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 Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Thailand, North Korea

31 August, 2006

Best Asian Foot-Fetish Blog

If there were an Asia Blog Awards category for best foot-fetish blog feet | man | seoul would probably win.

This was a day to truly be remembered, as I got to meet an interesting girl and very likely model for the site, if she agrees. This post will need to be full of some feedback, if you please.

If only because there aren’t any known competitors.

Photo and text from here.

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by @ 6:58 pm. Filed under South Korea, Blogs, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Weblogs

6 July, 2006

Pyongyang’s Great Train Robbery

With North Korea’s missile launch yesterday, debate has emerged as to whether China was either unwilling or unable to stop the launch. AsiaPundit believes there is some truth to both arguments, but the former is more probable.

Pyongyang cannot be prevented from doing anything — even something that goes against its own interest. As dependent as North Korea is on Beijing and Seoul, it is not a client state.

That said, if this Strategy Page report is to be believed, China’s influence over the rogue state is even less than AP had previously imagined.

Great-Train-Robbery…(Chinese) food and fuel supplies sent to North Korea have been halted, not to force North Korea to stop missile tests or participate in peace talks, but to return the Chinese trains the aid was carried in on. In the last few weeks, the North Koreans have just kept the trains, sending the Chinese crews back across the border. North Korea just ignores Chinese demands that the trains be returned, and insists that the trains are part of the aid program. It’s no secret that North Korean railroad stock is falling apart, after decades of poor maintenance and not much new equipment. Stealing Chinese trains is a typical loony-tune North Korean solution to the problem.
If the North Koreans appear to make no sense, that’s because they don’t. Put simply, when their unworkable economic policies don’t work, the North Koreans just conjure up new, and equally unworkable, plans. The Chinese have tried to talk the North Koreans out of these pointless fantasies, and for their trouble they have their trains stolen. How do you negotiate under these conditions? No one knows. The South Koreans believe that if they just keep the North Korean leaders from doing anything too destructive (especially to South Korea), eventually the tragicomic house of cards up north will just collapse. Not much of a plan, but so far, no one’s come up with anything better.
(via the Marmot, who notes that he has not seen any news stories corroborating this.)

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by @ 9:57 pm. Filed under South Korea, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

5 July, 2006


Oh No!! North Korea launched ten, six, three, at least five, “a series” of missiles, including what is said to have been a test of its long-range Taepodong-2.

Start panicking now!

 Images Atck-UsaA U.S. State Department official in Washington told Reuters a long-range missile, believed to be a Taepodong-2, failed 40 seconds after it was launched.
Experts say the Taepodong-2 has a possible range of 3,500-4,300 km (2,190-2,690 miles).
Daniel Pinkston, director of the East Asia non-proliferation programme for the California-based Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said the rocket’s failure would be a blow to Pyongyang.
“If there was failure that early on in the flight, there is no way they could make any claims of test-launching a satellite as they did in 1998. They will not be able to exploit the propaganda value of that after that type of failure,” he said.
The first time North Korea test-fired a long-range missile — in 1998 over Japan — it triggered a sharp increase in tension in the region and sent shockwaves through Far East Asian financial markets.

Experts say that Pyongyang is developing long-range missiles to have the capability one day to deliver a nuclear bomb, but that it is years away from acquiring such a weapons system.

Had the Taepodong-2 not exploded shortly after launch, it would have altered the balance of power in Northeast Asia and had been a major global concern. Now, it should be of the greatest concern to the rocket scientists who designed the dud.*

The failure is also a setback for the writers at the Korean Central News Agency, who issued this this amusing threat on Monday:

North Korea would respond to a pre-emptive U.S. military attack with an “annihilating strike and a nuclear war,” the state-run media said Monday, heightening anti-U.S. rhetoric amid close scrutiny of its missile program.

The title of this post was stolen from Arms Control Wonk, who offers the following multiple-choice question.:

So who looks more foolish here?

