29 September, 2005

Korean Golf Secrets Exposed

Korean female golfers continue to excel in the Lady’s Professional Golf Association (LPGA). In fact out of the top 30 female professional golfers, 10 of them are Korean. You may be asking yourself, how is a small country like Korea able to dominate women’s professional golfing? What is the secret to their success? Is there some kind of advanced training regimine or some mystic Korean herbal tea that is giving them such an advantage? Well look no further, the Korea Times has leaked the ancient Korean secret to becoming a master golfer; the ability to use chopsticks:

What enables South Korean lady golfers to be so formidable in the U.S. LPGA Tour? It is nothing less than the Koreans’ talent to make things skillfully with their hands, a trait handed down from generation to generation for thousands years.  Celadon in Koryo and the Yi dynasty are world famous for blue and white china in quality, and you know that pottery involves the same skills as playing golf.

Not to change the subject, South Koreans’ special talent to make things skillfully with their hands is also believed to greatly contribute to their making almost a clean sweep of the World Skills Competition.  By the same token, Koreans are good at various sports that are played chiefly with the hands: handball, archery and table tennis, to name a few.

Professor Hwang Woo-suk of the Seoul National University who led the first cloning of embryonic human stem cells told in a public lecture that one of his assistants surprised the stem cell big shots of the world with his skills, which were beyond their imagination but actually nothing for Koreans. Professor Hwang, referring to the use of chopsticks, mentioned that the Koreans’ skill with their hands contributed to their success in cloning embryonic human stem cells.

An editor golf fan of an English daily newspaper mentioned that one of the root causes for Korean ladies to play such great golf in the U.S. is closely connected to dexterity, which is also critical to preparing delicious Kimchi, a Korean side dish loved by the people around the world.

That is right folks, chopsticks! With the ability to use chopsticks you can become a top professional golfer, make pottery, play handball, become a master archer, and if you still got some time left you can do a little embryonic stem cell cloning on the side. This is not to metion the fact you can be a skilled maker of kimchi.

I just love how the Korea Times had to make sure they put something in this article about how kimchi is loved by people around the world, though I have hardly seen kimchi outside of Korea when I have traveled around the world.

Something else to consider before you start praticing your chopstick skills, don’t practice using them like the Chinese or Japanese, follow only the Korean technique for using chopsticks and food preperation:

Japanese, who also use chopsticks like Koreans, once produced a golf great named Ayako Okamoto, who became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1981 and won 17 events between 1982 and 1992. She was recorded as the first woman from outside the U.S. to top the LPGA tour’s money list in 1987. Among Japanese golfers playing in the PGA of America is Shigeki Maruyama, who is often compared to South Korean golfer Kyung-ju Choi. Despite this, the Japanese do not surpass Koreans in the golf world possibly because they do not attach as much importance to the hands in preparing foods. They use sashimi knife in preparing raw fish, their all-time favorite, instead of directly using hands as Koreans do.

Similarly, the Chinese do not distinguish themselves as much as Koreans in the LPGA tour of America because they do not stress the role of hands in making foods. Their food culture features fire. Mostly they use fire to create taste instead of using their hands.  Among Chinese golfers, Hong Mei Yang became the first Chinese player to win a tournament in the United States in April 2004 by capturing the IOS Futures Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas, the developmental circuit for the LPGA Tour.

Of course, there are some other factors that make all the great achievements possible including tenacity and indomitability, two characteristics of Koreans, along with quite a lot of synergy among the South Korean golfers. But without the dexterity unique to Koreans their great success would be hard to imagine.

For those not familiar with the Korean media, these type of articles are very common to reinforce Korean pride and sense of superiority, especially over the Japanese and the Chinese. Everything seems to revolve around kimchi, chopsticks, and Dokto.  My only question is how did Annika Sorenstam become so dominant without kimchi, chopsticks, and Dokto?

If you haven’t had enough chopsticks and kimchi you can read more about it over at Cathartidae.

by @ 3:07 am. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia

27 September, 2005

Hollywood Losing Influence in Japan

Bae Well known Hollywood stars have a secret they don’t want you to know about:

A Hollywood in-house secret, Japanese TV commercials were once talked about with a wink and a shake of the head. Piles of cash were paid to stars willing to peddle anything from whiskey to cigarettes, cars to coffee, instant noodles to cafe latte — as long as nobody told the fans back home. Hey, did you know Dennis Hopper did one for bath products? How much do you figure Leonardo DiCaprio got for that SUV spot? A million? Three?

However, these Hollywood stars are losing their popularity in Japan:

Sadly, the days of seeing, say, Harrison Ford guzzling Kirin beer may be over. American stars have not vanished from the Japanese advertising landscape, but their numbers have dropped dramatically since the heyday of the 1990s, when even Mickey Rourke was considered bankable here.

So who is taking the business from these Hollywood stars? Asian film stars are, led by the remarkable success of Korean film star Bae Yong-joon or otherwise known in Japan as Yon-soma:

“The Hollywood brand isn’t the best anymore, and Hollywood actors aren’t effective enough anymore,” said Yukio Mori, president of Systrat Corp., a marketing and promotion consultancy in Tokyo. “Consumers are in favor of singers or artists who are familiar, rather than foreign movie stars.”

The catalyst for the change, almost everyone agrees, has been Japan’s raging love affair with Korean culture that took everyone here by surprise two years ago.

The phenomenon was spearheaded by a drama series called “Winter Sonata,” a tragic love story featuring Bae Yong Joon, a South Korean actor affectionately referred to as Yon-sama in Japan. With his baby face and great teeth, Yon-sama, 33, flutters the hearts of Japanese women in their 30s and older, who tell market researchers he rekindles the romantic urges they felt in their youth.

It’s a demographic that makes marketers swoon, too. Yon-sama is now the biggest foreign star in Japan. Bigger than Brad. Bigger than Leo. Dozens of Japanese companies are desperate to attach their brand to Yon-sama, or at least to find the next great Korean star.

I don’t much care for Hollywood stars any more either, so I can’t blame the Japanese public getting turned off by them. Today’s Hollywood actors seem more concerned about promoting themselves and their politics than actually making good movies.  Anyone see Sean Penn show up in a boat in New Orleans with his personal photographer? 

Chinese film stars as well are having success advertising products in Japan including one of my personal favorites Zhang Ziyi:

And Asiance, a shampoo brand built on defining beauty with a pan-Asian look, has seen its market share grow after an ad campaign featuring China’s Zhang Ziyi, who starred in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

If I was trapped in New Orleans I would rather have Zhang Ziyi come to save me instead of Sean Penn.

by @ 7:45 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, South Korea, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media

sex ed in seoul

Sexmusuem In a country filled with a thriving sex industry it comes as no surprise that Seoul now has it’s very own Erotic Art Museum:

Nestled behind the Hyundai Department Store next to Sinchon subway station, the Erotic Art Museum would be easy to miss save for a shiny golden replica of Michelangelo’s David outside that evokes both the elegance of some exhibits and the tawdriness of others.

The museum’s gregarious director, Won Myung-ku, did not stumble onto this calling by chance. A former worker in the tourist industry, he was blessed with the opportunity to do extensive traveling, during which time he came across and collected traditional craftworks dealing with sex from as far as Malaysia, Thailand and Africa. These experiences brought home to him how few such artifacts he had seen from his homeland.

“A culture of sex has been lacking in this country,’’ he said, “and I want to contribute to increasing the level of sex education among Koreans.’’

It is ironic that Mr. Won thinks Korea lacks a culture of sex when you are literally surrounded by the sex industry here. Just about every US military installation has clubs that offer prostitution right outside the main gates. Than there are multiple red light districts in every city here.  I have even been on the remote Korean island of Ullong-do and I was amazed to see a red light district on the island as well.  In addition to the clubs there are “barber shops”, massage parlors, and tea shops that offer their own sex services. 

The museum does offer some interesting historical perspectives on Korean customs towards sex during earlier Korean dynasties:

Elsewhere, there is a wide array of phalluses, used for everything from preventing disease to promoting fertility to fighting infidelity. Apparently, in Choson times it was believed that if women in the village were committing adultery, it was a sure-fire sign of too much “umgi,’’ the feminine form of “ki,’’ or the “life-force’’ which is central to much Eastern philosophy and medicine. The placement of a large wooden phallus in the village was considered the best way to deal with this problem.

They may need to put theses phalluses on every street corner in Korea now a days. 

by @ 6:53 pm. Filed under Culture, South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

25 September, 2005

light posting

Due to the relocation of the AsiaPundit global headquarters, a delay in the new HQ’s internet setup, plus a mid-week trip to Nanjing, there will be a very light posting schedule over the next week. I encourage readers to check out Simon World and Global Voices Online in the interim (but do come back).

Also, I’ve recently added a tip-jar and advertising. Our first paid ad is from Kangtao.com, a Singapore community classified site.

For more details on advertising (or contributing) contact .

by @ 2:15 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

24 September, 2005

scrutinizing chinese state-run corporations

The Horse’s Mouth points to an article from NewsMax that highlights one of the reasons Washington might be justified in its concern over Chinese state-run companies purchasing American corporations:

The Chinese army has converted a U.S.-made airliner into an advanced military command aircraft. The conversion is a direct violation of U.S.-Sino trade agreements and U.S. export laws. Officials at the U.S. State and Commerce departments refused to comment on the illegal Chinese modification.

….The aircraft now serves the Chinese army and is intended to fly PLA commanders during war. The 737 is intended to allow a PLA crew of generals and staff to fly close to a battlefield, issuing commands to their army, navy and air force from the airborne headquarters.

If the Chinese are so willing to blatantly disregard international trade agreements in order to further their military influence, why should it be so surprising that Washington and the American public feel threatened by corporate takeovers by Chinese state-run companies? Particularly those that involve strategic energy resources such as oil and natural gas.

by @ 6:42 pm. Filed under China, Asia, Current Affairs

23 September, 2005

hello kitty lawsuit

Still more evil from the mouthless one from Sanrio.:

The Standard reports on the long arm of Sanrio and its damn cat:

 Archives Kitty Hello Kitty’s copyright holders are threatening to sue FM Theater Power, a local drama troupe, for infringing its intellectual property rights, it was revealed Thursday.

The stage enthusiasts, a group of secondary students and drama lovers, said they received a letter Wednesday last week from local solicitor Victor Chu and Co representing Sanrio of Japan accusing them of stepping on Hello Kitty’s copyright tail.

Sanrio requested that the drama group disclose all the details of activities connected with the production, promotion and staging of the play Kitty Hunter, including advertising materials, ticketing information, audience counts, revenue and profit…Banky Yeung, artistic director of the group and writer of Kitty Hunter, said the drama was simply a love story about a girl named Kitty, even though plush Hello Kitty toys are used as props and images similar to the cartoon character serve as promotion materials…

The good news for the theatre troup is this kind of publicity will do far more for ticket sales than any flyer.

If you can stomach it, you can eat Hello Kitty.:

 Ramen Ramen


Technorati Tags: , ,

by @ 9:27 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, Hong Kong, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Hello Kitty watch

poll on format changes

AsiaPundit is considering discontinuing the almost-daily link roundups in favor of a series of short-posts. The key reason for this is because feedburner is unable to handle the larger more graphic-heavy posts that have been common here.

