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 Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Myanmar/Burma, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Media, South Asia, Thailand, Web/Tech, Weblogs, North Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Central Asia, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Tibet

28 December, 2005

disasty awards/n korean fictional democide

AsiaPundit still cannot find humor in this year’s natural disasters*, especially as the anniversary of the tsunami was only days ago. Nevertheless, here are the Asia-related items from the Onion’s 2005 top-10 stories:

Disasty#2 Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, Kashmir Earthquake Battle for Natural Disasty Award

LOS ANGELES—In a night destined to provide "major upsets in the natural order," three of the biggest stars of the weather, pestilence or general phenomenon community will battle it out Friday for the title of Best Disaster of 2005. "Even though Katrina’s casualty count wasn’t as high as the South Asian tsunami, it possibly spelled the demise of an entire American city," said Rolling Stone writer and cultural commentator Touré. "And since it appears that the Kashmir earthquake’s strategy of playing to critics late in the season backfired, it looks like the hurricane definitely has the edge to win the Disasty." Touré added that Kashmir’s earthquake had a virtual lock on the Lifetaking Achievement Award.

North-Korea.Article# 4 North Korea Nukes Self in Desperate Plea for Attention:

PYONGYANG—Frustrated that its megalomaniacal outbursts no longer inspire fear and panic in the international community, the nation of North Korea detonated all six of its nuclear warheads early Thursday morning, killing 32 million in what international observers are calling "a pathetic bid for attention."

"This is very typical and melodramatic," South Korean President Roo Moo-hyun said yesterday. "North Korea has been ‘acting out’ for years—decorating its country with provocative posters, never leaving its borders, and getting aggressive with those closest to it. It has been this way ever since it was grounded from the national stage." UN officials are advising nations who feel self-destructive to speak to allies or counselors.

*AsiaPundit, obviously a sick man, can still find humor in fictional democide and North Korean nuclear activities.

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by @ 11:27 pm. Filed under Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

8 December, 2005

an ode to bush

AsiaPundit earlier this week expressed concern over the curriculum of Pakistani madrasas, what was being taught in mainstream public schools is also disturbing.:



by anonymous

Patient and steady with all he must bear,

Ready to meet every challenge with care,

Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,

Strong in his faith, refreshingly real.

Isn’t afraid to propose what is bold,

Doesn’t conform to the usual mould,

Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight won’t do,

Never backs down when he sees what is true,

Tells it all straight, and means it all too.

Going forward and knowing he’s right,

Even when doubted for why he would fight,

Over and over he makes his case clear,

Reaching to touch the ones who won’t hear.

Growing in strength he won’t be unnerved,

Ever assuring he’ll stand by his word.

Wanting the world to join his firm stand,

Bracing for war, but praying for peace,

Using his power so evil will cease,

So much a leader and worthy of trust,

Here stands a man who will do what he must.

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by @ 7:31 pm. Filed under Pakistan, Asia, South Asia

5 December, 2005

pakistan madrasa exodus

As relatively low tuition is maintained for nationals, Canadian universities have traditionally welcomed foreign students, who pay higher fees, as a source of funding. If similar pricing policies hold true in Islamic training schools, it seems that Indian madrasas could benefit from a Pakistan move to deny foreign students to that country’s madrasas.:

After the July 7th bombings in London, the Pakistani government was “persuaded” to adopt a policy that denies entry to all foreign students who wish to enroll in its madrasas. That decision however, does not include expeling current foreign students (including western students). For those people that don’t know, many of Pakistan’s madrasas are where future terrorists learn Islamofacism 101. They are analogous to the stagnant ponds that result in a swarm of deadly mosquitos flying forth. However, many of Pakistan’s clerics don’t like this new policy. Why? Free-market principles result in those foreign students that are denied entry to Pakistan, heading across the border for schooling in India. Mid-day.com reports:

Madrasa This seems to be a classic case of neighbour’s envy. Muslim clerics in Pakistan are miffed over its government’s recent decision which denies entry to foreign students coming to Pakistan’s seminaries, better known as madrasas, for training. What has particularly irked the clerics is that these students are now looking across the border and enrolling themselves in Indian madrasas for their religious training.

“Denying entry to foreign students in our seminaries and allowing them to get admissions in Indian seminaries will certainly improve India’s overall image in the Muslim world at the cost of Pakistan’s reputation,” says Hanif Jalandhari, head of the Wafaq-ul-Madaris al-Arabia, largest among the five Wafaq boards that have sole control of over 9,000 seminaries across Pakistan.

