There’s a scene in the Bollywood movie ‘Page 3’. While theirbosses party, the drivers compare notes about the various flingsof their employers – the surreptitious phone calls, the late nightdalliances in five star hotels. No small wonder that we believethat taxi drivers and chauffeurs are among the best ‘informants’you could find. But their own life stories are sometimes equallyinteresting. Many have made the move from small town to bigcity. Our conversations with them are a preview of a Life at theEdge.We find equally fascinating uncovering what people in differentcultures are queuing up for. Who would have thought thatSwedish meatballs have caught the fancy of Chinese shoppers,or that the ukulele is a hot favorite of Thai youngsters?The emergence of women on the political scene (something wereferred to in the last issue) shows no signs of abating: even ifby proxy, another Asian nation will have a woman as PrimeMinister for the first time ever. Wassup will now accept wagerson this happening in China and Japan.Half the year is already over – enjoy the second half !
14 countries. 20 correspondents deeply immersed in popular and leading edge culture. JAPANTAIWAN Bring you Cultural Insights that will make a difference to your business.
contents Look who‟s talking: Hairdressers across AsiaKnowing me, Knowing you: Taxi drivers Playing on my iPod Rage against Waiting list Tense about Everyone‟s talking about My savior
Look who’s talking …“Success doesn‟t come to you. You go for it.”Dushan Corea believed in this more thananything else when he started out in thehairdressing industry at the age of 17.Seventeen years of hard work later, he is theproud owner of Chopping Block, one of thebest known salons in Colombo, with branchesin Nugegoda, Pellawatte and Horton Place.Dushan was passionate about hairdressing eversince he started experimenting with cutting hairas a child, often styling friends and family.Then, his first job as a sales representative didnot give him the satisfaction he was craving. Hismove into the hairdressing industry wasinfluenced by friends working at salons whorecognized his talent. He was then introducedto an owner of a chain of salons, who handedhim a broom and asked him to clean up.Disheartened, he only ploughed on thanks toseniors who reminded him that “in order toreach the top, you need to start humbly at thebottom”.With time, Dushan took an active interest inlearning skills by watching his peers stylingtheir clients‟ hair and advising them on what Men are as fussy about their hair styles, if notwould suit them best. Soon after, he was asked more than women, says Dushan, who tries toto cut for the salon. Dushan also attended the understand the character of his customersalon‟s training academy. before he begins styling.Armed with a new confidence, at age 22, Dushan swears by Keune and L‟Oreal when itDushan decided to continue his journey at his comes to colorants, straightening and permingown salon with a partner, Lauri. The Chopping lotions and conditioning treatments. He alsoBlock was born. Twelve years have passed uses Sunsilk‟s shampoos and conditioners onsince then, and he and his partner have earned clients. Since he purchases in bulk, he receivesthemselves a large and influential clientele. concessionary rates. Another reason he sticks with these reputed manufacturers is becauseThe trendsetters of Colombo – both girls and every six months, they bring in world-famousboys – come to Dushan for the „in‟ hairstyles hairdressers to provide stylists with training onand hair colors. The favorite amongst the girls the latest products, styles and looks.is the “Rihanna cut”, whilst the sought-afterstyle amongst the boys is the “uneven look”, Dushan doesn‟t advertise his salon. Given aregardless of age. White-collar boys opt for a choice, he would showcase young and freshmore clean cut. Hair coloring is a rage amongst faces who would best represent the salon‟stoday‟s teenagers, adds Dushan. culture. But for now, customers are his walking- talking billboards. If he satisfies a customer,Some even go for adventurous colors such as they will in return spread positive word-of-pink, purple and blue, though really whacky – mouth amongst friends. “That‟s the bestand slow-moving – colors aren‟t brought in by advertising I can ever get!”the distributors to Sri Lanka.
Look who’s talking … Bangkok hairdresser Wannee Prapaporn has been working as a stylist for 10 years now. “I am happy to make people look beautiful. Being a hairdresser is fun and I get to meet many people. Different people, different styles, I‟m always learning something new. I like the challenge,” she says. She was trained in haircuts for men and women at a beauty salon in Prapadang. It was an ordinary salon, not a school, but they had teachers who taught her the craft of hairstyling. Nowadays, the “usual” haircuts for men include long crew cuts, while women prefer to wear their hair long. Preferences also keep changing with the seasons. Many people just come in for a trim. Young girls often ask for the Mod style (a crop with fringe), while boys like the skinhead look or want their hair to be styled, not cut. Prapaporn uses Sunsilk shampoo. She keeps a number of hair color brands so customers can choose depending on their budget -- L‟Oreal, Berina, Lolan. She does not buy more than a dozen units at a time because the products may dry out if kept for too long. She restocks as needed.
Look who’s talking … They believe that “hair can speak volumes about“I had nothing planned. I didn‟t long to be a the person”. Often customers, especiallyhairstylist,” says Mohammed Munawer Ashker, teenagers, want radical things. “They know whatwho has been working at Total Care salon in they want and we try to give them what theyBanani, Dhaka, for the past 10 years. When he need,” says Ashker.was doing his „O‟ levels, he admired theprofession as an interesting one and so aspired Fashion keeps changing and so do customerto become a renowned hairstylist. “It‟s like demands. Some popular hairstyles today are theplaying with something that describes one‟s asymmetrical bob, uneven styles and C-personality,” says Ashker, who was inspired by a curvature, which is a mix of long and short hairsalon he used to visit in Sri Lanka. with a portion of the hair shaped as a “C”. Crazy, radiant colors are in among the youth. Keune, aThe journey as a trainee was a difficult one. “I Dutch product brought in from Sri Lanka, ishad to do all the dirty work – from mopping, Asker‟s preference for coloring. For shampooingcleaning and washing customers‟ hair to serving and conditioning hair, he uses Flex, a product offood.” Watch and learn were his bywords at the Revlon.time. He would observe his seniors cut hair. Inhis salon, when the management feels a traineeis ready, he has to go through a test whichinvolves giving a real customer a haircut. All hispatience paid off: having been put through thepaces, Ashker is now a renowned, licensedstylist known for his quality haircuts.Total Care doesn‟t advertise as it has strongword-of-mouth referrals amongst its customerbase. Ashker‟s brother Muffeez Rauff has alsobeen working in the salon for eight years andtogether they have been maintaining andgrowing the demand for their services.
Look who’s talking …Nida Khan is a junior stylist in Pakistan. She‟s been ahairdresser for four years. “The last two years iswhen I really started learning and applyingmyself,” she says. When Nida was in school, shebelieved she wanted a career she could enjoy.“Hairdressing is something thats appealed to mesince I was a little girl, when Id experiment on mymother‟s and aunts hair. One summer I tried myhand at it and I loved it! Since then I have neverlooked back.”After a basic course form Pivot Point, Karachi, Nidajoined Tariq Amin and his team as an apprentice.She is now working full time as a junior stylist.Most clients, she says, are not very experimentaland prefer long hair. With men, the focus is more on For Truong Trung Dao, hair has always been atraditional short styles, which require a lot of passion. “It was something I have been excitedprecision. “With women it‟s a bit simpler but more about pursuing as a career since I was young,”fun, it‟s all about creativity and glamour. Theres a he says. He‟s been a hairdresser for 15 years,type of client who wants hairstyles like we see in having started as an apprentice at a local hairmovies and magazines and then theres the simple salon.trim and blow-dry types.” Truong Trung Dao says that women still wantTeenagers are the ones eager to experiment. You‟ll beautiful, long and straight hair, which is “sofind a mix of styles – short cropped hair, cutesy admired in Vietnam”. They will, however,bobs, the edgy angled Rihanna look, fringes.Younger girls are more likely to be up for anything, experiment with color nowadays. Another plusall they need is the “confidence to pull it off”. of having long, flowing and glossy hair is that it is more versatile to style for different occasions.Nida‟s salon uses products by Schwarzkopf, whichshe feels are light on the hair. They usually buy in “Men‟s hair requires greater attention to detailbulk and also sell to clients. while women‟s hair is about a total look that can work with her changing sense of fashion and style,” explains Truong. Amongst teenagers, the Korea-inspired looks are still in, featuring strong colors and highlights. Truong Trung Dao uses products by L‟Oreal and TIGI, which are very popular “for their good quality”. “I have had a good business relationship with them for many years,” he says. His buying patterns may vary, but he makes it a point to restock as needed so he “always has the best product for customers”.