A question for regulars: would you prefer a less-graphic roundup or a short-post structure?

by @ 5:05 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

22 September, 2005

thursday links

ESWN makes a good argument in defense of Yahoo!’s co-operation with Chinese state security, and says he expects stone silence to his post. Because of that, it gets top of the page in today’s roundup.:

Yahoo2The police came quickly, assessed the situation
and decided that there was a chance of a bomb.  Hong Kong is one place that
takes possible explosives very seriously on account of the 1967
disturbances.  All pedestrian and vehicular traffic along Nathan Road was
stopped, and all shoppers and workers were evacuated.  This led to massive
traffic backups in one of the busiest part of the city.  At around 930pm, the
explosive disposal squad was in place to defuse the bomb.  A robot was sent
up and used a water gun to break open the box.  Fortunately, there was no
bomb inside, just two bricks.
The investigators then looked at the piece of
cardboard.  It read like a note from a disgruntled ex-employee of
PCCW.  There was an email address: .
Based on this and other information (note: there was a web page URL that is
blurred out in the magazine photo), the man was arrested.  He has been
tried and found guilty of threatening behavior.  The judge said: "In
the 21st century of our times, there are numerious incidents of violence,
attacks and bombing in the world.  To make the people of Hong Kong live in
a state of constant fear is a serious crime."  The man has not yet
been sentenced. . .
Yahoo1If several hundred requests come into Yahoo!
every day, how would they know which is which?  As Jerry Yang said,
"We do not know why they want that information.  We’re not told what
they look for."  So in order to tell which is which, Yahoo! will have
an in-house Chief Privacy Officer, who will demand the law enforcement agency to
produce the full evidence, explain the purpose of the inquiry and then he/she
will play God/Supreme Court Justice and render a decision in his/her infinite
wisdom.  Routinely, this CPO will have to make several hundred potentially
life-and-death decisions every day.  Now who wants that Chief Privacy
Officer job, with all the pressures and the legal and moral liabilities?. . .
In the case of Shi Tao, the law enforcement
will simply say the subject is suspected of having sent a state secret document
overseas via the Yahoo! email account on a specific date.  There is no
personal identification because the purpose of the request for the IP
information was precisely to detect the unknown subject.  Would you think
that the CPO will then demand to read the state secret document before deciding?
Is the CPO a good judge?  And does the CPO know how to deal with a genuine
national secret (such as the date and detailed plans of the invasion of Taiwan)?
I submit to you that Option 3 is not a good idea and corporate employees should
not be making these types of decisions.
As I said before, I expect stone silence to
this post, because the world is enjoying Yahoo!-bashing too much.

We now return to our regularly scheduled Yahoo! bashing.

Essential reading for cyber-dissidents, Reporters Without Borders has issued its guide for bloggers (pdf). Rebecca reviews it here.:

BlogguideThe Handbook for Bloggers is useful for beginners and veteran
bloggers alike. It starts out with several introductory chapters,
explaining how blogs differ from other kinds of websites, blogging
terminology, how to select a blogging tool and web-host, and how to get
started.  The middle chapters focus on tips that even veteran bloggers
will find useful. Journalist, blogger and We the Media author Dan GillmorMark Glaser
offers tips on how to "make your blog shine." I learned a lot from the
chapter on how to get your blog picked up by search engines, written by
internet consultant Olivier Andrieu.

A while back, I posted an Atanu Dey item praising Singapore over India. Today, via Amit Varma, an item that argues Singapore’s northern neighbor also has some lessons for India.:

MalaysiaMy wife and I are in Malaysia now on a short term assignment for our
company, and every time we step out of our house in Penang, we feel the
amazing effects of a liberal economic policy. This small, densely
populated island off the coast of Malaysia (Penang) is a big
electronics manufacturing base (thanks to a Free Trade Zone, and a port
that was formerly duty free) and it is easy to see what this has done
to the local economy.
There is a booming free-spending middle
class, and almost no poverty. Everyone who wants to work seems to be
able to find a job, and they are doing well enough to import labor from
Indonesia for low-paying jobs. There are signs of development
everywhere - new roads, new bridges, new high-rises. And from what I’ve
heard, Penang reflects what is going on around the rest of the country.
to say Malaysia doesn’t have its problems, but economically, they seem
to have found the secret to growth. We see all this, and naturally, the
next thing we think is, "When will this happen to India?"
We are
doing it backwards, it seems - Malaysia had manufacturing move over
here first, and that brought in a support engineering force which
slowly grew into a full fledged "high-tech economy." We got some
"low-tech" engineering activities first, and are hoping for the trickle
down from this to help our economy in other areas.

Far Outliers links to a study on the divergence of opinions in China and Canada on separatism.:

TaiwanWhereas Canada has acclimatised to living next to its superpower
neighbour, absorbed the values of a virtual state and discarded the
traditional expectations of the importance of territory, China is a
rising power with an acute sense of grievance from the way it has been
treated historically, or at least the way it perceives it has been
treated. This strong inferiority complex has stimulated an intense
desire to do something about what many Chinese believe is their
misfortune, to occupy an international position that conforms to
traditional power politics and emphasises the value of territory.
QuebecCanada’s attitude is reinforced by its commitment to democracy and
interdependence, and to the granting of the wishes of the people of
Quebec, whatever they may be. The Chinese, on the contrary, lacking
both a commitment to democracy and self-determination or the status of
a developed state, view Taiwan not as an area containing a population
that should have some say in how they are governed, but as a
geopolitical object to be manipulated to maximise the glories of a
greater China.

Richard brings a troubling tale from the NY Times on police brutality and injustice in China.:

For three days and three nights, the police wrenched Qin Yanhong’s arms
high above his back, jammed his knees into a sharp metal frame, and
kicked his gut whenever he fell asleep. The pain was so intense that he
watched sweat pour off his face and form puddles on the floor.
On the fourth day, he broke down. "What color were her pants?" they
demanded. "Black," he gasped, and felt a whack on the back of his head.
"Red," he cried, and got another punch. "Blue," he ventured. The
beating stopped.
This is how Mr. Qin, a 35-year-old steel mill worker in Henan
Province in central China, recalled groping in the darkness of a
interrogation room to deduce the "correct" details of a rape and
murder, end his torture and give the police the confession they
required to close a nettlesome case.
On the strength of his coerced confession alone, prosecutors
indicted Mr. Qin. A panel of judges then convicted him and sentenced
him to death. He is alive today only because of a rare twist
of fate that proved his innocence and forced the authorities to let him
go, though not before a final push to have him executed anyway

In light of the bird flu scare in neighboring Indonesia (which authorities there are calling an epidemic) Malaysia is cracking down on chicken smugglers (surely there are more lucrative illegal trades).:

ChickenI mean real chickens, the ones we have on our table for dinner. Yes,
it seems Malaysia actually has a shortage of chickens, hence a window
of opportunity opens itself for more dubious characters to actually
make a living smuggling them from neighbouring countries.
Now I know why a friend of mine who was an accountant quit his job
to open a chicken farm. The ‘rumour’ that McDonalds Malaysia created
quite a few ‘chicken’ millionaires might be true then.
From a Reuters report,

Malaysia said on Wednesday it was boosting precautions
against bird flu, and considering fines or jail terms for smugglers of
poultry from neighbours such as Indonesia, now battling the disease.

Seven-years to the day following his jailing, as Lone notes, former Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim announced he plans to sue former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for defamation.:

AnwarMahathirFormer Malaysian deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim said Tuesday he will
launch a lawsuit against one-time prime minister Mahathir Mohamad for
accusing him of being a homosexual.
Mahathir said earlier this
month that he was forced to sack Anwar in 1998 to prevent mainly-Muslim
Malaysia from having a homosexual leader. Anwar was jailed for sodomy
after his sacking but the conviction was overturned last year.
cannot have a person who is like that in my cabinet who may succeed and
become the prime minister. Imagine having a gay prime minister. Nobody
would be safe," Mahathir told reporters.
Anwar said he was
"shocked" to hear of Mahathir’s "defamatory" remarks, particularly
after a court last month awarded him 1.2 million dollars in damages
over a book that aired the sodomy allegations.
"I will not
allow this lie and slander to continue. Thus I have instructed my
counsel to initiative legal action against Tun (honorific) Mahathir,"
he said in a statement.

Lucia Lai notes that some concerns are being voiced over Dr M being allowed to participate in a human rights conference.:

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) marked its 6th
anniversary and Human Rights Day in Malaysia recently by holding a
hypocrisy party in the capital city, with former premier Dr Mahathir
Mohamad giving the opening address.
A group of 30
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had initially written an open
letter to Suhakam urging it to "close the door" on Dr M for a simple
reason that he had committed a host of "human wrongs" with regard to
human rights at home.
They had provided Suhakam a list of human
rights abuses in Bolehland by Dr M and pointed out that it would be
wrong to invite "a leader who perpetrated extensive human rights
violations" during his 22-year political reign."

AsiaPundit has earlier noted South Korean concerns about how Google Earth allows users to view the South Korean presidential compound and military bases, Pyong’yang, and the secretive Communist Party of China compound of Zhongnanhai. Politics 101 Malaysia is now noting that the spy satellite for the masses is .:

After recent my recent comments on Google Earth and ,  the fear continues.
A United Press International report on
Tuesday says terrorists and “rogue state” intelligence agencies could
be making use of free internet satellite images that leave sensitive
British military facilities exposed.
Yet again I ask, will our parliament address this issue during this session?

Tokyo Times reports on the 2005 video game show, some of it’s good… but some of it is frightening.:

Booth_babeCosplay_freakAs far as video games go, the 2005 Tokyo Game Show
was something of a let down. Microsoft to its credit had the Xbox 360
up and running, yet the playable games on offer hardly sent the pulse
racing. Sony on the other hand managed to do nothing but frustrate,
showing only videos of future PlayStation 3 software, the majority of
which contained very little (if any) in-game footage.Thankfully
the ubiquitous booth babes saved the day, the scantily clad young
ladies more than making up for the lack of quality games on offer….
Yet amazingly, this bevy of beauties was upstaged by the event’s
massive cosplay contingent. ..
However despite the coy smiles and tasteful wigs, I think it was the
shapely legs and green leotard of the group’s feminine leader that
grabbed most people’s attention.

A Taiwanese in China creates a blog dedicated almost entirely to toilets (seriously).:

Toilet1This one is the same as last one. Toilet in tibet temple. These walls
are higher than those in 1st picture. So, you can not play cards with
your friends who go to toilet next to you. :)…
Toilet2This toilet is more "modern". This one was taken in
a famous tibet temple in yovnan. The small metal spot on the wall is
the button for you to clean your "waste".
you know how to go? Yes, face out. No door, of course. But, in this
toilet, there is water. You can push the button on the wall. Yes, that
very small metal spot in the picture. So, in this kind of toilet, no
shit smell. It’s clearier. There is also another kind of toilet in the
very courtryside place. I did not take pictures. CAUSE, I CAN NOT GO
INTO THAT KIND OF TOILET. Shit everwhere near the door of that kind
toilet. How can I go? It’s really very strange. How do local people go?…
this kind of very local & old toilet are in very small viliages.
"public toilet", mm, maybe. So, next time when you have a chance to
drive along a road in small countries in mainland China, remember to
find "public toilet". Then you can see this very localized toilet in

Monty Python needs to reform and do a skit on Taiwan politics, like the WUFI, the People’s Front of Judea are also Splitters/Splittists.:

In case you were wondering the ‘World United Formosans for Independence’ and the ‘Taiwan Defence Alliance’ should not be confused with pro-formal independence political parties like the Taiwan Solidarity Union (which regularly polls between 5-10% in national elections), the ‘Taiwan Independence Party’ (which gained 0.3% of the vote in the last election), the ‘Peasant Party’ (0.4%) or the ‘Taiwan Number One Party’ (didn’t bother standing).

