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February 21-27, 2014

Winter dreams in Sochi Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu, Russia's Viktor Ahn and the Philippines' Michael Christian Martinez


Contents February 21-27, 2014

❖ Weekly Briefing

❖ City

❖ Society

Stars in Sochi, Big win in Berlinale

Karachi the colourful

Bombs in my village

COVER IMAGE OF YUZURU HANYU BY AFP


Contents February 21-27, 2014

❖ Society

❖ Environment

❖ Business

❖ Lifestyle

From jihad to terrorism

Saving the sharks

Pride of India

The latest twist in Thai silk


Contents February 21-27, 2014

❖ Lifestyle

❖ Lifestyle

A very long and winding silk road

Singing their stress away

Datebook Happenings around Asia

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February 21-27, 2014

BRIEFING WEEKLYWEEKLY BRIEFING : SOCHI THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN

Yuzuru Hanyu Japan

The 19-year-old became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating. It was Japan’s first Winter Olympic gold since Shizuka Arakawa took the women’s crown at the 2006 Turin Games. Hanyu, who scored a world-record 101.45 points in the short programme, also won the free skate with 178.64 points for a combined total of 280.09. “I won the gold medal, but I feel disappointed,” he later said. “Because I’m not satisfied with my performance.” The pressure in the free skate was greater than Hanyu had expected, as he led by only a small margin. Hanyu is known for his stoic lifestyle. To concentrate on figure skating, he does not have a cell phone. At the same time, Hanyu loves grabbing the spotlight. “I feel power when watched by many people,” he said.

He is already eyeing the next Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. “I’m still young. I’m looking forward to making a good performance in the next Olympics.”—Junko Nagai/ The Yomiuri Shimbun


BRIEFING WEEKLYWEEKLY BRIEFING : SOCHI

February 21-27, 2014

The Philippines

The lone Philippine representative proved that while he comes from a country where winter is nothing but an idea, nothing is impossible. Michael Christian Martinez, 17, defied the odds to be the first-ever figure skater to carry the Philippine flag in the Winter Games. He’s also the first representative of the sport from Southeast Asia, a region where there is only two seasons: rainy and dry. “I feel proud because there are a lot of people that say that because we’re a tropical country, we can’t do this or we can’t do that,” Martinez told

NBCOlympics.com. Martinez’s dreams of making it to the biggest sporting stage in the world, in fact, started in a mere recreational skating rink in a shopping mall in the often-humid Manila. In that small—not even Olympic sized— rink, Martinez cultivated his talent. He eventually got better training in the United States starting in 2010. After his impressive debut performance in Sochi, coaches are now lining up to train, who knows, the next champ. —Celest R. Flores/ Philippine Daily Inquirer

AFP

Michael Christian Martinez


BRIEFING WEEKLYWEEKLY BRIEFING : SOCHI

February 21-27, 2014

Russia

Russia’s gain was South Korea’s pain when Viktor Ahn won the gold medal in the men’s 1,000 metres short-track speed skating. Ahn, whose Korean name is Ahn Hyun-soo, earned three gold medals at the 2006 Olympics for his birth country Korea. But he decided to become a Russian national in 2011 after being excluded from the Korean national team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. His gold for Russia thrilled the Olympic host nation. “I am so pleased and it is like a dream that I have reclaimed a medal after eight years,” Ahn told a press conference shortly after his victory.

AFP

Viktor Ahn

The 28-year-old gold medalist once voiced his hope for regaining his Korean nationality one day. He said he thought dual citizenship would be possible before he applied for Russian nationality. However, he said he has no plans to return to Korea. “I am not going back to Korea. I am skating for Russia. I will live in Russia for good,” he was quoted as saying during the interview with Russian daily Kommersant. “It was not an easy decision to leave Korea. But I loved shorttrack speed skating so much. I thought it would be better for me to stay in Russia… If I had made the Vancouver Olympics team, I would not have come to Russia. “ —Ock Hyun-ju/The Korea Herald


