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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

BOOKS


Homecoming

DRAGON ASCENDING: Vietnam and the Vietnamese
By Henry Kamm

FOR MOST AMERICANS, VIETNAM is not a country so much as it is an obsession. But it is Vietnam the country, not the state of mind, that interests Kamm, a prize-winning correspondent for The New York Times. He provides in Dragon Ascending a highly readable -- if somewhat haphazardly organized -- portrait of the country and its people today. It is journalistic in style, heavy on anecdotes and on personalities, ranging from generals to dissident writers. He explains that Hanoi followed a path of economic reform similar to its giant neighbor but with less success. Like China, it replaced collective farms and boosted agricultural production, and it maintains strong, one-party control. But it lags far behind China in attracting foreign investment and economic development. One reason: it only started in 1986, about seven years after China. The other reason, of course, is the long American boycott, only recently ended. Internationally, Vietnam is just beginning to see itself not so much as part of some loose international confederation held together by a common belief in Marx, but as a country that is increasingly at home in Asia.

Arcade Publishing, 141 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y., 10010. U.S.A. 304 Pages. $24.95 (cloth)


Money Games

AROUND THE WORLD ON A TRILLION DOLLARS A DAY
By Gregory Millman

FORGET THE TABLOID-STYLE SUBTITLE: "How Rebel Currency Traders Destroy Banks and Defy Governments." This is a well-researched and sober analysis of the world's financial system. Millman argues that the markets have become completely detached from the real economic activity that they are meant to serve, operating now in a speculative, global whirlpool of currency movements, options, derivatives and debt. He also points out that the increasing globalism of finance means that more often than not, the fate of currencies is decided by junior traders operating on the basis of half-heard rumors and ill-informed guesses than by central bankers. In an interesting aside, the book examines the ultimately unsuccessful attempts of Malaysia's central Bank Negara to buck this frenetic system in 1984. Millman has so much to say that he seems to lose his way occasionally, but he does provide useful insights into the esoteric but vital world of global finance.

Bantam Publishing, 61-63 Uxbridge Rd., London, W5 5SA, U.K. 305 Pages. 9.99 (paper)


Street Smarts

ROLLING THE R's
By R. Zamora Linmark

THE HONOLULU-BASED WRITER EXPLORES the unsettling and often screamingly funny, multi-racial immigrant world of hormonally-charged teenagers in the predominantly Filipino neighborhood of Kahili. These second-generation youngsters seem to have a shrewder idea than their parents that the American ideal isn't what it is supposed to be. Set far from the post-card-pretty haunts of Diamond Head, among drug abusers, domestic violence and gangs, the novel effectively uses pidgin English and street language. Linmark relies on sharply etched, satirical vignettes to detail the bitter effects of racism, alienation and dispossession. At its best, this first novel by a young Filipino writer makes the reader want to weep and laugh at the same time.

Kaya Publications, 8 Harrison St., New York, N.Y. 10013. 149 Pages. $21 (cloth)


Gaining Insight

COMMUNICATING WITH ASIANS
By Harry Irwin

THE AUTHOR HAS SOME useful things to say about how Asians and Westerners view such things as the avoidance of conflict and the importance attached to individual rights. He uses these differences to suggest ways that Westerners might better communicate with Asians. He sees acculturation as more than just a matter of buying the latest how-to book; a person needs to know why customs exist in the first place. He even recommends that viewing a number of films, such as Red Sorghum, can help Westerners gain insight into the nature of Asian cultures.

Allen & Unwin, 9 Atchison St./ St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia. 185 Pages. A$24.95. (paper)


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TIME:

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

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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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