Today’s Sinagpore Headlines (have your smelling salts handy)

Everbody’s seat belts fastened? Today’s Singapore headlines will move earth and heaven. (If you have a history of heart failure, you are advised to skip this jarring post. The Peking Duck is not responsible for health problems related to these graphic and hair-raising headlines.) Ready?

1. Sports water bottles are selling in record numbers in Singapore

2. If budget air travel grows in the region it could mean more jobs

3. Singapore companies might benefit by studying the WalMart business model

4. An early Singapore jet fighter has been restored in Australia

5. The Prime Minister will soon announce changes in the national retirement fund (CPF)

And that’s the way it is here in Singapore, where no news would be infinitely more interesting than the artificial non-news that the papers spoon-feed us each day.


Ann Coulter Sizzles

This just in:

ACCORDING TO THOSE who witnessed the bizarre incident, Coulter was in the middle of an extended rant about liberal comedian Al Franken when her face became beet-red and smoke began to shoot out of both of her ears.
Then, almost without warning, Ms. Coulter appeared to burst into flames, sources said. The New York Fire Department immediately rushed to the scene to extinguish Coulter, who continued to talk even while fully ablaze. “We were dousing her with three fire hoses, but she just kept on yapping,” said Hal Reuss, a fireman who helped put out Ms. Coulter. “It was freaky.”
Meanwhile, outside the Fox News Channel’s New York headquarters, thousands of publicity-starved authors congregated, begging Fox to sue them.

Via Atrios.


Mainlanders: HK’s dream or nightmare?

Mainlander tourists are flooding into HK in record numbers and helping the SAR’s economy stay afloat. The problem, according to this article, is that with the new guests comes counterfeit money, illegal workers and countless prostitutes eager to take advantage of HK’s higher hourly rates.

The Immigration Department has had to step up the number of raids it conducts on construction sites and red-light districts to stem a steady flow of illegal workers and women who come to Hong Kong to ply the flesh trade.

In the first seven months of this year, officials mounted 3,149 raids and nabbed 8,580 illegals. In the same period last year, there were 2,374 raids and 6,354 arrests.


Mainland moral guardians are concerned that travellers are picking up vices not readily available on the mainland. These include patronising Jockey Club betting booths, watching X-rated movies and buying pornographic magazines or politically sensitive books.

Interesting situation. China is very keen on censorship, so they must be going ballistic. But they really don’t have a choice. Either they join the world and pay the costs freedom brings with it, or isolate themselves and hide under a rock, like their friends in Pyongyang.


Everything you want to know about Korea, and much more

Another new find today, this blog is as opinionated about Korea as I am about that big country up north. I particularly enjoyed his outspoken analysis of a CNN report on China’s out-of-the-blue criticism of the DPRK’s constant preparations for war and sudden urging for a kinder, gentler Pyongyang. One of his conclusions:

The fact that party sources are feeding this to western media 2 days before the talks start is a pretty clear signal that they’re attempting to deflect any (American) criticism of indifference. They obviously want it well-known that they’re on the right side of the table and are working hard to give themselves a “well, we did our best” response when the talks are stuck in neutral.

The entire post is too long to quote, but I strongly recommend it to those cynical about sudden fits of altruism from Communist dictators. Much of it is quite hilarious.


Yet more on China’s imbalance of the sexes

I just read a detailed, eloquent and well-researched post on the staggering gender gap in China. Just a sample:

Perhaps by forcing down the percentage of women in society China will finally come to value them more equally with men. For the time being however, the imbalance is, in my mind, a damning indictment of a culture that values one half of its population more highly than the other half. For those who believe that every human being is endowed with intrinsic and equal worth and rights for the fact of being human, it is an intolerable realization to know that in China this is not so, to the point that abortion, infanticide, and abandonment, are used to underline how worthless a female’s life is.

For those who want all the figures and charts on this phenomenon, the same poster led me here.