February 21-27, 2014

WEEKLYBERLINALE BRIEFING WEEKLY BRIEFING: AFP

Kuroki Haru Japan

Kuroki Haru, 24, won the Silver Bear for best actress at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, becoming the fourth Japanese actress to do so. Kuroki won for her role as a housekeeper in a middle-class family prior to World War II in Chiisai Ouchi (The Little House) directed by Yoji Yamada. The movie was based on the Naoki Prize-winning novel of the same name by Kyoko Nakajima. The other three Japanese actresses to win the Silver Bear are Sachiko Hidari for Nippon Konchuki (The Insect Woman) and Kanojo to Kare (She and He) in 1964; Kinuyo Tanaka in Sandakan Hachibanshokan, Bohkyo (Sandakan Brothel No. 8) in 1975; and Shinobu Terajima in Caterpillar in 2010. Kuroki is the youngest among the four.


WEEKLYBERLINALE BRIEFING WEEKLY BRIEFING:

February 21-27, 2014

China

"I felt really spaced out," Liao Fan said after winning the award. "When I saw the movie I was not so sure about winning. But I felt assured because I watched it so carefully without any distraction, and I think I had done whatever I could to express whatever I wanted to express with it." Black Coal, Thin Ice has yet to be released in China. Chinese media reported that the movie had already received a government permit and will be shown in the first half of the year.—China Daily

AFP

Liao Fan

Chinese actor Liao Fan won the Silver Bear for best actor for his performance in the film Black Coal, Thin Ice, which also won the Golden Bear for the best film. Black Coal, Thin Ice is a detective thriller directed by Diao Yinan who said he wanted to make a film on life in contemporary China. Diao graduated from China's Central Academy of Drama in 1992 and has directed two films of his own, Uniform in 2003 and Night Train in 2007, which premiered at the Cannes.


CITY

February 21-27, 2014

VAQAR AHMED Dawn Karachi

BATHED IN BRIGHT LIGHTS, THE 'DOH TALWAR' BUILDING IN THE AFFLUENT CLIFTON NEIGHBOURHOOD ADDS MUCH CHARM TO THE AREA.

PHOTOS BY DAWN

Karachi the V Colourful

isitors and residents of Karachi — the capital of Sindh province, which is also the most populous metropolitan city in Pakistan — often complain about the garbage littering the streets, the pollution and the buildings that have seen better years. But if one were to pay closer attention, indeed there are many hidden beauties within this ancient city that few would notice unless they were looking for them. Be it a building painted the most vivid turqoise, or another where weather elements have unintentionally formed for it a unique "paint job" in a blend of colours, or a glass building acting as a prism that reflects the different hues of the sun's rays—to the observant eye, Karachi can transform from a messy, worn down city into a vibrant, fascinating wonderland. ¬


February 21-27, 2014

CITY

PHOTOS BY DAWN

THE "BLENDING" OF COLOURS CAUSED BY YEARS AND WEATHER EFFECTS, GIVES THIS BUILDING IN THE NEELUM COLONY A PICTURESQUE FEEL.


February 21-27, 2014

CITY

PHOTOS BY DAWN

THE CONTRAST OF COLOURS BETWEEN THE RED TRICYCLE AND GREEN BRANCHES AGAINST THE LOVELY PASTEL OCEAN-BLUE HUE OF THE WALL, SETS THE SCENE FOR A BEAUTIFUL WATERCOLOUR PAINTING.


February 21-27, 2014

CITY

PHOTOS BY DAWN

A BRIGHT ORANGE TRANSFORMER STANDS OUT VIVIDLY AGAINST THE PATTERNS ON THE CURTAIN IN THE BACKGROUND.


February 21-27, 2014

CITY

PHOTOS BY DAWN

THIS WALL PAINTED ASYMMETRICALLY IN VARIOUS SHADES OF GREEN, DOTTED WITH BLACK CROWS, IS AN ARTISTIC PICTURE.