Look who’s talking … Generally, customers are young adults, and aren‟t very experimental. The younger clients who haveJason Lim, 25, has been a hairstylist for six years just graduated from high school tend to be braverand is currently in his fourth year as a stylist at with their look, especially as local schools restrictPeek-a-boo, a chain of salons in Greater Kuala the type of hairstyles students can have. So onceLumpur, Malaysia. The man from Langkawi, a out of school, they want to show a little moresmall town up north, decided to become a personality. Boys go for long and messy styleshairstylist after being inspired by the hair and while the girls may perm or color their hair.fashion trends he saw when visiting KL. Back then, Particularly hot with girls around that age is kawaiifashion was a rare sight in his hometown. He was (translation: cute) – a Japanese style of blonde,also inspired by the impact a person‟s hairstyle curly hair with a rounded crown.can have on his or her appearance. “Having theright hairstyle can make someone look good, Peek-a-boo uses products from L‟Oreal,even without makeup or nice clothes.” So he especially the Kérastase range that hastrained for seven months at Passion School of Hair ingredients that nourish the scalp and hair. ForDesign in Penang before deciding to move to the one branch alone, they buy RM 300,000 worth ofcapital for bigger and better opportunities. hair products a month.At Peek-a-boo, customers take their cues from The salon does not have posters of its own, but itMalaysia‟s more stylish and trendsetting does use L‟Oreal posters endorsed by localneighbors; customers often come to the salon celebrities.asking for hairdos you might see in Korea, Japanand Hong Kong. However, the most popular styleremains the traditional straight and long forwomen. Most customers leave their styledecisions to the hairstylists.There are as many men who visit the salon asthere are women, says Jason. The men come inonce every three weeks, whereas women comeonce in three or four months and spend more timeonce they are there – they might get a haircut,treatment and coloring job all at one go. While theguys usually keep it simple with smart and cleanhairstyles, a trend that is emerging is hair losstreatments for both old and young men.
Look who’s talking …Dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, Zheng Fan Chen Now they mainly use L‟Oréal and Han Feng, adexterously snips away at his customer‟s hair, South Korean brand, due to their lower cost andtransforming her neat bob into a summery pixie high quality. Chen thinks that Chinesecut. His assistants buzz around him, peppering him professional hair care products are of lowerwith questions and trying to absorb his technique. quality and many are counterfeits. They spendHe signals to an assistant to start removing curlers roughly RMB 20,000 (USD 3,000) every fouron another client getting her hair permed and months to purchase products for in-store use andjokes casually with one of the male customers. sale.Chen, 31, has not always been this comfortable in Even though the street where his salon sits is linedhis career. He is now a hairdresser at his own salon with dozens of salons that resemble his, Chen saysin Beijing, but it has been an uphill struggle to this he‟s seen many competitors open and close in apoint. “I started to cut hair just as a job to put food hurry. High rents and low profit margins areon the table,” says Chen, who has been in the blamed for the steep failure rate of thesehairstyling industry since he was 18 years old. He businesses. A haircut at Chen‟s salon costs RMB 48began to shadow master hairdressers in his (USD 7.40) while coloring and perms start at RMBhometown in Anhui province and slowly developed 128 (USD 20).a keen eye and knack for styling hair. A few yearslater, he moved to the capital to sharpen his skills Chen‟s salon sees local and foreign clients alike.and took international training courses at Sassoon He feels his salon has survived because of betterAcademy and Toni & Guy. techniques and reliable products, which have earned the loyalty of customers. “As a smallChen has been running his own business, YF Hair business that‟s just starting out, I feel prettySalon, for two years now in Andingmen in the heart successful where I‟m at and I think that myof Beijing, close to many tourist destinations and perseverance has really paid off,” says Chen.cultural zones that attract hip Chinese teenagersand artsy yuppies. His all-male staff of six each hastheir specific role in the small (50sqm) but chiclyfurnished salon. One stands guard by the entranceto meet and greet guests while two assistantssupport the three main hairstylists.Chen receives a lot of requests for short hairstylesfrom both genders, not only because of the hotweather in Beijing, but because it‟s a trend in Japannow. He says lots of stylish Chinese follow Japanesehair trends, which are generally an Asianadaptation of global fashion cues. Chen‟s malecustomers tend to go for any short cuts that areeasy to care for, while the women ask for morestyling that is in vogue and suits their face shapes.He also sees many teenage girls requestunconventional cuts, known as fei zhu liu styles, likecolorful side-swept bangs, shaggy mullets andteased afros. Teenage boys usually want crew cutsthat are easy and convenient.Chen and his fellow hairdressers have used bothChinese and foreign hair care products.
Look who’s talking …Penny has worked as a hairdresser for 16 years. She wanted tobecome a hairdresser because she likes challenging work andthe beauty industry. “This industry is very challenging in thatthere are always new skills and techniques to learn,” she says.She knows the importance of developing your own style in theline of work she is in. Penny has trained at the Toni & Guyschool in England and followed it up with a stint at the Labelinstitute in Japan. She also passed the hairdresser‟s test to get alicense in Taiwan and Singapore.She says that her customers in Taipei come with three majorconcerns about their hair:1. Oily hair and itchy scalp, which is the result of stress andpoor lifestyle.2. Grey hair, which is also a problem for the young.3. Dry hair due to limited knowledge of hair-care products.In addition to problem solving, most often Penny‟s customersask for hairstyles that are easy to deal with and manage on theirown.She always finds the most suitable hairstyle for her customers by considering his/her face shape, hairquantity and quality and lifestyle. She says that customers now are no longer blindly following fashiontrends; instead they seek a customized look that suits them best.Antonio Arviso has been a hairstylist since the1980s. He had an aunt and relatives who werealso in the hairstyling business and wasinfluenced by them to leave the field he studied(commerce) to do what he “really loves to do”.He also underwent training at Sa Samson‟s andSlims, a technological vocational school inManila.For men, Antonio says the barber cut and messycut are still the most popular. “I don‟t copy theAsian Novela look, though it is popular, becauseit doesn‟t fit the Filipino style if we copy itexactly.” For women, layered, geometric, one-length styles and bangs are back. Teenagers, onthe other hand, are all about the highlights andcrazy colors. He feels female customers areeasier to work with because he can exploremore options.Antonio uses professional salon brands such asInnova, Davines and Schwarzkopf for thecustomers, buying them by the gallon. “I alsouse the same for myself,” he adds. He‟s tested Iza Calzado, Filipina actressthem and found them to be good products. And whose picture is on the wallhe also likes them for the range of variants the of the salon “as she‟s acompanies carry for different types of hair. friend of the boss”