That quote would be funny if that cleric wasn’t serious. Is he actually suggesting that Pakistan’s madrasas have a good reputation? I honestly have no idea how India’s madrasas compare, but they MUST compare favorably. Some foreign students currently enrolled in the madrasas believe that the Pakistani government will relax its rules once international attention on the London bombings fades. Some of these students are simply extending their Visas, betting on a reversal.

AsiaPundit notes that it is only a minority of Pakistan madrasas that are de facto terrorist training camps, but it is common knowledge that some of them are. One study notes that 15%, a minority but still a sizable number, preach violent jihad.

One of the problems that nations such as Pakistan and Indonesia have is an unwillingness to acknowledge that there there are schisms in contemporary Islam that extend well beyond the Sunni/Shia split. ‘Moderate’ Muslims in will often reject the term ‘moderate’ and insist that all Muslims are brothers. Because politicians are afraid of offending the pious, the authorities refuse to crack down on truly dangerous institutions.

Beyond that, one of the biggest problems with the madrasas, as many of my Arab friends used to relate to me during my time in the Middle East, is that they simply create hordes of unemployable men who are trained at nothing except Koranic verse. The International Crisis group suggests that this is the case in Pakistan.

If the Indian madrasas are less radical and even slightly better at providing foreign students with employable skills than their Pakistani counterparts, then this exodus may not be a bad thing.

That is, of course, so long as none of the newly admitted foreign students blow themselves up in Mumbai.

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by @ 11:47 pm. Filed under Pakistan, India, Asia, Terrorism

26 October, 2005

blog quake day

Due to the relocation of Global Headquarters, AsiaPundit was remiss in not blogging the quake in South and Central Asia. But I would be doubly remiss if we didn’t mention Blog Quake Day. Buy a T-Shirt.

Aid-GlobeWhen first graders are going to canvas their ‘hoods for charity, when victims of the South Asian Tsunami are giving after losing almost everything, when nearly every person who is reading this can afford to do even more than the two groups I just mentioned in this sentence, then yes, we have no excuse.

I wrote that accusatory sentence a few days ago, as I posted about those selfless Tsunami-survivors. I asked, “What if we could do good?”, specifically in the context of our blogging, since we had all come together in a breath-taking, powerful way to stand up for truth, freedom and justice. Could we also unite to fight apathy? Disaster fatigue? Inertia?

I think we can.

Thankfully, people with more energy than me seized my flicker of an idea and ran with it. They heard the tentative call I put out after a fold. And they are doing good.

DesiPundit, predictably, is at the center of this movement. Sepoy at Chapathi Mystery was a pioneer when it came to quake relief. Even Instapundit, the big, bad, brand-name blog I quoted, along with TTLB, picked up on Blog Quake Day.

Now, it is our turn and after you read this, it is your turn. Today is Blog Quake Day. Do something. Give. Write. Post. Comment. Link. Give some more. Think. Do. Tag (“Blog Quake Day”).

Now, it is our turn and after you read this, it is your turn. Today is Blog Quake Day. Do something. Give. Write. Post. Comment. Link. Give some more. Think. Do. Tag (“Blog Quake Day”).

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by @ 9:47 pm. Filed under Pakistan, India, Asia, South Asia, Central Asia

16 October, 2005

south asian blog roundup


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.

‘The Glasshouse’ posts some heartbreaking facts about the recent Quake. He also takes a critical look at Pakistani leadership dealing with the disaster.

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.

Sri Lanka:

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.

by @ 8:46 pm. Filed under Blogs, Pakistan, India, Asia, South Asia, Weblogs, Nepal, Bangladesh

19 September, 2005

post-weekend links

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.


It’s Blogopoly, the Singapore edition. Go directly to jail! Authorities are looking for a hat-trick! Question: does a minor get tried as an adult when the crime is sedition?:

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.
SniperIn 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

BigmacWell, 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.:

HucanadaAlthough 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.
For a
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.:

MushieGeneral Musharraf’s controversiol comments during an interview with the Washington Post has provoked an outrage.
The issue concerns Mukhtar Mai, and the General has to say:

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

Nitin, Raven and Arzan have something to say.

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).:

Safetydriverecord…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
parked cars.

The Fight Club (aka Parliament) has started again in Taiwan. Jujuflop and Taiwan’s Other Side take a look, from the former:

FoodfightIn 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.

The photo is from last year’s memorable food fight. For more on Taiwan, check out Michael Turton’s weekly Taiwan blog roundup.

