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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?

AsiaweekTimeAsia NowAsiaweek

MARCH 24, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 11

Fashion Statement
A Philippine women's group sends a message to the government

Cover: Creative Destruction City
The choice is tough: should Singapore jettison its safe old ways in order to prosper in the age of globalization?
• Report Card: What Singapore is doing right
• The Press: How free - and on what topics?
• Society: The highs and the lows of being Singaporean

Editorial: U.S. President Bill Clinton can help defuse tensions between India and Pakistan - but not much
Editorial: Manila must clean up its stock-market mess

China: What the NPC yielded
• Security: Why Beijing is getting deeper into blue water
Malaysia: Behind the attacks on Astro
India/Pakistan: Clinton is going to South Asia. Is that a good idea?
• Interview: Cohen says the U.S. will not mediate Kashmir
Thailand: The central bank's burden - prevent another Crisis
Indonesia: How Wahid became his country's strongest power
• Military: Call it "de-Wiranto-ization"
• Prejudice: Why Malaysia's media are tough on Gus Dur
Viewpoint: False fears about globalization

Education: A child's murder rouses a debate about parenting
Burdened: Japanese moms on the frontlines
• Movie: Beating the exam odds in reel life
• Dream School: Innovations in Okinawa
Design: Activists' fashion statement in the Philippines
Newsmakers: Courtside scorecard for Malaysia

The Net: South Korea's online stock-trading mania
Cutting Edge: IBM enters a new eon

Investing: The power of brokers on the Manila bourse
IPO Watch: Sunevision will begin life at a premium stock price
Business Buzz: All is not well in Dotcomland

Skirt lengths for the season? What about the accessories to die for this summer? Trend spotters would have found few clues at a recent Manila fashion show to commemorate International Women's Day. True, some leading local designers put their creative stamp on the 27 outfits on display, but none who wanted to be named. It was a fashion statement all right - on the state of the nation. At issue: such concerns as sex tourism, contract labor, cronyism and militarization in the Philippines.

Asiaweek Pictures
Dress Code: Where budget savings are going

A wedding gown of rags and chains, for example, summed up the plight of mail-order brides. A Chinese-inspired red sheath featuring an ace-of-spades panel made a colorful - and pointed - comment on the Malacaņang presidential palace's warm welcome to Macau tycoon Stanley Ho into the Philippine casino business. The event organized by the militant women's group Gabriela helped alter perceptions of activists as dour demagogues. And as a collective expression of "disgruntlement" at the current administration, the spectacle probably reached a broader audience than the group's rallies ever did.

Gabriela's alternative fashion show was a novel experience for the models, too, most of whom were more comfortable waving placards and chanting slogans. Who would have thought union tough guys were game enough for a bit of fun at their own expense (even if they weren't quite ready to don silly hats with fairy lights)? Of course, the catwalk didn't faze showbiz personalities like actress Malou de Guzman and singer Cynthia Patag. But plenty of models-for-a-day suffered the jitters. Political campaigners fret about the way they look too. Nationalist alliance activist Grace Saguinsing, for one, put herself on a diet to shape up for the event. Farmers' union leader Danilo Ramos also confessed to being somewhat "excited" at having to march in a fashion parade rather than at a demonstration. His outfit: a traditional barong tagalog, one of three which, put together, spelled the message: No to Cronyism. Now that, the organizers say, is a style tip for President Joseph Estrada.

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