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SEPTEMBER 29 , 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 38 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK

Letters
Wahid vs. Military: 'Hardliners in the Indonesian military are hard nuts to crack, but international patience is wearing thin. Taking away aid still due to be given Jakarta may well be the next step.' — THE NATIONS, Sept. 22

Who is in charge of Indonesia? Certainly not President Wahid Abdurrahman ["A Fight to the Death," THE NATIONS, Sept. 22]. Whatever promises he made recently to the United Nations in New York, the reality is that he can't deliver. His promises to subdue the militia in West Timor and restore law and order in Ambon are nothing but hot air. The sad truth is that the Indonesian military is a law unto itself and this culture is too entrenched for any president to reverse.
K. Yeoh
Melbourne


"A Fight to the Death," by Penny Crisp and Dewi Loveard, was excellent. It looks as if the military has been pulling the strings for many years now, and that the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and others have been conned and robbed.
[Name withheld by request]
via the Internet

The Cheng Affair

I am surprised that Gary Cheng Kai-nam of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) has refused to resign from the Legislative Council since elections for the body were held on Sept. 10 ["Livelihood Rules," THE NATIONS, Sept. 22]. Cheng quit the DAB's vice-chairmanship after admitting that he failed to disclose business links to Legco and had passed a confidential government document to a business contact. It was too late for him to be withdrawn from the election, but what about his seat in Legco [to which he was re-elected on a slate in the proportional representation contest]? The Cheng affair is a threat to the DAB's status as a leading pro-China party. For its sake, Cheng should step down and leave the party.
Chan Sin-hang
Hong Kong

Limits of Cooperation
Here is the response of the Burmese resistance to "Questioning Sanctions" by Rebecca Miller [VIEWPOINT, Aug. 11]. The resistance supported a multi-year $15 million U.N. program to eradicate drugs in Wa State. After three years, despite $100,000 salaries to several U.N. employees, and jeeps loaned to tribal Wa leaders, drug production has increased in the state. No U.N. program can succeed when you have to deal with a regime that is involved in a partnership with the Wa drug warlords.

The only crop substitution program that is successful is operated by an NGO in Kachin State. In tribute to the Kachins' help in World War Two, veterans of the U.S. Office of Strategic Service helped establish this program with funding from the U.S. Congress. None of the veterans drew a salary. But the Rangoon generals now refuse to give them a visa to supervise this project. Only the threat of breaking the ceasefire by several Kachin Independence Organization units, led by the younger officers, has prevented the unilateral termination of the project by Rangoon.
Myint Thein
Senior Adviser to the Burmese Resistance
Dallas, Texas

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