February 21-27, 2014

CITY

PHOTOS BY DAWN

A COLOURFUL BOAT PROVIDES THE PERFECT CONTRAST TO THE SIMPLE AND TASTEFULLY PAINTED MOSQUE IN THE FISHING VILLAGE OF IBRAHIM HAIDRI.


February 21-27, 2014

CITY

PHOTOS BY DAWN

A VERY MUNDANE APARTMENT BUILDING IN SADDAR LOOKS STRIKING WHEN PAINTED IN SHADES OF GREEN AND ADORNED WITH ONE COLOURFUL WINDOW.


February 21-27, 2014

CITY

PHOTOS BY DAWN

INTERESTING CONTRAST OF BRIGHT AND DULL COLOURS ON THIS BUILDING.


February 21-27, 2014

CITY

PHOTOS BY DAWN

AN OLD BUILDING BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE WITH FRESH, BRIGHT COLOURS.


February 21-27, 2014

CITY

PHOTOS BY DAWN

THE WHITEWASH ON THIS HISTORICAL BUILDING GIVES IT A DIGNIFIED LOOK AND BRINGS OUT THE INTRICATE DESIGNS ON ITS TRANSOM WINDOWS.


February 21-27, 2014

CITY

PHOTOS BY DAWN

VARIOUS PASTEL SHADES GIVE A TRANQUIL LOOK TO THIS BUILDING ON M. A. JINNAH ROAD.


SOCIETY

February 21-27, 2014

Bombs in my village

A childhood memory of bomb attacks in Singapore during the confrontation with Indonesia between 1964 and 1965

PHTOS FROM THE STRAITS TIMES

A BOMB EXPLOSION KILLED TWO OFFICE GIRLS IN THE HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANK BUILDING KNOWN AS MACDONALD HOUSE ON ORCHARD ROAD ON MARCH 10, 1965. AT LEAST 33 OTHER PEOPLE WERE INJURED. THE EXTENT OF THE DAMAGE ON THE MEZZANINE FLOOR OF THE 10-STOREY BUILDING MADE IT EASY TO DETERMINE WHERE THE BOMB WAS PLACED. FIREMEN ON THE LEFT ARE REMOVING AN INJURED PERSON FROM THE SIDE ENTRANCE OF THE BUILDING.


SOCIETY

February 21-27, 2014

THE STRAITS TIMES

A BOMB EXLOSION IN THE HONG KONG AND SHANGHAI BANK BUILDING. BETTER KNOWN AS THE MACDONALD HOUSE ON ORCHARD ROAD, SINGAPORE, ON MARCH 10, 1965, CAUSED MASSIVE DAMAGE TO SEVERAL ADJACENT BUILDINGS.

SALIM OSMAN The Straits Times Singapore

W

hen a bomb went off one Sunday night in April 1964 at Jalan Rebong in Kampung Ubi (Ubi Village), the impact was so large that I could feel it from my home in Geylang Serai a kilometre away. A 50-year-old Malay widow and her only child, a 19-year-old schoolgirl, who were at a neighbour's house were killed when the bomb exploded nearby. Three days later, another bomb went off about a kilometre away, at the junction of Betek Street and Timun Street, at a public telephone booth. Five people were injured, including a 62-year-old


SOCIETY

February 21-27, 2014

THE STRAITS TIMES

THE BOMB WAS PLACED ON THE STAIRWAY ON THE MEZZANINE FLOOR OF THE MACDONALD HOUSE WHERE IT EXPLODED. THE CONCRETE WALL SEPARATING THE STAIRWAY AND THE CORRESPONDENCE ROOM OF THE HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANK WAS COMPLETELY TORN DOWN EXPOSING A SIDE OF THE BANK'S CAR PARK ON THE OTHER SIDE OF ORCHARD ROAD. IT WAS ON THE MEZZANINE FLOOR THAT TWO WOMEN EMPLOYEES WERE KILLED.


