Goodbye, Mr. Chen?

You know a politician is in trouble when he goes public with the news that his wife thought of divorcing him recently in hopes of getting some sympathy—and the tactic backfires. Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian is in a hole, and he just keeps digging deeper. A series of scandals involving his wife, son-in-law and daughter…

Undoing the Damage

With an estimated 94 percent its immense coral reef system in decline, Indonesia is beginning to grapple with what may be an impossible task: reversing what a government agency calls the “precipitous decline” of some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. The blue-ribbon National Committee on Marine Conservation sometime in September is expected…

Thaksin in the Dock

Who is running Thailand? Even Thais wonder. Billionaire Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra easily won April's boycotted election, tearfully stepped aside a few days later, and then returned as caretaker leader after King Bhumibol Adulyadej gave a speech that led the courts to scrap the election results. Now a new election is scheduled for October 15.…

New Press Restrictions Put Singapore in Reverse

On August 4, the tiny island nation took a giant step backwards in its relations with the international media and its commitment to press freedom when the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts (MICA) slapped controls on foreign media companies publishing there, apparently in retaliation for an article published in the monthly Far Eastern…

Thai End Game?

Publisher, businessman and born-again democracy crusader Sondhi Limthongkul likes to think of himself as a martyr-in-waiting. The sworn enemy of embattled Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra, Sondhi routinely tells his weekly talk show audience that he is willing to die in his effort to see his nemesis banished from politics; he claims men with assault rifles…

Where has the hope gone?

It is hard to recall the hope sometimes because the Philippines is such a mess. Birth rates are among the highest in the world, a third of the workforce is either unemployed or underemployed. The country is kept afloat financially by remittances from its chief export, Filipinos who labor as maids in Hong Kong, cooks…

A Dirty Job

Tony Kwok has more than a touch of the evangelist about him. On his favorite topic, the trim and soft-spoken former operations chief of Hong Kong's legendary graft- busting agency is fervent about the need for society to find the path to redemption from corruption, a sin he says harms people, retards growth and eats…

Seeing Red

An old Chinese proverb warns: “When you set out to seek revenge, first dig two graves.” Revenge—and justice—have been two of the most difficult issues for Cambodia since 1979, when the Khmer Rouge were driven from power, ending four years of mayhem and murder in which virtually every Khmer born before 1975 became a perpetrator,…

Backfire

When North Korea fired seven ballistic missiles on July 5, the nation most acutely embarrassed was neither Japan nor the United States, the two countries they were intended to intimidate. Rather it was South Korea, North Korea’s closest neighbor and main source of economic sustenance for the past 10 years. Beyond that, the North’s provocation…

After Selling PCCW, in which industry will RICHARD LI find his future?

With Richard Li's HK$9.2 billion sale of 23 percent of the assets of Hong Kong's major telecommunications company to a local banker, the frantic local Chinese press and its better-behaved western counterparts are now turning to what Li, the son of tycoon Li Ka-shing, is going to do next. But he has already moved on.…