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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 story

SEPTEMBER 17, 1999 VOL. 25 NO. 37


East Timor's Agony
You hit the nail on the head ["East Timor's Agony," Sept. 17]. I could not but writhe in pain as I followed what was going on in Indonesia recently. Where is the morality in that nation's conscience - or at least in the psyche of those who have perpetrated violence against innocent civilians in East Timor? Indonesia as a nation has a lot of apologizing to do. What shame these lawless mobs have brought on their land and its people.
Andre Ramos

It is shocking that the United Nations would request the illegal squatter to protect the population of East Timor. Indonesia should be expelled from the U.N. The second step is for the International Court in The Hague to indict Gen. Wiranto and President Habibie, while the plug is pulled on all loans and investments. Poor ASEAN, with members like Burma and Indonesia and its naive principles of non-intervention. Do our Southeast Asian politicians have no sense of shame?
W-A Miailhe de Burgh

Why did Indonesia agree in the first place to hold a referendum which it was likely to lose? The answer is not hard to find. Before the referendum, Indonesia had its own election which the opposition parties won. If the trend continues, the governing military-led party will have to hand over power to the opposition led by Megawati Sukarnoputri. This would bring an end to military rule from behind the scenes and mean the loss of economic privileges now enjoyed by military leaders and their political henchmen.
A crackdown in East Timor offers these military leaders an opportunity to crack down on the nascent Indonesian democracy. It is clear to me that Habibie will soon step down and hand over power to the army, which will declare a national emergency in the name of stopping violence in East Timor. But the people of Indonesia are in no mood to accept military rule. Mass demonstrations and violence will return to Indonesia and the country will be plunged into anarchy once again. This is why East Timor must be saved to save Indonesia itself. The only way to save East Timor will be for the U.N. to take control. East Timor should immediately become a trusteeship of the United Nations. If Indonesia refuses to accept this step, it should be temporarily suspended from the world body. Furthermore its international should be discontinued.
Mahmood Elahi

San Miguel and Cojuangco
We refer to "Riding High" [EDITORIALS, Aug. 6], specifically the portion: "After years of keeping him off the board of food and beer giant San Miguel Corp., the state appointed as CEO Eduardo Cojuangco. . ." The above statement is grossly inaccurate and worse, misleading. Cojuangco was not appointed by the state. The fact is that he was unanimously elected as chairman and CEO by the board of directors of San Miguel Corp. The government nominee-directors in the SMC board who voted for Cojuangco were nominees of the previous Ramos administration and not of Estrada's administration.
Alberto A. Manlapit
San Miguel Corporation
Metro Manila

Singapore Election
In "Hold the Polls" [THE NATIONS, Sept. 3], you claimed that S. R. Nathan's uncontested election as president of Singapore "rings a bit hollow." The rules in the Constitution ensure that candidates for the presidency have the minimum prerequisites for the job. The president is a key safeguard in our political system. He holds the second key to approve the drawdown of reserves and appointments to key public service posts. You described Nathan's would-be opponents as "a private tutor and the head of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party." Did that qualify them to be president?
You also reported that despite earlier hinting at a second term, former President Ong Teng Cheong had "said he would not stand again, and described rocky relations with the rest of government with unusual frankness." Why did you completely ignore two important parliamentary statements by the Minister for Finance Richard Hu and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on August 17? Hu fully explained the issues that President Ong had publicly raised, and clarified the government's reasons for its different view. They were open to rebuttal by President Ong. But he did not. Goh explained why the government had decided not to support Ong if he stood for re-election. Ong had low-grade malignant lymphoma, and the disease was progressing. It had transformed into high-grade disease more than a year ago. The President's doctor met the Cabinet to explain the medical reports that there was a strong likelihood that Ong's health would affect the discharge of his official duties in the next few years. Had you reported these explanations, "the puzzling cloud over the departure" of Ong would have been dispelled.
Alberto A. Manlapit
San Miguel Corporation
Metro Manila

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home


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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