Thaksin Isn’t the Only Loser

No one was killed in last week’s coup in Thailand, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted easily, and although the baht and stock exchange wobbled slightly, the military junta has gone out of its way to assure that its business as usual in Bangkok. That may be true for the average business person, but there…

Indonesia’s gusher of gas, mud and graft

On May 28 at 10 a.m., something terrible went wrong deep inside Banjar Panji I.  There, 1,800 meters into the exploratory gas well being drilled near the Surabaya satellite town of Sidoarjo, about 900 km. southeast of Jakarta, investigators believe employees of PT Lapindo Brantas, the company drilling the well, “broke every rule in the…

Time to Invest in Thailand?

In yet another demonstration that markets don’t give a fig one way or another about democracy, the Stock Exchange of Thailand closed Thursday night at 694.72, just 7.84 points, or hardly more than 1 percent, below its Tuesday close, hours before the Thai military drove Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from power. The Thai baht closed…

Taiwan’s Golden Boy Stumbles

With tens of thousands of protesters at the gates of the presidential palace this week to demand a recall of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, the opposition Kuomintang Party’s presidential hopeful, presents a welcome surface contrast – handsome, a jogger who speaks fluent English and has a law degree from Harvard University…

Inside The Lion City, Part 2

This is the second of a multi-part series to run over the next week in the Asia Sentinel in conjunction with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in Singapore. It will examine Singapore's social and political structure, its relationship with the press, its concerns about regional security and other issues Related Story: Singapore's…

Singapore’s Moment at Center Stage

This is the first of a multi-part series to run over the next week in the Asia Sentinel in conjunction with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in Singapore. It will examine Singapore's social and political structure, its relationship with the press, its concerns about regional security and other issues. Related Story: Singapore,…

Was Your IPod Made in a Sweatshop?

Quiz: what’s the biggest lie in China? The Great Wall can be seen from the moon. Mao Zedong was only 30% wrong in his rule Workers at a factory making IPods are forced to toil too hard From a strictly legal point of view, the answer is #3. The mainland subsidiary of a very litigious…

The Rush to Bilateral Pacts: Throttling Trade While Trying to Promote It

Rhetoric to the contrary, the latest move by ASEAN’s economic ministers to speed up trade among its 10 members may well be nothing more than one more strand in a confused noodle bowl of East Asian trade pacts with the potential to strangle rather than liberate regional trade. At stake is a global trading regime…

Doughnut Invasion: Krispy Kreme Takes on the Asian Market

But that was then. These days, Krispy Kreme is suffering indigestion at home. Not only are shops closing across the United States as Americans belatedly awaken to their bulging waistlines, but allegations of accounting irregularities, numerous lawsuits and securities investigations are hanging over Krispy Kreme, driving its shares down more than 80 percent from their…

Some Good News From Taiwan

Taiwan looks a real mess at the moment. Chen Shui-bian is on the ropes and could yet be forced out of office. Others in the DPP have been tarnished with corruption. But the shine has also gone off the Kuomintang (KMT) party leader Ma Ying-jeou, who is far more popular with the public than other…