Someone will not be getting another invite to speak at Beijing University.:

Prominent Taiwanese commentator/legislator/raconteur Li Ao delivered one mother of a speech
at Beijing University yesterday. In front of a stunned audience, with
several high-ranking mainland government officials openly squirming on
stage, Li .
He openly criticized China’s censorship, saying that went against
what even Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai would have wanted. Quoting the
Collected Writings of Mao Zedong, he said,
"凡是歷史上發生的東西,都要在歷史上消滅。因此,共產黨總有一天要消滅…,S’s" i.e. "Every
historical figure that has risen has also been destroyed. One day the
Chinese Communist Party will also be destroyed by history…our mission
is to bring about its destruction a little more quickly." He made
not-so-subtle references to the Tiananmen massacre, saying that all
governments are bastards who are willing to open fire on their own
people. He even got in plenty of digs against the
charismatically-challenged former KMT chairman Lian Zhan and the
charismatically-gifted but politcally-challenged current KMT chairman
Ma Yingjiu.

Mr Wang notes Jacob’s run in with the authorities because his number was saved on Singapore Rebel director Martyn See’s cellphone. Mr Wang says the Singapore police really should exercise some restraint, at least for PR reasons.

…please bear in mind that Martyn See is blogging about every stage of
your investigations. This is a highly sensitive case. All kinds of
media organisations, international and local, are closely following
Martyn See’s blog for updates. So Mr Wang advises you to take extra
care in how you conduct your investigations. If you do any silly things
like Haul Anyone and Everyone Who Is Found in Martyn See’s Handphone
Down to the Police Station For Interviews, Martyn will blog about it
and the whole world will read his blog and think the Singapore police
is really acting silly.

Japundit reminds us why Engrish.com should be a regular surf stop.:


by @ 10:59 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, Blogs, Singapore, China, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Media, South Asia, Weblogs, Central Asia

21 September, 2005

short wednesday links

Monday’s big news - that North Korea was giving up its nuclear program - was, as I expected, a premature April Fool’s joke.:

Having agreed to relinquish all nuclear weaponry and programs less than a day ago, North Korea is already back to its extortionist routine (via The Lost Nomad):

North Korea said Tuesday it will return to an
international non-proliferation regime and allow inspections by the
U.N. nuclear watchdog only after receiving a light-water reactor from the United States…
statement went on to say that the U.S. should not dream that the North
will scrap its nuclear deterrent without provision of a light-water
reactor, a basis of mutual trust [boldface mine].

Since the US position has been crystal clear that the demand for a
light-water reactor is a "non-starter," one wonders exactly what was
achieved by the "breakthrough agreement" yesterday.

Do you Yahoo!? Well stop! They’re evil. Rebecca McKinnion does a test on China’s internet filters and discovers that Google is the lesser of two evils.

YahooWhat do these screenshots illustrate? They show that Yahoo! actively
filters politically sensitive terms from within its own service. Even
if a Chinese user finds a way to access Yahoo from outside China or via
a foreign proxy server, they will still get filtered search results on
politically sensitive terms. By contrast, Google does not actively
filter. The filtering of Google search results is done only by the
Chinese ISP… although Google helps hide this process from Chinese
users by choosing not to show results that the Chinese user would be
unable to access.

And after helping have a journalist jailed, Yahoo! has decided to build its own news team (IHT via Howard French).:

HONG KONG Journalists beware. Hot on the heels of news that Yahoo
provided the information that helped China’s state security apparatus
to track down and jail a reporter comes the same company’s announcement
that it is to hire a journalist to provide its own coverage of major
global events.
The first item is troubling enough. The Chinese reporter, Shi Tao, who
worked for a Chinese newspaper, was given 10 years in jail for
providing "state secrets to foreign entities" - the "secrets" being new
censorship impositions that he passed on to two overseas prodemocracy
The juxtaposition of the second is alarming. It is hard not to draw the
conclusion that Yahoo’s news gathering will be driven by the same
profits-at-all- cost mentality behind its cooperation with China’s
suppressors of news providers and whistle blowers.

For more on Yahoo!’s China activities visit the highly dedicated, English and Chinese, Yahoo Privacy Blog.

But to be fair to Yahoo!, no company would give up a chance on doing business in China because of ethical considerations…. What’s that? Time Warner quit China over censorship requests? Woah!

According to Chief Executive Officer Parsons, it was
AOL-Time Warner who pulled out of the partnership with Legend in 2001
after authorities in Beijing made a series of unreasonable demands on
the company in regards its joint Internet venture with Legend; leading
AOL-Time Warner executives to pull out of their partnership over
ethical concerns, and the fear that acquiescence to Beijing’s demands
would seriously damage the company’s standing with consumers in the US.

“[We were concerned about] what we would look like here in the U.S. if we agreed to a governmentally imposed regime where words like democracy had to be blocked”

Richard Parsons, Chief Executive, Time Warner

among the reasons cited by Chief Executive Parson, as being behind the
ending of the partnership, was the insistence by Beijing that
Government agencies be allow to intercept, modify and retain data being
sent to and from the online subscribers; a move that would have enabled
Chinese security forces to eavesdrop on anybody in China who used AOL’s
software or servers to access the Internet, and to block any or all
content as they saw fit.

This doesn’t mean that AOL doesn’t suck, but merely that they suck less than Yahoo!.

Unlike China Doll, AsiaPundit .:

ClBEIJING (AFP) - A condom maker in southern China’s Guangdong province
is marketing its products under "Clinton" and "Lewinsky" brands and has
registered the names as trademarks, state press said.
The Guangzhou Haojian Bio-science Co is selling its wares under the
Chinese spelling of the names that read "Kelintun" and "Laiwensiji,"
the New Express reported.
ClintonlewinskiThe names in China are easily recognizable as former US president Bill Clinton and his one time lover, Monica Lewinsky.
The Clinton brand is set to be the company’s top product selling for
some 30 yuan (3.7 dollars) for a pack of 12, while the Lewinsky brand
was expected to fetch 18 yuan.
The company unveiled the product on Monday. General manager Liu Wenhua
expressed confidence the names would not get him into trouble since
they are only "trademarks of two foreign surnames and can’t be seen as
a violation of rights," the report said.

I visited Arms Control Wonk for details on Monday’s statement on North Korea’s nuclear program, and ACW does have great stuff on that, but also of interest was this creepy item.:

GeneThe advertisement (right) is not science fiction.
Blue Heron Biotechnology of Bothell, Washington “can synthesize any gene regardless of sequence, complexity, or size …”
synthesis is a revolutionary technology, which offers the prospect of
making life better for millions of people around the world. The ability
to order the exact gene would revolutionize the production of vaccines
and the creation of tiny bio-machines.
But what if you wanted to cook up some synthetic polio in the lab?
You can do that, too.
A group of researchers from SUNY Stoney Brook synthesized polio over the course of three years. Blue Heron claims it can perform a similar size job in a little under 12 weeks.
Terrified yet? In 2003, a CIA Report entitled The Darker Bioweapons Future warned that advances in biotechnology “could be used to create the world’s most frightening weapons.”
Blue Heron has refused orders that seem suspicious;for example, Blue Heron turned down
an order from Saudi Arabia for a variola gene related to smallpox—but
not all manufacturers of synthetic genetic material screen purchases.

Following in the footsteps of his father, Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni has launched a website. We hope a blog will follow. (via Cambodia Morning):

The ruler will keep his subjects up to date on the new internet site.
website is divided into five sections - news, biography, social
activities, correspondence and video - and will be written in three
languages, English, Khmer and French.
Before launching the new web page, the king used the internet site run by his father, former King Norodom Sihanouk.

Is the Korea Wave over? In Korea, it’s hip to be Japanese.:

Today’s Yahoo messenger cultural lesson was in regards to the word "san" which I have always thought meant "mountain" in Korean.
But lately, I have noticed that Koreans are starting to address each other like this: Bae-san, Kim-san, Park-san, etc.
I asked Jeff what was up with that. Surely they weren’t referring to each other as Mount Bae, Kim Mountain or Park’s Peak.
All of it seemed very reminiscent to
me of The Karate Kid and (what was his name, the guy who caught flies
in his chopsticks…Mr. Yagi?) the whole "Daniel-san" thing.
Jeff then told me that the Koreans are using "san" these days not as in the word mountain, but as in the honorific title used in the Japanese language just like Yagi did in The Karate Kid with Daniel-san.

The day job and technical problems have restricted blogging in recent days. Part of that will soon be solved.


by @ 11:56 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

”juche ted”

Turner After reading this transcript of Ted Turner’s interview with Wolf Blitzer I am positive the guy is nuts.  Here are a few excerpts:

We have agreement there. But I had a great time. I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere. There’s really no reason for them to cheat or do anything to violate this very forward agreement. I think we can put the North Korea and East Asia problems behind us,


Well, hey. Listen, I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin, and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars. But I didn’t see any brutality in the capitol, or out in the DMZ. We drove through the countryside quite a bit to down to P’annumjom and Kaesong. We traveled around.

I wonder what Ted Turner is thinking now that the North Koreans have already reneged on their agreement?  Plus has it ever crossed Ted’s mind that the people are thin over there not because they ride bikes, but because of the poor agricultural policies he mentioned in the interview?  Make sure you read the rest on your own.  Especially if you are from Alaska.  Turner doesn’t feel you are worth protecting from a North Korean missile attack.  You can read more this here and here.  I guess we can just call him “Juche Ted” for now on.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

by @ 7:07 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

19 September, 2005


With Japan, Korean and Hong Kong down for holidays, I expected a slow news day. I also hadn’t expected April Fool’s Day stories on the start of Korea’s Chuseok, Japan’s Aged day holiday and Hong Kong’s mid-autumn festival. I was wrong.

This is unexpected! North Korean, perhaps, seemingly, have …

pledged to drop its nuclear weapons development program
and return to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
In a joint statement issued here Monday, North Korea promised to
give up all nuclear weapons and present nuclear programs and to return
to the NPT as soon as possible, while accepting inspections by the
International Atomic Energy Agency.

Kushibo, who doesn’t likely remember me from Kexpat, notes:

The North "committed to abandoning all nuclear
weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date"
to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and International Atomic Energy
Agency safeguards, according to the agreement.

exchange, the North would receive energy assistance and a pledge from
the United States that it won’t attack. Pyongyang and Washington
pledged in the agreement to respect each other’s sovereignty and right
to peaceful coexistence, and also to take steps to normalize relations.

OneFreeKorea has a look at the six-point statement and says:

Whether you’re exuberant or
despondent about this, your reaction is probably premature, although
everyone is entitled to be despondent about the fact that we may not
know much else until November.

Oranckay looks at the same statement and says:

Having seen the 6 point statement they’ve agreed to I feel obliged to note a serious problem in the translation.
Item 4 should read:
“In the spirit of one-Korean-nationness and for the peace and stability
of Northeast Asia, the DPRK agrees to accept all the BS that comes out
Republic of Korea Unification Minister Chung Dong Young’s mouth as
fertilizer aid, as this will further the cause of juche-oriented
independent intra-Korean reconciliation.”

And NK Zone notes a breakthrough may lead to a return to the 1995 KEDO-agreement status quo.:

It seems that something serious is happening in Beijing. It might be a
false dawn, of course, but at any rate this is how the entire crisis is
likely to end sooner or later: a revival of KEDO in some form, in
exchange for international monitoring.

AsiaPundit says: Whoo 1995! Did I mention how much things feel like 1997? AsiaPundit also says, don’t hold your breath on this… Kim Jong-il loves his nukes.:


by @ 11:12 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

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

Educational Cultural Exchange

It appears more than the Hallyu phenomenon is being culturally exchanged between China and Korea. Rampant cheating in Chinese classrooms has caused the government to implement harsh measures to crack down on this behavior:

Punishments will depend on the "impact on society" of individual infractions, Xinhua said, citing a draft of the law now before the Law and Politics Committee of the State Council, China’s cabinet. Relatively minor violations could result in a fine, while large-scale organized cheating could result in the maximum sentence along with additional punishments that weren’t described.

