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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


By Alexandra A. Seno

Sammo Lucky Guy

A Hong Kong actor doing well on his own American TV series? Fat chance? Actually, yes, in the form of 1.79 meter, 109-kg (5 ft 9 in, 240-lb) Sammo Hung Kam-bo. The 46-year-old is proving to be a huge success in the network series Martial Law, where he plays a Shanghai cop who joins the Los Angeles police. Says TV Guide magazine: "As if Bruce Lee's DNA had merged with the Pillsbury Doughboy's, portly martial arts whiz Sammo Law [Hung's character] emerged as this [season's] least likely and most engaging action hero." Also starring popular comedian Arsenio Hall, the slapstick action comedy started in the fall and has since karate-chopped its way to top show in the Saturday-night prime-time slot. "Sammo is quite a commodity right now," his publicist tells Asiaweek. Several projects are being considered - including returning to work in Hong Kong. Back home, where he is also known as a director and stunt-choreographer, Hung has made about 100 films. Says his spokesperson: "He has been offered a number of things and he and his agent are deciding what's best. It's all up in the air." Just keep those flying-kicks coming.

A Blind Artist's Musical Vision

Masuda Taro has been blind most of his life. Next month, he's seeing through a dream of becoming a professional pop singer. One of Japan's most successful music producers, Sudo Akira, will launch the violin-playing acupuncturist, 30, with the release of the CD Nayameru Musuko (Son With an Aching Heart). "I am trying to produce music that impresses people without preconceptions of my being disabled," says Masuda, left, who composes as well as performs his own songs. "The most serious handicap is people's prejudice about my disability." Sudo says he was attracted by Masuda's unique voice. Of course, in the land of assembly-line pop idols, it also helps to have a unique selling point.

Decorating Can Be Dangerous

An attempt to add a bit of subcontinental style to her mother's estate in England is turning into a legal mess for Jemima Khan. The British heiress, 25, and her Pakistan cricket legend-husband, Imran, plan to sue the customs department in Lahore for defamation. This follows Pakistani authorities' allegation that she attempted to export antiques - a crime that can mean imprisonment. Last December, about 400 tiles intended for the Surrey mansion of Annabel Goldsmith, Jemima's mother, were impounded in Lahore. Earlier this month, the government archeology department produced a report saying the tiles "were of paramount archeological interest" and were similar to those from a 17th-century Mughal palace. "The case is a fake," the sports hero-turned-politician said last week. "I will file a defamation suit against the customs department, which has become a tool in the hands of the government in victimizing political opponents." The Khans claim the tiles are new and were purchased from a market. In the interest of keeping her seven-months-pregnant daughter out of jail, maybe Goldsmith should have gone for Formica?

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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