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2005 Year End Talkasia Script

Lorraine Hahn: Hello I'm Lorraine Hahn. Today's Talk Asia looks back at the year 2005, and all the wonderful personalities who have shared their stories with us.

The year started where 2004 left off -- with much of Asia picking up the pieces in the aftermath of the massive Tsunami that affected 11 countries and left a quarter of a million people dead or missing.

Talk Asia traveled to some of the worst hit places for a first hand account of the devastation.

Thaksin Shinawatra: It's quite chaos at that time, because it's Sunday night and the communication broke down, the electricity in Pangna totally broke and we cannot contact anyone, no one in the area that we can contact. So I sent the minister to stay there and we trying to contact each other through the radio, walkie talkie of police. Which is not quite efficient because it's quite distant.

I had been reported about the number of people missing, people in the hospital. So I instruct that we have to help those who are survivors first by taking good care of those who are injured and those who can escape and want to go back home. I told them to send them out from Phuket to Bangkok first and take good care of them. We give them free accommodation, free ticket and everything just, just let them feel safe.

We really appreciate the international organizations and governments that sends the experts, the plane directly to Thailand without request. And sometimes some countries request that they would send some missions here, some just don't even ask, they just send. I think that this is, this is very touching to the Thai people and those who are the victims.

Chandrika Kumaratunga: Well I was in London actually, with my two children because it was the Christmas holiday period. Normally they come here, but they couldn't, so I went there. I spent about a week with them and I was woken up at 5:30 with bangs on the door by the security personnel, and I was told, in Sinhala you don't have a word for tidal wave, because tidal waves have never occurred in this country, so I was just told that the sea has come to the land. And then I said, so what, why are you waking me up for that? And then I was told, no no no, the Prime Minister has called, your secretary has called, everybody's calling, there 's something really serious, and so that's how I knew about it. And then immediately I got on the phone to Sri Lanka. And also put on the television, by which time they were announcing, showing pictures of some of these things. It would have been about 11:30, 12-noon here, so everything had happened. And then I booked the first flight out the same day and came back.

I didn't know what to feel, because I couldn't understand, because I'm a person who, I love the sea, I just adore the sea, I'm almost obsessed with the sea. And one of my, well, greatest pleasures is being by the sea side, swimming in the sea, and things like that. And I know the southern, entire southern sea belt, eastern sea coast before the war began, I've been in all those places, swimming in the sea. And, you know, just being there. And, so it was just a feeling of absolute incredulity that this gorgeous thing which we love so much would just rise up and cause this devastation. And then, of course, I flew over those areas while going to the places, and the devastation was just unbelievable.

Thaksin Shinawatra: We have to learn a lesson that we are trying to do better in the future. Because for generations, this type of thing will happen and when it happen now we should learn the lesson, we should prepare for the monetary system, early warning system, we can mitigate the effect of the incident.

Chandrika Kumaratunga: Well I went about two or three days after three days after the incident. They were so shocked and sad, and one of them had lost many members of their family. So it wasn't a time to be having long talks. They just needed an arm around them, and you know, listening to their stories. Some of them were crying and telling me what happened, and others were just saying, where are we going to get houses to live in. We have lost; they were just saying what they had lost and things like that. I wasn't even in a mood to ask them how it happened, like some foolish people do, you know. They were all traumatized.

Lorraine Hahn: Many of the victims of the Tsunami were children. It's been estimated that more than a third of those who died were those too young to protect themselves. Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of UNICEF, shared her thoughts with Talk Asia after her own visit to the affected areas.

Carol Bellamy: We said early on that we thought that maybe a third of the victims, but we now believe it to be greater than a third. We base that really on the fact that all of these countries had relatively young populations, developing countries. But it's clear now that there really are more parents looking for children than children looking for parents. That because children are smaller they were more vulnerable, harmed more by the water, harmed by the debris in the water, less able to run, less able to hold on. The children particularly took the brunt.

My time at UNICEF, in ten years, in twelve years in development, I have never seen an outpouring of generosity as I've seen in the tsunami. I think if there was any complaint in the beginning that was long overcome by the fact that this was the most extraordinary outpouring - not only of financial assistance but direct assistance. Whether it was health professionals, medical professionals, whether it was military, but military bringing the kind of equipment that was needed to try and reach people. It was really, I hope a breakthrough, in global solidarity.

Lorraine Hahn: It was also a tumultuous year in domestic politics for some world leaders.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, considered a lynchpin in the war on terror, spoke to us of surviving assassination attempts, and what it's like to live under constant threat.

