ad info

TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards


about Asia Buzz  |  more Asia Buzz

Asia Buzz: The Week That Wasn't
A stunned world awaits the U.S. election result

November 20, 2000
Web posted at 11:00 a.m. Hong Kong time, 10:00 p.m. EDT

Ticked off at Asia Buzz? Turned on? Talk back to TIME
Last week was probably the worst in the history of mankind. I didn't get a whit of work done, so paralyzing was the uncertainty over the U.S. election result. I had trouble eating solid foods. And I know I wasn't alone.

The Chinese Politburo hasn't been so numbly confused, according to top Asia Buzz sources, since U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky's last visit. Insiders say the Kremlin was "paralytic," which is almost the same as paralyzed, but with canapes and party records -- and I don't mean big beet harvests. U.S. President Bill Clinton got to Vietnam, finally, to the utter confusion of his hosts in Hanoi. (The State Department had told them the trip might be indefinitely delayed because Clinton had cadged yet another deferment.) And Peru's Alberto Fujimori announced he would quit the presidency of his country out of exasperation and depression. A terrible week.


Culture on Demand: Trust, Lies and Audiotape
The truth is out there. And a new device will help you find it
- Friday, November 17, 2000

Letter from Japan: Pure Greed
With Prime Minister Mori set to be dumped, will the LDP relinquish control of the nation? I wish!
- Friday, November 17, 2000

Asia Buzz: Cat and Mouse
Shanghainese Web addicts take on the authorities
- Thursday, November 16, 2000

Asia Buzz: Election Special, Part 55
It could only happen in America
- Monday, November 13, 2000

Culture on demand: Election Knife-Edge
Our exclusive interview with an Absentee Palm Beach County voter
- Friday, November 10, 2000

Letter from Japan: Like a Kid in a Candy Shop
A day in the life of a columnist
- Friday, November 10, 2000

The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

It was as if the entire world was on the same bad trip, glued to CNN with a puzzled scowl or buttonholing friends to complain, "The thing I don't understand is..." There must have been some apathetic soul who didn't give a hanging chad about the result, but I didn't meet him. For Americans abroad, it was even more painful because foreigners kept saying "The thing I don't understand is..." And we had to patiently explain that U.S. presidents were customarily chosen by Palm Beach voters living in Israel. Hey, if the system ain't broke, why fix it? Say what?

The once-and-future candidates couldn't afford to look gobsmacked, and George W. Bush announced that he had curled up with the new biography of Joe DiMaggio, which sounded like an odd thing to do, especially since the Cliff Notes haven't been written. But Bush hasn't had a stiff one since the Jimmy Carter days, so maybe this was a means of relaxation. Personally, I would have fallen off the wagon with a huge crash last week and whooped it up on a mechanical bull nicknamed Tipper -- and if that didn't win Florida, forget about it. But reading a book had a presidential ring, and for the younger Bush, also provided vigorous lip exercise.

Al Gore was allegedly hard at work in Washington, but that was a front. The Vice President had plenty of reading to do under the bedcovers with a flashlight: specifically, 20 years of Internal Revenue Service statements from Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. He summoned Janet Reno to explore the possibility of chucking the state of Tennessee out of the union. ("Is it do- able?" asked Gore. "Long over-due-able," cackled the Attorney General.) Late in the week, as the hand-counted returns started coming in from Florida, Gore had urgent discussions with Alec Baldwin in Hollywood on real estate prices in Ibiza and Kathmandu. (Alberto Fujimori wanted in on those talks, I'd bet.) The only positive news during the whole dismal week was that no one, anywhere, used the phrase, "The system works."

On CNN, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan pointed out that the situation in the U.S. was under control. There were no riots on the streets, he said. Annan needs to study America a bit more; I can't imagine a single American wasting a good riot on Bush or Gore being denied the presidency. Although a coup d'etat by New Yorker Rick Lazio would get my friends on the streets -- and if Hillary's forces arose, it could start another revolution. But that's idle fantasy.

Meanwhile Japan, America's best friend in the Pacific, stepped forward to make its democracy look worse than ours. Japan's system, having been devised on the back of a cocktail napkin in a Ginza bar by Douglas MacArthur in 1945, is different. Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori faces a no-confidence vote in the Diet today -- called by his own party. That's weird, but as to the specific legalities, we'll have to wait for a ruling from the Florida Supreme Court. According to the Japan Broadcasting Corp., the no-confidence vote will be tallied within several months. Kind allies, those Japanese.

Another paralyzing week awaits us. The only people having fun will be late-night comedians. And for the rest of us it will go something like this: "The thing I don't understand is..."

Ticked off at Asia Buzz? Turned on? Talk back to TIME
Write to TIME at
Search for recent Asia Buzz

TIME Asia 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

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN


Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.