Last year’s cheating incidents in Henan used cell phones messages to send answers to students taking the three-day national university entrance exam. Students and teachers used text messages and digital cameras to pass questions to other teachers outside the exam hall who looked up the answers and messaged them to students who paid for them.

At least seven teachers and five students were arrested, though details of the charges or punishments they face were not disclosed. Other scams have involved switching exam papers and the use of "hired guns" — brainy students paid to take exams for others.

From the Horse’s Mouth it seems Chinese teachers approach their jobs just like Korean teachers do:

Now that’s what I’m talking about. You’ve got to admit, whenever the government decides to lay down the law - they go all the way! Unfortunately, the students aren’t going to know what hit them if they are caught cheating because it is completely tolerate and even encouraged in the lower levels of education from elementary to high school. High scores make the teachers look good and it makes the school look good.

Cheating in Korean classrooms is a continuing problem that shows little signs of improvement no matter how many proclamations the government makes against it.  Every year during the National Exam time frame the newspapers are filled with stories of the latest exam cheating scams.  The papers are also equally filled of stories of students who probably didn’t cheat and failed the test so they decided to commit suicide by jumping off the top of an apartment building

As long as a student’s future college and career ambitions are subject to the results of one test, students will continue to find ways to cheat on these tests.  Also keep in mind it isn’t just the students impacted by the results of the tests.  Teachers are judged by how well their students score on the test and parents, particularly mothers in Korea, are judged by family and peers on how well their children perform in school.  As long as the two parts of society that should be condemning cheating have so much riding on how well their children perform on these exams, they have little interest in cracking down on cheaters.  Is the western style education system better than the Asian system of National Exams?  That I don’t know, but what I do know is that children in western schools are not throwing themselves out of apartment buildings.

by @ 6:49 am. Filed under South Korea, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

16 September, 2005

Roh and Imperialism

Roh South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun recently made some highly controversial comments during his keynote address to the United Nations:

President Roh Moo-hyun, in his keynote address at the 60th plenary session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, said the world “must shake off the mindset and vestiges of imperialism that appear to linger in various forms.” He also called for vigilance against a resurgence of “self-centered” major powers. Countries leading the international order today must first undertake a thorough self-examination and reflect on their past and future, Roh said.

The presidential spokesman said the remarks were made with no particular country in mind. But it is not hard to guess which country is being targeted by the use of the word "imperialism" in the world order unfolding since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

It is interesting that President Roh will make such comments when his country relies on the current world order to maintain Korea’s current economic might.  This is what the Chosun Ilbo had to say in regards to this reality:

Our country is the 11th largest economy and 12th biggest trading nation in the world. That is the outcome of our rapid growth in the past 60 years since our liberation from Japanese colonial rule, fully enjoying the benefits from the international order that stands on the axis of the United States. The cold reality we face leaves us no alternative but to stake our future on exports. It must have been that consideration that prompted the president to dispatch our troops to Iraq despite opposition from his supporters.

Yet the same president who took that step has now branded the international order we have relied on and have no alternative to relying on in the future as "imperialism,” in an international arena where the leaders of over 170 countries were assembled.

That sort of thing is usually done on the formal diplomatic stage by some South American and African countries. No wonder then that a number of people who listened to the president’s address said it reminded them of the Bandung conference in the mid-1950s, where some Third-World countries attacked both the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

President Roh should also keep in mind that this so called imperialism that he is accusing the US of, Korea is guilty of as well.  Many consider the US imperialists because of the unchecked spread of American companies and culture backed by US military might.  Using this definition it is easy to argue that Korea is just as guilty of imperialism as the United States.  They just commit it on smaller scale since they are a smaller country.

Here are a few examples.  First of all, Korea has continued to build it’s economic muscle throughout the world by using cheap sweat shop labor from China, Cambodia, Philippines, etc. to manufacture products for export.  Also, Korean culture has spread unchecked led by the Hallyu phenomenon that has spread throughout Asia and beyond.  If people are tired of having American music pushed on them, than I’m also tired of having Bae Yong-joon being shoved down my throat.  Korea as well has used their military might when needed to back their own economic interests.  The sending of Korean soldiers to Vietnam is the ultimate example of this.  In recently released documents, former President Park Chung-hee even admits to deploying troops to Vietnam for mainly economic reasons:

President Park Chung-hee viewed the Vietnam issue pragmatically. After reading a Cheong Wa Dae report in January 1965 on troop deployment to Vietnam, Park left a hand-written note in the report saying, "Deploying troops may be unavoidable, but we will make sure we get sufficient compensation" from the U.S.

The most recent example of using the military for economic reasons is the deployment of the Zaytun unit to Iraq.  The Korean politicians can spin the reason for the deployment as for humanitarian purposes all they want, but the bottom line is that Korea is in Iraq for economic reasons which benefit the national interests of their country.  If Korea was in Iraq for humanitarian purposes than they would be doing more than installing a few toilets

Nations use their economic, cultural, & military capabilities in a manner that best advances their national interests.  Korea is no different.  So President Roh can whine all he wants about US imperialism, but if he really wants to end imperialism maybe he needs to start looking closer to home.

by @ 7:55 pm. Filed under South Korea

short friday links

AsiaPundit has had a long week, actually AsiaPundit hasn’t had a day off since the fourth and won’t until the 24th (when he will have to spend a whole weekend moving the apartment and AsiaPundit Global Headquarters). So tonight, very, very, short links. I’m getting a nice tasty beer. See you at the Shanghaiist party.:

ShanghaiistpartytonightWhat: Help celebrate Shanghaiist’s first 67 days of existence!
Where: British Bulldog Pub, 1 Wulumuqi Nan Lu, near Dong Ping Lu (乌鲁木齐路1号,近东平路)
When: Friday, Sept. 16, 7 pm-ish to late
Who: Everybody
Live music: Xingfu 13 (Tang Hui Pub’s house band) at 9 pm, Shanghai Cowboys (old school country and western) at 10 pm
Drink specials: Those who bring a printout of the party flyer
get two extra hours of happy hour (2-for-1 on selected drinks). Normal
happy hour runs from 6-8 pm. Extended happy hour will go from 8-10 pm.
Dress code: We don’t care what you wear
Entrance fee: None!
Prizes: Guests will have the chance to win some great prizes kindly donated by local businesses:

While China shuts down blogs for comments that offend the state, in Malaysia a blogger temporarily shut his site for comments that he found offensive. (via Caleb):

Blogger to pull plug on culprit
Halim Said
Kuala Lumpur, Sept 16:
A blogger, angered by a seditious message on his weblog, intends to lodge a police report today against the sender.
Peter Tan, who owns petertan.com/blog, said he will provide the
Internet protocol (IP) address of the sender, nicknamed ‘good man’ to
the police.
Tan, who started his blog two years ago, said the abusive message containing racial slurs was posted at 7.16pm last Sunday.
Tan, 39, from Penang, said he was puzzled when he saw the message,
days after it was posted, as he was away attending a seminar for the
disabled between Sept 10 and 14.
“As I had no access to the Net during the seminar, I could not
screen the messages coming into the blog,” said Tan, a paraplegic.
Tan admitted that he had received several malicious messages on the blog last month but had deleted them.
“I’m keeping this one (message) for the authorities. This has gone
too far and I want the person who did it to be held accountable.”

It’s well known that China wants to continue putting men in space, we’re not yet clear on whether China wants to knock satellites out of the sky.:

MissilegirlChallenges to Space Superiority,
published by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, highlights two quotations by “Liying
Zhan” of the “Langfang Army Missile Academy” to suggest that China will
“threaten on-orbit assets.”
Gregory [Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists] tracked down the original article (here is the article in Chinese) after I noticed the quotes seemed, well, too good to be true.
Turns out, I was right. The term “translation” is less appropriate than, say, “distorted hack job.”

Now, Gregory Kulacki and David Wright have written An Analysis of a March 2005 Report by the U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center (15 September 2005).

Endemic cheating in school won’t help China produce all of those rocket scientists it will need, something should be done.:

Those who have spent any length of time
at all in a Chinese classroom know just how rampant the cheating and
plagiarizing runs in this country. There is absolutely no sense of
academic honesty in China, which somewhat helps to explains why they
don’t have any respect for intellectual property either. However, the
Central Government is now considering measures that would send cheaters to prison for exam fraud.

SHANGHAI, China — Exam cheats, think again — instead of four years of college, you might get seven years in prison.
government is considering a law calling for sentences of three to seven
years for particularly egregious cases of exam fraud, the official
Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.
the past, cheats were merely banned from future tests. A pair of widely
reported cheating scandals last year in the central province of Henan
involving crooked teachers and scores of students prompted calls for
harsher punishments.

A short reminder to US readers, not everyone in South Korea hates you.:


For more, OFK has a letter from Congress to Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. Also see the , GI Korea and the Nomad.

The always-excellent Jamestown Foundation has posted its latest China Brief.

Do you Yahoo!? Simon Patkin doesn’t!;

Following the revelation of Yahoo’s disgraceful leaking of email
details with regards to journalist Shi Tao, I have decided to switch my
home page from Yahoo to www.myway.com
I will still use Yahoo when I need to or it would be inconvenient to do
otherwise. But, at the same time if things can be done in another
company’s website, I will use that website in preference to Yahoo. If
you feel the same way and it does not inconvenience you too much, maybe
you can move from Yahoo too.

Chinese netizens have reacted to reports of Mainland Chinese behavior at HK Disneyland (ESWN translates). Still, Hemlock notes that the mouse is undeterred, the big lychee will see another park.:

Mickeyhat_1Disney is promising us a second theme
park, even as the Mainland pee-pee situation at the first one gets
worse.  According to wild American friend Odell, the Chief Guest
Behaviour Management Artist’s lot is not a happy one.  “All the
squatting, smoking and spitting – we can handle that,” he assures me
over a lingzhi and jojoba latte at the IFC Mall branch of Pacific
Coffee.  “It’s the other stuff.  We’ve had several babies die because
of milk formula made of talcum powder and chalk dust.  There’s a gang
trafficking women.  And yesterday a hundred people were killed in a
coal mine explosion in the bowels of the Snow White Grotto.”  But is
the thing making money?  He nods and mumbles something about harvesting
organs for transplant. 

(nb. this post was accidently held in ‘draft’ status until Saturday morning.)

by @ 6:45 pm. Filed under South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, 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

very short thursday links

It’s been a busy two weeks and this is a very short Thursday roundup, AsiaPundit hopes to return to its usual state next week. New contributors are still welcome ( email: asiapundit @ gmail.com )

An update on the Singapore sedition trial, where a blogger and a BBS poster have been charged, I should link to Elia Diodati, but Kevin Lim gets the honor because he has such a keen visual.:


Two men suspected of expressing Anti-Muslim opinions online in June this year were charged yesterday under the Sedition Act.
Two men suspected of expressing Anti-Muslim opinions online in June this year were charged yesterday under the Sedition Act. You, Nicholas.
Songfa faces three counts of the charges, indicating that on on the
evenings of June 12th, 15th and 17th, he expressed anti-Malay and
anti-Islamic sentiments on his blog “Phoenyx Chronicles”, which was
hosted on the website www.upsaid.com.
[Court documents] show
that Xu Songfa used insulting terms to address and describe Malay
people, taunting their customs and religion, and made disrespectful
jokes about Allah , the deity of Islam.
Lin You faces two
counts [of the charge]: in the early mornings of June 16th and 17th, he
wrote anti-Muslim sentiments on an online forum on the dog lover’s
website www.doggiesite.com, in response to a Malay lady’s letter in the
Straits Times Forum.