A. Kim Jong-Il for staging a July 4th fireworks display that blew up in his face;

B. William Perry and Ash Carter for hyperventilating that we had to blow up this missile on the launch pad, instead of waiting for it to blow itself up 40 seconds after launch;

C. All those reporter who repeated the Pentagon palbum about how until the launch failure “we were ready to do what was necessary to defend the country,” as if the interceptors in Alaska had any chance of intercepting anything; or

D. All of the above.

*AsiaPundit does not have any detailed knowledge of the inner workings of North Korean bureaucracy, but he expects Kim Jong-il views failure in a similar light as do other evil overlords. If not, those North Korean guys are at the very least in for a serious razzing at the next rogue state propagandist convention.

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by @ 2:54 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

27 June, 2006

Fung Shui for Websites

As regular readers know, AsiaPundit was recently redesigned.

AP would recommend that others seeking design work do consider approaching our designer Phin and Apothegm Designs. However, after reading the below Reuters report we now regret that no specific instructions were given for improving this site’s Feng Shui.:

FengshuidummiesA Web site where the colors hurt your eyes, the music offends your ears or has too much information is probably too cluttered and does not give a positive flow of ch’i,” says Vikram Narayan, a Mumbai-based feng shui practitioner.
The trick, Narayan said, is to remove things in your life or on your Web site that serve no purpose, and keep those things that serve you well.

But how does this apply to your Web site?

Experts say using a combination of astrology and numerology, the ancient sciences will help you choose the right colors, font, placement of graphics and navigation bar to make the perfect Web site.

Brijesh Agarwal of Indiamart, a company offering business solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises, says he has had mixed results on the five sites that his company has designed according to vaastu principles.

“We have found that on three sites the number of hits has increased by 60 percent but the other two sites have not been affected,” said Agarwal.

Until this site’s feng shui is improved, AsiaPundit recommends that readers take their own steps to address deficiencies. For instance, if you have not already done so please reposition your monitor so that all windows open facing either east or south (the directions of warmth and good fortune).

(Article via IndianRaj)

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by @ 12:55 pm. Filed under South Korea, China, India, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs

23 June, 2006

Clinton Era Consensus on N Korea

MissileA possible North Korean missile test has produced what is being called a diplomatic crisis.

AsiaPundit is not worrying. Like other long-time amateur observers of the Stalinist dystopia, AP has become so inured to bellicose statements and provocative actions from Pyongyang that they are likely to produce mockery or boredom.

Still, remembering words of wisdom from our parents — ‘it’s all fun and games until someone loses a large Pacific Northwest city’ – AP will refrain from making jokes about the crisis. This is a serious matter and attempts at jocularity should be avoided.

AsiaPundit is outraged by the way the US administration is handling this crisis. There has been too much waffeling. This matter could have been quickly resolved if only today’s politicians had the resolve and unity of vision that was characteristic of those of days past. If yesterday’s leaders were currently in positions of power we would certainly be seeing more decisive action.

Former US Republican House leader Newt Gingrich has called for a first strike:

NewtgingrichThe American public is being reassured that we have a ballistic-missile defense that will work. No serious person believes this. None of the tests have been robust enough or realistic enough to assure us that we could intercept the North Korean ICBM no matter where it was aimed.
In the immediate and present danger, the United States should not wait to attempt to shoot the missile down after it is launched. There is no proven reliable technology and no evidence that we could succeed. Instead, we should destroy the missile on its site before it is launched. Our ability to preempt the launch is nearly certain.
We can’t afford failure.
Imagine the North Korean dictator in a moment of insanity has placed a nuclear weapon atop of the Taepodong-2. Imagine he believes that taking out Seattle is the best way to impress us with how serious he is. Imagine that we allow this missile to be fired because we want to be in State Department language “prudent, cautious, reasonable, and multilateral.” Imagine what the “6/21 Commission to Investigate the Loss of Seattle” would report about 13 years of diplomatic failure and the failure of the United States to implement President Bush’s pledge.
America’s actions must be decisive. We are faced with a brutal, totalitarian dictatorship about which we know little. It is acting in defiance of all of its own international commitments. The time for talk is over. Either they dismantle the missile or we the United States should dismantle it.
From an American viewpoint of saving American lives and American cities certain preemption is much less risky than uncertain defense. That is a simple but painful fact. It is one Washington should act upon.