Look who’s talking … What about youth or teenagers? What are their favorite styles? Same as the adults, it doesn‟t vary much. ButHow long have you been a hair stylist? something interesting I‟ve noticed is parentsI started in 1998, so approximately 14 years, but I these days are investing more in theirtook a break during NS and two years after that as I children‟s hair. They want solid, trendy cutsexplored other career options. But I soon realized for their little ones, too. Young girls will getthat hair was still my passion. pixies or bobs and young boys will get the page boy cut. It‟s so difficult because theseWhy did you decide to become one? children won‟t sit still!Two words - Barbie dolls. My love for hair startedwhen I was a kid and saw my sister‟s barbie dolls. I What brands of shampoo, hair color, hair gelwas completely fascinated by the colour, shape or creams do you use?and movement of her hair and often tried different Goldwell and L‟Oreal for colour, Kerastase forhairstyles on them. shampoo and Redken/L‟Oreal for hair products.Did you undergo any kind of training? Where?Yes in southeast Asia, London and Australia. I Why do you use these brands?frequently attend seminars and workshops because Goldwell offers a good range of hair colours,you need to upgrade your skills in order to stay on Kerastase offers great scalp care, Redken hastop. The one course I would really love to go for is some awesome products like their Woolone by Vidal Sassoon. He really is a man of great Shake (sea salt spray) which is so importantvision and skill – his 5 point cut, asymmetrical cut for styling hair in Singapore‟s hot, humid(which he created 40 years ago) are basic cuts that weather.)require brilliant craftsmanship and are stillrelevant and trendy today. Any styling tips for our readers? When using hair spray, it is just as importantWhat do your customers ask for these days? to spray inside (in between the layers of hair)Which styles are most popular? as it is outside for a fuller look. Also, be sure toEither Pixie cuts or long flowy layers. Pixie cuts are use a good hair spray which doesn‟t damagevery trendy now and also help battle this insane your hair. (The test: spray your hair then rushheat. But I must say, Singaporeans are becoming a a brush through it. If it combs through withlot more daring; edgier hairstyles are increasingly ease, you‟re golden.)common.How are men and women different?Hardly any difference unless you‟re referring to theamount we charge them! Haha. There aredifferences between races though. Caucasianshave softer hair, Chinese have straighter harderhair, Indians have more wavy, shiny hair andMalays tend to have frizzier hair. In spite of the slew of celebrity customers that patronize Cinq on a regular basis, they do not believe in hanging their pictures on their walls. Instead, wallspace is dedicated to contemporary art pieces, which are for sale as well! Leong, Creative Director, CINQ
Look who’s talking …Wielding a hair dryer in one hand, a comb in theother, and with another comb held between his Bridgette Jones is one of the best known stylists inteeth, hairdresser Hideki Sato, 34, tackles the jet- Kolkata, India, with an eponymous salon at Saratblack locks of a male model. Bose Road. She‟s been a stylist since 1997, and her entry to the field was no accident, as her mother-in-Sato has been a hairdresser for almost 10 years law June Tomkyns runs one of the city‟s mostnow. He was inspired by watching a Japanese TV respected salons. “I always had this creative streakdrama called the Beautiful Life in 2000 to take up and my mother-in-law June Tomkyns gave me thehairstyling as a profession. opportunity to discover it.”After graduating in hairstyling from a vocational Bridgette trained at James Albert School ofschool in Tokyo, he went to work for Toshio Cosmetology in California. “I love bringing out theTanaka, a high-profile hairdresser who runs movement of the hair and then finishing the styleseven salons in western Tokyo and is a pioneer by adding attitude in the form of lots of color.”in Japans beauty industry. In the early 1990s, After working with her mother-in-law for a fewTanaka became the first Japanese to win gold years, Bridgette opened her own salon in 2006,medals in hairstyling championships overseas, with most of the equipment being imported fromand he still serves as an adviser to the Japan China.team for Hairworld, which Sato says attractssome 100,000 people working in beauty Bridgette‟s salon uses products by Schwarzkopfindustries around the world. Tanakas training and offers a diverse range of services. Apart fromwas so rigorous that eight of the 13 hairdressers haircuts and hair treatments for women, they dowho joined Tanakas salons in the same year as waxing, threading, manicures, pedicures andhim quit halfway through facials. She has also tapped into the huge wedding market by setting up a bridal boudoir where sheToday, Sato is skilled at his trade. “Short hair is dresses women on the big day itself, draping sarispopular now. I think people are preparing for a and doing their make-up. She also provides a pre-hot summer season,” he says. wedding beauty package including a facial, manicure, pedicure and haircut.Both men and women in Japan ask for a “naturalhair style” nowadays. Teens too prefer the Bridgette‟s skill and reputation for innovation hasnatural look. Sato‟s salon uses Shiseido FOG Bar landed her a regular column in an Indianproducts, primarily because they find the TV newspaper and a number of loyal celebrity clients.commercials so funny!
Knowing me, knowing youMr Lee has been driving a taxi for the last 12 years. He took up the job after beingretrenched from his factory manager position. His daily routine is difficult as he strugglesto provide for his family, being the only breadwinner, and his slightly cynical approach tolife and customers stems from his belief that society has moved forward and left himbehind. “People always horn me when I overtake them; don‟t they know I need to rushabout just to do my job?”.Which part of the country are you originally What do you expect your children to do whenfrom? they grow up?I am from Singapore, lah! Singapore so small. Now I have two children, one in poly, one „O‟ level. If they can go to university I‟m happyHow long have you lived in this city? already.I‟ve lived here all my life, and I‟m not goinganywhere. What do you and your friends do when you get together?Who do you stay with? We drink, play mahjong, go to each others‟I have a wife and two kids – they stay with me of houses. Same as other people I think.course. Any interesting anecdotes to tell?How many hours do you spend on the road? No.. But I have very irritating passengers; thereEvery day, at least seven hours, not including was this guy asked to go to place A, then when webreaks. reached he changed his mind and asked to go to place B. Then he kept scolding me and threatenedWho do you admire (political leader, sports to beat me. Crazy!star, film star, gangster…)?Please lah, Singapore like that, who can Iadmire? No don‟t have, don‟t have… (with awave of the hand).Have you ever used a computer? Been on theinternet? What for?Not really…sometimes I will use my son‟s laptopto see see.Which mobile phone do you own?I have an iPhone 4, everyone also uses. Why youask so many questions? Next you want to find outwhat kind of toilet paper I use!Which brand of toilet soap do you use?I said don‟t ask me that kind of questions, lah! Sostrange!
Knowing me, knowing you Md Shahabuddin moved from Noakhali to Dhaka 19 years ago. Thanks to the consistent rise in prices in Bangladesh, he has to live away fromXufeng Gao is a Beijinger who lives with his his family to make ends meet. It is a hard life: heelderly parents, wife and daughter. He usually has to spend up to 16 hours in his cab every day.starts his day at 6am and takes a one-hour lunch His dream is to see his son working as abreak at noon. At 4pm, he goes to the local market government officer and his daughter as a doctor.to get groceries for dinner. “I cook for my familyevery day. Then I go out again at eight and come Md Shahabuddin has never used a computer inback to sleep before midnight.” his life, or the internet. But he has two mobile phones, one Nokia and another Samsung. Lux isHe has a computer at home. “My wife and my his choice of soap. In his leisure time he hangsdaughter love shopping on Taobao. They get the out with his friends, gossips and plays carom.same stuff a lot cheaper there.” He also carries a Md Shahabuddin has been lucky enough to haveNokia mobile phone. given rides to many famous movie stars, including Reaz and Kabila. Sakib Khan is hisGao wants his daughter to get a decent job. “I favorite movie star, but he hasn‟t given him ahope she does not have to work too hard. A stable ride – till now, at least.job with stable income would be good enough.The important thing for her is to find a good He is a supporter of the opposition party BNP ashusband.” Khaleda Zia is his favorite politician. But his heart lies with local football club Mohamedan and hisIn his time off, he goes to a tiny restaurant nearby favorite player is Kawser Hamid.Qianmen. “It looks filthy and smells bad, but thetripe they make tastes so good. The place is cheapand popular. We always have a good time there.”He hasn‟t ever had a famous passenger, but hespotted a famous person last fall in a rathercurious incident. He was driving by the MingDynasty city wall ruins one morning when he sawa group of bodyguards walking along the wall. “Inoticed a familiar old man. It was Lao Jiang!” Hewas happy to see former president Jiang Zeminalive and well!Gao admires Chairman Mao. “Back in those days,society was pure and people were good-hearted.Today‟s people and society only believes inmoney; nobody is reliable and that‟s a dangerousthing.”