A unique perspective on China’s gender gap

Internet Ronin has an interesting take on the huge imbalance of men vs. women in China that I wrote about a few days ago.

All of this may lead to what must be the largest unintentional experiment in sexuality in history. It would appear that, with millions of males likely unable to find a female partner within their lifetime, we may gain some insight into whether circumstances and environment contribute to homosexuality.

Before anyone gets all huffy about this entry, don’t take this all that seriously because it isn’t really meant to be. The ramifications of forced family planning in the Peoples’ Republic are serious, however.

I’m skeptical, frankly, that they’ll become gay simply due to the lack of women. More likely adulterous affairs will blossom, as will pornography. It will be interesting to see. Sad, too. It did not have to be this way, and the butchery of baby girls will come at a very heavy price.


A Real Exporter of WMDs

Interesting article on how China sells nukes and other weapons to countries that may not be ready for them (like North Korea) as part of its foreign policy plan.

China uses missile and nuclear transfers to Pakistan and North Korea, both widely regarded as rogue states, to keep countries that it sees as adversaries, such as Japan and India, on their toes. Given the ambivalence of the US Administrations to the Beijing-Islamabad-Pyongyang `Axis of Proliferation’, New Delhi will have to dealing on its own the security challenges it may face from the axis, says G. Parthasarathy.

The author is an Indian official, so there has to be some pro-India bias, but it appears to be a pretty level-headed piece. He writes that both the Clinton and Bush administrations are to blame for giving tacit approval to China’s strategy, and I have to agree with that.

Given the ambivalence and obfuscation that have characterised the approach of both the Clinton and Bush Administrations to the activities of the Beijing-Islamabad-Pyongyang Axis of Proliferation, it is obvious that New Delhi will have largely to act on its own in dealing with the security challenges it faces from the axis. Washington is deeply divided on how to deal with China, which now has powerful commercial, diplomatic and military lobbies across the US, arguing for a policy of constructive strategic engagement with Beijing.

Those who speak of an India-US partnership to deal with Beijing are, therefore, living in an unreal world.

UPDATE: At the same time, the Chinese are apparently “talking tough” to Pyonyang, criticizing its obsessive, never-ending preparations for war and demanding an end to its development of nuclear weapons. [Via Conrad.] Is it talking out of both sides of its mouth, or is China truly seeking to force the DPRK to clean up its act? Let’s hope for the latter. Let’s see.


Autistic child dies at the hands of religious zealots

It’s a terrible, terrifying story. I couldn’t quite believe it as I read it. Could a bunch of zealous church goers really hold down an 8-year-old autistic boy and try to “exorcize” the autism out of his body by blows?

The story itself is frightening, but the post is most remarkable for the beautiful thoughts of its writer, himself the father of an autistic child.

Via Atrios.




Pretend that the city under the fireworks is Beijing and not Hong Kong.

At last, my beloved friend in China, Ben, got the job of his very most lofty dreams. The call came just a few minutes ago. What seemed so impossible yesterday is today a magnificent reality.

To everyone who helped and who offered to help (and there were certainly a few), I can never thank you all enough. I wish I could convey just how much this means to me.

This was Ben’s dream, and seeing him attain it washes away months of anguish — mine and his. There is a god; there are miracles.

[The stunning graphic is stolen from Gweilo Diaries; thanks Conrad!]


What are they thinking?

I just watched in astonishment a piece on the BBC on how many in South Korea believe they were brainwashed with anti-Communist propaganda, and that North Korea is a better, more fair model of government than that of the repressive Americans. They interviewed college students who, with a straight face, praise their northern divided half.

This reflects an apparently growing mindset that the American troops should leave the peninsula so reunification can be achieved.

I don’t have to go into the surreal brutalities and psychoses of the DPRK. All I can say is, Be careful what you wish for — it just might come true. I can understand wanting to get foreign troops off your soil. I can’t understand anyone seeing any redeeming qualities in the living, breathing hell created by Dear Leader and his goons.