Stories about East Asia from December, 2005
Indonesia: Aceh Blog
I'm Your Huckleberry is a blog in English and Indonesian by a native of Indonesia's rebellious province of Aceh. He's working there for the U.N.D.P. and writes, in one post, “If this success, we can do more for this region, my home land, home of the rebel. Hopefully!”
China: Signs of Beijing Christmas
Imagethief reveals how you know Christmas is approaching in officially atheist Beijing.
Japan: Hard Gay Toy
Controversial but popular Japanese TV character Razor Ramon HG, a.k.a. Hard Gay now has a toy inspired by him. A “sexual minority” teacher's network has complained that the toy, which encourages children to stick plastic swords into a barrel until the TV character jumps out, discriminates against homosexuals.
Philippines: Constitutional Reform
Ricky Carandang reveals his disappointment that the commission tasked with reforming the Philippines’ constitution and consider a change from a presidential to parliamentary government has taken the best reforms off the table.
Yawning Bread tells the stories behind Singapore's national symbols, including the much-maligned merlion and the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid.
China: Anti-Virus Efforts
Revere at Effect Measure praises China's cooperative transparency in sharing with the world its bird flu virus samples. “The Chinese also report they have begun their own clinical trials of an experimental H5N1 vaccine.”
China, Hong Kong: Banking Haven
Sun Bin suggests that China ought to create a Caribbean-style banking and tax haven to add 0.1% to its GDP. He maps out some places in the Pearl River Delta a short trip from Hong Kong that Beijing could consider.
Philippines: Once in a Lifetime
Jessica Zafra is discombobulated meeting musician and artist David Byrne in Manila. The ex-leader of the Talking Heads was in town researching a new musical he's writing on Imelda Marcos.
Singapore: Freedom is Not Free
Oppositionist politician Goh Meng Seng on his blog Singapore Alternatives writes about the price of freedom: “Freedom is not free. And most importantly, freedom has the element of free ridership in it. Everyone may want it, but all waiting for someone to get it for them.”
South Korea: Not a Barbie Girl
As the Seoul Arts Center hosts an exhibit about Barbie dolls, The Asia Pages reminisces about her first encounters and swift disappointment with “Oriental Barbie.”
At diacritic.org, R. Streitmatter-Tran discusses the embarrassment to Vietnamese art when local award-winning works are revealed to have been plagiarized including one from a work that won an award in Vietnam six years earlier.
Report from the WTO Demonstrations in Hong Kong
The Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference was held in Hong Kong, 13-18 December 2005. Thousands of anti-globalization campaigners, especially South Korean farmers who has been opposing the opening of their rice market by an agreement South Korean government made with WTO, had protested across central Hong Kong, carrying huge banners, chanting,...
Cambodia: From the Other Side of the Table
kalagirl at Thoughts From the Girl Next Door relates interviewing a Cambodian candidate for her NGO. His resume looked great, but she feels years of a Communist regime have robbed even excellent candidates like him of the ability to think critically and creatively.
China: Beijing Needs a Giant Monster
Imagethief observes sadly that Tokyo will always have its Godzilla and New York its King Kong, but Beijing can never be a great, world-class city until it is attacked by a giant monster.
China: Ransom Emails
EastSouthWestNorth describes the investigation of two extortion notes emailed to leaders in the Ningbo City government. Curious about how Internet crime is handled in China? Click here.
Indonesia: Bad Driving
Indonesia Anonymus explains why Jakartans are such terrible drivers.
Japan: Odd Survey
What Japan Thinks is a blog that translates quite interesting Japanese public opinion polls to English, such as on the popularity of mobile phones as gaming platforms or the market for RSS readers in Japan. Yet his most popular post appears to be this one, now ricocheting off various Asia...
Singapore, South Korea: Iconoclasm
Jeff Ooi asks why Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew are so often cited as models: isn't South Korea, with its larger population and greater challenges, more admirable?
China: Virtual Celebrity
danwei wants to introduce you to eXinXin, a model for computer simulations and video games, who is supposedly China's first virtual celebrity. She's real, though, and has a blog (in ZH).
South Korea: Stem Cell Article Faked?
oranckay is on top of a developing story: South Korea's top stem cell scientist is withdrawing a paper he submitted to Science, leading to questions about his work.
Taiwan: Political Changes
Jerome F. Keating reflects on the changes that have affected Taiwan's politics: how in 15 years the ex-opposition Democratic Progressive Party successfully challenged the Kuomintang's one-party state.