Knowing me, knowing youJayasiri Pathirana knows Colombo well. The 43- In Jayasiri‟s profession, regular run-ins with theyear-old drives a Bajaj three-wheeler often seen law are unavoidable, and that is why he admiresracing through the city streets. Jayasundara‟s honesty and incorruptibility.His job takes him to some of the most well-known As a man about town, Jayasiri has amassed quite alandmarks and hidden nooks across the city. He few stories. But the most memorable, ifspends over 13 hours on the road, and still there unpleasant, one is the day a passenger robbedcan be days when he hardly picks up a passenger. him on the outskirts of Colombo. Fortunately, heJayasiri, who is married and lives with his father, was not harmed and his tuk-tuk was safe. But hewife Shriya and their three children, gets stressed was left without his wrist-watch and wallet.out by days like these. Jayasiri‟s favorite way to unwind after a hard day‟sSo it‟s no surprise that his fervent hope is for his work is to meet his friends over a bottle of fierychildren Kaushali, Menik and Jeewaka to find local arrack.careers that will make them more happy when theygrow up. And hopefully they will use computers –something he has never done. His humble Nokiamobile phone is probably the most sophisticatedpiece of technology that he owns.However, if there is one thing he enjoys about hisvocation, it is those rare times when a famousperson hails his tuk-tuk. Former Sri Lankan cricketcaptain Sanath Jayasuriya is his most memorablecelebrity passenger. But it is not the sports star headmires most, it‟s former assistant superintendentof police Poojitha Jayasundara.
Knowing me, knowing you Sombat Siriteerawut comes from Manjakeeree, Khon Kaen, in the northeast of Thailand. He‟s lived in Bangkok for 13 years and stays with his wife and 10-year-old son. Half of his day is spent on the road -- from midday to midnight he is hard at work. He has never used a computer or the Internet, and owns a WellcoM W920 mobile phone. His only dream for his son is that he will grow up to be a good person. “About his career path, I will let him decided for himself.” In his leisure time, Sombat watches movies at the cinema or DVDs with his family. “If I‟m with my guy friends, we will hang out and do what guysMasaki Aoki is originally from Shizuoka, but has do -- it‟s a secret!spent the past 36 years in Tokyo. His childrenhave grown up and are working, so he lives with Sombat admires Thaksin Shinawatra because hehis wife and dog. is smart and able to lead Thailand to a strong economy.Spending nine hours on the road a day doesn‟tleave a lot of time in his life for technology. But During the New Year holiday last year, Sombathe makes it a point to access the Internet via his Siriteerawut picked up a foreign couple frommobile phone to check the horseracing results. Century Park Hotel and took them toAoki uses a Docomo phone. Suvarnabhumi Airport. He speaks a little English so he talked to them as he drove. “Maybe it isBut apart from driving and racing, Masaki Aoki because we connected with each other, but theleads a quiet life. He spends most of his time on taxi fare was about 500 baht, and I got anhis own, or with family. He doesn‟t usually notice additional 200 euro as a tip!”who gets into his cab, but he does remembergiving a ride to a few sumo wrestlers, though hedoes know their names.Just to make things interesting, read about aBangladeshi taxi driver in Tokyo here:http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100408jk.html
Knowing me, knowing youNgyuen Than Xuan usually spends about 14hours on the road a day. Originally from CentralVietnam, he has lived for eight years in Ho ChiMinh City.He shares a house with friends, and in his freetime likes to hang out and “enjoy some beers”.Ngyuen doesn‟t really follow politics and prefersto watch sports like football and tennis. Headmires stars such as Messi and Nadal. He hasused a computer and the Internet in the past, butdoesn‟t have much use for them. “It is hard tofind the time,” he says. He uses a Nokia mobilephone, though. Samy is a 69-year-old taxi driver from KualaNgyuen doesn‟t have children yet but says that if Lumpur, Malaysia. He‟s been a driver his entirehe did, he would want them to pursue adult life and spends 12 hours at work every day,engineering, medicine or any other white-collar from 7am to 7pm.profession. He lives in a small flat in the heart of the city withBeing a driver has had its interesting moments his wife and grandchild. His three children havefor Ngyuen, such as when he gave a ride to the moved out but live in the vicinity. One of his sonspresident of Laos and some famous singers “on is a mechanic and the other is a bodyguard,the way back from one their many big parties”. while his daughter works in sales. He had hopedBut you also have to be on the lookout for they would become doctors and engineers buttrouble. “You have to be careful late at night. this was not possible as they did not have accessOne time, I was resting in my car when someone to high-quality education.tried to break in and rob me.” Samy has a deep admiration for Indian film actor Kamal Haasan. “He is a very good actor because he started acting from the age of eight,” feels Samy. He has never used the Internet. He owns a Nokia 262 mobile phone. In his free time, Samy and his friends get together in Chinese coffee shops to chat over tea. Samy used to have to pick up many drunkards who would make a mess in his taxi and often forget to pay him. He now avoids the route where this is likely to happen.
Knowing me, knowing you Camilo Dominguez hails from Pangasinan, and has lived in Manila for 23 years. He spends between 14 and 17 hours on the road a day. He lives with his wife and has never used a computer. “I‟m old so I don‟t need those things,” he says. But he does own a Nokia phone. He wants his child to become a nurse in the US. He admires most boxer Manny Pacquiao and actress Anne Curtis. In his spare time, Camilo drinks rum at home or plays mahjong. Camilo has once given a ride to Si Ted Failon, a famous local news analyst, and is sure that he had a brush with the supernatural another night. He had taken a passenger to Bicol, about 14 hours away from Manila, as one long trip can earn more than many small fares through the day. It was late at night when he was driving back and was flagged down by three women by the mountainside.Anthony Telesporo spends about 15 hoursbehind the wheel every day. He is from “I was relieved to have company on the ride backCarcar, Cebu, and has lived in Manila for the to Manila as that part of the mountain is rumored topast nine years with his sister. be haunted. I told them it would cost Php1,000 per head, and Php 3,000 all together. Only two of themThere are hidden dangers for taxi drivers in were addressing me directly, while the third onethe Philippines, says Anthony. Once, two remained quiet. The two looked at me oddly andpretty girls flagged him down on a side street. each gave me Php 1,500. I kept looking at the thirdThey got into the cab and tried to convince girl, but she refused to make eye contact the wholehim to go to a motel with them. Then, a time. I kept quiet all the way home and felt chillspoliceman stopped the cab and fined him for when the third girl got off and walked away withouttaking advantage of the women. “I was forced speaking. A ghost just rode with me!”to pay him off even though I didn‟t doanything. The policeman was in cahoots withthe girls.”It‟s not all bad, though. Once he gave a ride toJennylyn Mercado, a TV star. Still, he wouldprefer it if his children have office jobs whenthey grow up.Anthony looks up to Manny Villar, a Filipinobusinessman and politician, and MannyPacquiao, boxing champion. In his leisuretime, he and his friends drink a little, or playbasketball. He uses the computer at his sister‟shome and his nephew loves playing on thecomputer. He has a Nokia phone of his own.
