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Against 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. Buenaventura

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.
C.A. Buenaventura
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.
J. Francia
via the Internet

Helping Singapore's Poor
"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

Sorry, Helen
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.
James Kember
Consul-General of New Zealand
Hong Kong

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.
Caroline Loy
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. — The editors

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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COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

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Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

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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?


DoCoMo: Japan's leading mobile phone company is taking its popular i-mode technology global

Bandwidth: Boom With new undersea cables criss-crossing the region, ain't seen nothing yet in Asia

China: A turf war among major telecom players is looming in the world's second-largest mobile market

TAIWAN: Political intrigue is behind a sex scandal that's adding to the pressure on President Chen

JAPAN: Rebel wannabe Kato Koichi self-destructed, but his war to oust PM Mori shook the LDP

SINGAPORE: The government is once again urging Singaporeans to procreate. But success breeds selfishness

Training: Is a low-skilled workforce costing Thailand precious foreign direct investment?

Investing: As Asian democracy evolves, money managers in the region learn new lessons


Medicine: Fed up with medical blunders, Japanese patients fight for greater accountability from doctors and hospitals

Ceramics: Tradition takes a back seat as China's cutting edge potters strut their stuff in Hong Kong

Editorial: A growing digital divide is threatening the region's prosperity. Bridging it requires some basic investments

Letters & Comment: Not just the elite oppose Estrada

Looking Back: The prisoner of Sentosa

The Bottom Line: Asiaweek's ranking of world economies

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