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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


A Heavy-Duty Traveler

J.K. BEDI IS THE SORT OF PERSON you don't want to get caught behind at an aiport immigration counter. The 47-year-old Indian perfume and cosmetics merchant travels with 37 passports stapled together, concertina style. Together they weigh 2 kilos and, when extended, stretch to nearly two meters. Inside are 4,700 immigration stamps. Yes, you guessed it, Bedi is a frequent flyer. So frequent, in fact, that he has now notched up a million miles with Air India and its associated airlines. Most of those flights were business trips to Bangkok, Hong Kong, London and Dubai. "I take 12 flights a month and every six months I get a new passport," says Bedi. We know what you're thinking. If Bedi has flown a million miles, how many miles more has his baggage traveled? Not one, apparently. "I have not lost a single bag in all that time," he says. Lucky fellow.

Party Granny

SHE MAY BE OLD ENOUGH to apply for a senior citizen's travel discount, but Imelda Marcos still knows how to party - and how to thumb her nose at all those who think she lives rather well for someone who claims to be down to her last pair of shoes. The former Philippine First Lady celebrated her 70th birthday with four days of sumptuous parties that attracted the cream of the social set. At one of the bashes, the birthday granny wore a ruby- and diamond-studded necklace so big that one party-goer described it as looking like a bib. Constantly at her side, of course, was George Hamilton, the perennially tanned former Hollywood star and longtime Imelda pal. Also present was former defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile, who helped drive Imelda and president Ferdinand Marcos into exile in the 1986 People Power uprising and who is now helping her get back some of the family assets. Between a whirl of dances, photo sessions with admirers and signing autographs, the former First Lady was heard to say: "I feel old, but I'm overwhelmed by all the beautiful people around me." That's not the way Marcos critic Rep. Michael Defensor saw it. "This only points to one thing: The Marcos hidden wealth is not hidden anymore," he said.

No Slam Dunk - Yet

WANG ZHIZHI IS RARIN' TO GO. The Chinese player is the first Asian to be recruited by a club in the NBA professional basketball league. But no one is quite sure when - and if - he can join the Mavericks in Dallas. Wang has other commitments, says Chinese basketball official Liu Yumin. "Of course it's good news [for Wang]," she says. "I not only hope he can go, but other talents as well. It can only be good for the level of basketball in China." The problem is the Olympic Games are coming up. As the seven-foot Wang notes, "my country may need me." When the Americans spotted him during a tour of China last year, he was still contractually bound to the Chinese league's Bayi Rockets. The ambitious 22-year-old may well miss the coming NBA season too. Still, he could eventually turn up for training with a medal from the Sydney Games.

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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