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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 17, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 10


Cover: Stock Options
Still relatively rare in Asia, companies are likely to start giving employees equity as an incentive to work better and stick with the job. Thank the Internet
• Glossary: A quick guide to cashless collars and other terms
• Japanese Dream: It isn't hip to be a salaryman

Asiaweek Salaries Survey 2000
Jobs in the region and how much they pay

Taiwan: The race for president is too close to call. Whoever wins, the island and its relations with Beijing will never be the same
• Interview: Chen Shui-bian does not want war with China
• Black Gold: Of gangsters, vote-buying and political corruption
• Geopolitics: The influence of Taiwan's brand of democracy
Thailand: What the Senate election means for political reform
Malaysia: Behind a debate on special privileges for Malays
East Timor: Why Falantil members are now rebels without a cause
Viewpoint: Vajpayee masks the fundamentalist threat

The Net: A geek summit in Taiwan
Computing: Hong Kong's hidden software industry
Cutting Edge: Simulating real life

Cash: With $1 billion, San Miguel goes shopping
Marketing: Notebooks as status symbols in Asia
Interview: Krung Thai Bank head says changes are coming
Investing: Mining resource stocks for profit

People: A*Mei drops pop for the classics
Entertainment: The hot spot for survival docu-dramas
Health: Protecting against Alzheimer's disease
Newsmakers: Zhu Rongji lays down the line
Looking Back: Mourning South Korea's President Park

Tough Talk
Battling corruption in China has never been easy and few people have done more to try to control the scourge than Premier Zhu Rongji. At the annual meeting of the National People's Congress in Beijing on March 5, Zhu issued his toughest warning yet to inept bureaucrats, vowing to crack down on "sloppy management, loose discipline and chaotic implementation of law." Smuggling, tax evasion and false government statistics have "hindered the progress of reforms," Zhu said, adding that the war against such crimes will be directed specifically at senior officials. He also promised to overhaul bankrupt state-owned enterprises by the end of the year and "work energetically" to re-employ workers who had lost their jobs. The next day Labor Minister Zhang Zuoji announced that 5 million workers had been fired ahead of the government's plan to restructure state industries. As some 6.5 million workers have been laid off in the past, China would need to create nearly 12 million new jobs this year, he said. Though the premier's keynote address won applause from the nearly 3,000 delegates present, Zhu outlined few fresh economic policies - and no political reform - which might help increase employment as well as curb corruption.

Family Feud?
A political rivalry is hotting up in the family of Philippine President Joseph Estrada ahead of local elections next year. San Juan mayor Jinggoy Estrada, 37, was conspicuously absent from a recent anti-drug campaign led by his younger half-brother Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito Estrada, 30, in Manila, even though government officials usually attend such events. Jinggoy reportedly has his eye on a Senate seat and JV is keen to follow him as mayor of San Juan, a position that their father held for 16 years. Jinggoy is said to be opposed to JV's ambition - he favors national basketball player and vice mayor Philip Cesar as his successor. But if papa Estrada steps in on behalf of JV, known to be his favorite son, Jinggoy may well be forced to change his mind.

Who's The Tiger?
Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has been keeping a rather busy social schedule lately. On March 3, he had a meal at the home of Gen. Wiranto, less than three weeks after suspending him following charges of human rights abuses. The next day, Wahid had breakfast with ex-president B.J. Habibie. Then he announced plans to meet Habibie's predecessor Suharto. At a March 4 press conference, Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab confirmed that Suharto's eldest daughter Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, better known as Tutut, had agreed to the meeting. According to the Jakarta Post, Shihab quoted Wahid as saying, "I have told Tutut to bring out her macan." The word means "tiger" in Indonesian, and the newspaper assumed Wahid was referring to Tutut's reclusive but often fierce father. But what most people don't know is that Tutut actually owns a tiger - a cub that has scared or scratched many a guest at her home. So which cat did Wahid have in mind - the cool Suharto or Tutut's sourpuss? As is usually the case with the mysterious Wahid, only he knows the answer.


Died Akorn Hoontrakul, 55, high-profile Thai businessman, hotelier, and lover of fine foods and wines, of intestinal cancer, in Bangkok, on March 4. A reform-minded former Palang Dharma Party MP, Akorn's personal political philosophy was perhaps best displayed during the 1996 Bangkok governor elections, when he campaigned for the downsizing of the capital and a more prominent role for the provinces in national politics.

Appointed Wang Yingfan, 57, China's former vice-minister for Foreign Affairs, as the PRC's new Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Feb. 25. Wang began his diplomatic career in 1967 during the Cultural Revolution. He has been posted to Britain, Ghana and the Philippines.

Deferred The trial of Abdul Rahim Noor, Malaysia's former inspector general of police, from March 6 to March 14. Rahim faces charges stemming from an incident involving Malaysia's jailed ex-deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was allegedly beaten while in police custody in 1998.

Beatified 44 martyrs, by Pope John Paul II, in front of more than 30,000 Catholic devotees assembled in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, on March 5. The beatified included martyrs from the Philippines, Thailand and even Vietnam, whose status as a communist nation has long frozen it from diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

Retiring Murayama Tomiichi, 76, former Japanese premier and currently Social Democratic Party MP, from national politics. Murayama cited diminished physical capabilities and a declining "spiritual drive" as the reasons for his decision, announced in his home constituency of Oita on March 4.

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home


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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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