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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?

AsiaweekTimeAsia NowAsiaweek

MARCH 3, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 8


Cover: The Scapegoat?
Blamed for the riots surrounding the fall of Suharto, controversial ex-general Prabowo Subianto tells his story
- Investigation: No single "mastermind" was behind the May 1998 turmoil. There were many players, and many plots
- Insight: Re-examining Prabowo's record in East Timor
- Insider: How the general and son-in-law benefited - and was compromised - by being part of the First Family

Editorial: The Internet is the most compelling agent of economic reform
Editorial: A good year for Kim Jong Il - but watch out

Malaysia: The real campaign for national leadership heats up
- Anwar: A decision on Mahathir's testimony is put off again
- Shadows: A play looks at Malaysia's troubled political soul

Hong Kong: The former colony is starting to trust the motherland

Taiwan: Beijing demands unification talks - or else

Japan: Obuchi raises (but doesn't fire) the starting gun for polls

Cambodia: A culture of violence and impunity undermines justice

Fashion: The spirited new styles suit Asia's mood
- Accessories: The rule is - there is no rule
- Menswear: Casual, chic - and inspired by womenswear
- Kenzo: The Japanese couturier bids farewell to the catwalk Investors rush for a piece of a Hong Kong company with no history, few employees and lots of hype

Kosdaq: Korea's over-the-counter stock market soars

Scandal: Can Manila recover from the BW Resources fiasco?

Investing: Betting on the New India

The Net:
The freebie formula gets tested in Singapore

Cutting Edge: A keyboard you can fit on your Palm

Newsmakers: Japan's crown prince vents his anger

Viewpoint: To fight corruption, reform China's politics

If it's in Asia, it's in Asiaweek


Analysis and commentary from the Asian Edition of TIME Magazine
Asia's most comprehensive source for latest breaking news and information

Is It For Real?
It is heartening to note that President Joseph Estrada is "changing himself and his style of governance" [THE NATIONS, Feb. 18]. About time too. But as you interjected: "Really?" Can a 62-year-old man really change? It is hoped, for the sake of millions of poor Filipinos, that he is not just putting on an act, good movie actor that he was.

Now that Estrada reads more, he may well profit from Richard E. Neustadt's Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents, a book which, it is said, Sen. John Kennedy studied before he entered the White House and kept by him. The book says that while a president needs the data that advisers can provide, "he also needs to know the little things they fail to mention . . . it is the odds and ends of tangible detail that, pieced together in his mind, illuminate the underside of issues put before him. He must reach out as widely as he can for every scrap of fact, opinion, gossip, bearing on his interests and relationships as president."

If there is any truth to Neustadt's analysis, one wonders how effectively the new Malacaņang chief of staff Aprodicio Laquian could help Estrada in making himself over as chief executive. Laquian said his main job is to gather information and set before Estrada the pros and cons of policy options. "I would serve the person of the president and [Executive Secretary Ronaldo] Zamora would serve the presidency." One does not question the chief of staff's competence, experience and good intentions. But for the president to be a hands-on leader, he must do more of the things which he expects his advisers to do for him.
Antonio A. Agustin
School of Law
Manuel L. Quezon University

Really? With all those so-called technocrats, economic elites, smart alecs and what have you running the show, what does the Philippines need Estrada for?
J. Hernani M. Parco
Kalibo, Akean

How can you write something positive about a man who couldn't care less about my country's education? The week of your Estrada story, Congress approved his budget - he cut by one-third the funds for state education, and the budget of the University of the Philippines by 155 million pesos [$3.8 billion]. Everyone has the right to an education. It should be free, with all required to complete at least the early years of schooling. At a higher level it should be equally available on merit.

"It all boils down to funding," Estrada told Asiaweek. He also said: "My only dream is to help the poor . . . What I am now, I owe to the masses. So when I step down, I would like to be known as the president who championed the cause of the masses." Yeah, right, Mr. President.
Chiquit Torrente
College of Architecture student
University of the Philippines

Who Will Survive the Bubble?
You quote twice in one issue the opinion of Bernard Tan of Merrill Lynch in Singapore that the risk of not being in technology stocks today is far higher than being in tech stocks ["After the Bubble," TECHNOLOGY, Feb. 18]. With your reference to "more and more analysts" thinking the same [NEWSMAP], you foster the belief that investment in the present bubble is a winning strategy. Stock bubbles always burst and their fallout generally hurts the small investor coming late into the game. Let punters decide for themselves if they should invest in the present bubble - and don't encourage them to do so. Tan's hyping words are in fact the reverse of the truth. Being in technology stocks in this bubble gives you a much higher risk of losing your shirt than if you are not in them.
Jim Thorne

The Buddha's Birthplace
"The Great Escape" [INSIDE STORY, Feb. 4] says "The Karmapa's journey to the birthplace of the Buddha is a highly sensitive matter for Tibetans as well as for China and India." As the Karmapa made his journey to India, this may suggest that the Buddha was born in India. Of course, the Buddha was born in Lumbini in [modern day] Nepal.
Dr. Ram Sharma Tiwaree
Nakhon Ratchasima

Dragon Year Transitions
Chinese New Year usually is at the end of January or the beginning of February. Saint Joan of Arc, Jan. 6, 1412, and Soong Qingling, Jan. 27, 1892, were not born under the sign of the dragon.
She Ka Kin
Hong Kong

In "When the Rich Get Richer" [BUSINESS, Feb. 25], the table of the Hong Kong-listed companies of Li Ka-shing and family should have said that Hutchison Whampoa is 49.9% owned by Cheung Kong (Holdings) and that 36.1% of Hongkong Electric is held by Cheung Kong Infrastructure.

"Redefining Geek Chic" [, Feb. 25] incorrectly identified a major investor in the New York e-commerce consultancy, Boutique Y3K. The lead investor is VantagePoint Venture Partners.

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home


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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 ė at a cost

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

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