As well as Gingrich, Bill Clinton’s former defense secretary William Perry has also emerged to support preemption.:

PerryShould the United States allow a country openly hostile to it and armed with nuclear weapons to perfect an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons to U.S. soil? We believe not. The Bush administration has unwisely ballyhooed the doctrine of “preemption,” which all previous presidents have sustained as an option rather than a dogma. It has applied the doctrine to Iraq, where the intelligence pointed to a threat from weapons of mass destruction that was much smaller than the risk North Korea poses. (The actual threat from Saddam Hussein was, we now know, even smaller than believed at the time of the invasion.) But intervening before mortal threats to U.S. security can develop is surely a prudent policy.
Therefore, if North Korea persists in its launch preparations, the United States should immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched. This could be accomplished, for example, by a cruise missile launched from a submarine carrying a high-explosive warhead. The blast would be similar to the one that killed terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq. But the effect on the Taepodong would be devastating. The multi-story, thin-skinned missile filled with high-energy fuel is itself explosive — the U.S. airstrike would puncture the missile and probably cause it to explode. The carefully engineered test bed for North Korea’s nascent nuclear missile force would be destroyed, and its attempt to retrogress to Cold War threats thwarted. There would be no damage to North Korea outside the immediate vicinity of the missile gantry.

Oh how we wish we were back in the wonderfully bipartisan Clinton era.

UPDATE:Kim Jong-il must be trembling in fear. Walter Mondale has called for a first strike.

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by @ 5:39 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

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 Culture, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Philippines, South Asia

19 June, 2006

Footie, Babes and Lost Productivity

AsiaPundit apologies for the past week of inactivity. The lapse was partly due to technical issues, partly due to Asia Blog Award-related administration and partly related to the World Cup.

In regards to the latter excuse, AP is not alone. While there has not been much data on the tournament’s economic impact on Asia, from experience he will note that in 2002 trading on several regional securities exchanges was essentially halted (resulting in some very odd movements as a result of low volumes). Truck and Barter alerts us to reports on the costs to the US and US economies.:

In the US;
“The World Cup will likely cost American companies 10 minutes of productivity a day for 21 days, according to the outplacement company of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That comes to about $121.7 million in lost productivity in the US, a large figure, particularly painful for any company dominated by Englishmen, Germans or Brazilians perhaps.”
In UK;
“Based on an average hourly wage of £12.50, the law firm Brabners Chaffe Street calculated that during the tournament, if half of British workers surf the net for an hour a day, it will cost Britain nearly £4 billion in lost time”

In spite of the lost productivity, bosses are generally understanding and there are few sackings. In Indonesia, however, there has been one Cup-related firing and it was deserved.:

Siti-Hediati-Hariyadi-1A vain attempt by former dictator Suharto’s middle daughter Siti ‘Titiek’ Hediati Hariyadi to improve her super-rich family’s bad image by presenting the World Cup soccer tournament on her SCTV television network backfired after she was pulled off the air following a deluge of complaints about her ineptitude.
Titiek, whose company is the majority shareholder of SCTV, was at the helm of a three-member panel of hosts for each night’s opening game over the first three days of the World Cup. Her dire lack of knowledge and passion for soccer were painfully obvious as she was seated alongside Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) vice president Dali Taher and former national soccer coach Danurwindo.
Her incompetence was perhaps best demonstrated during the opening game between Germany and Costa Rica, when she erroneously referred to Germany as “Jerman Barat [West Germany]” – apparently forgetting that West and East Germany had reunited back in 1990.
Soccer fans, forced to watch SCTV because it is the exclusive Indonesian broadcaster of this year’s World Cup, lambasted Titiek’s ignorance, inexperience and awkward performance. They demanded she be replaced by someone more professional.
(Image stolen from Indcoup)

While the Suharto clan isn’t making any gains some Indonesian retailers are hoping to capitalize on the event, as are retailers everywhere. Although one French retailer is having trouble in China (again).:

Carrefour has fallen into trouble again with its Fangzhuang Store in Beijing selling fake Adidas footballs promoting the 2006 World Cup.
The ball with the sign of “Teamgeist” and price of RMB59.90 sold in the store has a similar appearance as that of real official ball of the World Cup. An unnamed staff from Carrefour Fangzhuang store quoted in local media says that he has no idea whether the ball has anything to do with the World Cup.
In response to this, Zhu Chenye, a manager from Adidas China, says that the football found in Carrefour is certainly a fake product for they have never produced footballs of that price. According to Adidas, the football used for the World Cup usually costs about RMB900.