SOCIETY

February 21-27, 2014

Chinese woman and three Malays who lived near the booth. As a 12-year-old boy who had just entered secondary school, I was curious as to why a bomb had gone off in my kampung area. I cycled to Betek Street, the scene of the second explosion, to see the mayhem. Only the concrete base of the phone booth was left; the booth and its roof had been blown to bits. The house next door was in shambles, its sitting room badly damaged. Months earlier, terrorists had planted a bomb at Katong Park in front of the Ambassador Hotel on Meyer Road. That park by the beach was a favourite picnic site for many of us who lived in Geylang Serai. The series of bombings in Singapore occurred at the

height of Indonesia's Konfrontasi (Confrontation) against the Federation of Malaysia formed in September 1963. Singapore was then a part of this federation. We were told that it was the work of Indonesian soldiers who had infiltrated the island to launch a campaign of terror in line with its "Ganjang Malaysia" (Crush Malaysia) campaign against the fledgling federation. It was an act of military aggression without a formal declaration of war against Malaysia, which then President Sukarno considered a "British puppet". For the Malays in my kampung, Konfrontasi was a campaign of terror against civilians. The series of bombings against targets such as telephone

booths, public parks and beaches targeted ordinary people. Soon, people were afraid to visit these places. The biggest attack was the bombing in March 1965 of MacDonald House on Orchard Road, which killed three civilians and injured 33 others. Indonesian marines Osman Mohamed Ali and Harun Said were arrested, tried and convicted of murder and hanged. Konfrontasi was a source of disappointment to my late father, who was Javanese, and his Javanese friends. They had come to see Sukarno as a leader who had united the sprawling archipelago, and were disappointed that he had launched the campaign of terror against Malaysia, a newly emerging nation in the Nusantara, the Malay world.


SOCIETY

February 21-27, 2014

THE STRAITS TIMES

Konfrontasi also became the first test of our loyalty to Singapore—and to then Malaysia of which we were a part. The Indonesian soldiers who infiltrated Singapore to carry out the bombings were all of Malay stock. Some could have well been relatives of Malays who had migrated to Singapore from Java before the Japanese invasion in 1942. I recall the swirl of talk in the kampung then: What should the Malays do if the saboteurs came to them to seek refuge? Should we provide food and shelter, or should we surrender them to the authorities? Those conversations inevitably ended with the same decision: To hand over any infiltrator or wandering saboteur to the authorities.

DAMAGE IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF MACDOANLD HOUSE CAUSED BY A TIME BOMB.

This was no easy decision, given our kinship ties. My father's only sister lived with her family in Indonesia. But he lost contact with her because of Konfrontasi; they renewed contact years later, in 1971.

All that was over four decades ago. Now, the Indonesian military plans to name a navy ship after the two marines who had bombed MacDonald House and struck terror in Singapore. We may not be the families of those who died or were injured in the bombing, but as Singaporeans, we feel outraged by the move to honour two terrorists by naming a vessel after them. According to Indonesian Armed Forces chief General Moeldoko, the decision to name the ship was made in December 2012 with no intention to stir emotions. But surely there are hundreds of Indonesian heroes whose names can be chosen for the vessel. Why pick the names of the two marines, when this would only open up old wounds? ÂŹ


February 21-27, 2014

SOCIETY TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP

From jihad

to terrorism MAST GUL ADDRESSES A PUBLIC RALLY IN RAWALPINDI 25 KILOMETRES FROM ISLAMABAD IN AUGUST 1995.


SOCIETY

February 21-27, 2014

Islamabad

A

s he squatted under a Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) banner and toted his Kalashnikov rifle, his face looked familiar, though his beard had grown much thicker and was perhaps dyed in henna, hiding the grey. After a long disappearance, Mast Gul resurfaced on February 5 in North Waziristan with another militant commander claiming responsibility for a terrorist attack on a hotel in Peshawar that killed several Shias. That takes me down memory lane more than 18 years ago when the burly young tribesman had returned to a hero’s welcome after leading a bloody, two-month siege of Charar Sharif, a 14th-century shrine in India-held Kashmir. The fighting killed several Indian soldiers and ended in the destruction of the historical holy place.

