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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story


Heaven for Everyone?
Thai finance chief looks for the good

THANONG BIDAYA WAS A little-known banker when he was tapped in June to become Thailandís finance minister. Anonymity is no longer an option for the man charged with restoring the countryís gravely ill economy. On Sept. 2 in Bangkok in one of his first speeches to a foreign audience, Tha-nong spun an upbeat story. Some excerpts:

On the need for greater financial accountability and transparency:

The media and bankers would like to see transparency. So why not? In the long run we have to do it anyway, so do it now. I am willing to walk in Bangkok nude to be-come transparent.

On the regional crisis:

It is hard to believe that the countries that used to be thought of as tigers have become cats. It is hard to believe that foreign creditors have suddenly turned sour just because of the [current] problems. I still believe in the fundamentals of these economies.

On investor confidence:

The bankers and foreign investors want to stay in Thailand. It is relaxing work here. And they have made so much profit. This is a heaven for everyone.

On economic recovery:

Once confidence is back it could recover within six months or a year. But it is a three-year program, as I plan it.

On his management style:

I look at forests before I look at the trees, and that is my tactic now . . . I am not very good with figures.

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel ž at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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