For those disappointed that they won’t be able to buy fake balls at Carrefour, Malaysia’s Kenny Sia has a DIY solution.:

Yes, that’s right. For a fraction of the cost of an authentic adidas Teamgeist, I could make my very own official FIFA World Cup 2006 soccer ball. And I’m gonna show you how.
First, you’d need a regular soccer ball. Any one will do. Get a “Made In China” one at your local sports store for a cheap RM40.
Sure, it won’t last as long and the specs aren’t as good, but the improvements in the Teamgeist ball are minimal in practice you probably won’t notice it anyway.
Use spray paint of ICI Dulux, whichever you prefer. Gotta have a white background before you paint the designs on later ya know?
Now comes the difficult part.
You know how the Teamgeist ball features the signature World Cup trophy-inspired ’rounded propellers’? That’s important. That’s the whole reason why so many wanted the ball in the first place.
But how do you do it?
You get a box of Kotex.


In neighboring Singapore, which is unlikely to soon produce a World Cup Team, a scandal is developing based upon the pay scale the city state offers to African imports playing in the S-League.:

A story that has been running here in Singapore concerns the working conditions of a group of footballers from Africa (Kenya, Cameroon and Nigeria). In stark contrast to the wages earned by those competing at the world cup these players moved to play in the Singapore S league. All had signed contracts with the club, promising them $1,600 a month in salaries. But the club also deducted $1,500 of that money for food and accommodation, as the players had signed a separate contract with the club authorising the deductions. It is now reported that the issue has been resolved - after a meeting over the weekend between the Football Association of Singapore, the players and club management, the players have accepted a new deal, which will now increase their monthly take-home salary from S$100 (US$62) to about S$600 (US$375) a month

When AP suggested that Singapore will not soon have a World Cup team that assumption was based solely on economics and demographics. The city state cannot compete with any of the regional behemoths in either population or resources. However, if one sociologist is to believed Singapore may also be at a disadvantage because it is majority Chinese and the Chinese can’t play football.:

“A lot of people are pained by the fact that Chinese football did not makes it way to the World Cup. Many people make it a point of patriotism and blame the systems or institutions involved. I feel that Chinese people being bad at football is related to the character of our culture.
Chinese people, especially the Han, are a elegant and scholary people, who were never a proponent of reckless bravey and battle, preferring softer and more elegant methods. Football is not like this, it is an attack-intensive sport, with a violent character. American football is even more violent. These sports are not suited to the character of our culture.
There is lots of evidence for this:
Look at the historically famous men, from 梁山伯 to 贾宝玉. They are all bookish people.
Until a few years ago, the Chinese language did not have the word 性感 (sexy). Chinese people historically did not value ferocious images of men.

The Chinese don’t understand aggressive sports or sexiness??? AP is pleased to have some evidence to the contrary… for instance this local Esquire pictorial.:


Continuing with China, while AP has never envied local reporters, he does presently wish he was a sports reporter for a local Chinese outlet. It seems that all you have to do is show up to the games and make stuff up.:

Since the beginning of the FIFA World Cup in Germany, something strange is happening in Chinese journalism. Xinhua, CCTV and other official media sent huge teams to Germany, but their news reports are unexciting. Instead, the local or Internet media have scooped some amazing exclusives. For example, when Brazil beat Croatia at 5am on June 14, the Sohu sports page immediately had an exclusive interview with Brazilian star Kaka.
Finally, Xinhua could not stand it anymore and published an article titled “People who are even more awesome (full of shit) than Parreira) to expose the massive fabrications from certain Chinese reporters. The report pointed out that the extent to which Chinese reporters have gone must have astonished even Brazilian trainer Carlos Alberto Parreira.
For example, Franz Beckenbauer must be very busy going from one game to another, but he seems to be interviewed by mainland Chinese media every few days. He does not speak Chinese, but in the Sports Weekly exclusive interview, he can name the individual players on China’s national team. Even better yet is the exclusive interview with FIFA chairman Sepp Blatter in Shanghai Youth Daily, in which he came over after the reporter called out his name in a hotel lobby.

