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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

MARCH 31, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 12

Letters

 
  ALSO IN ASIAWEEK

COVER: Seismic Changes
Can president-elect Chen Shui-bian meet the historic challenges posed by a changing Taiwan - and by China?
The Challenge: Now comes the hard part
Reality Check: Beijing will have to deal with the new Taiwan
Profile: Chen's split personality

Editorial: Taiwan and China have reason aplenty to make peace
Editorial: Asia needs new policies to combat prostitution

THE NATIONS
South Asia: Clinton to India and Pakistan - Start Talking
'Limited War': Don't let the term fool you
Philippines: Sister Christine vs. Estrada - yet another scandal
Extended Interview: Salamat Hashim calls for independence
Myanmar: Behind the secret "Chilston" meetings
Inside Story: Asia's "Insiders" - four people who have blown the whistle on wrongdoing
Viewpoint: A Malaysian race for Islamization?

ARTS & SCIENCES
People: Sumo's big brother calls it quits
Heritage: The struggle to save Penang's old George Town
Art: Digital works blur the line between tech and expression
Books: Why healthcare was so bad in Suharto's Indonesia
Health: Noni - The craze over a smelly green fruit
Newsmakers: Thai "List of Shame" riles the privileged

TECHNOLOGY
Games: Microsoft's X-factor
Computing: IBM's Deep Blue man is now into e-commerce
Cutting Edge: An e-book horror story

BUSINESS
Bankruptcy: The court-ordered restructuring of TPI suggests Thailand is coming to grips with deadbeat borrowers
Room to Improve: Inadequate laws in Indonesia and Korea
No Hype: Can Singapore's Pacific Internet regain investor favor?
Renong: The Malaysian conglomerate sells off key assets
Business Buzz: A deal to lift Singapore's spirits

Investing: How rising U.S. interest rates will affect Asia

Awakening
I read with great interest "The Greening of Asia" [SPECIAL REPORT, March 10]. "Regional Ratings" was superb. Now I know what, how, and where Asian countries should improve in their environmental protection. Your report said soil erosion in the Philippines badly affects "22 of the country's 77 provinces." What it failed to say is that my country has developed a sustainable farming system which can curb soil erosion and minimize deforestation.
A private volunteer organization based in the southern Philippines has been promoting a scheme called Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) and its three modifications - Simple Agro-Livestock Technology, Sustainable Agroforest Land Technology, and Small Agrofruit Livelihood Technology - throughout Asia. One of the technology's founders, the Rev. Harold R. Watson (now retired), was awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for international understanding in 1985 for promoting these technologies. They are now widely adopted in India, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. If your readers want to know more about the SALT systems, the e-mail address is mbrlc@mozcom.com
Henrylito D. Tacio
Bansalan, Davao del Sur
Philippines


Your "regional rating" for Indonesia seems to neglect the fact that our government has done some serious policy work in response to all the problems you mentioned. The government has ratified many conventions, from biodiversity to climate change. It has also enforced a very strict regulation on hazardous waste. And we have a law which limits the use of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances. Why didn't you mention these?
In "The Eco-Warriors" you don't mention anyone from Indonesia who has been involved in raising awareness about environmental issues for decades, such as Emmy Hafild, who leads Walhi, the country's biggest environmental NGO.
Vitto R. Tahar
via the Internet


A nature lover, I applaud your mammoth effort and commitment to bring about environmental awareness in "The Greening of Asia." Your ability to collate hard facts on the environment of different countries is admirable. It also would have been good to tell us about environmental organizations in those countries.
Farizah Eskak
Singapore


It's worth mentioning that the battle is on for one of mainland Southeast Asia's largest "green lungs" - the Cardamom mountains. Conservation International has deemed this Cambodian region of near virgin forest to be one of the world's "biodiversity hotspots." Experts probing the dense mountainous tract recently sighted the Siamese crocodile, thought to have been extinct in the wild, and believe wild elephant, gaur, tiger and possibly the khiting vour [a horned cow-like creature] inhabit the area.

But logging concessions have been granted to companies from the region who are eager to make furniture while the sun shines. If the Cardamoms are to be saved, Asian environmentalists will need to think beyond their own borders. Sadly, their corporate brothers are light-years ahead of them in this respect.
Michael Hayes
Phnom Penh


Fallout from the UMNO Elections
The pattern of nominations for the elections in the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) offers a grim picture of how this senior partner in the ruling coalition will fare in Malaysia's 2004 general election. UMNO members at large seem to have been denied the choice to nominate whom they feel can deliver the goods [THENATIONS, March 24]. Ensured of places are the diehard loyalists of party president Mahathir Mohamad and his deputy Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a potential challenger for one of the top two posts, is now made to look like a possible cause of division. Besides Razaleigh's futile attempt to get substantial nominations, other partymen who do not hold cabinet posts are not spared this nomination pattern. UMNO's Supreme Council may be filled by members who hold cabinet posts - hence the party will be controlled by the government, not the other way round.

The resentment of this trend, though silent, is huge. What's happening in UMNO is being watched closely by two coalition partners, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Gerakan. While the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Pas) may look satisfied with its recent general election success, it wants to take over the country. This will not materialize until the MCAand Gerakan follow another Chinese-based party, the Democratic Action Party, which is already working with Pas. In the Pas-controlled states of Kelantan and Trengganu, efforts are being made to have the Islamic party appeal to non-Muslims. This may seem farfetched. But no political party would like to be associated with a weak senior partner.
Danny Sole
Alor Star, Kedah
Malaysia


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