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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
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Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story


In public and in private, how some of the region's most visible personalities intend to welcome the New Year

By Alexandra A. Seno

asia in the new millennium
Mapping the Future The future wealth and size of Asian nations

The 21st Century By Arthur C. Clarke

Asia Trends 2000 The promises and perils of one wired world

The Microchip Silicon will get into everything
The Power As the region prospers, chances for conflict may become greater
Essay by Fidel Ramos Ending repression was easy; now we must defend freedom
The Dynasty It's here to stay
The Classes Many more Asians may escape poverty
The People Democracy in Asia will become increasingly deep-rooted
Essay by Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo Shifts to new paradigms may include the "common good" and spirituality
The Mind Classrooms of the future will be virtually unrecognizable
Essay by Stan Shih The challenge of creating markets in a competitive world
The Body Science will soon deliver miracle cures, designer babies and new dilemmas
The Soul Asia seeks a new cultural identity
Essay by the Dalai Lama Balancing material progress with inner development to achieve true success
The Food Are the pushers of genetically modified edibles out to lunch?
The Vacation Inner and outer space are the destinations of the future
The Design Asia still has a place in the shape of things to come
The Metropolis Sweeping global changes are reshaping urban destinies
The Earth Environmental awareness is growing
The Jobs New and reinvented careers will fire the imagination
The Money The cashless society is on the way
The Investor Globalization and the Net will empower future shareholders and savers
The Sexes Democracy, capitalism and the Internet can lift women to the top
Essay by Marina Mahathir In Malaysia, we should change the way society looks at their roles
The Family The family promises to be much different than it is today
The Economy New ways of working call for new ways of thinking
Essay by Donald Tsang Financial well-being is a responsibility for each nation and the world
The Network The connection will go much deeper

The Asiaweek Round Table on ASEAN in 2020

Celebrations Asia is gearing up

Celebrities How some of the region's most visible personalities intend to welcome the New Year

Millenium Dictionary From pop anthems to dawn sites and midnight nuptials, a guide to 2000

BECAUSE IT'S THE SORT of event that has been 20 centuries in the making, New Year 2000 means special preparations, parties and personal wishes. Among Asia's celebrities who have thought about the holiday, some, like Hong Kong legislator Christine Loh, are opting for something quiet and relaxing. Others plan to have a grand time - like Thai star Sonia Couling, who will be dancing her way into a whole new millennium.


For Eric Khoo, the New Year party season may mean lights, camera and family action. The Singaporean director might be making a documentary tracking the last day of the outgoing millennium and the first of the new one. Talks are under way with a European television network, with the aim of the 45-minute film being aired some time next year as part of a special series on a French television channel. Khoo, 34, who made a name for himself in 1997, when his 12 Storeys became the first Singaporean movie to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival, has come up with a simple but ingenious plan to ensure the project won't interfere too much with family life. The father of four boys says: "I'll just bring my camera and crew to the New Year's eve dinner the family always has and do some filming there." If nothing else, that should guarantee a rarity: a festive-season home movie that won't finish up with Aunt Clara out of focus or with cousin Jason chasing the cat around the room.


After a hectic political year spent battling the Hong Kong government on a variety of fronts - including the right of abode for mainland Chinese children and the state of the environment - legislator Christine Loh Kung-wai is looking forward to winding down at the New Year. A week at a California spa will take up a significant part of the Loh household December holiday plans. "After my significant-other and I feel semi-human again, for New Year we will join family and friends in the Los Angeles area, where both he and I have the most relatives," Loh, 43, says. And then what? Parties? Receptions? Balls? No. "We're not ravers, we're sleepers," she says. The beleaguered Hong Kong administration should take note: It sounds like Loh will be fully reinvigorated and fighting fit for the start of the new millennium.


After hosting a fireworks display at Rizal Park, at midnight on Dec. 31, Joseph Estrada will be presiding over a gathering of his closest relatives (there are a lot of them) and friends (ditto). As with many of his previous dinners at the official presidential residence on the Malaca"ang Palace grounds, there is a chance guests will be treated to the Philippine president's cooking - and singing. Estrada is a talented chef by many accounts, specializing in Philippine and Spanish dishes. But given the distraction of the country's many percolating problems, even if the 62-year-old started today, he may not have enough time in the kitchen to personally prepare food for a gathering of this size. The guest list is likely to run into the hundreds. In the meantime, here's the latest dish on a possible New Year's eve party favor: The karaoke-loving Estrada has cut his first CD - featuring "Kahit" ("Even Though"), a love ballad he composed himself in 1969, and a new version of the Philippine folk song "Planting Rice."


"I must have been Latin in my past life," says Thai celebrity Sonia Couling. "My ideal party for this New Year includes watching fireworks at midnight while dancing barefoot and barely dressed on a beach in Brazil." Couling and some friends intend to jet to Rio after Christmas. They are hoping to attend at least one of the beachside New Year's eve bashes organized by locals. Couling, who started taking Latin dancing lessons five years ago, is very serious about her salsa. Several times a week - be it in Bangkok, where she is known as an actress and model, or in Singapore, where she is an MTV VJ - the 25-year-old can be found practicing her Merengue and Lambada moves at Latin dance parties. Next year, she hopes to be perfecting her steps at the Latin club she plans to open in Bangkok.


After all the political and personal turmoil she has experienced over the past year following her husband's jailing, Malaysian opposition leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail could certainly use better days to come. For the first year of the new millennium, the 46-year-old mother of six says: "Surely 2000 holds promise for a just and equitable future for me, my family, Anwar Ibrahim and the people of Malaysia." Jan. 1, 2000 does not have much significance for the family of the sacked deputy prime minister. Devout followers of Islam, Azizah and the Anwar household celebrate the Muslim New Year, which is dictated by the lunar calendar. That system of measuring time counts from the Prophet Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina. Since it has been 1,420 years from that date, the second Muslim calendar millennium is not due for another 58 decades. So the eve of Jan. 1, Azizah will probably be on the road like any other day, giving a lecture.


There will be plenty of the whirling and twirling of Irish reels in the New Year dance steps of international fashion designer John Rocha. As they have done most years over the past decade, he, his wife and their two children will make merry in their rural Ireland cottage with some of their dearest friends. "I'm very sentimental at heart," says Rocha, who is of Macanese descent. "Though we like Asia and I am there many times a year, we will keep our tradition of surrounding ourselves with friends at the house." For the designer, who moved to Ireland 18 years ago from Hong Kong, the old ways may be best when it comes to New Year celebrations, but he is still open to trying new things in his professional life. The 45-year-old is continuing his venture into homeware with the Waterford company, producing crystal goblets, bowls and vases. And he recently finished two design projects: the interiors for a luxury boutique hotel in Dublin, Ireland, and a revamp of the Virgin Atlantic Airways crew uniforms.

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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