Working on a BBC documentary on Islamic blowback we travelled with Mast Gul for days filming his "victory" processions in Punjab. Escorted by the top leadership of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) he was hailed as a great "Islamic warrior". It was apparent that the JI was using him to boost its jihadi credentials and get maximum political mileage. My most vivid memory was a reception for him at the Punjab University campus in Lahore. The jampacked auditorium thundered with slogans of “jihad” (religious duty) as Mast Gul entered surrounded by armed militants in camouflage jackets. The atmosphere became more charged as he narrated the story of his encounter with Indian troops. “Kashmir will soon be liberated,” he vowed amid thunderous applause and salutary gunfire. Such salutation was overwhelming for this tribal bumpkin known as a daredevil maverick to his acquaintances in Peshawar where he had

TARIQ MAHMOOD/AFP

ZAHID HUSSAIN Dawn

HAROON KHAN, POPULARLY KNOWN AS MAJOR MAST GUL, ARRIVES AT A POLICE STATION TO REPORT AN ALLEGED ATTACK ON HIM IN PESHAWAR, AUG 31, 2003. UNIDENTIFIED GUNMEN ALLEGEDLY SHOT AND WOUNDED THE KASHMIRI MILITANT GUL, A FORMER LEADER OF HIZBUL MUJAHIDEEN AND KNOWN FOR CLAIMING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE 1995 SEIZURE OF A SHRINE IN INDIAN-CONTROLLED KASHMIR.


SOCIETY

February 21-27, 2014

A MAJEED/AFP

PAKISTANI SECURITY OFFICIALS INSPECT THE SITE OF A BOMB EXPLOSION ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF PESHAWAR ON JAN 23, 2014.

resided. He was not serious, often poking his colleagues with his Kalashnikov which he loved to keep by his side. He would randomly fire it to show off. The "hero of Charar Sharif ", however, was soon in oblivion after falling out with

his patrons—until his reappearance earlier this month. That was the time when militant groups openly operated under the state’s patronage, recruiting volunteers that mostly attracted young men like Mast Gul, fasci-

nated by guns and with a love for adventure. There were others too motivated by religious belief. The militant groups would demonstrate guerrilla training sessions on Lahore’s Mall Road and other city centres. Through graffiti, wall posters and pamphlets they invited young men for training. "Jihad is the shortest route to heaven" was one of many exhortations. Many ideologically indoctrinated men died fighting in various global jihad theatres from Kashmir to Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. Pakistan had earned the unparalleled distinction of being the only country using militancy as a tool of its foreign and security policy, turning the country into a nursery for jihad. People like Mast Gul were certainly no aberration. The ruthless use of militancy for dangerous proxy wars has ultimately come back to haunt this country. The transition of Mast Gul from street urchin to


SOCIETY

February 21-27, 2014

CHAN KHAND/AFP

PAKISTANI MILITANTS OF TEHREEK-E-TALIBAN GUARD KIDNAPPED POLICE AND FRONTIER FORCE PERSONNEL IN MATTA, A TOWN OF THE TROUBLED SAWAT VALLEY ON SEPT 14, 2008.


SOCIETY

February 21-27, 2014

TARIQ MAHMOOD/AFP

-ed

ARMED MILITANTS OF TEHREEK-E-TALIBAN PAKISTAN (TTP), STAND NEXT TO A GRAFFITIED WALL WHICH READ AS "LONG LIVE TEHREEK-E-TALBAN PAKISTAN" AT A CAMP IN A PAKISTANI TRIBAL DISTRICT OF MOHMAND AGENCY ON JULY 21, 2008.


SOCIETY

February 21-27, 2014

TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP

SPECIAL OPERATION GROUP OF POLICE (SOG) SOLDIERS CHECK THEIR WEAPONS IN A FOREST AREA AT MIR TAKIYA KHREW SOUTH OF SRINAGAR ON OCT 6, 2009, DURING A GUNBATTLE AGAINST TERRORISTS.