More on the Lion City via the Peking Duck, Tom Friedman praises Singapore and bashes the Bush administration.:

There is something tremblingly self-indulgent and slothful about
America today - something that Katrina highlighted and that people who
live in countries where the laws of gravity still apply really noticed.
It has rattled them - like watching a parent melt down.
That is certainly the sense I
got after observing the Katrina debacle from half a world away here in
Singapore - a city-state that, if it believes in anything, believes in
good governance. It may roll up the sidewalks pretty early here, and it
may even fine you if you spit out your gum, but if you had to choose
anywhere in Asia you would want to be caught in a typhoon, it would be
Singapore. Trust me, the head of Civil Defense here is not simply
someone’s college roommate.
Indeed, Singapore believes so
strongly that you have to get the best-qualified and least-corruptible
people you can into senior positions in the government, judiciary and
civil service that its pays its prime minister a salary of $1.1 million
a year. It pays its cabinet ministers and Supreme Court justices just
under $1 million a year, and pays judges and senior civil servants
handsomely down the line.

Friedman is right that the Singapore civil service is generally top-notch, and that the city-state is probably better prepared for disasters than any government in Asia and perhaps the world. It’s state of preparedness is freaky. For instance, private homes - by law - must have bomb shelters. And as far as I know, the Lee family’s college roommates are not guaranteed government jobs. Members of the opposition definitely aren’t. Members of the Lee family, however, have a pretty good chance of a high-level government job or position at a government-linked company.

Still, high salaries for Singapore public servants did helped
eliminate corruption among the civil service. The Philippines could
probably follow the example. Madame Chiang notes:

Office workers - overworked, underpaid, frequently
commuting appalling distances through abominable traffic to get to
their jobs - are the proletariat who help keep the economy afloat. The
most common expression for their condition describes how a chicken
eats: isang kayod isang tuka - "one scratch of the ground, one bite".
In other words: hand-to-mouth. They survive through sariling sikap, or
self-initiative: taking extra jobs, working long hours and buying and
selling things. There was the famous story of public school teachers so
hard up they sold female underwear and dried fish to their students.

They probably could have got better prices for the underwear if they were per-worn and sold on Yahoo!’s Japan auction site.

Speaking of Japan, Tokyo Times reports that Japan Tobacco is offering 150 lottery winners the chance to
see a preview of the film Sin City in a restriction-free and
smoke-friendly cinema
. The one condition being that the applicant is a
smoker – preferably a heavy one. Personally, when I watched Sin City I really wanted a fag (and a lap dance from Jessica Alba).:


Did I mention North Korean Cheerleaders yesterday? No. My apologies.:

NorkcheerAccording to the Japanese weekly magazine FLASH, this marked the third
time that Pyongyang dispatched its bevy of beauties, and each time
woman have become progressively younger and more beautiful. FLASH
reports that this time around the oldest of the 124 members of the NORK
cheering squad are second year university students. Reportedly, this is
the first time that attendance at the Asian Athletics Championship hit
130,000, and organizers are admitting that it is the Pyongyang pretties
that made the difference.

The really cute Marie Mitsuki Mockett has found the square watermelon,:


AsiaPundit trumps with the Gojira egg and Watermelon Bomb!


Translated Cambodian comic books available online, no super-heroes, unfortunately.


by @ 7:38 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

14 September, 2005

very short wednesday links

Both Mr and Mrs AsiaPundit are vegetarian, naturally we prefer to use those not-tested-on-animals  and not-made-with-animals products provided by the Body Shop. Mrs AP especially! She’ll be so happy to hear that China cosmetic firms don’t need to test on animals, a loosely sourced Guardian report indicates that body shops do exist in China.

BodyshopA Chinese cosmetics company is using skin harvested from the corpses of
executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in Europe, an
investigation by the Guardian has discovered.

Agents for the firm have told would-be customers it is developing
collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments from skin taken from prisoners
after they have been shot. The agents say some of the company’s
products have been exported to the UK, and that the use of skin from
condemned convicts is "traditional" and nothing to "make such a big
fuss about."

The report doesn’t state whether the cosmetic company or the prisoner’s family is charged for the bullet.

The Asian Naturist blog notes a progressive development in cross-Strait tourism, though I doubt that governments on either side have approved it.:

A Taiwanese travel agency is developing a new market: taking nude photographs amid some of the most beautiful scenery in China.
some 38,000 New Taiwan dollars - that’s about 1,300 US dollars - you
can book a 6-day trip to Guilin, the city in southern China’s Guangxi
province famous for its tall rock formations and scenic rivers.
tour also includes the presence of nude, presumably female, models who
pose by the side of the water with the scenery in the background…
The travel agency
- which is owned by the same media group as the newspaper which
published this report - warns that any photographer wanting to exhibit
the fruits of his labor in a gallery or on a Web site back home has to
respect the law. In other words, the Taiwanese authorities might be
less lenient for scenes of nudity than the Chinese ones.

Oddly, the poorest state in the Malaysian union, and one that has elected Islamist governments, has the highest reported usage of sex toys.

The Malaysian state of Kelantan may be orthodox in many ways - but not in matter of sex it seems, official studies have shown.
Sex-aids and stimulants are more widely used in this Malay state than any other in the country.
These are popular even with women who have reached menopause the studies have
Human Reproduction Specialist Centre head for the National Population and
Family Development Board Dr Mohd Ismail Mohd Tambi said studies showed most
couples here opted for sex aids such as beads, rings and studs.

Dr Ismail said this was because many wanted to experience more pleasure in
their sex lives to maintain a happier marriage.

Thomas Barnett sees a media trend.:

Burst of media OMYGOD! coverage on China because of Hu’s visit

"U.S.-Chinese trade relations get trickier: Security concerns put pressure on already-testy relationship," by David J. Lynch, USA Today, 13 September 2005, p. 1B.

"Japan’s Rivalry With China Roils A Crowded Sea," by Norimitsu Onishi and Howard W. French, New York Times, 11 September 2005, p. A1.

"Mexico Builds Trade Ties With China:  Hu Furthers Quest For Latin Resources," by James C. McKinley Jr., New York Times, 13 September 2005, p. A3.

"China’s State Secrets Agency Will Guard One Less:  Death Tolls," by Joseph Kahn, New York Times, 13 September 2005, p. A3.

"China Promotes ‘Peaceful Rise’ to Quell U.S. Fears," by Charles Hutzler, Wall Street Journal, 13 September 2005, p. A15.

At Rank, AsiaPundit is informed that visitors are flocking to the Kuomintang’s headquarters to view Chairman Ma’s asset.:


A painting of KMT Chairman and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou now hanging in
an art gallery on the fifth floor of KMT headquarters in Taipei. The
caption in the China Times explains that this photo has been popular
with female visitors (I guess only straight people go to KMT
The portrait actually evokes a campaign ad from
the KMT chairman election in July showed a brooding, windswept Ma
staring into the pounding surf on Taiwan’s coast. Maybe he’s thinking
of getting direct links with China going by swimming across the Taiwan
Strait in the buff?

Also from Taiwan the Bureau of Health Promotion has denied that its logo is, umm, suggestive.:

BhpStop thinking those dirty thoughts, you bad, bad person! That Bureau of Health Promotion logo is NOT a sexually suggestive depiction of threesome–the BHP has even issued a statement about it, OK?

The Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP) issued a statement to clarify the
meaning of its logo after the media described it as sexually

The bureau’s emblem features three stick figures
spelling out the bureau’s acronym — BHP (see inset). A television news
station pointed out yesterday that the figure in the center, with a
protruding stub as the bridge for a capitalized "H," seems to be
engaged in a sexual act with the figure on the right, which is caved in
to represent the curve on a capitalized "P."…
The three characters
on the emblem represent "mutual caring and the promotion of health,"
said BHP. The surrounding circle symbolizes the unending sky and the
bureau’s omnipresence when promoting health concepts.

Do you Yahoo!? … yes? Well stop!

Yahoo is getting burned after a conflict with the Chinese government
over a journalist. According to the South China Morning Post:

Bloggers and human rights groups are calling for a boycott of Yahoo
after the United States internet giant supplied information to the
Chinese central government that led to a 10-year prison sentence for
mainland journalist Shi Tao.
Several posters to internet forums and blog sites criticised Yahoo
for its actions and promised to quit using the company’s services. "I
do not intend to click on Yahoo ever again, and I’m urging everyone I
know to do the same," one internet poster said.
The controversy surrounding Yahoo’s involvement in the case
highlights the risks foreign internet companies take on as they pursue
the lucrative mainland market: complying with the government’s strict
demands on regulation of the internet could end up damaging a company’s
reputation back home.

AsiaPundit is a journalist by profession, although he narrowly missed the pursuit of academia and still always enjoys research blogs such as Harvard Extended and this developing thesis on the Chinese blogosphere.

Kenny Sia has a on what it means to be a patriot, and an excellent round of comments. As a Canadian who is often attacked by fellow citizens for being critical of the government, I’m on the same page. A patriot does not seek to excuse his country’s faults, he seeks to correct them.:

200509091Why should we accept the flaws of this country? Are we saying that
we should accept handbag-snatchers, dirty streets and crazy-ass traffic
officers seeking a contribution to their retirement fund as the norm?
Of course not.
I’m just disappointed that there are people I know who’s saying we
should all just shut the fook up and quietly eat all the crap being
thrown at us JUST because that’s what we grew up with and that’s the
way things work around here. I mean, if I were to follow THAT advice
during my fiasco with the Malaysian Customs, I’m probably never ever gonna get my money back.
No, I will not let you screw me in the ass just because that’s the
way things work around here. If you’re being unfairly treated because
of some stupid policy, stand up and speak up for yourself. Challenge
the authority.
What everyone ought to remember is that love for the country is very different from love for the government.
A lot of shits we had to put up with are the direct result of both the
government’s lack of planning/lack of foresight/lack of common sense
and some uncivilised citizens. Keeping our cities clean is everyone’s
responsibilities, but how many people actually follow that principle?

by @ 11:40 pm. Filed under South Korea, Blogs, China, Malaysia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Weblogs, North Korea

cultural preservation or xenophobia?

According to , Chinese authorities in Kunming have banned the practice of naming properties with foreign titles.

SHANGHAI, China - Farewell, "Aladdin Gardens" and "White House Mini District." Hello, "Good Living Business Estates."

The southwestern Chinese city of Kunming is forcing developers to change the names of properties deemed too foreign-sounding, saying they debase traditional culture, officials said Tuesday.

At least nine developments in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, have changed their names since officials began implementing new guidelines last month. That means "Paris of the East Plaza," "French Gardens" and "Ginza Office Tower" are no more.

"It’s not proper to name those communities with so many weird foreign titles," said an official with the Kunming Urban Planning Bureau, who, like many Chinese bureaucrats, would only be identified by his surname, Xiao.

"We feel obligated to keep our local characteristics."

…."The fashion for foreign-sounding names on buildings is a loss to native culture and reflects poor taste," Yang said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. "We must correct his practice immediately."

hmm…I can understand wanting to preserve one’s culture, but I’m not so sure this is the way to go about it.  Then again, maybe it is a good way to limit some of those cheeky signs that are known to dot the landscapes of China.

by @ 3:06 pm. Filed under Culture, China

reactions to MacArthur statue controversy in Korea

Today is the 55 year anniversary of the Inchon Landing Operation that dramatically turned the tide of the Korean War and saved the country from North Korean aggression.  Currently leftist anti-American protesters have for the past year been trying to rally support to tear down the statue of General MacArthur that was constructed by the citizens of Inchon in memory of the General’s Inchon Landing Operation.  There most recent protest this past weekend turned violent when the protesters brought bamboo and metal poles to assault the South Korean policemen guarding the statue. 