Knowing me, Knowing YouMr Lin moved from Taichung to Taipei 30 years Mr Lin lives with his wife and three children. Heago and started a grocery store with his wife. watches baseball games with his son during theAfter their third child was born, he needed holidays. Wang, the first famous Taiwanesemore income and flexibility to take care of the player in MLB, is his favorite baseball star andfamily. So 25 years ago, he shut down the Mr Lin is proud very of him.grocery store and started driving a taxi. Like many Taiwanese people, Mr Lin is warmHe works 12 hours a day, and starts at noon. He and hospitable - he likes inviting friends for aeats in the restaurant where taxi drivers often meal and playing mahjong. Mr Lin is keenlygo and chats with other drivers there. Even interested in politics and likes discussing thethough he works long hours, his income is latest news with friends.variable. Mr Lin still likes his job because hehas flexible working hours, and he can chatwith different passengers and make money atthe same time.Premchand Yadav (above right) is a taxi driver He knows that not all passengers look on taxiin Mumbai, India. He‟s easy to reach on his cell drivers as the most accommodating of creatures.phone whenever you need him, and he‟s For them he has a message: “People shouldn‟tgenerally happy to come around. behave badly with taxi drivers. After all, the drivers are always there to help when you needPremchand feels taxis are a critical part of the them late at night to go home, or to get to theeconomy of Mumbai, India‟s financial hub. hospital or airport. The driver may or may not“There are about 50,000 taxis and 100,000 taxi have had a meal, but he‟ll still drop everythingdrivers in Mumbai. Most of those drivers are also to take you.”supporting their families, and have a wife and afew kids, so if you think about it, the income from Despite his conviction that cabs are an essentialtaxis is supporting around 500,000 people in service, Premchand admits that if he had studiedMumbai alone!” more, he may have taken up some other sort of job himself. “But since I didn‟t, I started driving,He believes that taxis are a huge support for the and I saw that I could make good money doingpassengers. “People who don‟t have a vehicle of it.” Now he can‟t quit. “If I do get another job, I‟lltheir own, or have some sort of emergency, hail make around Rs 6,000 or Rs 7,000 a month,a cab to go to work, to the airport, to the market maybe around Rs 8,000. And what good will thator wherever else they need to go.” The bus, he do me?”says, will only take you as far as the main road.“But the taxi will drive through the narrowest oflanes to drop you to your doorstep.” Take a ride with Premchand here: http://arunshanbhag.com/2011/01/27/premchand-yadav/
Playing on my iPod* * or at my favorite KTV parlor
Playing on my iPod*PHILIPPINES INDONESIA Rihanna Senyum semangat Only Girl in the World Sm*sh http://www.youtube.com/ http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=mkYVI2FYlT0&fea watch?v=pa14VNsdSYM ture=related Vierra Katy Perry Takut Last Friday Night http://www.youtube.com/ http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=oBc9P9MdRqo watch?v=Ghe52kEPpAQ The ChangcutersSINGAPORE ParamPamPam http://www.youtube.com/ Bruno Mars watch?v=l_pC95haJTE The Lazy Song http://www.youtube.com/ RAN watch?v=fLexgOxsZu0 Sepeda http://www.youtube. LMFAO com/watch?v=ZDxzeft tdQ8 Party Rock Anthem http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=KQ6zr6kCPj8
Playing on my iPod*CHINA THAILAND Fan Fan Bell Supol "Dengbudao Deai" “Mai tummada” http://v.youku.com/v_show http://www.youtube.com/ /id_XMjc1NDk1MDQ4.html watch?v=CNYYFhTgEiU A-lin Boy Peacemaker "Yishun Zhiguang" “Yung mai pon keed untarai” http://v.youku.com/v_sh ow/id_XMjc2ODQzOTEy. http://www.youtube.com/ html watch?v=D2MG3aJQ98k New & JiewINDIA Ram Sampath “Ror leaw dai arai” “Bhag DK Bose” http://www.youtube. From the film Delhi Belly com/watch?v=hTX2y http://www.youtube.com/ Rga4Sg watch?v=8OVGbdOG7dAJAPAN BANGLADESH Girl’s Generation Lamb of God “Shojo Jidai” “Redneck” http://www.youtube.co http://www.youtu m/watch?v=vLwSuJSoma be.com/watch?v= Y&feature=related oqdZpxkzNvc
Playing on my iPod*PAKISTAN TAIWAN ADP (Aunty Disco Project) “Hum Na Rahey (Mere Masoom Dost)” http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=JwUpItcDuhcVIETNAM A-Fu Lil Pig “So that‘s how it is” “Tau thich mi ( I do like http://www.youtube.com/watch? ya)” v=dR5pFPfv2wk http://mp3.zing.vn/video http://www.youtube.com/watch? -clip/Tau-Thich-Mi-Lil- v=nHkIX_YJE_s Pig/ZWZBDFZC.htmlMALAYSIA Adele “Rolling In The Deep” http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=rYEDA3J cQqw Yoga Lin Reza Salleh (a local “Goodnight, Freedom” singer-songwriter) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v “Kasih” =NuiAOSii_sk http://www.youtube.c http://www.youtube.com/watch?v om/watch?v=CFM1lq3 =GTMdyZnjJhk uXx4
Rage againstSOCIAL INSECURITYThe Sri Lankan government recently tried to It was the first major challenge that Presidentintroduce a new pension fund for the country‟s Rajapaksa faced from the powerful tradeseven million workers to supplement existing unions since he came to power in 2005. It wasretirement schemes. The plan would have also a rare miscalculation of public sentimentinvolved an additional two percent docked from by the PR-savvy leader.wages and would have forced employers tomake additional contributions to the fund. The The pension plan was quickly shelved. Theauthorities said the social security net was chief of police stepped down, takingessential to cope with an increasingly ageing responsibility for the use of ammunition onpopulation. protestors. But opposition parties still pounced on this opportunity to gain politicalYet neither workers nor employers supported mileage.the move, and matters came to a head on May30 when thousands of factory workers from a The trade unions also remain agitated.free-trade zone outside Colombo took to the University dons are at loggerheads with thestreets in protest. A face-off with the police state, calling for better wages. There areturned into clashes in which one worker was rumblings from the state-run power and oilshot dead and over 150 others were reportedly corporations. The army is standing guard atwounded. the free-trade zone and may be dispatched to others across the island. The fear is that thisSri Lankans, who usually don‟t pay much discontent may boil over and retard Sriattention even when potentially-contentious Lanka‟s nascent US$50 billion economy.legislation is rushed through Parliament, weresuddenly sitting up.
Rage against POLITICS IN SPORT The two things Pakistanis are most passionate about are religion and the sport of cricket. And of late, cricket has been letting the country down. Pakistan cricket has been plagued with match-fixing and ball tampering allegations, the ban of star cricketers, and the World Cup semi-final loss. The latest in this slew of unfortunate events happened after Pakistan‟s tour of the West Indies. The teamPOLICE MANHANDLING came home victorious in the One Days only to learnProtesters in southern Chinas manufacturing hub that Shahid Afridi had been removed as captain byin Guangdong province torched emergency the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The reason:vehicles in an outburst of outrage at police abuse disciplinary issues. Afridi had stated in a pressof migrant workers. conference that he was „not happy with people interfering in his work‟ and although he didn‟t nameThe violence in Xintang broke out in mid-June names, reports suggested that he had differencesafter a pregnant woman was pushed to the with coach Waqar Younis over team selection.ground in a police sweep against street vendors,most of whom were migrants from the south- Afridi then resigned from One Day cricketwestern province of Sichuan. Such disputes are altogether. The PCB in turn revoked his NOC andcommon and bystanders often side with the his central contract was suspended, meaning that hevendors and accuse the police of heavy-handed wouldn‟t be able to play any form of cricketaction. anywhere in world.After the assault on the pregnant woman, crowds People are now angry at the PCB on two fronts.gathered, blocking traffic and attacking Firstly, Afridi is a national hero revered by thegovernment offices with bottles and bricks, statenews agency Xinhua said. The police used tear nation and seems to be the only captain in a longgas in response and arrested 25 people accused time whose sincerity shows on the field. Secondly,of inciting unrest. No deaths or injuries were Misbah-ul-Haq is the new captain. Haq is the reason,reported. many believe, Pakistan lost the World Cup semi- final and question whether he‟s even fit to be on theThe anger continued to brew and tens of team, let alone lead it.thousands of people gathered on Sunday night ata major highway junction, setting fire to more Both Afridi and the PCB don‟t seem to be handlingthan 24 emergency vehicles and fighting with the situation well, shifting blame and pointingthe police and paramilitary forces. In a fingers. But cricket lovers largely feel that the PCBparticularly unusual instance of media openness, is in the wrong.images of the rioting were broadcast regularlyon international and local TV, without Afridi has now filed a case against the PCB and thecensorship. country cheers him in his fight.
