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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story


Gnat Now, I'm Eating

Medicinal Properties of Insects
EATING BUGS IS NOTHING new. Ento-enthusiasts have long extolled the virtues of insect cuisine, bugs being cheap, high in protein and readily available. Now they're also raving about its medicinal properties. The Imperial Herbal Restaurant in Singapore offers dishes featuring scorpions and ants, both of which are high in nutrients. Although there is no conclusive evidence, both reputedly combat illness as well. According to the restaurant's proprietor, Mrs. Wang-Lee Tee Eng, scorpion's poison soothes nerves and eases migraine headaches, while ants cure rheumatism, a condition which causes inflammation of the joints, muscles or ligaments. The Bangkok Post reports that the Division of Medical Entomology is compiling a list of insect products that have medicinal properties. Among them: dried grubs which relieve pain and increase heart-rate after poisonous bites; cicada larvae which relieve gas, cold sores and measles; and dried hornet's nest, which kills parasites and relieves gastrointestinal pain. Royal Jelly bee's pollen is also believed to lower blood pressure and improve skin quality. Those searching for a tasty meal made of bugs, however, might need to look elsewhere. Scorpions have a chewy texture, while ants have a sour tang like vinegar. Says Wang-Lee, "It's an acquired taste."

Fashion Victims

Textiles and Health Risks
CLOTHING CAN BE DANGEROUS -- not only to your credit card balance but to your health as well. Textile-factory workers in England and Thailand recently reported widespread illnesses such as skin and eye irritations, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing. Many fabrics contain the chemical formaldehyde, a preservative used in dyes. Trapped in the cloth, or released into the air, formaldehyde causes skin rash and red, watery eyes. Hundreds of workers in Thailand have reported symptoms of byssinosis, a pulmonary disease caused by textile dust in the lungs. David Langman, president of France's national association of fashion and textile experts, urges higher health standards for fabric production. As long as these products are not regulated, he warns, they will be dangerous. To avoid textile-related illness, factories should be well-ventilated and dry. Consumers should wash all clothing before wearing to prevent adverse reactions.

For Sore Eyes Only

Combating Blindness
THE WORLD CATARACT EYE Surgeons Society (WorldCats), a volunteer organization of 450 ophthamologists, is currently negotiating the opening of operating facilities throughout Asia. Already established in Tianjin, China, WorldCats has restored the sight of 18,000 cataract patients and hopes to treat 100,000 more by the year 2000. Cataracts, a condition in which the eye lens loses its clearness, is a serious problem in Asia, having replaced infection and malnutrition as the leading cause of blindness. WorldCats works with local surgeons, training them in the latest methods of cataract removal. Arthur Lim, the Singaporean professor who founded WorldCats, says results have been excellent. He hopes to open clinics in Madras, New Delhi, Dhaka, Karachi, Yangon and Hanoi.

A Healthy Target

Leprosy to Be Eliminated by 1998

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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