The Best Websites
Flash MTVasia.com should be on top, but a recent homepage held hardly
a mention of an Asian artist. Laurels instead to newcomer Asiavibe,
which covers the music scene in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore
and sells tunes at $1 a download. We prefer Asiavibe's prehistoric
Internet feel and garage band slouch to West-centric slick.
Personal Finance Site
There are numerous contenders, but the gold goes to Hong Kong's
Quamnet because it mixes comprehensiveness with a spot of chutzpah.
The site has personal-finance fillips including portfolio tracker
and real-time stock quotes, but what sets it apart is a rare stable
of online columnists. The pundits lend Quamnet a handcrafted touch
that relieves some of the gray seriousness of most financial pages.
Geared for pro chefs but plenty to set novice taste buds a-droolin'.
Restaurant reviews, wine of the week, recipes and a Q&A feature
for kitchen klutzes make a balanced meal.
One of the Web's oldest B2B services is also one of the most comprehensive.
Global Sources matches some 200,000 buyers, among them the world's
biggest retailers, with nearly 90,000 manufacturers, the majority
of them in Asia. Perfect if you need to buy 500,000 electrolytic
capacitors in a hurry. Or sell them.
Information on illnesses you never knew you could get. The latest
health news, a searchable database, plus practical information
such as how to handle leftover food so you don't poison yourself
is abundant. You can also post questions to ezyhealth's online
doctor. Does this look infected?
Development Bank of Singapore has been acclaimed for having the
region's best online bank, but Hong Kong giant HSBC is setting ease-of-use
standards. Just about every transaction you needed to stand in line
for is now Web-based, and the interface helps walk you through each
without taking you down blind alleys. Stocks can be traded too (but
not unit trusts).
Asia Observer is ugly and has no streaming video. Yet this solo
effort by journalist John Einar Sandvand achieves its goal of being
a good start page for current-events junkies. The online versions
of Hong Kong's South China Morning Post (SCMP.com) and Singapore's
Mediacorp (channelnewsasia.com) have more depth. Asia Observer's
strength is it offers a broad regional overview.
Deep Background Site
A guide to Asian culture, history, politics and business, AsiaSource
provides excellent reference material and background for those who
seek to become deadly at cocktail parties . Run by the Asia Society,
there are a wealth of links for in-depth research, a daily news
digest, and Asia-related books on offer.
For the insecure teenager in all of us, dotlove.com seeks to drain
the dating swamp with a mixture of pop-psych instruction and first-person
horror stories. Having run out of nice, clinical things to say about
sex, the site strays into music, movies and art. The handiest source
of condom-installation guidelines around. If you miss it, try ebabyAsia.com
for parenting advice.
A Malaysia-based award-winner with a full range of services and
helpful extras, too, such as a homepage listing of discount airfares
all in an easily navigable package. Don't have the money
for five-star hotels and tourist resorts? Check out backpackasia.com,
which earns a mention as the funkiest online travel destination
in the region.
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