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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


By Alexandra A. Seno

Giving Fashion an Ethnic Spin

VIETNAMESE DESIGNER MINH HANH is determined to give her country's fashion industry an up-to-date image. How? By looking back at ethnic art. As seen here, Minh, inset, gives the ao dai, the national costume, right, a contemporary look by using fabric based on tribal tapestry patterns. Born and raised in the heart of the Central Highlands -- home to many of her country's several dozen distinct minorities -- the Ho Chi Minh resident has long been an admirer of traditional designers and their materials. "They have a very lofty philosophy about their clothes," says the 30-something Minh. "Just look at their brocade work -- they are always trying to create something even more beautiful than the last one they made." And that is the same challenge she has taken on as an artist. At a Tokyo fashion fair, September 17, she became the first Vietnam designer to be awarded an international prize.

To Be 14 and Published

As somebody once said, it pays to read to your children. In the case of the Rajan family, it pays in cash and book royalties. The bedtime habit has resulted in a love of writing and a tidy little profit for 14-year-old Jemima Rajan. Angsana Books has just released Singapore's youngest author's first volume, The Real Singapore Cinderella and Other Short Stories -- a collection of seven quirky fairy tales and science-fiction yarns which she wrote when she was 11 years old. In one of the former, Jemima's Singapore Cinderella spurns tradition and chooses to marry a professional wrestler rather than a prince. (Yes, Jemima is a big fan of wrestling.) The book is whimsically illustrated by the author's 17-year old sister, Sharon. Cinderella is in its first print run of 3,000 copies, with 2,000 snapped up already. The young writer hopes to put some of the profit toward her education -- which she is continuing in Canada, where her family has emigrated. She says she wants to write more humorous tales but worries about it becoming a chore. "If I do it for a living, it might not be fun any more." This is not Jemima's first try at publishing. Last year, she photocopied a story she wrote and sold it to classmates.

A Golden Moment for Japan's Kitano

Will 1997 be the year of the Japanese movie? In May, Imamura Shohei triumphed at Cannes. And last week at the Venice Film Festival, Kitano Takeshi's Hana-Bi (Fireworks) took the Golden Lion prize for Best Picture. Not since 1958, when Inagaki Hiroshi's Rickshaw Man won, has the prestigious Italian award gone to a Japanese movie. "I didn't expect this film to do so well in the West," Kitano, 50, told reporters. "It is about the traditional Japanese spirit, which is dying out." With little dialogue and loads of violence, Hana-Bi tells the tragic story of a detective with a cancer-stricken wife. Director Kitano also wrote the script and played the lead character. In Japan, he is better known as TV comedian Beat Takeshi.

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 at a cost

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

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