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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?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

NOVEMBER 19, 1999 VOL. 25 NO. 46

Newsmakers:
Reversal of Fortune

Admiral Prueher gets a red light en route to Beijing

more stories
THAILAND: What's A Girl Supposed To Do?
PHILIPPINES: Cleaning up After the Big Bash
PASSAGE

    ALSO IN ASIAWEEK
Wake-up Time
Once politically dormant, Asian Americans have heard an alarm go off

Food
Introducing the Japanese curry, pizza and hot dog

Books
A journal to whet Asia's appetite for good writing
• Views
Asian writers on the future of literature in the region

People
Chow Yun-fat's Unforgettably Sexy Style

Newsmakers
The Philippines' "Mr. Clean" sweeps up

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Newsmakers: Eternal Marital Affair
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Newsmakers: Getting Around London
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Newsmakers: Murder Claim
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Newsmakers: Pressing Ahead
James Soong is riding a post-Quake wave (10/15/99)

It's one of those military "hurry up and wait" situations. One day former admiral Joseph Prueher is all set to be approved as Washington's next ambassador to Beijing. The next a Senate conservative is denouncing him for being too soft on China. Prueher is used to rough seas around China - he was all but rejected by China's incensed foreign affairs ministry when they learned of his upcoming appointment from the press in May. That's not the way it's done in diplomatic circles, where the host government is first informed of the choice before the name is made public. Beijing relented, even though Prueher had a black mark against his name because he was the man in charge of the carrier force in the Taiwan Strait during the March 1996 tension between Taiwan and the mainland. More recently he has been building fences with China's military following the U.S.-led NATO bombing of China's embassy in Belgrade, and has helped bring the two countries to the cusp of re-establishing military relations. China has come to accept his nomination. So is that enough of a reason for U.S. Republican Senator Robert Smith to vow to hold up Prueher's ambassadorial appointment? Maybe. But remember, it's the silly season in the U.S. during the run-up to American presidential elections, and such posturing is driven more by domestic politics than international concerns.  

THAILAND: What's A Girl Supposed To Do?
Dawan Singwee, a runner-up in the 1998 Miss U-League Thailand Contest, decided to play it straight. The 22-year-old was stripped of her title and Dhurakit Bundit University threatened to withhold her bachelor's degree - until she voluntarily withdrew from the school's graduation ceremony. Her alma mater was upset about some semi-nude photos of her that appeared in the November issue of the male-interest magazine M. Dawan says the poses were artistic, not tacky, and were published after her course work was complete. And besides, the university had encouraged her to enter the beauty contest that led to the photo shoot in the first place. With the common sense she displayed to smooth out the situation, she should launch a career in the diplomatic corps.  

PHILIPPINES: Cleaning up After the Big Bash
Former Philippine senator Rene Saguisag's Ad Hoc and Independent Citizens' Committee released its report on how much money was spent - and allegedly wasted - to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the republic in June 1998. The panel says more than 9 billion pesos ($220 million) went down the drain - at the height of the financial crisis when the country could least afford it. His group specifically recommends the indictment, for graft, of former vice president Salvador Laurel, who headed the celebration committee, along with five other officials. Also on Saguisag's list is former president Fidel Ramos and his finance secretary Salvador Enriquez. Saguisag wants them fined six months of their former salaries for tolerating Laurel's behavior. That might be a tough bill to collect: Ramos ignored the committee's summons, claiming he was not under its jurisdiction. As for Saguisag, this could be a career move. To pursue such malfeasance in the future he is calling for independent counsels, similar to those in the U.S.  

Passage
 •  DIED Gerald Segal, 46, prolific journalist and essayist and director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, of cancer, in London on Nov. 2. Segal was among the foremost Western writers on Asia, as well as communism and strategic arms issues. Most recently and most notably he attempted to debunk what he called the myth of a powerful China:"In fact, China is better understood as a theoretical power - a country that has promised to deliver for much of the last 150 years but has consistently disappointed," he wrote in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs.

 •  SWORN IN Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin, 62, political secretary to Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad, as a senator; on Nov. 3 at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur. Abdul Aziz was one of those named by former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim as part of an alleged conspiracy to oust him. The senator said he never had any ill intentions towards Anwar and "accusations that I am the mastermind are baseless." Abdul Aziz has been Mahathir's political secretary since 1981 and will keep the post.

 •  POSSIBLE SUCCESSOR EMERGING Kim Jong Nam, 28, the eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, has started working at Pyongyang's powerful Ministry of Public Security, according to reports in South Korea. An unidentified South Korean official declared in Seoul newspapers: "This is the first step related to the succession of Kim Jong Il." Jong Nam,whose mother Sung Hye Rim was rumored to be exiled, studied in Moscow and Geneva. Until recently, according to South Korean government sources, he had been traveling in Europe escorted by five young women.

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