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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

LETTERS AND COMMENT

"TO REPORT ACCURATELY AND FAIRLY THE AFFAIRS OF ASIA
IN ALL SPHERES OF HUMAN ACTIVITY,
TO SEE THE WORLD FROM AN ASIAN PERSPECTIVE,
TO BE ASIA'S VOICE IN THE WORLD"
-Mission Statement, 1975


How to reach Asiaweek

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New Blood

I AM SURE THEY'VE improved and developed their family businesses, but some of your "Leaders for the Millennium" in business and finance have had a head start that the majority of the population will never experience [COVER STORY, June 11]. Jaime Augusto Zobel, Richard Li and Jeffrey Koo Jr., among others, have had most of their careers handed down to them from their families. In regard to some on your list, it could be called "followers of the millennium."

Jay Yoon
New Jersey
United States


IF THAI FARMERS BANK CEO Banthoon Lamsam really wants his bank to be "world class," he might instruct his branches in the use of computer link-ups. If you want to cash a check drawn on the Thai Farmers Bank in Phuket, you have to go to the branch that issued it. Perhaps a bit more "restructuring" is called for?

S. Tsow
Bangkok


Sheikh Hasina in the Power 50

IN THE "POWER 50", Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was ranked 42. I would like to draw your attention to two things. First, our Prime Minister prefers her name to be Sheikh Hasina, not Sheikh Hasina Wajed. Second, you wrote in the last sentence that her government has been dogged by allegations of corruption and nepotism. Your correspondent must have taken these allegations from opposition propaganda. They are untrue, baseless and motivated. Sheikh Hasina's government is rather democratic, transparent, accountable and free from any corruption or nepotism.

Jawadul Karim
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh


Malaysia's Very Smart Card

IT IS A GREAT idea for Malaysians to carry a high-tech card that not only identifies the owner but can do different transactions ["Too-Smart Card?" TECHNOLOGY, June 11]. Information technology is the correct direction for Malaysia if it wishes to fulfill the Prime Minister's Vision 2020. The question is whether Malaysians are ready to accept the technology given that the majority of them still have no idea what the government's Multimedia Super Corridor is all about. Do we have the ability to manage, maintain and run the technology behind the smart-card system without importing the expertise? Has the government considered the issue of the privacy of its citizens?

Over the past five years, Malaysia has gone through dramatic changes in building projects, infrastructure and technology and I believe a lot of its people are still catching their breath. I strongly agree with the Prime Minister's vision to move the country forward, but do we normal citizens have the ability or skills to follow the government's vision?

Danny Lee
Malaysian student
Melbourne, Australia


Beyond Survival at Jollibee

I AGREE THAT BUSINESS savvy and excellent positioning are two of the major reasons for Jollibee having prospered while other fast-food operators in the Philippines floundered ["Crisis Survivor," May 21]. However, having been involved in Jollibee's management development and succession planning program back in 1996, I can say there is something deeper and more permanent than either factor.

I'm referring to the company's commitment to developing its people. As a human resources management consultant tapped to train all the managers in effective coaching and counseling, I had initially planned to include sessions on communication and interpersonal relations - until I learned that most of the managers (and many of the senior staff) had been through DDI's "Interaction Management," the Covey Leadership Center's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," and the Dale Carnegie Institute's course on "Effective Human Relations." Knowing how much these programs cost, and the number of managers in Jollibee, this was certainly an example of a company putting its money where its mouth is.

This concern for people, and the underlying respect for human dignity, showed itself in other ways. During our workshops, I could see how much the managers agonized over saying anything that could de-motivate their staff, or make them feel less important than their peers. Even their peculiar way of addressing each other as "Sir" or "Ma'am" was (I was told) an attempt to narrow the gap between organizational ranks - something supposedly introduced by [CEO, president and key shareholder] Tony Tan Caktiong himself in the early days.

Tan also remained interested in the welfare of the "oldtimers" (employees who had started with the old hamburger restaurant in downtown Manila back in the early 70s), and still knew most of them by their first names. How truly in keeping with the values that Filipinos hold dear.

Celeste Michelle Alba Lim
Manila


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


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