From Indonesia (via Friskodude) more reasons why you shouldn’t do drugs in Bali.:

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
closer friends.
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.:

DurianVia 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.


by @ 2:13 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Media, South Asia, Thailand, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Censorship, North Korea

15 September, 2005

south asian blog roundup

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’.

Sadiq writes wonderful spiritual articles on the beauty of creation and the divine romance.

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.

Sri Lanka:

Indi.ca brings to us the history of asian chilli (capsicum).

Selvarajah blogs from the class!

Anush discusses about the Colombo International Book fair.

by @ 7:44 pm. Filed under Blogs, Pakistan, India, Asia, South Asia, Weblogs, Nepal

27 August, 2005

saturday links

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):

GusdurWahid 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.

NukeThe 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."
Mr. McNamara
said in a telephone interview on Thursday that he could not remember
the conversation, "but it is probably correct."

Via Boing Boing, a look at Japanese sex toys and other sundries (nsfw):

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


 I like how, the way the packages are set up, the girl on the right
appears to be scowling at the girl on the left, as if jealous of her
younger, perkier pudding breasts.

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
global unilateralism.
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
trademark movement.


by @ 7:50 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Asean, Southeast Asia, Philippines, South Asia, Thailand, North Korea, Central Asia

5 August, 2005

south asian blog roundup

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.

Dilip D’Souza’s writings on the chaos when a metre of rain came down on Mumbai (the recent Mumbai flood). More accounts of the trauma the citizens of Mumbai faced - by Mukta & Uma.


‘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.

Deevan muses on the importances of being desi.

Pakistani perspective links to the news of a revel ‘pub’ in Islamabad challenging the conservative society.

by @ 6:42 pm. Filed under Blogs, Pakistan, India, South Asia, Weblogs, Nepal, Bangladesh

25 July, 2005

south asian blog roundup

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.

by @ 3:50 pm. Filed under Pakistan, India, South Asia, Nepal, Bangladesh

20 July, 2005

south asian blog roundup

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.

by @ 5:26 pm. Filed under Blogs, Pakistan, India, South Asia, Weblogs, Nepal, Bangladesh

18 July, 2005

ironic pretend ‘asian invasion’ loses ground to ‘actual’ pretend asian invasion

Asian diaspora bloggers in the West with ironically-threatening names, such as America’s Angryasianman and New Zealand’s Yellow Peril, are viewing America’s recasting of China as a non-ironically-threatening geopolitical force, to be a uniquely challenging branding dilemma.  Says Yellow Peril:

Since I started my convolutedly ironic, yet politically and culturally challenging diaspora blog, if you Googled ‘Yellow Peril’, the first thing that came up was ME.  That’s the way I like it.  How is the resurgence of Sinophobia and General Zhu’s threat of a nuclear strike [see below] going to affect my hitrate?

Meanwhile, the UK-born Asian diaspora was busy trying to figure out how many of them went to school with the London bombers

And in Sydney, one of Yellow Peril’s Chinese doctor ‘cousins’ treated a shambolic, mentally ill Muslim man with a broad Australian accent.  The local police then reported the terrified Muslim to the federal authorities because in the midst of his pavement ramblings, he said the word ‘bus’.

by @ 5:04 pm. Filed under Culture, Blogs, China, Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Current Affairs, Weblogs, Terrorism, Australia, Bangladesh

16 July, 2005

pathology of jihad

A research note from The Acorn.

The West prefers to believe that Jihadus alqaedus, the most feared variety of the Jihadus family is the most dangerous, and is devoting most of its energies to eradicate it. While it is fighting Jihadus talebanus in Afghanistan, it is content to allow Pakistan to carry on with its charade of appearing to support US and Afghan efforts against increasingly numerous ‘remnants’ of J. talebanus which was previously believed to be near extinction. As for Jihadus kashmirius, the West believes that this is a variety that Pakistan prepared specifically to attack India, and hence poses no threat to the world at large.


by @ 8:52 pm. Filed under Pakistan, India, Asia, South Asia, Terrorism

13 July, 2005

south asian blog roundup

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.

by @ 5:12 pm. Filed under Blogs, Pakistan, India, South Asia, Weblogs, Nepal, Bangladesh

1 July, 2005

india-us defense pact

While I had recently argued that the rise of China as a military threat is exaggerated, preparing for worst-case scenarios is both necessary and, moreover, can help build a deterrent to prevent such scenarios from happening. That’s one reason the new US-India defense pact is good news.

