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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


A Star Student

HER FATHER IS AN ENGINEER in Anhui province. Her mother teaches singing. And she is a third-year student at the Beijing Film Academy. So that makes Vicki Zhao Wei just another ordinary girl desperately hoping that a talent spotter will come along and miraculously turn her into a star, right? Well, no. At 23, Zhao is already one of the hottest properties in Chinese television - on the mainland, in Taiwan and Hong Kong and as far afield as Singapore. As Xiao Yanzi in the Taiwan-made TV series My Fair Princess, the diminutive Zhao is a superstar with a constellation of fans. Her show tops the ratings in Hong Kong. She features on about 200 websites. And stalls in Shenzhen, southern China, sell everything from Zhao paper fans to Zhao bags to Zhao-endorsed mineral water. Predictably, there are also hundreds of thousands of pirated versions of My Fair Princess. For all that, the princess is still a bit of a captive in her college castle. Her plans to visit Hong Kong are off after she was grounded in a contractual dispute between two studios.

Dou Wei? No Way

IT'S A RARE PHOTOGRAPH that shows Hong Kong songbird Faye Wong and husband Dou Wei sharing a public moment - something they don't do any more since their marriage broke up five months ago. Nothing unusual there, even for a showbiz couple. But Wong, 30, is going even further. For her coming tour of Malaysia, she has expunged mainland rocker (and father of her child) Dou from her musical life. For a start, he won't be playing the drums behind her. She has also edited him out of their music video, "You're Happy, So I'm Happy." And she won't be performing Don't Break My Heart, which Dou, 30, wrote for her. Wong's manager explains: "She has so many songs. She doesn't need to sing his." Or even remember him, apparently.

A Bird in the Hand

MEET CYBER ALANG (otherwise known as Cyber Bird), who will be the mascot for the 2006 Asian Games if Malaysia wins the right to host them. Obviously impressed by the creature's fine plumage is Foreign Minister Abdullah Badawi, who showed Cyber Alang off to the press. After successfully hosting the Commonwealth Games last year, Malaysia is considered a hot bet for the 2006 Asian sports gathering.

Too Hot for Indian Viewers?

INDIAN FILMMAKER Shekhar Kapur has run into trouble with the censors over his Oscar-winning movie Elizabeth. The snippers want cuts in three scenes - one where the Duke of Norfolk makes love with his mistress, one where three decapitated heads are shown on a stake and another where a vulgar word is used. Kapur blames the fuss on 1960s star Asha Parekh, who now heads the censors. "She does not realize the film is like a chess board," he says. "I agonized for six months over every shot."

Hopping Mad

A ONE-LEGGED PURSE SNATCHER is in custody in Kuala Lumpur after his attempted crime went wrong. Police say the thief was riding pillion on a motorcycle that crashed after he tried to grab the bag of a woman pedestrian. The bike owner got away, but his passenger was nabbed when his artificial leg was knocked off in the impact.

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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