald’ intends to bring the Apprentice to China.
Communist mainland China will soon have its own version of "The Apprentice" — Donald Trump’s reality TV tribute to capitalism.
Trump will be the executive producer of the Chinese show, which
will be hosted by Beijing property mogul Pan Shiyi, the South China
Morning Post newspaper reported Sunday.
The newspaper said China’s version would closely follow the U.S.
original, in which contestants compete for a job with Trump. Details of
the deal are under negotiation.
I wouldn’t worry too much about Trump crossing the Pacific. On top of tightening regulations on joint Sino-foreign productions, Vincent Lo of Hong Kong’s Shui On Group has already commenced a rival project.:
But "Wise Man Takes All" will not feature cut-throat
competition or Trump’s catch-phrase, "You’re fired!"
The show symbolises China’s embrace of market economics
after decades of strict state planning. Entrepreneurs are now
eligible for "model and advanced worker" status, an honour once
reserved for the likes of bus conductors, miners and other
employees of the Communist state sector.
"We are trying to sharpen the entrepreneurial spirit in
young people," Vincent Lo Hongshui, chairman of Hong Kong
property developer Shui On Land, a major sponsor of the show,
was quoted as saying.
Reality television is relatively new but catching on quickly
in China. Millions of people have been tuning in to watch the
late rounds of "Super Girl", a singing showdown that clearly
takes a page from "American Idol" and reaches it finale on
Lo’s project may not be as edgy as Trump’s, but it has a better chance of getting off the ground. In grey areas such as the entertainment media, it helps to have guanxi. And, as the Economist has noted, Lo is the "King of Guanxi."
Cyber War! Cyber War! Cyber War!
Japanese netizens are attacking a South Korean website:
The website of the Voluntary Agency Network Korea (VANK)has been hacked and its message board flooded by messages-
in what’s thought to be a retaliation by angry Japanese netizens (can I
call Japanese internet users netizens too?) over Google Earth changing
the name of the body of water between Korea and Japan from Sea of Japan
to East Sea after VANK lobbied Google Earth.
The South Korean government is setting up safeguards to prevent it from being caught in the crossfire as Chinese netizens attack Japan.:
“We don’t know whether cyber warfare will indeed happen between China
and Japan, but to prevent any fallout, we have devised countermeasures
jointly with universities and Internet service providers,” a ministry
Hong Kong daily reported recently that the Association of China’s Red
Hackers, one of the world’s five hacking groups, plans to launch
formidable attacks on the anti-Chinese websites in Japan between July
Rebecca McKinnion will soon be arriving to
I’m thrilled to have been asked to moderate a panel at this years first inaugural Chinese Bloggers’ Conference in Shanghai, November 5-6….
One thing I hope we’ll talk about is how we can do more to foster constructive dialogue online between bloggers in China and Japan.
A constructive dialogue would be nice. Though I’d even consider fostering a hostile dialogue progress, so long as it meant a reduction in hacking and ‘DNS atacks.’
In Japan, it’s hip to be square.:
Though Torii may not know it, he’s the type of guy who’s apparently all
the rage among Japanese women nowadays. Much of the media is currently
smitten with the country’s booming otaku culture. This has, in turn,
led to widespread claims that the geeks, freaks, weirdoes and fatties
who, like Torii, are collectively referred to as otaku, a group once
largely shunned by women, are now being seen as the country’s hottest
hunks. Apparently, their appeal lies in the belief that the otaku are
up for a purer form of love and are the obsessive types likely to
become devoted to the one gal once they’ve found her.
It’s tourist season in Pyong’yang. Seriously, to mark the 60th anniversary of
Allied Victory in World War Two’s Pacific Front Kim Il-sung’s almost single-handed defeat of Japanese fascist armies and the birth of the juche state, the country is holding three-month long Mass Games. We’ve been assured that these will offer some of the best acrobatics, gymnastics and xenophobia that Northeast Asia has to offer. As NK Zone notes, the Financial Times is offering some free coverage.
It’s been argued that governments are not doing enough to prevent the Avian Flu from becoming a pandemic. Thankfully, we now have "An Investor’s Guide to the Avian Flu," so even if millions do die, at least some of us can profit. (FWIW: CLSA issued a similar report several months ago, they just weren’t as gauche when selecting a title.)
It’s easy to understand why the Chinese border guards were grumpier. The Tibetan region has security problems while Nepal has… err Maoist insurgents and student rioters.
Global Voices offers another fine roundup on the blasts in Bangladesh.
When MasaMania posted his spread of Tokyo street-racing photos today, I was struck by this older link that showed up in my RSS reader today. I thought that a possible reason for the "Korea Wave," and the waning influence of Japan on Asian fashion trends, is that the trends coming out of Japan are just a little bit too freaky for the rest of the continent.