That said, I’m viewing the new pact with a narrow focus on China and Taiwan. There’s much more at play as this great roundup at Winds of Change demonstrates.

by @ 2:04 pm. Filed under China, Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Terrorism, Bangladesh

27 June, 2005

dear indian people, we love you too

KO, a Pakistan blogger, reciprocates the love:

In Pakistan, we have a slightly different democratic system from India, where you have the worlds biggest elections. You guys go to great lengths making sure everybody gets the chance to vote, wasting time and money sending voting machines on elephants and what not, while we have greatly streamlined the process. You see, Musharraf tells us he embodies the people’s desires, and so when he votes its the same as the whole country voting, so our process is much faster and terribly efficient. We hear that Bush is really envious of our system and has been asking Musharraf tips about the next US election.

Over the years our leaders have waged war and then taken halting steps to peace only to quickly run back to the safety in jingoism which their mediocrity demands, using hatred and fear for easy political gains. I have been watching this whole process from the sidelines for many years, wondering when the whole madness will end

by @ 12:48 pm. Filed under Pakistan, India, Asia, South Asia, Nitin Pai

16 June, 2005

dear pakistani people, we love you

A friendly neighborhood Indian blogger tries to communicate his feelings towards his neighbours. Chanakya at vichaar.org writes:

Dear Pakistani People,


We like Pakistani people. And we dont just mean Adnan Sami, Jal or Strings – we mean regular Pakistani folks. In fact, we like most people and cultures. Heck, we tolerate Laloo and he’s totally out of this world. We can understand your accent much easier than his!

Sounds good, but what about Jammu and Kashmir, you say. Ah yes. A real party pooper that. Well, here’s the truth. We’ve grown up seeing the “whole” of Jammu and Kashmir as a part of India in our textbooks. But then, so have you. So here’s the plan. Rid yourselves of the party pooper in the army costume and get a real government. Then lets talk over a few beers (okay, kawa or whatever for you guys. Lighten up, its just a figure of speech!). Let the guns stop talking and the kawa start taking effect. Then who knows what we will think of together ? Whats the tearing rush ? The Himalayas aren’t going anywhere. At least lets first stop slapping one another around and running to the U.S. like two silly brats in a school yard. The world is laughing at us, you know.

by @ 12:00 pm. Filed under Pakistan, India, South Asia, Nitin Pai

9 June, 2005

love kim like you love musharraf

Inspired by the manner in which the United States treated another military dictatorship that tested nuclear weapons and is neck deep in proliferation activities, North Korea has expressed a desire to be treated similarly (via ).

Analysts said North Korea might ask the United States to reduce its military presence in South Korea and remove North Korea as a potential target for a pre-emptive nuclear strike in exchange for Pyongyang’s abandonment of its nuclear weapons program.

Other sources in the U.S. government said North Korea may be seeking to be treated like Pakistan.

Pakistan has strengthened its ties with the United States even though it went ahead with nuclear weapons tests and has been implicated in the proliferation of nuclear weapons. [Asahi]

The Acorn’s advice: The Dear Leader needs to ask his propaganda machine to ‘find’ Osama bin Laden somewhere on the Korean peninsula, north of 38th  parallel.

by @ 1:44 pm. Filed under Pakistan, Asia, East Asia, Current Affairs, South Asia, Terrorism, North Korea, Nitin Pai

30 May, 2005

musharraf puts on the charm

With three international media interviews this week, one of America’s favorite dictators is clearly trying to charm the Western press. His efforts probably didn’t impress the neighboring mullahs though, notes Nitin.

SPIEGEL: What would you suggest for keeping the Iranians from producing the bomb?
Musharraf: I can’t say. They are very keen on building the bomb.
SPIEGEL: As Pakistan was.
Musharraf: Yes, we were keen. Nobody can accept a threat to its existence. Therefore we are very proud to have nuclear weapons.
SPIEGEL: Did Pakistan help Iran and North Korea to go nuclear?
Musharraf: An individual from Pakistan did

by @ 9:14 pm. Filed under Pakistan, India, Media, South Asia

15 May, 2005

no worse than the ‘dong’

Nitin at the Acorn notes a movement to include Pakistan dictator Musharraf’s picture on the currency:

Ishfaq Chaudhry, the Pakistan People’s Movement
chairman, has moved the Lahore High Court (LHC) to direct the State
Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to publish the picture of President General
Pervez Musharraf on the Rs 5,000 currency notes.

The petitioner said that 80 percent of the people of Pakistan supported President Pervez Musharraf’s policies. [DT]

"Mr Chaudhry does not go far enough," Nitin suggests. "The Pakistani Rupee could also be renamed to the Mushee."

by @ 6:28 pm. Filed under Money, Pakistan

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