Violence1 This protest however has created a reaction that is unusual in the wake of prior anti-American protests in Korea; the government and the media are both condemning the protesters:

South Korea’s presidential office expressed "serious concern" over a violent protest by anti-American activists seeking to demolish a statue of US war hero Douglas MacArthur.

"We express serious concern at violence yesterday over the statue of General MacArthur," the office said in a statement.

"Such an illegal attempt to demolish the statue is not good for friendly relations between South Korea and the United States."

The meeting chaired by presidential Chief of Staff Lee Byung-wan expressed concern that calls to take down the statue have turned violent. "An illegal attempt to pull the statue down would not only be of no help to the Korea-U.S. relationship, but would run counter to a mature historical understanding in our society,” spokesman Choi In-ho said. “President Roh Moo-hyun recently said the statue must not be pulled down, and to do so would not reflect the wisdom needed to live in the modern world.”

Here is an editorial from the South Korea’s leading newspaper the Chosun Ilbo demanding an even stronger response from the government against the protesters:

In other words, we have had more than four months of a confrontation between one side that denies the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea and another that believes in it. The ruling party has not yet made it clear on which side it stands, but it has classified those who deny the legitimacy of South Korea as "future-oriented people” seeking unification, and those who want to preserve the republic as “ultra-rightists” who are against reconciliation. It is in effect a signal to those who want the statue gone: "Though we can’t say so openly, we are on your side."

The ruling party must make it very clear if the Korean War was a unification war that failed because of U.S. interference or a national tragedy that should not have happened; whether the Incheon Landing was an illegal occupation by the U.S. or a feat that saved the Republic of Korea; and whether the Korean War broke out because of a surprise attack by North Korea or because of cause directly provided by the U.S. The party in charge of our national government cannot wiggle out of taking a position on the historic incident that determined the fate of the Republic of Korea.

The recent MacArthur statue controversy may end up becoming a turning point in South Korean society that has usually turned a blind eye towards the leftists who continuously protest and cause violence against the US military presence in South Korea.  The recent realization that the US is currently downsizing by a 1/3 it’s troops in Korea has now awakened many Koreans to the fact that the US government is willing to withdraw even more troops if the relocation of troops away from the DMZ and South of the Han River is not realized. 

Many Koreans are not ready to see the US troops leave Korea yet with a nuclear armed North Korea still a threat.  The leftist groups however hope to cause a complete withdrawal of US military from Korea by blocking the land deal that would relocate the troops by stirring Korean pride by first of all blaming General MacArthur for causing the Korean War and a series of war crimes that are all untrue. But when it comes to history in Northeast Asia, truth really does not mean much; perception and myth making does. For the time being, however, the myth making has backfired against the anti-US groups.

by @ 7:37 am. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

13 September, 2005

short tuesday links


First they came for the dog lovers, and I did not speak out because I am a cat owner.

The Singapore blogosphere is reacting strongly to the sedition charges against the two Singaporeans who made racist comments on bulletin boards and blogs. There are good roundups at From a Singapore Angle, commentary and trackbacks at Tomorrow.sg, a truly awe-inspiring list of links from Elia Diodati.  Outside of the Lion City, former Singapore resident A.M. Mora y Leon muses at Publius Pundit and the story has hit Slashdot.

Regardless of whether or not racism is punishable under the terms of the Singapore sedition act (and it does seem to be) it is disturbing that the government has chosen this particular rule to punish someone for posting messages on a dog-lovers forum. That’s especially so given that the law hasn’t been used in a decade.

Those jailed under the Internal Security Act for plotting to blow up a Singaporean mass-transit station were seeking maximum fatalities and, in the long run, to bring the island into an extended caliphate. Still, the PAP decided to save the sedition charge for the ignorant potty-mouth poster at doggielover.com.

If the government thinks a few posts at a dog-lovers forum will "upset racial harmony" more than an Islamist terrorist bomb plot, I fear the PAP is more paranoid and out of touch than I had thought.

Double Yellow notes:

Not Everyone needs be Charged:
Arguing that other people at various forums made worse racist
comments is no defence. The Attorney General I guess has the power to
choose who he wants to haul into court and on what charge.

AsiaPundit counters:

Laws that are enforced arbitrarily are not just laws.  If the state does not prosecute those who’ve similarly violated the law, then the judicial system in the state is arbitrary and possibly corrupt. This happens everywhere for small crimes (such as drug possession in the US or Canada), and should be corrected. But for the big ones like sedition, sticking to precedent is especially important. Laws that are not enforced should be scrapped or adjusted. Else, it is arbitrary justice. . .  and arbitrary justice is injustice.

Usually I’m a defender of Singapore and, believe it or not, the PAP. The latter has, again, embarrassed me.

For those who come here for cheesecake, instead we offer a little beef… Hard Gay vs Yahoo! Japan.:


The story-line of this sketch is as follows: A character called “Hard Gay” (by comedian Masaki Sumitani
aka “Lazer Ramon”) thinks that the “Hoo!” in Yahoo! is stolen from his
often used exclamation and goes to visit Yahoo! headquarters to try to
get a deal. He wants to be in their ads, even goes to prove that he’s
popular by auctioning off his hat to Yahoo! online auction site.

On Yahoo, ACB provides a link to download the Shi Tao verdict.

On Japan, AsiaPundit welcomed the LDP’s victory, Curzon explains why the rout of the Democrats was not such a bad thing.:

Remember that Koizumi’s crushing victory is compounded by the fact that
it all began with him expelling no fewer than 30 members of his own
party, and replacing many of the old politicians with reform-minded
youngsters. The LDP will,
for the forseeable future, be a party of center-right reformists with a
mild nationalist streak. Koizumi is expected to push through an agenda
to clean up Japan’s appalling public sector. But this shift is not a
permanent entrenchment of LDP power, and the rebuke to the opposition has taught the opposition that
they can’t get away with vague promises to “change Japan by changing
the party in power.” In the long term, this is welcome news for
Japanese democracy: prune the orchard and the best trees survive.

They keep the stolen money, and their wives are shipped back to China. How long it will take to bring over their mistresses?:

Two former Bank of China officials who fled with their families to the
United States to escape embezzlement charges have rejected a plea
bargain jointly arranged by Chinese and American authorities,
co-operation which could pave the way for further such deals.
The US State Department, working with the central government, offered
Xu Guojun and Xu Chaofan, two former managers at the Bank of China’s
Kaiping branch in Guangdong, a deal whereby if they returned to the
mainland to plead guilty, their wives would not be deported for
immigration violations.

AsiaPundit has sampled ’second-beer’ happoshu and found it revolting. Like Far Outliers, AsiaPundit will be sticking with ‘first beers.’:

ThirdbeersThis summer, the major Japanese brewers have all been pushing their new "third beer"
products. I was motivated to sample them by the relative price–about
¥600 for a six-pack, as opposed to at least ¥1200 for malt beer.

"third beer" boom was sparked by Sapporo, which launched a beverage
called Draft One in February 2004. Made with protein extracted from
peas, Draft One’s selling point is its light taste and drinkability.
Meanwhile, Kirin’s Nodogoshi Nama, made with soybean protein, touts its
good flavor and crispness. Asahi’s Shin Nama, which uses soy peptide
and a yeast that the company also employs in beer making, offers a dry
finish. And Suntory’s Super Blue, which contains low-malt beer mixed
with liquor distilled from wheat, has a crisp, refreshing taste.

I’ve now sampled all of the above-listed "third beers"–plus Sapporo’s new low-calorie, "high fiber" Slims–and
the only six-packs I could finish were Sapporo’s Draft One and Asahi’s
Shin Nama. And if the weather hadn’t been so hot and muggy, I’m not
sure I could have accomplished even that much.

Mainland tourists vs Mickey Mouse:

GothminimouIt was hot yesterday, and so some mainland
  Chinese male tourists pulled up their shirts to display their flesh.
  Some people pulled up their long pants to turn them into shorts just to cool
  down.  Others squat by the roadside to chat.  Still others take off
  their shoes and put their feet on another chair to rest.  But the Disney
  employees did not interfere with their behavior.  There was a SUV on
  exhibit outside Tomorrow’s World, and a mainland Chinese male just climbed
  right inside to get his photograph taken.
A Disneyland cleaner told the reporter that
  the place was obviously filthier than the rehearsal days before, including
  when 30,000 people showed up for the Community Chest day.  There were
  cigarette stubs, water bottles, tissue papers and chewing gum
  everywhere.  He said that yesterday, he even saw a mainland tourist about
  to throw a lit cigarette butt into the garbage can.  Fortunately, an
  employee stopped him in time or else a fire might have been started.
A local tourist named Mr. Chan works in the
  tourism industry.  He said that mainland tourist do not mind their
  manners and they may affect the image of Disneyland, causing even more
  negative news for the beleaguered theme park.  Ms. Wong from Hong Kong
  said that Disneyland must have "figured out that they would be invaded by
  mainland tourists," so she anticipated to see mainlanders spitting and
  smoking everywhere inside the theme park.

Photo via Worth1000.

AsiaPundit agrees with Indaus, though he finds it awkward to say… save the swastika! In East Asia it’s commonly reversed, but it has no real association with Nazism for those who consider it a religious symbol.:

Hinduswastik27ujThe furore created by Prince Harry’s latest act of stupidity, ie: dressing up in a Nazi party costume, has led to calls for the outright ban on all displays of the Swastika symbol. This would be an extremely ignorant act, because most people dont realise the fact that the Swastika is actually a ancient Vedic Hindu symbol of wellbeing that Adolf Hitler hijacked to serve his own cause of Aryan supremacy.

Finally, if you’re driving through Tianjin in a minivan, please remember that it’s illegal to transport giraffes.


AsiaPundit should be a group blog, but most of the co-pundits are MIA, and aside from Manuel (with the excellent Philippine roundups) and the recent adddition from Gordon, this has been pretty much a solo effort lately.

Again, this is a sick day, and I should be in bed. But there are more than 10 co-pundits and none have bothered to post so I feel obligated.

There will be a short change of author status and a small cull of non-contributing pundits. Few are getting booted, but promotions and demotions are in order. Other contributors are still welcome ( contact: asiapundit @ gmail . com).

by @ 11:33 pm. Filed under Japan, Blogs, Singapore, China, India, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Media, South Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Censorship, Religion

12 September, 2005

monday links

Today, AsiaPundit has the Shanghai flu (possibly not, but I’m running a fever and trying to recall if I had ever felt this ill in Singapore, Kuwait or Korea). So, Monday’s links will be short and not thoroughly checked for grammar or spelling. Notably missing from today’s links are Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and India (new pundits for some of these areas are still welcome, e-mail asiapundit @ gmail.com).

Today’s top story is the revolution in Japan. Koizumi and the lipstick ninjas have secured a decisive victory, now is the time to act on their mandate. Japundit has a wrap. And for the rest of us, from a pre-vote post, it’s time to reevaluate Japanese politics.:

KoizumiIn one speech I saw on television, Mr. Koizumi laughed as he made the
point that the roles of the parties in this campaign are reversed. For
years, the LDP was perceived as the party of vested interests and the
status quo, while the opposition clamored for reform. The prime
minister seems to have turned that on its head in the public’s mind,
casting the LDP as the reformers and the opposition as the hidebound
traditionalists supporting the status quo. If he pulls off this
sleight-of-hand, it would be enough to rank Koizumi among the world’s
most talented political operatives.
Mr. Koizumi and the LDP do go on to victory in the election (ed. they did), it
could also bury an old canard that short-term foreigners frequently
employ to denigrate the Japanese. These folks love to trot out an old
Japanese proverb warning that the nail that sticks out gets pounded
down; i.e., don’t be too original, call attention to yourself, or make
I’m sorry, but after all these years in Japan, it seems clear to me that the Japanese love
the nail that sticks out just as much as anyone else–especially in
politics. I wonder how long it will take the rest of the pack to catch
up to the prime minister and figure that out.