The tournament has been relatively free of violence this year, although there has been one unfortunate incident in an unlikely place.:

Thai gunman kills two noisy World Cup fans
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Thai police are searching for a gunman who shot and killed two soccer fans at a beach resort after complaining they were cheering too loud.
The two men, both Thais, were watching Italy’s 2-0 win over Ghana at a restaurant Monday at the Thai beach resort town of Pattaya, and erupted in roars when Italy scored its first goal, said Panipha Wattakul, a girlfriend of one of the victims.
A man seated at a nearby table asked them to quiet down, prompting a heated argument during which the man pulled out a handgun and shot the soccer fans at point-blank range, said Police Col. Somnuek Chanket. The victims were identified as Chamlong Rongsaeng, 30, and Somnuek Sonkun, 41.

Also in the Mekong region, Magnoy’s notes a Reuters item in which Cambodian strongman Hun Sen warns citizens not to bet the farm… literally.:

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen urged his impoverished people on Thursday not to sell their possessions to place bets on the soccer World Cup, saying it was probably a bad idea. “Go ahead and watch it, but do not sell your cows, motorcycles, cars, homes and land to bet on the games,” Hun Sen, a one-eyed former Khmer Rouge soldier, told farmers at a provincial hospital opening.
“Just bet verbally, for fun. Don’t sell your cows to bet on games of football,” he told the several hundred villagers and foreign diplomats at the ceremony.
World Cup fever has gripped the war-scarred southeast Asian nation, with Cambodians from every walk of life staying up into the small hours of the night to catch their favourite teams in action.
Hun Sen himself confessed to backing Japan — his government’s largest donor

AsiaPundit does not have a national team this year — and being Canadian likely never will — but he does have hopes for Korea, Japan, the US and Australia. For those who are also without a national team to root for, Owen offers a tool for making an ethical decision.:

WidebannerThe World Development Movement has a handy tool to help the ethical football supporter decide which team to support.
As I type, Tunisia is beating Saudi Arabia - according to the WDM, this is good news as it means that the 3rd most supportable team is beating the 29th most supportable, on measures such as carbon emmissions, corruption and military spending.

Finally, the Nomad notes with some disbelief a report that the South Korean cheering section has become a tourist attraction.:

Surely it can’t be so, but if I read it in a Korean paper, and it has something to do with Korea, then that’s the way it is. According to an article in the Korea Times, people from other countries are paying money (I know, unbelievable, ain’t it?) to come over here to take part in the outdoor cheering for the South Korean soccer team. Yes, you read that correctly, nothing wrong with your monitor or your eyeglasses.
“South Korea’s victory against Togo at the 2006 German World Cup on Tuesday put the country back into the world spotlight again after its achievement in the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. The soccer match, however, was not the only thing that caught people’s eyes _ what really made people excited was the outdoor cheering in the streets, plazas and other public places filled with people in red shirts, just like during the 2002 World Cup.”

While the Nomad is doubtful, AsiaPundit is more inclined to support that thesis. There is something appealing about South Korean fans. Some of them in particular.


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by @ 11:01 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Games

12 June, 2006

Three Gorges and Giant Jellyfish

Japanese scientists are blaming China’s Three Gorges Dam for a plague of giant jellyfish.:

Giant JellyfishMAINICHI, China - June 10, 2006 (UPI) — Researchers in Japan have concluded that a surge in the number of giant jellyfish off the Japanese coast is a result of a hydropower dam in China.

The Mainichi Daily News reported that researchers from Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies have suggested that construction of the Three Gorges Dam in China, the world’s largest hydropower dam, is responsible for the explosion of the jellyfish population. The jellyfish have a negative effect on the Japanese fishing industry.

Nomura jellyfish, typically found in Japan, measure up to one meter in diameter and can weigh as much as 200 kilograms.

One of the breeding areas for the jellyfish is near the mouth of the Yangtze River, near Shanghai. Construction of the dam is thought to have reduced the production of silicon, which is necessary for the breeding of phytoplankton, the newspaper said.

Still, if the report is to be believed, hydro-power related giant jellyfish are less destructive than the result of China’s coal dependence.:

In early April, a dense cloud of pollutants over Northern China sailed to nearby Seoul, sweeping along dust and desert sand before wafting across the Pacific. An American satellite spotted the cloud as it crossed the West Coast.