Pervez Musharraf: Well it has certainly restricted my freedom of action to an extent, but not at all completely, not at all in a meaningful manner. I still go around, I still travel all around the country and also do whatever I feel like. I go to hotels, I roam around in the evening for a casual cup of coffee in a hotel. So I haven't allowed this to restrict me because I believe that nothing can be done about it. So while we do take security measures, I don't think one should become a hermit, I don't believe in it, I don't believe in that kind of security that you don't do anything that you ought to be doing.

Lorraine Hahn: And we spent the day with embattled Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. And she addressed the scandals that marked her presidency in 2005, including accusations of vote rigging and the mass demonstrations calling for her resignation.

Gloria Arroyo: Well I can say that I have not done any culpable violation of the constitution. I can say that I won the last elections; the exit surveys all said it; the surveys even before the election said it; the one hundred foreign observers said the elections were credible. Even the bishops when they reviewed the vote counting in their own dioceses said that the outcome was not different from what they saw on the ground and even the National Movement for Free Election said so. So I did not steal the election and I have not also committed any culpable violation of the constitution.

Having said that, I am submitting myself to the due process with all my rights as an accused of course that I am going to avail of, but in the meantime I have to keep working on the economy and most of all I have to keep working on the major political changes that must be done if we are to avoid, for the next generation in the years to come, the crises that keep happening in our country.

Lorraine Hahn: When we come back, we'll look at the rising stars in the entertainment scene who made a splash on the world stage, and on Talk Asia.

BLOCK B:

Lorraine Hahn: Welcome back to this special look back at the best of Talk Asia.

Asian film makers have been grabbing international headlines recently, and 2005 was definitely Stephen Chow's year.

The Hong Kong actor and filmmaker scored a hit with Kung Fu Hustle and made it onto People Magazine's list of the 50 Hottest Bachelors in the World.

Stephen Chow - I always bring that magazine with me wherever I go. And when I see a girl I want to impress, I take out the magazine and show it to her! (laughs)

I wanted to make a kung-fu film this time. So once I decided on kung-fu as the topic, I got my team to start the research. It's always a team effort. There are many good people in my team who help me. I'm actually very mediocre. I just surround myself with good people who give me good ideas. Then I decide which ideas to develop and go with.

Those computer-generated effects really help us out a lot because now, if you use traditional means to do things, you're very limited. But with computer-generated effects, you can let your imagination run bigger and wilder. Things that you couldn't do in the past can now be done with computer-generated effects. However, I always have this motto: computer-generated effects are there to HELP you tell your story. They are a means of enhancing what you are trying to do. They should not be the main focus of the movie.

Lorraine Hahn: A very different film maker is Zhang YiMou, the man behind such visually opulent films as Raise the Red Lantern, Hero and House of Flying Daggers.

We traveled to Beijing to meet him, and another famous member of the Fifth Generation Group of film Makers -- Chen KaiGe.

Chen, who made "Farewell my Concubine, is the only Chinese director ever to have won a Palme D'or at the Cannes Film Festival.

We spoke to them about growing up during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and how that affected their work.

Chen KaiGe: I remember during the Cultural Revolution that my close friends and I stayed in a very dark room. You know secretly listen to some western classical music. And we just shut the door and the windows and we just, closed the curtain. Then when the music is finished so we opened the door, sunshine come in and I saw my friends crying. Because that, they were all in my situation with family problems this or that. The classical music just encourages us to face any kind of a challenge. You need to make sure that we were strong enough, we can do whatever we want to do. This is a beautiful, beautiful experience that I had before.

Zhang YiMou: I think my experience represents a wealth of assets for my life and my work. During the ten years of the Cultural Revolution, when I was sixteen till twenty six, I experienced a lot of chaotic situations, I have seen a lot of tragic things happen around me. So that deep understating of human life, of human society really benefits me today, to my work, to my thinking or how I deal with my problems. You know while I am looking at different types of movies, I tend to think more about human life, about the human spirit, about the human heart. That's from my past experience that is still very deep rooted in me.

Lorraine Hahn: We've had some wonderful musical guests as well. Two in particular stand out -- a young Korean newcomer who's been making waves in the Asian music scene and a world famous tenor on his farewell tour.

Luciano Pavarotti: I'm a little more emotional now but the emotion is from being afraid that I don't sing like the audience expect. It was always like that for 44 years. It doesn't change now.

Right before I perform, its better you don't come close to me. I'm telling you, I'm terrible! I'm nervous! I insult myself and say "Why have you done this profession if you have to suffer so much?" And I insult myself and so and so and so, until I put 1 foot on the stage and I feel the atmosphere and I feel the music and the audience and the composer and the conductor and everything disappears to give place to another person!

