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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

THE ASIAWEEK POWER 50

NUMBERS 9-13


9. King Bhumibol Adulyadej

10. Mahathir Mohamad

11. Hassanal Bolkiah

12. George Soros

13. Chuan Leekpai

9. King Bhumibol Adulyadej

KING OF THAILAND

BORN Dec. 5, 1927, in Cambridge, Massachusetts

EDUCATION Gymnase Classique Cantonal, Lausanne, Switzerland

FAMILY Married to Queen Sirikit; one son, three daughters

ADDRESS The Grand Palace, Thanon Na Phra Lan, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

POWER POINTS He gained the throne 51 years ago and for the last 20 years has provided stability and continuity for fractious Thai society. His moral authority is unquestioned (indeed, criticism of the king is outlawed). The revered monarch expresses hope that democracy may mature to the point where his intervention in national politics is largely unnecessary. Still, he is believed to have given his quiet backing to an extensive revision of the Constitution, reforms which were approved last year during political and economic turmoil.

10 Mahathir Mohamad

PRIME MINISTER, HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER, MALAYSIA

BORN Dec. 20, 1925, in Kedah state, Malaya

EDUCATION University of Malaya, Singapore

FAMILY Married fellow physician Siti Hasmah Ali; three sons, two daughters, two adopted children

ADDRESS Jalan Dato Onn, 50502 Kuala Lumpur

POWER POINTS Ill-advised verbal attacks on foreign investors and a bailout of his son's ailing shipping company have undermined his once-unassailable authority. Challengers could surface if recession arrives. "Dr. M" wants curbs on global currency trading - an idea gaining support from the IMF.

11 Hassanal Bolkiah

SULTAN AND PRIME MINISTER, BRUNEI

BORN July 15, 1946, in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

EDUCATION Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin College, Brunei; Sandhurst military college, England

FAMILY Two wives, ten children

ADDRESS Istana Darul Hana, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

POWER POINTS Petrobucks potentate gained stature and friends by acting as benefactor to Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia after currencies crashed. Among world's richest individuals, his oil wealth was largely untouched by region's fiscal woes.

12 George Soros

INVESTMENT BANKER, PRESIDENT, SOROS FUND MANAGEMENT CO.

BORN 1930, in Budapest, Hungary

EDUCATION London School of Economics graduate

FAMILY Married to second wife Susan Weber Soros, two children

ADDRESS Soros Fund Management Co., 888 Seventh Ave., New York, N.Y. 10106

POWER POINTS Accused by some of trashing the "tiger" economies through currency speculation and profiteering. The hedge fund manager has the capital - more than $12 billion - to move markets. Admits he bet against the Thai baht initially but claims he lost money overall in Southeast Asia currency meltdowns. Recently invested heavily in South Korea and Thailand. Demonized by Malaysia's Mahathir - whom Soros called "a menace to his own country."

13 Chuan Leekpai

PRIME MINISTER AND DEFENSE MINISTER, THAILAND

BORN July 28, 1938, in Trang, Thailand.

EDUCATION Law degree, Thammasat University, Bangkok

FAMILY common-law wife Pakdiporn Sucharitkul, one son

ADDRESS Government House, Bangkok 10300, Thailand

POWER POINTS Chuan governed Thailand 1992-95, but resigned during a land-deal scandal involving his party. Since becoming PM again during dark days last November has earned plaudits for implementing IMF controls. If he begins to lift Thailand out of recession, his Democrats could sweep the next elections.

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