Researchers in California, Oregon and Washington noticed specks of sulfur compounds, carbon and other byproducts of coal combustion coating the silvery surfaces of their mountaintop detectors. These microscopic particles can work their way deep into the lungs, contributing to respiratory damage, heart disease and cancer.

Filters near Lake Tahoe in the mountains of eastern California “are the darkest that we’ve seen” outside smoggy urban areas, said Steven S. Cliff, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California at Davis.

(photo stolen from National Geographic, full size and high-res image here.)

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by @ 11:58 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

11 June, 2006

Pyongyang Rock City

South Korean boy band ShinHua made a rare appearance in North Korean capital Pyongyang. A You Tube video is available at GW North Korea. More interesting than the band is the audience, Preetam comments:

I couldn’t believe that North Korea allowed such seemingly western influenced band to play in front of North Koreans. The caption does say that the show was held in Pyongyang.

Occasionally the video zooms into the well dressed and sober audience. The audience reaction is priceless.


The women are all dressed in traditional hanbok and most of the faces look as if they don’t approve of such music.

The woman in the left seems interested while the women on the right is probably glad that she didn’t bring her kids along.

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by @ 11:01 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

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 South Korea, China, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia

5 June, 2006

Soju Yogurt Cocktail

Those who thought that the red wine ice cream mentioned in the previous post wasn’t appetizing probably would not enjoy a yogurt soju cocktail.:

SojugurtI had mentioned before that I had discovered some great soju cocktails at Indio. Since then, I have successfully attempted to recreate them at home, particularly the yogurt soju cocktail.

It is built like a highball, meaning that the ingredients are poured directly into the glass in a certain order with no stirring or shaking.

1 shot of Soju
Fill glass 2/3 full with Drinkable Plain Yogurt
Top with Lemon Lime Soda (Sprite, Chilsung Cider, 7-Up)

I have always had it without ice, but I’m sure ice is a welcome option on a hot day. It’s a very refreshing drink and not as high in alcohol as other highballs. This means you can drink a lot of these and not get dehydrated while having your summer BBQs.

(Via Buhkan Mountain Breakdown)

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by @ 10:50 pm. Filed under Food and Drink, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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

26 May, 2006

Cell Phones and Teen Depression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24 May, 2006

Who Cares about Dokdo?

Do you care about the status of the islands known as Dokdo. If you don’t you likely belong to the 99.994 percent of the world’s population that is not South Korean. GI Korea tested searches for the islands on Google trends:


I have been playing around with and it is an interesting tool to see who from what countries are searching for certain terms. After playing around with this for a while I thought what a great tool to use to once and for all see if anyone else in the world gives a crap about the Dokdo Islands controversy. Judging from the results you will see that .

AsiaPundit was intrigued by the findings, but thought to be fair that a test should account for language barriers. The Japanese name for the disputed set of rocks is Takeshima, However — and surprisingly — a test for that search term :

Picture 6

Oddly, Koreans are not only the most likely to care about Dokdo, they are also the only ones searching for Takeshima.

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by @ 12:33 am. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

23 May, 2006

Kimchi Kills

After years of reports that Korean national dish kimchi prevents regular consumers from contracting avian flu and SARS, a study has indicated that the spicy fermented cabbage dish may be linked to ‘the most common cancer among Koreans.”:

Kimchihealthfood-1The researchers, all South Korean, report that kimchi and other spicy and fermented foods could be linked to the most common cancer among Koreans. Rates of gastric cancer among Koreans and Japanese are 10 times higher than in the United States.

“We found that if you were a very, very heavy eater of kimchi, you had a 50% higher risk of getting stomach cancer,” said Kim Heon of the department of preventive medicine at Chungbuk National University and one of the authors. “It is not that kimchi is not a healthy food — it is a healthy food, but in excessive quantities there are risk factors.”

Kim said he tried to publicize the study but a friend who is a science reporter, told him, “This will never be published in Korea.”

Other studies have suggested that the heavy concentration of salt in some kimchi and the fish sauce used for flavoring could be problematic, but they too have received comparatively little attention.

Even the most ardent proponents say that at times, kimchi might be too much of a good thing.