Rain: I always try to perform my concerts my own way. You had asked earlier why the Chinese fans like my music and I believe it is because I show them the type of concerts that they haven't seen before. There aren't many performers there who would rip their clothes off on stage and I was the first to try this.

Currently there are a lot of talented Asian people working in the US market and I think it is time for more Asian entertainers to emerge in that market. I would like to be able to do this in the near future, and become a person that all of Asia can be proud of!

Lorraine Hahn: After this break, the sport of business and the business of sport. Some of our more outspoken guests share life lessons and tips for success on the field and in the boardroom.

BLOCK C:

Lorraine Hahn: Hello again, we're looking back at some of the best moments of 2005 on Talk Asia.

Indian teen Sania Mirza made a name for herself in 2005 by being feisty and outspoken on and off the tennis court. She and Japanese football star Hidetoshi Nakata talk about the cult of personality, and what it's like being young role models.

Hidetoshi Nakata: What other people say is merely their opinion, not mine. I think it's most important to have your own opinions. I try not to be affected by what the other people say. And I really do not care too much about what is said about me. What I think is normal, might not be normal to others. And I may not agree with other people's idea of normal. I don't think that people fully understand each other all the time. What's important is that when I'm in a situation, I think things through thoroughly, form my own opinions, and then carry out in action.

Sania Mirza: I think that's something I've gotten to accept, when you do become a public figure, people are going to scrutinize everything that you do, everything that you say. They're going to analyze every sentence of yours, everything that you wear -- you change an earring they're going to know, you change your hairstyle they're going to know, that's just the way it is.

I'm 18, I'm still normal human being. Just because I'm a tennis player doesn't make me, maybe I've seen a bit more than what I should have at 18, and I've probably matured much faster than I should have, but I'm still 18, I still like going to coffee shops, I like going and sitting with my friends. It's a different issue that I can't do it, but I like doing it.

Lorraine Hahn: And finally, I'll leave you with words of wisdom, from some of the business leaders who have been on the show:

Robert Kiyosaki: If you want to get ahead you have to make more mistakes than your competition. So, most people, the culture is, I don't care where you are in the world, the educators sort of think mistakes are bad. But if you look at the way we truly learn, we learn by making mistakes. I learnt to walk by falling down and standing up, I learned to ride a bicycle by falling down standing up, I learnt to be a pilot by going falling down a couple of times and going back up again. So, we learn by trial and error. Except our families and our school systems teach us that mistakes are bad. Whereas if you look at it, the reason that people are not successful is they haven't made enough mistakes yet

Pansy Ho: I've always been a good observer. My father actually never taught us business, we never spoke about business at home, whether before or after joining this company, but you look at how he handles his business relationships and you just make your observation, and sometimes it's not always right, and sometimes there would be different lessons that you learn.

Vincent Cheng: Education is the only thing that can change a person's future, really in my view. Education, either formal or informal in the sense that you work really hard and try out something else, that's really important. There is no substitute really for hard work.

Takafumi Horie: Probably the most important thing I would advise is to take action. Don't be passive! Don't drag your feet! Transfer the things you are thinking about in your head into real action! You may be thinking a lot in your head, but remember, nothing moves forward with just thoughts. When you think of something, instantly move and act on it. You might fail, but that's ok! It's really ok!

Bob Iger: I've talked a lot about technology that's interesting today because while in many respects people view technology as a foe, I see it as a tremendous ally. It's giving us an ability to create better product, whether it's HDTV, or attractions like Mickey's Filler Magic here in Hong Kong. It's also giving us the ability to reach more people more often. Just think of wireless devices, the internet, broadband connectivity. And so using technology aggressively to both improve the quality of the product and distribute it more broadly, very very important.

Shiv Nadar: Any business goal is built on a set of assumptions, and you have to constantly test the assumptions to see that, does it stand valid today? If it doesn't stand valid today, what are the changes? If you don't do this, businesses will fail, or fail to produce the results that we wanted it to get to.

You know, like they say, in Africa -- if you're born a gazelle, you get up in the morning and think that how I run faster than the fastest lion, and if you're born a lion, how do I run faster than the slowest gazelle. So, if you're gonna be an entrepreneur you have to stay permanently paranoid.

Vivienne Tam: I think it's important to get some time off, and I ask myself I think I need some more sleep. It's important to get more sleep and healthy living is like, I think it's important to take care about your own diet, conscious about what you're eating, and have more sleep and yeah, that's important, especially when you travel. I think it's important to listen to your body and take some time.

Lorraine Hahn: Words to live by! That is Talk Asia for 2005! I'm Lorraine Hahn, thanks for spending the year with me. Let's talk again in 2006.

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