Rage againstDEADLY PRIVILEDGEIn Thailand, a 16-year-old girl, Orachorn„Praewa‟ Thephasadin Na Ayudhya, was at thewheel of a Honda sedan when it had a crashresulting in the deaths of nine people in apassenger van. The girl didn‟t have a driver‟slicense and was also under the legal drivingage.But as her name immediately made clear, thegirl came from an influential family – what iscalled „hi-so‟ in Thailand. Everyone fearedthat she would get off scot-free or that shewould only be booked for a less seriousoffence. People grew increasingly angry whenthe investigation into the matter seemed to getvery complicated, and observers created an„Anti-Praewa‟ Facebook page to put pressureon the media and the police. Within 18 hours Atas. A local colloquialism that explains theof the page being created, more than 150,000 perceived gap that has formed between thesupporters had made themselves heard via People‟s Action Party and the man on the street.the „like‟ button. The undercurrents of rage against the PAP were undeniable throughout the hustings, and it wasFollowing this mounting public pressure, the directed, not at the usual national developmentgirl was charged with reckless driving grouses like unemployment rates, but largely at thecausing death and injury. image of the ruling party.Thais have been faced with an unfair justice The PAP did not appear to be helping its casesystem and hierarchy in society for a long either, with questionable comparisons totime. Well-to-do families are believed to have neighbouring countries and their living costs,too much control over government officers. heavy-handed defensiveness and clever“Justice does not exist in Thailand,” say some. manoeuvres around public questioning fast becoming predictable clichés. Threats that Aljunied voters would have “five years to live and repent” if they backed the opposition only reinforced this impression and were met with strong public backlash, with the Workers Party finally winning the ward by no small margin. Democracy is about the people, and if nothing else, the May 2011 elections were a timely reminder to the ruling party to spruce up its image and listen to its people.
Rage against SOVEREIGN SEAS Chinese vessels cut the Vietnamese Binh Minh 02 exploration cables at a location 120 nautical miles from the Dai Lanh cape, saying that it was violating Chinese sovereignty. These latest actions are the source of new tension in the region. The contentious waters are bordered by Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore. The Vietnamese have taken to the streets to protest against China‟s imperialism, with 300BAD ATTITUDE people marching to the Chinese embassy, waving placards and shouting slogans against China.The three-wheelers on the roads of Bangladesh Many people around Vietnam are also boycottingare the source of constant anger for urban made-in-China goods.commuters. Those who are dependent on thismode of transport believe that the auto- Although they do not want to be dragged intorickshaw or tuk tuk drivers act like they rule the another war, the Vietnamese are prepared to doroads. They refuse to use the meter when what it takes to protect the country‟s sovereignty.plying a fare and ask for enormous sums whichare nowhere near the actual price.Unfortunately for helpless commuters, their fatelies in the hands of these drivers who refuse totake passengers whenever they choose. Andthough the police have been known to step in,after some time the drivers are back to theirusual ways. Ordinary people are left wonderingwhen the system will change so they can justget home from work in peace.WATER WORLDCotabato, a far-flung province of the Philippines, experienced massive flooding from a recent typhoon.The apparent culprit is the water hyacinth that has accumulated over the years, clogging the rivers andsubmerging several parts of Cotabato in six-foot deep waters, affecting nearly 100,000 families.The local government has claimed that President Aquino‟s response to the disaster hasn‟t beensatisfactory. The national government has already sent Php 7.8 million worth of food and non-food itemsto the affected areas, and is in the midst of finalizing the plan to clear the rivers of the plants. The Palacehas also indicated that during past administrations, the province used to get disaster relief in the form ofcash, the appropriation of which has raised many questions.Affected families are angry and frustrated, feeling that the flood could have been prevented had thebudget for disaster prevention been spent properly. After all, the water hyacinth didn‟t grow overnight.
Rage againstLEADERS‟ INACTIONOn April 30, 1,000 people gathered inShibuya to demonstrate theiropposition to nuclear power plants inJapan.Considering the country‟s relativelyreserved nature, this is a largenumber of people to turn out for apublic protest. Other citizens showedtheir support virtually as the messagespread quickly through Twitter.Another source of continuing rage inJapan is TEPCO and the government‟sresponse to the continuing crisis atthe Fukushima power plant.And yet, even with so much work leftto be done, the political parties seemto be busy fighting over who theleader should be. For the commonman in Japan, this is a shameful,depressing and very frustratingsituation. Many people are askingwhether the infighting can‟t wait tillafter the reconstruction of the countryhas been completed. With so manyemergencies to address, what Japan‟speople want is for their leaders to puttheir heads together and cooperate toforge a better tomorrow for thecountry.
Rage against http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpLpy4VSJXEEXECUTION OF A CITIZEN ON FOREIGN SHORES IN The execution tarnished the image of the SusiloINDONESIA Bambang Yudhoyono government. Yet just a few day later in a speech at the 100th ILO councilIndonesians were once again shocked when another in Geneva, Yudhoyono said that the protectionmigrant worker was beheaded in Saudi Arabia. mechanism for migrant workers was alreadyRuyati binti Satubi, a 54-year-old mother, was the running well. What a shame!28th Indonesian migrant worker to be beheaded inSaudi Arabia. Last year, she admitted in court to The discontent of civil society poured outkilling her physically and mentally abusive through demonstrations and in the social media.employer who was not allowing her to go home. The Politicians, celebrities, students and housewivesrepresentative of the Indonesian government in all spoke out to criticize the government for itsRiyadh was not informed of the execution, but it was negligence and for not enacting more stringenteventually exposed in the news. laws to protect the migrant worker. Despite the large numbers of migrant workers, theThe Indonesian public was appalled by the failure of government does not seem serious aboutthe government to protect Satubi. Six million providing protection. Even now there are moreIndonesian migrant workers contribute 82 trillion Indonesians who face threat of execution inrupiahs or US$9 Billion per year in remittances. One Saudi Arabia but aren‟t getting an adequatemillion of them are working in Saudi Arabia, and legal aid.another 2.2 million work in Malaysia. If only government would create more employment opportunities within the country, citizens might not have to go to Saudi Arabia and face danger.
Rage againstA WOMAN‟S ROLEA group of Muslim women in Malaysia has "Sex is a taboo in Asian society. We haverecently launched the Obedient Wives Club, ignored it in our marriages but its all down towhich has kicked up quite a bit of dust in the sex. A good wife is a good sex worker to hercountry. Its message that wives need to obey husband. What is wrong with being a whore...and serve their husbands in every way, to your husband? A man married to a womanincluding fulfilling every sexual desire, has who is as good or better than a prostitute in bedattracted media attention from around the has no reason to stray. Rather than allowing himworld. According to the club‟s members, to sin, a woman must do all she can to ensuremodern women are too engrossed with their his desires are met.”careers and leisure time and have forgottentheir responsibility to keep their husbands The club‟s views have angered politicians,satisfied. They are offering sex lessons to help women‟s rights groups and community leaders.wives perform better in bed. Enraged citizens set up a Facebook group „We Do Not Want Sexist Nonsense From GlobalControversy has also erupted over claims that Ikhwan Sdn. Bhd‟, which attracted 2,613obedient wives could prevent social problems members in four days. However, the page hassuch as prostitution, divorce, gambling and since been taken down.domestic violence. A good wife should serveher husband "better than a first-class prostitute” Despite the backlash, the Obedient Wives Clubin order to keep him from straying, said the has already branched out to Jordan and hasclub‟s president Dr Rohaya Mohamed, mother 1,200 members, and plans to expand toof eight and head of a multi-million dollar Singapore and Indonesia.global company, Global Ikhwan Sdn. Bhd.