Nutritionist Park, who in addition to the Kimchi Research Institute heads the Korea Kimchi Assn. and the Korean Society for Cancer Prevention, said that traditionally, kimchi contained a great deal of salt, which could combine with red pepper to form a carcinogen.

As a regular kimchi consumer AsiaPundit is deeply concerned about this report. Moreover, given how much Korean men smoke, he is shocked that gastric cancer is the most common form of the disease.

(Via Japundit)

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by @ 12:57 am. Filed under Food and Drink, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

19 May, 2006

K-pop Acronyms

In case you needed to know, Cathartidae brings us a listing of the abbreviations used by Korean pop groups.:

 Icsfiles Artimage 2006 05 12 C Ent Nws Lee LH.O.T. = High Five of Teenagers
JTL = Jang (Woo Hyuk) Tony Lee (Jae Won)
Fin.K.L. = Fine Killing Liberty
G.O.D. = Groove Over Dose
Baby V.O.X. = Baby Voice of Expression
N.R.G = New Radiancy Group
Swi.T = Song Will Tell
C&G = Chick & Guy
a.i.d.a = Angels in Distress and Anger
S.Z = Street Zine
P.L.T = Platinum
B.O.K = Boy of Korea
CLEO = Come Listen Every One
1Tym = 1 Time For Your Mind
S.E.S. = Sea Eugene Shoo
M.I.L.K. = Made in Lovely Kin
DJ DOC = DJ Dream of Children
HAND = Have a Nice Day
HOPE = Hoping on Passion Exist
D.bace = Divine Born Ace
KISS = Korean International Super Star
A-TOM = A Team Of Major
C.O.C = Cheerleaders of Charm
U.N = United N Generation
5tion = 5 True Image Of New
Q.O.Q = Quality of Quantity
T.T.Ma = Taste The Maximum
Roo’RA = Roots of Reggae
TRAX = Typhoon of the Rose Attack on X-mas
YG Family = Yang Goon Family
BoA = Beat of Angel
LPG = Long Pretty Girls
N.EX.T = New EXperimental Team

The picture used, , is of Lee Hyo-ri. She is currently a solo artist but was formerly a member of Fin.K.L
(Fine Killing Liberty? WTF?).

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by @ 12:08 am. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

18 May, 2006

All Look Same (Android Edition)

 Wp-Content Images Jpn-Kor Robot286X289

South Korean engineers have designed a human-looking robot to compete with one earlier designed in Japan. Taro Comments.:

In Japanese order right to left, hee, hee, via National Geographic Photo in the News: Female Android Debuts in S. Korea
You can play this game with real humans at All Look Same.com (www.alllooksame.com), where you can see if you can tell the differences between Korean, Japanese and Chinese.

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by @ 11:57 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

Korean Bills through History

Via The Marmot, a look at Korean currency under Japanese and since independence:


Related, but not Asian, a look at when when US currency was art.

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by @ 11:39 pm. Filed under South Korea, Money, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

14 May, 2006

Asia in Space

While the space programs of India and China have received some international attention, other Asian nations are also reaching for the stars — and overcoming unique challenges.

Ahead of the first space flight for one of the nation’s astronauts — hitching a ride with the Russians — Malaysia is seeking to establish how Muslim astronauts will pray facing Mecca.:

Muslims wash before they pray but not only is water a precious commodity in space, but it is also impractical in weightlessness.
Likewise, the faithful face Mecca. However, that will mean pin-pointing a moving location while in zero gravity.
And Muslim prayer times are linked to those of the sunrise and sunset, but in orbit the sun appears to rise and set more than a dozen times a day.

As well, the South Korean space program is seeking to develop space kimchi..:

ApricotstIn a move that’s sure to excite current and future astronauts, South Korea is developing space kimchi:

April 2008 will see the first kimchi in space when Korea’s first astronaut journeys to the final frontier. With the help of cutting-edge technology, the national delicacy acclaimed for its taste as much as its healthful properties will become “space food.”

Generally, Korean’s eat kimchi as regularly as Malaysian Muslims pray facing Mecca (perhaps even moreso, but the Malaysians I knew weren’t exceptionally devout). And you wouldn’t want an open bowl of kimchi in a zero-gravity environment.

