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Asiaweek
 > summer special 2000
For the year 2000

GOVERNANCE
The Best Government Reformer
How Asia Is Governed
The Best Local Administrator
The Best Activist


BUSINESS
The Best Dealmaker
The Best IPO
The Best Stock
The Best Advocate of Shareholder Rights
The Best Fund Manager
The Best Cost Cutter

LIFESTYLE
The Best Airport
The Best Hotel Service
The Best Hotel Gym
The Best Store
The Best Food

ENVIRONMENT
In Tune with Nature
The Best Forest Preserve
The Best City Park
The Best Transport
The Best Green Test
The Best Marine Preserve
The Best Marine Park

THE WIRED WORLD
The Hottest Video Game
The Hottest Gadget
The Hottest Portal
The Best Asian Websites

POP CULTURE
The Hottest Fad
The Hottest Toy
The Hottest TV Show
The Hottest Album
The Best Movie
The Best Short Film

 

25 Years  Intro |  Democrat |  Film |  Architecture | Book  25 Years
The Best of Asia

Wei Leng Tay for Asiaweek Pictures.


Despite the Crisis, the Best Thing That Happened to Asia in the last 25 years is still the region's economic ascendancy
By RICARDO SALUDO

Which is most important — money in the bank, power to the people, all the latest gadgets, or peace on earth? In some fashion over the past quarter-century, each of these blessings has come to Asia, enriching lives, ending strife and giving the region's inhabitants a profound sense of security, achievement, self-possession and identity. Millions of people have been touched, from the commuter taking the mass transit train to work, and the executive downloading e-mail on her cellphone, to the diplomat fresh from a summit between long-hostile countries, and the activist sizing up a newly established government of the people, by the people and for the people. Despite the ravages of the Asian Economic Crisis and the current ethnic conflicts rending the region, Asia has come a long way forward.

In this special issue, Asiaweek ponders its quarter-century of existence and highlights the events and forces that have brought so much good to the continent. We have also selected achievers and achievements, in politics, business, society and the arts, which have contributed immensely to progress in the past 25 years, from the Best Enterprise (it's a four-letter brand) and the Best Democrat (a Korean named Kim), to the Best Film and the Best Architecture (both Chinese inspirations). And after weighing the best of the past, we look at the top people, places and things of the present (the past 12 months, to be exact) "in all spheres of human activity," as the magazine's mission statement declares.

So why Asia's Best, all 60-odd pages of it? Chest-thumping vanity, many may be tempted to reply. After the Crisis deflated its collective ego, Asia needed to be reminded that it has in its vast lands and long history a lot of personages and moments of good, even brilliance. There has to be a bit of that, admittedly, but the quest for the Best goes far beyond making a Crisis-hit region feel better about itself. No, the greater import of seeking out and recognizing the Best in Asian advancement is to give impetus, inspiration and instruction for more of the same. Deng Xiaoping opened up China to market forces and global business after nearly three decades of Maoist socialism. Why? Because he saw how trade and enterprise helped Japan and the Tiger economies build world-beating products and the region's highest living standards. If they can do it, the old geezer reasoned, so can China. And so it has.

Similar trains of thought and action will hopefully be starting across the region, thanks to this inaugural Asia's Best double issue. The quest for achievement should shun no field of human endeavor, as the broad sweep of themes and categories aims to avoid. The Governance section recognizes achievers both in and out of government; the Business categories include a staff-cutting CEO and a boss-beating advocate of shareholder rights. Pop Culture honors a top-rated TV show and a short film that won kudos at Cannes, but is likely to set no box-office records. The best, in case the point is fuzzy, is found everywhere there is human inspiration, perspiration and daring. And that's all across Asia, as this opening essay on the Best Thing That Happened to Asia in the last 25 years aims to recount.

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