1 , 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 47 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK
Estrada: 'The clamor for him to step down cuts across many sectors
the middle class, labor, students, church groups, civil servants, NGOs,
industry, and business organizations.' From letter below by C.A.
I take exception to "The Elites Vs. Estrada" [THE NATIONS, Nov. 17],
in which your correspondent portrayed the situation in the Philippines
as a battle between the elite and President Estrada. First of all, I
come from the ranks of professional managers with no substantial vested
interests to protect.
The continuing clamor for Estrada to step down cuts across many sectors
of the citizenry the middle class, labor, students, church groups,
civil servants, NGOs, industry, and business organizations among others.
All are motivated by a desire to revive our battered economy, restore
investor confidence and bring back integrity and decency to public service.
Makati, Metro Manila
While it is true that the last several protest actions against Estrada
were co-organized and actively participated in by leaders of the country's
biggest businesses, this is not a battle of the rich (businessmen) against
Erap's (poor). If you believe this, you are playing Estrada's game of
deception. He is deceiving the poor masses that he is our country's
savior. What's worse, he is trying to pit the poor against the rich
in order to protect his own disgraced reputation.
via the Internet
"For Richer Or Poorer" [THE NATIONS, Nov. 10] quoted Matthias Yao, minister
of state without portfolio and deputy secretary-general of the National
Trades Union Congress (NTUC), as saying, "Parents know what their children
can afford. They don't bring cases to court when they know that their
children are too poor to look after them."
Yao was interviewed by Roger Mitton for the article. In reply to his
questions, the minister of state explained the government's approach
in helping the poor and disadvantaged Singaporeans. He also outlined
the various schemes available to help them. As it turned out, Asiaweek
only chose to publish two sentences of the replies. For the benefit
of your readers, Yao's replies to Asiaweek's questions are available
at the NTUC's website.
The article painted a grim picture of the poor in Singapore and gave
an impression that they are left to fend for themselves. This is far
from the truth. The Singapore government is firmly committed to helping
low-income families improve their economic prospects and living standard.
This is done in three ways by ensuring that their basic needs
are met through affordable housing and healthcare, by equipping them
with the means to support themselves by providing heavily subsidized
education and skills training, and by creating ample job opportunities
for them. In the NTUC's view, the best way to tackle income disparity
is to upgrade workers' skills and further strengthen our social safety
net. Hence the NTUC places paramount importance on continuing skills
upgrading so that workers can adapt to changing work environments. This
will enable them to take on better paying jobs to better their lives.
Toh Yong Chuan
Head, Corporate Communications Unit
National Trades Union Congress
You refer to an all-male turnout at APEC I think someone needs
some spectacles [NEWSMAP, Nov. 24]. I can see Prime Minister Helen Clark
of New Zealand clearly in the adjoining photograph.
Consul-General of New Zealand
Hutchison's Top Rank
According to the footnotes with "The Asiaweek 1000" rankings [Nov. 10],
reported net profit should exclude extraordinary items, and rightly
so. But the net profit reported for Hutchison Whampoa (No. 168) of $15.0442
billion wrongly included the group's extraordinary gains. Your text
says these gains accounted for the bulk of its net profit. This distorted
the rankings of "The Largest Profit," "Highest Growth in Profits" and
the "Biggest Profit Margin," all topped by Hutchison.
Group Financial Controller
Vista Healthcare Asia Pte Ltd
Hutchison is correctly ranked in every case. Our methodology for "The
Asiaweek 1000" includes exceptional items and excludes extraordinary
items. The source of the problem: In "The Best and the Biggest" (page
127), the introduction mistakenly referred to "extraordinary" profit.
In "Lucky Generation" [BEYOND 25, Nov. 24], the baby pictured on page
104 was described as being in Manila. In fact, the picture was taken in
Singapore by Munshi Ahmed. We regret the error.
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