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SEPTEMBER 1 , 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 34 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK

Letters



India's Rise: 'IT can transform the wealthscape of India. We must take bold, visionary steps — we have nothing to lose but our poverty. We can create immense national wealth to be shared by all.' — Azim Premji [August 11]

While India may be making phenomenal progress in information technology (IT) and other areas, let's not forget that many of those talented minds would rather be in the United States (which is probably why they chose the technology field in the first place). Read those "Spouse Wanted" ads closely and I'm sure you will stumble upon a few where a U.S. zip code is required [COVER STORY, Aug. 11]. And don't forget that Bangalore, known to some as India's Silicon Valley, actually shut down when news of a retired movie star's kidnapping hit the airwaves. We're not talking about a few diehard fans outside a movie studio with signs, but public transport closing down, people not being able to get to work, crowds of people chanting the actor's name like he was some kind of god, chaos and violence.

This is where it all happens? India is not ready for the 21st century. It is still a country where bribes are a standard part of life. Where most people are brainwashed by the silver screen, where children, women and men sometimes take food from the refuse because they have nothing else to eat. The disparity between haves and have-nots is extraordinary. On one visit to India, I saw this statement spraypainted on the walls of a Bangalore bus stop: "Don't feed computers — Feed Hungry Mouths!"
Vijay Krishna
via the Internet


Many many thanks for "The Coming Superpower." I feel inspired and elevated, as if I've got the attention I deserved for so long. Currently in Silicon Valley, I am relocating back to India. Reason? Well, you have them all in your splendid article.
Prasanna G. Basavapatna
via the Internet


"Giant on the Move" echoes the sentiments of the majority of the nation. What you have missed is the extremely important fight against corruption, which is the biggest threat to portal India in the next few years. One man eagerly and openly leading the fight against this malaise is the chairman of the Indian Central Vigilance Commission. His efforts need to be given momentum that is as irreversible as the economic reforms sweeping the country.
Anurag Ashok
New Delhi


It's a pity that Indian Muslim leader Syed Shahabuddin feels that while India is doing well, its Muslims are not ["Whither India?"]. Well, the richest Indian is a Muslim, Wipro's Azim Premji. India has had two Muslim presidents, top Bollywood actors are Muslims, and Mohammed Azharuddin, a Muslim, captained the Indian cricket team for several years. Salman Hyder, a career diplomat (as was Syed Shahabuddin), recently retired as foreign secretary. Muslims in India are not denied opportunities.
C.P. Belliappa
Karnataka


Net Trading
We regret that Assif Shameen experienced frustration opening an Internet trading account with a broking firm in Singapore ["Standing in Line," Asiaweek.com, June 30]. Shameen complained about the onerous red tape involved. It is standard practice in developed markets to verify the personal details of any individual who wishes to trade securities, arising from the need to follow the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) principle of "know your client." In Singapore, individual brokers decide on the verification process, so long as they meet the exchange's requirement that they have performed the necessary due diligence to "know your client."

An individual who wishes to buy securities needs to open an account with the Central Depository (Pte) Ltd [CDP], or a sub-account with his depository agent, to custodize his securities. While the CDP registers and activates 99% of securities accounts within 24 hours of receipt of the applications, those made through some brokers may take longer.

We clearly need to further streamline the procedures, to prevent delays like those Shameen experienced, including adopting digital signatures which have been provided for under Singapore law since 1998. We are working with brokers and the CDP on ways to provide easier and faster verification of personal details and financial soundness, without compromising prudential principles.
Raymond Chow
vice president
Corporate Communications
Singapore Exchange Ltd


Jakarta Bombing
In response to "Who Bombed the Diplomat?" [Aug. 11], note that President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, while still on his 10-day official visit to the United States, condemned the incident, which seriously injured the Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Leonides Caday. The President ordered that security measures in all Philippine diplomatic offices be reviewed and strengthened. A three-man team from the Philippine National Police has been sent to Jakarta to coordinate with Indonesian and American authorities in investigating the bombing. Caday is now recuperating in a Jakarta hospital.
Michael T. Toledo
Press Undersecretary
Malacanang
Manila


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