The fashion trends coming out of South Korea, meanwhile, are much safer… even if some of them are copies of trends that originated in Japan.
Here is today’s round up of some of the blogs of South Asia.
Tanim laments on which jobs are deemed respectable and which are not in Bangladesh.
Sadiq finds that the practices of prostration and Submission to God are similar among the major religions of the world.
Asif of ‘Unheard Voices’ sepeculates a big world tour of 50 amateur Bengali musicians from Boston to promote Bangla Gaan (Bengali songs) across the world from USA to Bangladesh.
Nitin Pai tries to find out what is the economics of espionage.
Amardeep of ‘Sepia Mutiny’ discusses the problems in the study of South Asian languages in US.
‘United we blog’ reports that authorities in Nepal have ordered an independent FM radio station in Kathmandu to immediately halt broadcasting news. In another post it depicts a battle between the police and college students. These shows the current turbulant poltical situation in Nepal.
Dareecha reports that the Pakistani government has planned to set up 47 radio stations in various areas of the country to create awareness among the masses about socio-economic issues and their solutions including promotion of literacy.
Pakistani perspective links to the news of a revel ‘pub’ in Islamabad challenging the conservative society.
Arsonists have attempted to burn down Ayah Pin’s giant teapot, the architectural centerpiece of his interfaith ‘Sky Kingdom’ sect. Based in Malaysia’s strongly Islamic state of Terangganu, devotees of the teapot’s purifying infusion have previously been arrested (as noted earlier on Asiapundit).
Meanwhile, striking tea-plantation labourers in Bangladesh and India are starting to settle their bitterly-protacted pay negotiations, but Nepalese tea-labourers associated with the Maoist insurrection have forced the closures of 21 tea estates.
And Texans newly introduced to green tea smoothies seem to think that green tea has no caffeine, and that once fat-filled artery-clogging smoothies have green tea added to them, that they are healthy.
Here is today’s round up of some of the blogs of South Asia.
‘BDeshini’ has some thoughts on the stained glass art she is mastering.
Sadiq links us to the only site that brings together the Scriptures from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - all in one place and with the finest translations available in English.
Mezba explains why fishing is a cruel sport.
Dina Mehta tells about a protest by SMS - The Thane Municipal Corporation is being bombarded by text messages from 627 families of Saket Complex, a society of buildings, complaining and urging action against the stench created by open garbage.
Desipundit points to discussions about bothering nasty comments in blogs.
Seven notable Indian journalist/economists have started a blog called ‘The Indian Economy’.
Pakistani Perspective posts an interesting review of the book ‘The dancing girls of Lahore’.
Abez has a recipe of Mango Milk for the husbands.
‘Chapati Mystery’ construes an interesting analogy:
The logic of the war on terror demands that there exist a cohesive ‘them’ while the premise of the jihadist narrative is the disintegration and dispossession of ‘us’.
United we blog has an informative post citing the usual misconceptions of Nepali Politics.
Here is today’s round up of some of the blogs of South Asia.
Sadiq (aka the mystic man) studies the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s mentions in Hindu scriptures.
‘Deshcalling’ links to a history of the Kashmir conflict.
Chandrahas of ‘the middle stage’ posts an interesting review of Naguib Mahfuz’s book ‘Akhenaten, Dweller in Truth’.
Dilip D’Souza discusses a myth behind the stars which are called Cepheids.
‘The Glass house’ links to an article about misfit Pakistanis in England.
‘Pakistani Parspective’ talks about a 10 year old Pakistani girl who has become the youngest Microsoft expert.
‘KO Offroad Pakistan’ shows an alarming state of Pakistan’s Internet connectivity.
‘United we Blog!’ reports that the Nepali government barred agitating political parties to hold the special session of the dissolved parliament in a public building in Kathmandu.
Hello Asiapundit readers this is my first guest post. I will be touring you around some of the blogs of South Asia.
Imtiaz slams Bangladesh politics, as opportunists are being able to influence the Prime Minister for their own interests.
Tasnuva talks about ignorant Pakistanis who does not have a clear idea of Bangladesh & the liberation war which separated itself from Pakistan.
Over at my blog ‘The third world view’ I have asked ‘whose problem is terrorism anyway’?
Abhi of Sepia Mutiny finds that the London bombers are the second generation Pakistani-British. This has aroused another controversy as some think that the Indians should not be refered to as ‘desi’ or ‘South Asian’, because they are not Pakistanis or Bangladeshis.
Kiruba writes about an interesting legal battle between Coca-Cola & Sharad Haskar, the best digital photographer of India over a photograph.