Good news, AsiaPundit can now report on death tolls from Chinese natural disasters without being prosecuted. In other news, all erotica will remain soft-core.:

One of Xinhua’s shortest reports in history was published today:

Death toll in natural disasters no longer kept as China’s state secret

BEIJING, Sept. 12 — The death toll in natural disasters was no
longer regarded as state secret starting from August this year, a
government spokesman said here Monday.

Skinhua_is_backWell that’s nice to know, but is probably of little comfort to
people like journalists Zhao Yan, Shi Tao and Ching Cheong, all three
of whom are currently in prison after being accused of leaking state
So what is still a state secret then? Christy Zhong is evidently not a
state secret, judging from Xinhua’s photo gallery entitled "Can you
breathe in front of her?" (pictured), although the area between her
legs was clearly felt by the Xinhua editors to be divulging a little
too much and was pixellated to avoid causing social upheaval.

Indeed, in order to preserve social order, and prevent a visit from  Shanghai state security, AsiaPundit will refrain from publishing any nudity that has not been pixelated, or at least covered with body paint…

That’s a certain naughty ShenzhenRen mugging beside the show-stopper, a human billboard.

Sun Bin weighs the prospects of a war in the Straits, his conclusions are similar to my own beliefs, although I am far more skeptical about Mainland China’s ability to win a war, and I also expect that a war would have popular support (I fear that almost six decades of Communist propaganda has left much of the populace more dogmatic and irrational than those governing.):

Taiwan has 2 defense options

  1. Plan on declaring independence, and prepare for a war. In this case perhaps $15bn of weapon will not be enough, not even $150bn
  2. Quietly maintain the status quo, do whatever it like of
    self rule, even preach democracy to the mainland, just don’t declare
    independence. There will not be a war, and hence no need to get into an
    arms race. From CCP’s perspective, their focus is on economic
    development. The last thing they want to see is a war, or even an arms

The choice is easy. As discussed in my

earlier post

, Sun Zi said, "supreme excellence is winning the war without fighting" , better still, without even the need to arm.
Whatever objective Taiwan’s leaders want to pursue, be it Ma’s
unification, or Chen Shuibian’s independence, all they need to do is to
buy more time. Some years into the future, maybe as long as 20-30
years, or as short as 5-10 years, China will be more open or even
become a democracy, by then no one can stop Taiwanese people making
their own decision. In between, let’s make peace and make money.
In addition, while there is no reason for James Soong (or the
Taiwanese people) to take Hu Jintao’s words at their face value, one
should recognize that there is absolutely no reason
for CCP to wage a war if Taiwan did not declare independence. It would
not only be stupid, they would also be lacking internal support.

If you can come up with 301 ways to tell that you’ve been lining in China too long … You’ve Been Living In China Too Long.

Laowiseass visits the China-North Korea border and muses on patriotism.:

BridgeThe U.S. army bombed this bridge in half during the Korean War. The
Chinese built a new one, left, into North Korea, background, and turned
the bombed leftover into a paid-admission (20 yuan) park. You can walk
out to the end, foreground, and read signs about how the Americans
wrecked the bridge. The signs call our viewing pleasure a "patriotic
education." The Americans screwed us, remember? Patiotism.
what historical relics authorities and visitors say about the Old
Summer Palace ruins, 145-year-old rubble piles open to all for 15 yuan
last I checked. Allied European and American armies bombed or burned or
both the Beijing site in the late 1800s to weaken an already weak Qing
Dynasty. As one visitor told me in an interview about the palace
grounds’ expansion, "it makes me hate the Europeans." Any white person
walking toward the palace into a headwind of departing Chinese visitors
feels that quotation without asking for it.
When I went to school,
patriotism meant remembering whatever we fancied was cool about the
United States, stuff like the Bill of Rights and civil rights, not
struggles against other nations (more a source of embarrassment than
pride anyway). We also had to say a pledge of allegiance full of words
we were too young to understand, but we hated only the teacher for that.

Bingfeng test drives democracy on the Chinese internet, his message is to stop using "dem0cr," good old-fashoned democracy works just fine.:

avoid the GFW? i doubt i find many bloggers prefer the use of
dem0cr when it’s related with china. is it necessary to replace "o"
with "0" and replace "a" with "@" in order to avoid the GFW? i doubt it. here is what i found with baidu search for "democracy in china":

Democracy in China: feasible or not?

Awaiting a Democratic HK

Grassroots Democracy Taking Roots in Rural China …
Here is what i found with google search for "民主" (the chinese equivalent for democracy):


民主进步党[ 繁体 ]

民主党[ 繁体 ]

if this is not convincing enough, let’s take a look at xinhua forum, the favorite place premier Wen often visit:in one article titled "wil it become democratic if the secretary
office is cancled?", there are six "democracy".well, i don’t see why dem0cr becomes such a label that must be attached to china every time,

Fear Nevada-tan:

NevadatanInternet users in the West have Bert Is Evil. Japanese users have Nevada-Tan.

On June 1, 2004, an online feud between two 11 year old girls attending the same elementary school in escalated into murder. “Girl A” (there’s also a “Boy A”
who committed an even more gruesome crime) slit her classmate’s throat
and arms with a boxcutter knife, in the same classroom where they
attended school.

The victim, Satomi Mitarai, bled to death.

enough as the murder may seem, the story didn’t end there. “Girl A”
became “Nevada-tan” after after images of the suspected murderer were
published showing her wearing a pullover hooded sweatshirt with the
word “NEVADA” emblazoned across the chest (the “-tan” suffix is a
child’s pronunciation of the honorific “-chan”), according to Wikipedia.

Internet users on Japan’s 2ch soon discovered that Nevada-tan had a very active life online. Says Wikipedia:

appears that “Girl A” was heavily influenced by some of the more
visceral aspects of Internet culture. An analysis of the case states
that she “was a girl fascinated with urban legend, internet subculture,
even going as far as guro. From her site she had linked shock
flash movies and bizarre ASCII movies that would unnerve even the most
hardened internet warriors”. Her website showcased her interests, which
included fanfiction about her favourite film Battle Royale and strange
“recipes” (with names like “Curse of the Purple Skull” and “Demonic
Art”). A particularly strong influence was the “Red Room” horror flash
video, which she based the site’s design around.

Singapore will soon be recieving . Co-host Cecilia Larson is, incidental, much hotter than Dr Ruth Westheimer.:

SINGAPORE (AFP) - Singapore’s first television show dedicated to sexual
matters will be aired by national broadcaster MediaCorp this month.
The weekly half-hour "Love Airways" show, featuring the city-state’s
self-proclaimed love guru and a blonde Swedish co-host, will air on
Mandarin-language Channel U from September 21 at 11:30 pm. Singapore is
76 percent ethnic Chinese.
The show aims to discuss "sex and intimacy-related topics" like dating,
anatomy, wellness and diseases in a fun, non-clinical style, said a
statement from government-linked MediaCorp.
Its host is Dr. Wei Siang Yu, a local celebrity who has branded himself
"Dr. Love" and has his own business offering advice to Singaporean and
foreign couples finding it difficult to have babies.

Singapore’s crackdown on blogs has started. SPG was able to get away with nudity, Stephen McDermott of rage-against-the-PAP blog Singabloodypore was just allowed into the country undisturbed by customs, but racism, Cowboy Caleb notes, is a no-no.

Two bloggers charged under  Sedition Act over racist remarks

SINGAPORE : For the first time in Singapore, two bloggers have been
charged under the Sedition Act for making racist remarks.
They are 25-year-old Nicholas Lim Yew and  27-year-old Benjamin Koh Song Huat.
A subordinate court was told that  both their blogs had content that cast aspersions on the Malay community. . .

Mandrake emailed me this snippet of news.
The channel news asia website seems to be down, so I’ve pasted the text
here for you to read. I say, Jolly Good Show! We should not let racists
get away lightly. The Intarweb is a public place, and as such if you have nothing nice to say then shut the hell up.

While I haven’t read the offensive comments, AsiaPundit is has a very narrow view on free speech issues. While boundaries on libel and slander can be acceptable if damages can be proven, sedition seems a harsh sentence for what were likely ill-advised and ignorant comments. This doesn’t solve the problem of racism, it forces it underground to fester.

mr brown has more, offering this comment from the (often NSFW) Sammyboy forums.:

About itself, Sammyboy himself
says: "Based on the the list, just about every mother’s son and
daughter who has ever posted any messages here will soon be in jail."

Also see Miyagi, Mr Wang, Singapore Ink, Omeka Na Huria, SingSingapore, and hundereds of other Singapore blogs (they aren’t always apolitical).

Finally, AsiaPundit is happy to report that a comic-art rendition of Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian was allowed to be seen at last week’s APEC meeting. Soon, perhaps we’ll have a Taiwan hand puppet at the World Health Organization.


The cartoon figure of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has finally been
granted permission to appear in the exhibition to celebrate the
upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Busan,
South Korea, thanks to the efforts of officials from the Taipei Mission
in South Korea and the Busan Cartoon Club.
The cartoon figure of Chen was put on display yesterday at the APEC Summit
Cartoon Figure Exhibition in Busan City—the venue of this year’s annual
event—along with those of other heads of state slated to attend the APEC summit in November.


by @ 10:16 pm. Filed under Japan, Singapore, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Media, Weblogs, Censorship

carnival of chinese blogs

Gerald of the now defunct Chinese Adventure Blog has passed the torch; welcome to AsiaPundit’s first Carnival of Chinese Blogs.

For starters, ESWN brings us a partial translation on the most commented on post on Chinese BBS ever.:

PovertyThe following story appeared in Nanfang
Weekend; It follows the story of one particular forum post at the Tianya
Club.  The post first appeared in February 22, 2005.  Since
then, it was been viewed more than 223,000 times, and almost 4,000 people have
commented on it.  It is estimated that it will take a person 7 hours to
read the whole thread.  With the national exposure from Nanfang Weekend,
there will probably be another huge traffic surge.
It is about rich
versus poor in China.  The extraordinary thing is that the crucial discourse
contained little or no political, economic or sociological jargon.  There
was no invocation of Marx-Engels-Stalin-Mao and no Chinese census data.  It was
just two principal characters describing their daily lives and commenting on each other.
The precipitating cause for the forum post was a
frequent forum participant named  Yi Yeqing.  She described herself as
a Shanghai elitist and repeatedly asserted that society is divided into classes
of noble people versus the riffraff.  From 2004, she wrote several essays
to express her contempt of peasants, migrant laborers, outsiders, beggars and
others.  For example, in the essay "Today, I saw a migrant laborer
without shoes"…

Fons looks at Yahoo!’s acquiescence to Chinese authorities request for information that helped secure a 10-year jail sentence for journalist Shi Tao, and notes that it’s a good idea to host websites outside of China.:

Jerryyang780385Why do I think Yahoo did more than it had to do under Chinese law. Let
go back a few year, when I attended a social event where I bumped into
one of the senior officials of the legal departments Ministry of the
Information Industry, who had just written the murky internet laws that
got introduced just months before our meeting. Since it was a social
meeting, I could not ask the 200 questions I should have asked, but the
few answers I got were interesting enough.
Since the Chinese law
writes about "Chinese" websites, companies, internet I wondered how the
nationality of a website could be established. He looked at me and it
was silent for a long time. "That is a good question," he said after a
very long time. I know that nowadays that is a standard answer on US
media you get after any question, but this developed really into a bit
of an painful silence. "We will look where a website is hosted," he
said after some time. "That would establish de nationality of a

One of the commentors at this legal website says that the servers of
Yahoo’s email service are actually hosted in Beijing. That would indeed
offer Chinese judicial authorities a handle to demand cooperation. And
it would indicate that hosting your servers in China might in this case
be a less-than-smart idea.