(Astronaut food picture stolen from NASA.)

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by @ 10:49 pm. Filed under South Korea, Malaysia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia

24 April, 2006

moonie sushi

Bingfeng asked where the FLG get their money. AsiaPundit has no idea. But it seems another Far Eastern spiritual movement cult sect get a significant chunk of change from running a near monopoly on US sushi restaurants.:

 Wikipedia Fr Thumb 6 6D Sushi.Png 300Px-Sushi-1Adhering to a plan Moon spelled out more than three decades ago in a series of sermons, members of his movement managed to integrate virtually every facet of the highly competitive seafood industry. The Moon followers’ seafood operation is driven by a commercial powerhouse, known as True World Group. It builds fleets of boats, runs dozens of distribution centers and, each day, supplies most of the nation’s estimated 9,000 sushi restaurants.

Although few seafood lovers may consider they’re indirectly supporting Moon’s religious movement, they do just that when they eat a buttery slice of tuna or munch on a morsel of eel in many restaurants. True World is so ubiquitous that 14 of 17 prominent Chicago sushi restaurants surveyed by the Tribune said they were supplied by the company. [Chicago Tribune]

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by @ 11:32 pm. Filed under Food and Drink, Japan, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

hiroshima boilermaker

As bad as Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington may have seemed from a diplomatic perspective, it is hardly the worst incident recently.:

ShotarooshimaEvery time I think I’ve seen the most exasperating demonstration of Korean grudge-holding and hostility towards the Japanese yet, I’m trumped by the discovery of another even more outstanding gem of idiocy. This time, it’s a TV event, amongst whose participants is Japan’s ambassador to Korea, Shotaro Oshima, the recipient of a rather special sort of attention. Pay particular heed to the closing portion of this clip and listen carefully: even if you don’t understand a word of Korean, you ought to be able to recognize at least one word there.

Yes folks, if you were listening carefully, what you heard was indeed a head of beer foam being compared to the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, right in front of Japan’s ambassador, and very clearly for his particular consumption (that’s why the camera repeatedly returns to his face). To his credit, he gave this rude, childish display the response it deserved - silence - but I think it, along with the never-ending bellicose rhetoric over Dokdo - says a great deal about why all the goodwill built up in Japan towards Korea over the last few years is now quickly slipping away.

You Tube . This translation via Occidentalism.:

Oshimakorea6“Recently Japanese illegal trespassing on Dokdo (Takeshima) has been increasing frictions”

“OK, lets quickly change the subject! Putting aside ‘Poktanju’ (note: Koreans call a mixture of beer and soju ‘Poktanju’ - bomb wine) for a moment. From the Ambassadors facial expression”

“It seems like he does not like this Poktanju”

“For him, the Poktanju”

“Is like a flash and explosion of bubbles”

“Like the moment of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima”

“It resembles a mushroom cloud”

“For this reason, we will call this ‘atomic bomb wine’!”

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by @ 10:18 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

the fashion of bill gates

Should Bill Gates seek to expand his evil empire, he might consider a line of branded clothing for South Korean geeks.:

Gates-2Park Jin Sung, the 30-year-old founder of a wireless-technology company, combs through a rack of button-down shirts at a clothing shop. After close scrutiny, he picks out one in light blue that has a stiff, narrow collar and buttons spaced just right, so that the top two can be left open without exposing too much chest.

“Bill would wear this,” Park says. He points to a shirt he has rejected and notes: “The collar on this one is too floppy. Definitely not Bill’s style.”

William H. Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., may not be considered the epitome of chic in America, but in Seoul he is a serious style icon. Young South Koreans believe that dressing for success means mimicking Gates’s wardrobe, down to his round, tortoise-shell eyeglasses, unpolished shoes and wrinkle-free pants.

“Gates fashion,” as it is called here, will possibly strike American ears as an oxymoron. But it threatens to change the Korean sartorial scene.

(via Korea Liberator)

by @ 8:05 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

3 April, 2006

liberty love motel

Just as much as AP would like to stay at the Son of Heaven Hotel in Beijing, AP would like to stay in the South Korean ‘love hotel’ that is shaped like Lady Liberty.:


(Via Marmot)

Technorati Tags: , , ,

by @ 11:55 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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