Parag thinks that the plight of Muslim women in India is equally bad if not worse than Pakistan.
Chapati Mystery celebrates the new ultra-hip cultural phenomenon ‘desi’ which is the focal point of marketing strategies of some of the US companies.
Pakistani Perspective slates a new ‘moral law’ (hasba).
KO Offroad Pakistan shows an alarming state of Pakistan’s Internet connectivity.
Anbika of United we Blog! discovers that Nepal’s private colleges are being increasingly involved into unhealthy competition to attract top students.
The Great Firewall of China continues to expand beyond the mainland’s borders, with distressing news coming from Japan and Nepal.
First, from the ‘tiny archipelago’ Gaijin Biker reports:
Hot on the heels of recent news that Japan will discourage people from using the Internet anonymously comes another disturbing announcement. Kyodo News reports:
The government said Thursday it will promote the use of filtering software against what it judges to be harmful information over the Internet, in a bid to prevent such incidents as group suicides and production of explosives via use of the Internet.
The government will map out procedures and criteria for police to ask Internet service providers to disclose information on the senders of messages on planned suicides. It will also try to educate people about the dangers of "harmful online information," and enhance consultation services about it, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said.
Japan’s proposed censorship would be limited
to ‘DIY sucicide,’ bomb-making and generally reprehensible sites. Still, as Gaijin biker notes in the full post, there is a slippery
And ICE reports:
Reports suggest that the websites www.insn.org and www.samudaya.org are being filtered in Nepal. Recall that Nepal actually severed its connection to the Internet itself after the royal coup.
Nepal’s censorship seems limited to items critical of the ruling monarch. Or, in extreme circumstances, everything that hasn’t been state-approved. Yes, there is a slippery slope: Nepal is close to the bottom
Late last week, Madhuban, a town on the Indian side (Bihar State) of the Indo-Nepal border was raided by Maoists from the Nepalese side. Local residents report of an attack with military like precision, the raid supposedly lasted only a few minutes. However, the bands of Maoists were successful in raiding banks, offices and even homes. The raid ended with a high number of casualties as a result of an encounter with the local police. Via the Indian Express:
The attack on Madhuban was the first of its kind—attacking multiple targets in broad daylight. Usually, Naxals attack one target, that too under the cover of darkness.‘‘Their planning had military precision, they started the offensive at 1.15 pm and ended it at 1.25 pm,’’ said Vinay Kumar. Bands of 20-25, many of them women, attacked each target while other groups cordoned off the town.
Eyewitnesses claimed many among the attackers seemed to be Nepalis and Intelligence officials are not ruling out the possibility of Madhuban being a joint operation of Indian and Nepalese Maoists. Though Nepal’s Maoists have denied their involvement in the attack, officials are not so sure. ‘‘They could be wary of the fallout, perhaps why they don’t want to admit to such an operation,’’ says an IB official.To officials, it’s clear that Left wing extremism has made the Nepal border its new turf and there are signs of increasing cooperation between Maoists on both sides.
The Indian state of Bihar, where the attack took place has been a hotbed of Naxalite/Maoist/Left Wing violence for years and a connection between the groups in the two countries has long been suspected. But, this daring raid is a very dangerous precedent of how the Nepalese civil war might spill across the border. Maoists or Left wing groups have long been active in India, having a stronghold across India stretching from the Northern state of Uttar Pradesh to the South till Andhra Pradesh. The unfortunate situation here being that this attack just adds on to the violence in the already troubled region of Bihar
The Eurocopter has landed on Everest, and - even more impressively - managed to take off.:
A French helicopter piloted by Didier Delsalle has landed on the top of Mt Everest.
This is an incredible feat and sets a new world record for the highest
helicopter landing/takeoff. Coverage of the story seems to have been
supressed somewhat due to the fact that the French expedition team did
not actually have a permit to land on Everest and so did not announce
their feat until safely back in France. In fact, according to this (report from nepalnews.com)
it looks like the Nepalese government is denying the landing at all and
there was some controversy over whether the helicopter actually landed
on the summit. However, eyewitness accounts from several expeditions on
the mountain at the time and a compelling video shot from the
helicopter seems to have dispelled all doubts.
The press release, video and photos are here.
It’s not easy to pick sides in Nepal’s civil strife. Normally I’d prefer monarchs over Maoists but…
King Gyanendra ended the three month state of emergency this past April 30, meaning he was supposed to ease up tight controls on civil liberties imposed since February. Of course, that didn’t happen. In the most recent example of his power grab, over 100 journalists were arrested for protesting against the restrictions.
Gateway Pundit has video footage of the arrests.
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