At the China Law Prof blog, it’s noted that Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd may have gone beyond the call of duty.:

Assuming that Yahoo HK is, as
it appears to be, a Hong Kong entity, then it is not generally subject
to PRC law. It is, of course, subject to Hong Kong law. But Article
18(1) of the Basic Law,
the PRC statute that serves as Hong Kong’s constitution, states:
"National laws shall not be applied in the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region except for those listed in Annex III to this
Law." Annex III to the Basic Law lists the following laws:

1. Resolution on the Capital, Calendar, National Anthem and National Flag of the People’s Republic of China
2. Resolution on the National Day of the People’s Republic of China
3. Order on the National Emblem of the People’s Republic of China Proclaimed by the Central People’s Government
4. Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea
5. Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China
6. Regulations of the People’s Republic of China Concerning Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities

of these would seem to provide any basis for requiring a Hong Kong
company such as Yahoo HK to hand over information to the PRC

Andrea at T-salon has more.

Chinese authorities may soon ban Skype and other Voice-over-Internet-Protocol services, a move that could cost AsiaPundit hundreds of dollars a year (provided he can’t figure out a way to run Skype through proxies), Imagethief looks at the problem from a broader perspective.:

It’s always awe-inspiring to watch a colossal dinosaur
struggling against the inevitable consequences of evolution
intelligent design. That’s why I was interested to read reports from both Reuters and AFX (More from China Herald.)
Let me put this in context for you. It costs about a buck a minute to
call the US by POTS from China. I’ve had phone bills up to about 450
yuan, or about $60, in months where I’ve made just one or two
calls to the US. Now remember, I live in a country with a median urban income of just over $1000 per year,
or about $90 per month. Other than rent for expensive, international
apartments, boutiques and fashionable restaurants and bars aimed at
foreigners, the cost of living here is pretty low (which is why
underpaid Imagethief can save any dough). International phone calls,
however, remain ludicrously expensive by local standards.

ACB notes that the government may have other reasons for the possible attack on VoIP.:

its ability to compete with state owned firms is likely to make Skype
and other VoIP technologies a concern for Beijing, another of their
concern is likely to be that data based voice services are harder to
track and tap than traditional telephone systems.
Where as a
conventional telephone signal uses a standard form of encoding that is
publicly known, uses a single circuit between two fixed points, and can
be tapped directly through the use of a wire tap or indirectly through
monitoring equipment built into telephone exchanges, Skype uses AES -
Advanced Encryption Standard - block cipher encryption, and its
messages are split up and routed over multiple paths and through
multiple servers, making Skype calls more difficult to track calls back
to those making them and exponentially more difficult to eavesdrop on.

China is assemblying its Olympic sharp-shooting team.:

Olympic_tankChina has assembled a team of 30 sharpshooters  - synonym for snipers - to guard the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The official China Daily newspaper reported Friday, that the
marksmen were picked from a group of more than 200 police officers.
They competed for places on the sniper team during a month of trials.
The paper says the sharpshooters could be dispatched to handle
kidnappings, riots or any incidents involving firearms that might
develop at the Beijing games.
Ma Qiang, a senior Beijing police official, says China’s Olympic
security team includes officers with outstanding skills in fields such
as forensics, bomb disposal and negotiations.

It’s amazing what gets counterfeit in China.:

TigerDonkey_1A restaurant in northeastern China that advertised illegal
tiger meat dishes was found instead to be selling donkey flesh —
marinated in tiger urine, a newspaper reported Thursday.

Austin pays a visit to the National Museum in Beijing, where he was moved by the exhibit on the 60th anniversary of the defeat of the Japanese:

HeadwoundIt was hard not to be moved by the images I saw today as I cruised
through the National Museum in Beijing. Not having any idea what was
there, I entered and realized that they were having a special exhibit
on contemporary interpretations of the War against “Fascism” or the

Shanghai Chinese blogger Bingfeng notes Premier Wen’s endorsement of democracy and ponders if political development should mimic economic development, with Special Economic Democratic Zones:

…but the underlying presumption of the idea of SDZ is that democracy
enhances the social and economic development, this is exactly what
practical, result-oriented Chinese people expect from democracy. but
what if it doesn’t come out that way? the true value of democracy is
not to help the society become better but to prevent it from the worst.
will a SDZ show this to the Chinese people in the short run?
and which part of the country should become a SDZ? developed or less developed region? rural or urban? ……..

I recommend Hong Kong, they deserve it; and they’re almost there…

I was asked a really interesting question today:

So, Zhang has basically been in detainment all year?  What did he do so different from you?

So why Mr. Zhang, Mr. Ching, and Mr. Shi are in jail for writing and believing in pretty much the same things as me, yet they are detained and I am
running around free?

Because I live in Hong Kong.

Jian Shuo Wang has some concerns about the upcoming Chinese Blogger Convention.:

SquarelogoI don’t know why, but I just have the mixed feeling of this event. I
didn’t got any notification/invitation of this event yet. I am worrying
about this event. I met Isaac and discussed my concerns: it is more
like a conference of only some people, instead of the blogging world.
BSPs like blogbus, bokee, blogcn, anyp.cn
seem not involved yet, and many bloggers like me are not involved yet.
The speakers are great persons but seem to be only in a small circle.
Although many bloggers are encouraged to participate, but there is not
good way to organize the participation. There are many panel
discussions, but I worry how to organize it if there are so many people
- I don’t know what the panel discussion will look like if it is 100
people conference…

The KungPao Chicken lists the 10 things he’ll miss about China.

Our expat China Daily editor managed to squeeze one past the censors, securing Voice of the People instead of Voice of Youth.:

VotpFor all of you who wanted to see the headline, here it is. Next week I
will try push the boundaries a bit further with a headline like

Free Tibet or

Hu Jintao - How corrupt is he?

I shall return to some serious blogging tomorrow when I get my keyboard
fixed. Now I’m off out to a North Korean restaurant with the other
foreign editors.

D J McGuire, who cites the Epoch Times a bit too much for me to not take with a grain of salt, has a three (iii) part (ii) opus (i) on the CCP’s link with Islamist terror groups.

In the myriad of pro-democracy, anti-Communist events that I have been
fortunate enough to attend, I am usually the only one who brings up the
War on Terror (and I have nearly every time, in large part because I
have written a book
on this subject). Sadly, the consensus inside and outside the
“movement” is that Communist China and the War on Terror are separate
and distinct issues. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact,
when one examines our enemies in the War on Terror – the Taliban, al
Qaeda, the Ba’athists in Iraq, and for the more expansive among us, the
regimes of Syria, Iran, and Stalinist North Korea – one finds only two
things they all hold in common: hatred for America, and support from
the Chinese Communist Party.

Thomas Barnett posts an article with a different perspective.:

History has already proved that the United States is not China’s
permanent enemy. Nor does China want the United States to see it as a
foe. Deng Xiaoping’s prediction that "things will be all right when
Sino-U.S. relations eventually improve" was a cool judgment based on
China’s long-term interests. To be sure, aspirations cannot replace
reality. The improvement of Chinese-U.S. relations will be slow,
tortuous, limited, and conditional, and could even be reversed in the
case of certain provocations (such as a Taiwanese declaration of
independence). It is precisely for this reason that the thorny problems
in the bilateral relationship must be handled delicately, and a stable
new framework established to prevent troubles from disrupting an
international environment favorable for building prosperous societies.
China’s leadership is set on achieving such prosperity by the middle of
the twenty-first century; with Washington’s cooperation, there is
little to stand in its way.

I won’t argue whether Taiwan is a part of China, but it is a part of the carnival.

Mei Zhong Tai notes that People First Party head James Soong has received a guarantee of peace in our time.:

NevilleThe heads of the two main Pan Blue parties, Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang and James Soong of the People First Party, have agreed to oppose the special arms budget requested by the Ministry of National Defense.
The ministry recently reduced the size of the arms budget by shifting
some weapons to the general military budget in hope of gaining Pan Blue
support. According to the China Post, the weapons were rejected because they are still too expensive, unnecessary and against the people’s wishes.

Most amazing about this whole ordeal is a quote from James Soong explaining the decision:

May, when I went to China, (Chinese President) Hu Jintao clearly said
if Taiwan doesn’t pursue independence, there won’t be any military
threat in the Taiwan Strait.

Mr. Soong is taking the word of
President Hu that Taiwan needn’t fear China and thus doesn’t need to
buy more sophisticated weaponry. This is baffling to say the least.

Meanwhile, reports of KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou’s death have been slightly exaggerated.:

MakmtTwo months ago, Ma Ying-jeou beat Wang Jin-pyng to become the new
chairman of the KMT. This weekend there’s an interesting contrast of
news articles on the two men involved in that race. On Friday evening, Yahoo! Taiwan released a story on their website that (election winner) Ma Ying-jeou had been assassinated - which came as a bit of a surprise to the man himself:

general manager of the Internet company, who was in the U.S. when the
incident occurred, telephoned Ma to present the company’s deepest

The company promised to strengthen its internal management in order to avoid similar episode from occurring again in the future.

Who needs a pit-bull when you can have one of these loyal beasts.:

Formosan"’The Formosan has more capabilities than most breeds: It can be a
guard dog, a companion, a hunting dog and a stunt dog. It is very
intelligent and loyal," Chen said.
Traditionally kept by
Aboriginals as a hunting dog, the breed is athletic and has a jaw like
a vice grip. This tenacity, coupled with the Formosan’s famous loyalty
makes it an excellent guard dog, if a bit on the small side. Their
medium-small frame can pack tonnes of attitude."

For more on Taiwan, check out Michael’s most-recent weekly Taiwan Blog Roundup.

AsiaPundit is looking for hosts for future Carnivals, and always welcomes tips on blogs of interest.For a chance to host the next edition, or to highlight a post that deserves inclusion email me at "AsiaPundit @ gmail . com"

For more on China do check out the main page and the China economic roundup section.

by @ 7:59 am. Filed under Blogs, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs, China blog carnival

11 September, 2005

hu yaobang to have status restored

In a surprising move President Hu Jintao has agreed to rehabilitate the status of Hu Yaobang, the former party chief whose death lead to the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests that ended with PLA troops brutally crushing thousands of students.

BEIJING — Chinese President Hu Jintao has agreed to restore the standing of the reform-minded Communist leader whose death triggered the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, a surprising reversal of party dogma that could prompt new calls for democratic change in China, according to people informed of the decision.

….The sources said there were no plans to change the party’s position that the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests were subversive, or to admit it was wrong to use troops to crush them. But the decision to rehabilitate Hu Yaobang, whom the party condemned for being too tolerant of "bourgeois" political views when it removed him from power, suggested such reversal might be possible in the future.

"This might be a first step, a small but important one," said one informed party member, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "If the party can change its position on Hu Yaobang, it can change its position on June 4 and on political reform."

Cross posted on The Horse’s Mouth

by @ 10:22 pm. Filed under China, Current Affairs

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