Waiting list Malaysians are crazy about food. They go on holidays specifically to eat good food and are prepared to drive two hours out of town just for a meal. This passion sometimes culminates in food fads, such as the craze for “designer” cupcakes, “gourmet” donuts, frozen yoghurt and macarons we‟ve seen in recent years. Now, Malaysians have been bitten by the bubble tea bug. It all started with the launch of two Taiwanese chains in Malaysia, Gong Cha and Chatime. PeopleIf you thought that the longest queues at Ikea have been queuing for 30 minutes andin China were for an Ektorp sofa or the each brand already has its avid fanscolorful Lack kids‟ table, think again. It‟s the debating over which is better.Swedish meatballs which draw the crowds in.Ikea knockoff furniture you can get onTaobao. Meatballs for a little more thandollar a plate, nowhere else. Although bubble tea was available in Malaysia before, these two brands have stood out as they are made from real tea and not powder, giving customers the freedom to choose sugar and ice levels. Gong Cha and Chatime switched up the game by providing new options for a more authentic and customizable tea experience.
Waiting listArugam Bay Beachwear is a 100% Sri Lankan brand inspired by the vibrant colors of Sri Lanka‟smagical east coast. The beachwear company has just introduced a new line of beach sandals forthe ladies, deliciously called CandyFloss. Colorful, fun and affordable, they‟re fast disappearingfrom the shelves, despite being priced at LKR 1,750.Arugam Bay is the brainchild of Ajay Virr Singh – mastermind behind the HSBC Colombo FashionWeek. Ajay has launched several other Sri Lankan fashion labels such as String Hopper andConscience.The ukulele or „uke‟ is Hawaiis nationalinstrument. Hawaiians have beenplaying the ukulele for a century now.On the other hand, Thailand has justbeen introduced to the tiny guitar. Butthat hasn‟t stopped the ukulele fromdeveloping into a big trend here, with arush so strong that the queues in front ofinstrument stores are bringing backmemories of the iPhone launch!The ukulele phenomenon started at Ribbee Boutique, the first full-scale ukulele shop in Thailand,and Uke Club, whose members share a love for the ukulele. They introduced the instrument tothe public through free workshops and a contest. A free ukulele festival was held on March12-13in Thailand, the biggest ukulele festival in Asia.The most famous ukulele series in Thailand is Anuenue U900, called the „rabbit and bear series‟– and everyone seems to want one. Many celebrities and stars have now begun to show interestin the ukulele.
Waiting listSince March 11, people in the earthquake- andtsunami-affected area of north-eastern Japanhave reportedly experienced a significant shiftin mindset, especially single women.Due to the increased anxiety about the future,people have started to seek out more marriageopportunities than they had before the disaster.According to O-net, the largest marriageagency, the number of people registering formarriage meetings has increased by 20% to30%.The majority of the new registrations are fromwomen in their late 20s and 30s. Perhaps afterfeeling alone in their time of need, they nowdesire a family to stand by them.It has also been said that many women who hadnot yet accepted marriage proposals beforetragedy struck did so after March 11. Weddingrelated businesses, such as jewelers, weddingplanners and venues have had a boost inbusiness. Right now, music fans in Bangladesh are eagerly waiting for the second issue of the music magazine, The Playlist. It is the first magazine dedicated to music in Bangladesh, and the monthly has generated a lot of interest among musicians and music lovers. Impatience has appeared on the magazine‟s Facebook page, with the delay of the second edition prompting one fan to ask whether it is a yearly magazine and not a monthly one!
Waiting listIn Singapore, too, everyone wants a tall, cold glass ofGong Cha. The queue starts building at 10 in the morning,and only gets busier as the day goes by. At closing time,disappointed customers have to be turned away despitehaving queued for the better part of 30 minutes onaverage.Gong Cha is the latest and greatest fad in beverages to hitSingapore since the bubble tea craze hit in the late 90s.Though this new entrant is also a kind of bubble tea, likeMalaysia, Singapore too has fallen for its better tastethanks to the brand‟s use of real tea.Gong Cha‟s sales have soared since opening. All thatremains to be seen is whether the new Starbucks of thebubble tea world (a drink at Gong Cha can set you back$5!) is here to stay. Vietnam has always had a special place in its heart for celebrities, even though international star sightings were once considered a rarity in the country. However, an increasing number of international performances has helped fans get their fill of the rich and famous in the flesh. In Ho Chi Minh City, Brangelina sightings have been replaced by the Backstreet Boys, Bi-Rain, Lenka, Shayne Ward and a number of other artists taking turns to entertain sell-out crowds. Fans are now looking forward to SuJu, 2AM from Korea, Alexander Burke and David Cook in the upcoming Hennessy Artistry show. They are waiting outside hotels, come rain or shine, hoping for a chance to be just a little star struck.
Tense aboutMOON SHADOWSri Lanka is making every effort to come out of “The public release of the report at this stagea diplomatic muddle following the release of is divisive, and disrupts our efforts to reinforcethe UN report that is being called the „Ban-Ki- peace, security and stability in Sri Lanka,” itMoon report‟, on the last stages of the war added, arguing that the establishment ofagainst the LTTE. The 214-page report Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commissionincludes allegations of human rights abuses, and the Inter-Agency Committee are amongwar crimes and crimes against humanity by the domestic mechanisms put in place by theboth the LTTE and the government of Sri government to address the issue.Lanka. The government is yet to make up itsmind whether to respond to the report in a The validity of the report has been questionedcredible manner or to reject it completely. in several articles. Tension also appears to be stemming from confusion in almost all quarters“Following the end of conflict, the government of Sri Lanka‟s government about whether atof Sri Lanka, has given the highest priority to least some of the requirements of the reportpost-conflict reconciliation, rehabilitation, should be implemented to avoid internationalreconstruction and development,” the inquiry.government said in a statement it issuedrecently. There has been, it said, “significantsuccess” on many of these fronts, includingresettlement of internally displaced persons,release of former child soldiers recruited bythe LTTE and rehabilitation of detainees.
Tense aboutELECTIONS IN THAILANDThailands general election is being held on July Although this election will take the country‟s3, so this is a hugely sensitive time for the divisions from the streets (between the Redcountry which hopes to move forward after and the Yellow shirts) into the political arena,being faced with violent political conflict for there will be some protesters who are boundfive years now. to be dissatisfied at the result of the election no matter what, fearing that the Thai peopleThere are 1,410 candidates from 40 parties in will face the same old story all over again –the election race, with the two major parties mobs, riots, roadblocks, destroyedbeing Democrat and Puea Thai. For the prime businesses.minister‟s chair, Puea Thai-nominated YingluckShinawatra, deposed former Prime Minister Thailand is desperate for a real democracyThaksin Shinawatras sister, goes up against and, for many, it is difficult to believe that thiscurrent leader Abhisit Vejjajiva from Democrat election will be different from all the rest.Party. STRIKE SYNDROME Bangladesh is being crippled by strikes – known locally as hartals – at all too regular intervals. People want to work, but the recurrent strikes called by political parties are stopping them from doing so. The result is chaos on the streets. The supporters of strikes destroy personal property and cause huge damage. The blow to the economy is huge, and everyone is suffering for it. And there is no end in sight. It seems that hartal has become a way of life in Bangladesh.
