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Southeast Asia: The shoe, the shoe

Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi will be known for a long time as the shoe thrower. He who succeeded in throwing a pair of shoes at U.S. President George Bush last Sunday in Baghdad.

The shoes are now priceless. A Saudi entrepreneur has offered $10 million for one of the pair of shoes.

The shoe throwing incident has been hailed as heroic by many people around the world, especially those who opposed the foreign policies of the outgoing US president. What are the reactions of Southeast Asian bloggers and residents?

Hafriz from Singapore thinks al-Zaidi should become president of the world:

“is anyone still not in the shoe-throwing craze yet? this Muntazer al-Zaidi guy is a worldwide hero. he's a legend. he should be president of the world.”

Katak, also from Singapore, notes that the incident reflects the failure of US foreign policies:

“Being infamous in a foreign country is generally not a good farewell party for someone who is often regarded as the President of the ‘World’.

“The (incident) shows the build up of hatred and violence that the local citizens had to endure due largely to his failure in assessment of foreign policy, in particular, the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”

Another Singaporean blogger, mrbrown.com, wonders why the Secret Service agents were unable to catch the shoes:

“It makes you wonder though, that if the Secret Service could not stop a flying shoe or two, how were they planning to protect President Bush from more lethal weapons?

“Or did they deliberately let that one through? Hmmm…”

Filipino journalist Carlos Conde analyzes the shoe-throwing incident from the perspective of a media person:

“What he did was to show that he is a citizen before anything else; that he, too, feels the pain of his fellow Iraqis.

“Al-Zaidi is a journalist. He knows the story of Iraq perhaps more than anybody else. But more than anything else, he’s an Iraqi citizen. He feels the pain of his people perhaps more than any journalist in Baghdad does. Did we really expect him to just sit there and watch Bush lie through his teeth again and insult the memory of those who suffered in Iraq because of America’s act of aggression?”

Ka-Blog from the Philippines understands the motives of Al-Zaidi:

“Was Al-Zeidi justified in doing it? Let me put it this way—if your country were ravaged by a war justified on totally baseless claims (WMD); if millions of your countrymen were dead because of it; if foreign aggressors are still occupying your country; and if the brains (now, this is a misnomer) behind all these comes to your country still saying he was right, won’t you feel the same degree of rage that this journalist felt?

“I was shocked by what I saw on TV and I was still shocked when I reviewed it on YouTube. I asked myself how a United States President could be treated in such a manner.

“But when I put myself in Al-Zeidi’s shoes (pun intended), I can’t bring myself to denounce him. In fact, my only problem with the Iraqi journalist was his aim.”

Arif from Indonesia writes that US President-elect Barack Obama has to redeem the image of America which was destroyed by his predecessor:

“Hates are left in worlds heart. Thrown shoes was only an expression of world hatred. Think that Barrack Obama has to recover Americas’ image destroyed by George Walker Bush.

“Thrown by shoes was nothing. But, Bush should think that he has created bad image and hatred. Bush also has destroyed ancient heritages in Iraq. He destroyed economic achievement. He lied to us. Iraq has had no weapons of mass destruction.”

Perhaps anticipating a negative reaction from authorities, Salak from Malaysia is fearful that “one day when we have to get a license for our shoes.”

Many Southeast Asian bloggers are amused over the Flash-based games which were created after the shoe throwing incident. Video samples of the games are shown below:

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