Tense aboutRISING DIVORCE RATES IN CHINAThe number of couples that formally notifiedthe government of their split in the first threemonths of 2011 is 465,000, a 17% increaseover the same period last year, according toa report in Beijing Times, a Chinese-language daily.Shanghai has a 38% divorce rate, secondonly to Beijing. Pushed by their parents to getmarried quickly, many little emperors andempresses find that dating and running ahome together are completely differentthings.“He is totally dependent on his parents totake any decisions. He is their mouthpiece,”said one 32-year-old woman of her husband.In another case, a 28-year-old groom foundhimself without a bride. She resurfaced amonth after the planned wedding to say thatshe had reunited with her former boyfriend. Some young folks are taking it in their stride,Around 80% of Shanghainese women want saying that they have grown up emotionallytheir husbands to have an apartment and a after their divorces.car at the time of marriage, and this cancreate difficulties. One woman called off her Serena of Liaoning province said that shewedding after the invitations had gone out may have got to know her ex-husband betterbecause her fiance‟s parents refused to put had she been able to live with him beforeher name on the deed of their proposed new getting married, but she wasn‟t allowed tohome. do so by her parents. “This is a very big problem for Chinese girls from traditional"The reason the divorce rate is high among families,” she says.post-80s couples is mainly that they valuetheir own interests and rarely care about Now her parents have eased off. “I‟m luckyother peoples feelings," says Sun Yunxiao, that my family is not pressurizing me todeputy director of the China Youth and remarry or have a child. You often find theChildren Research Center. "They are wrong guy if you just want a replacement,"officially Chinas first Me Generation.” she added.
Tense about A QUESTION OF FAITH IN MALAYSIAPOWERLESS IN PAKISTAN Government-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia recently published a front pageNowadays it seems Karachi-ites have few article entitled “Kristian agama rasmi?”conversations that don‟t include cursing (“Christianity the official religion?”). Thetheir local electricity provider. Layoffs, piece was a reaction to alleged statementsequipment failures and crackdowns on made by a group of Christian pastors andillegal employment have plagued the key representatives from the political partyKarachi Electric Supply Company for in opposition outlining their aim to “elect amonths and, as a result, it feels like the Christian prime minister and turn Malaysiawhole organization is on strike and into a Christian country”. However, theunwilling to resolve consumer issues. groups have subsequently denied any such intent.What does that mean for the averageJaved? Near-constant power outages Despite nationwide uproar over the report,(“load shedding,” they call it) that have with some calling it a blatant attempt tocrippled daily life and incited city-wide incite religious hatred, the home ministryanger towards the KESC (Karachi Electric only slapped the Malay daily with aSupply Company). Gone are the smiling cautionary letter.faces in the morning, replaced bygrumpy scowls because of yet another Tensions also surged briefly last Januarysleepless night, ruined social event or after 11 churches suffered firebomb attacksdelayed work project. and vandalism after some Muslims were angered by a court verdict allowingEven the fortunate few who have private minorities to use the word „Allah‟ as aelectric back-up through generators are translation for God. Some Muslims say theno longer immune as the prolonged use of „Allah‟ in Christian literature couldunscheduled outages have forced them to be used to convert Muslims, who comprisecome out of their air-conditioned bubbles nearly two-thirds of the population.and join the rest of the sweaty city.Everyday life is being held hostage by Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, athe KESC, giving a whole new spin on country where everyone is allowed tofeeling “powerless!” practice their faith freely.
Tense about PRICE PINCH IN THE PHILIPPINES Private and public motorists have been feeling the pinch of increasing oil prices in the Philippines. Diesel prices are up from P39/L in January 2011 to P49/L as of June 21, 2011. These additional transport costs have affected prices of many other essentials for Filipino household. The majority of Filipinos do not have the financial resources to indulge in many luxuries, so when prices go up, it means basic needs have to be sacrificed to stay within the constrained budget. FOOD SAFETY IN TAIWAN… Food safety issues have been plaguing the region, and in May it was learnt that chemical additives were not only being added to drinks and fruit juices, but also to many children‟s health food products. This triggered growing anxiety among many mothers concerned about what was in the food they were feeding their children. Mothers lost faith in vendor inspection reports and took food for testing to labs on their own to be sure it was safe. According to news reports, the number of outpatient psychiatric consultations increased by about 10%, largely due to mothers who were anxious about the situation. On Facebook, mothers initiated a program urging everyone to send a letter to the President demanding c o m p e n s a t i o n from f o o d manufacturers, an initiative which gained the support of 1,300 mothers. https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_ 213343065364130 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc82kkzo79c
Tense aboutAND IN SINGAPORE …It has been two years since China‟s government, reeling from nationwide outrage over melamine-contaminated baby milk that sickened 300,000 infants and killed at least six, declared food safety anational priority. Since then, even more ludicrous food scandals have hit global food markets; fromeggs made of gelatin and paraffin, to pork meat tainted with detergent additives and sold as beef, torecycled buns and exploding watermelons, the occurrences of bad food‟ being sold have hit an all-time high. The result: consumer sentiment in Singapore has hit a low. Some choose to buy only fromtrusted importers, while many others now avoid Chinese food products altogether. Given thatSingapore imports over 90% of its food, many are now worried about shortages of select produce.Food sellers at the wet markets advise locals to select imperfect looking stock over the perfect,produced-in-China ones – which end up being sold to less financially able customers like constructionworkers. Sourcing from alternative suppliers like Australia, Brazil and Thailand will only drive foodprices up, and we can only wait for the uproar that will be inevitable with the next price hike.EXAM RESULTS IN INDONESIAMay to July is the time of year when students appearing forexams and their parents face one hurdle after another. For thepast eight years, final exam time in Indonesia has been agrowing source of stress, with neck-at-neck competition betweenschools, high tuition fees, tough exams and changing curriculaall adding to the mix.But more than the kids, it is the adults who are cracking underpressure. Parents are afraid that their children will not fare welland not get into their preferred schools. The schools are afraidthey will fall short of the number of graduates required by thegovernment, resulting in cheating cases involving teachers,school deans and question paper printing firms.And then there is the biggest source of tension of all: what is allof this teaching the students about honesty and integrity?
Everyone’s talking about …Campaigns & events generating buzz
Everyone’s talking about PRETTY AND PINK IN VIETNAM Ponds White Beauty launched a music video featuring Van Mai Huong, Vietnam Idol‟s runner-up from last season, and the country‟s hottest teen phenomenon of the moment. The lyrics are about the benefits of using facial foam for fairer skin. Many girls in Vietnam still only use water to cleanse their faces and are uncertain about beauty products and how to integrate them into their regular regimen. The „Pinkish White New Day‟ single tells the facial foam story through Van Mai Huong‟s romance. The song can be shared with friends through Vietnam‟s hot teen social networking platform www.zing.vn, which drives audiences to a Ponds site to learn more about Ponds White Beauty products. Watch it at: mp3.zing.vn/pondstranghongSCANDALOUS SOAP IN THAILANDThe hottest topic in Thailand is Channel 3‟s prime-time soap opera Dok Dom See Thong or “GoldenOrange Flower”. It‟s about Raya, a girl whoseambition drives her to the brink of morality andethics. It also reflects Thai society‟s typical marriage,which includes a husband, wife and mistress.The storyline is simple, the dialogue real and thedesperation of the mistress intense. People are gluedto the screen, as a result of which Bangkok roads arenoticeably less congested on Wednesdays andThursdays at the time when it is aired.There are many critics who disapprove of theaggression of the story and don‟t feel it isappropriate for children. The Minister of Culture anda number of viewers feel that teenagers, especiallygirls, will see Raya as a role model, and they havedemanded the show either be suspended or certainscenes be deleted.But everyone else is now waiting for the soon-to-release sequel!