SOCIETY

February 21-27, 2014

jihadist and to ultimately ending up as a terrorist is also the story of many others. A large number of militant fighters like Mast Gul have now taken up jihad inwards, killing their old patrons in security agencies as well as innocent Pakistanis. Their targets are also members of the Shia community and of other religious minorities: anyone who does not subscribe to their retrogressive worldview has to be eliminated. Though the state’s change of tack after 9/11 may have precipitated Pakistan’s war within, it was only a matter of time before these motivated "holy warriors" turned against their own people in the name of religion. The culture of jihad sponsored by the mullah-military alliance was bound to catch up sooner or later. In fact, it would have been more catastrophic had Pakistan not decided to roll back its policy on militancy and withdraw its support for the Afghan Taliban regime.

It is utterly nonsensical to link the rise of violent militancy to the US occupation in Afghanistan or to drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions. Militancy has been deeply rooted in Pakistan for more than two decades. People like Mast Gul are certainly not the product of the post-9/11 situation. Therefore, it is an extremely flawed argument that the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan will bring an end to the jihadi narrative and lead subsequently to the winding down of terrorism. The militants are not fighting for Afghanistan but for the control of Pakistan. There is no ambiguity whatsoever about what the militants want. They are seeking to impose their retrogressive ideology through brute force. For them democracy is an un-Islamic system and unacceptable. Their war against the Pakistani state has nothing to do with the pres-

ence of foreign forces—something that Taliban apologists like Imran Khan want us to believe. Mast Gul and his sort will not disappear post-2014 following the withdrawal of coalition forces across the border. What an irony that the state is bowing before murderers and criminals like Mast Gul who proudly own the killing of innocent Pakistanis. There’s no precedence anywhere of a state acting so weakly before the terrorists challenging its authority. What Pakistan's political leadership does not realise is that conceding their retrogressive ideology would certainly inflame religious tensions and even lead to sectarian civil war in the country. As the state loses control, militant leaders of all hues are resurfacing to assert themselves and revive the jihad industry. This culture of militancy has to be rolled back before it is too late. ¬


ENVIRONMENT

February 21-27, 2014

Saving the Sharks INTAN TANJUNG The Jakarta Post Bali


ENVIRONMENT

February 21-27, 2014

A

boat carrying nine people anchored to the oddly named “Shark Island” off Serangan on Bali’s southeastern shore. The “island” is not actually an island—it is a marine conservation project called “Bali Sharks” that focuses on saving sharks and taking care of them inside a pontoon that acts as a shark nursery until they are ready to be released into their natural habitat. Aboard the boat was Paul Friese, the founder of Bali Sharks, and his guests, activists from the Gili Shark Foundation. With them were six sharks— two white-tip reef sharks and four black-tip pups—ready to join 20 others on this “island”. Friese said the project was initiated while he was working on a shark cage off Nusa Dua in 2010. It was there where he

learned that a tiger shark accidently caught was later killed. Saddened, he decided to take the initiative to rescue sharks. “I looked up online ‘how to create a shark orphanage or nursery’. Nobody had ever made one,” he recalled. “So that’s when we decided to build a pontoon or a nursery and

chose Serangan for its location.” Realising the idea, however, was no easy feat. Based on a 2010 survey from the fisheries department of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Indonesia was the largest supplier of sharks in the world, with 109,248 tonnes


February 21-27, 2014

ENVIRONMENT


February 21-27, 2014

ENVIRONMENT


ENVIRONMENT

February 21-27, 2014

of sharks caught per year. India ranked second with 74,050 tonnes and Spain with 59,777 tonnes. The number has grown significantly since 2000, when shark fishing really took off in Indonesia. At that time, Indonesia caught around 70,000 tonnes of sharks. There is high demand in the international market for shark fins, especially from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. According to the National Statistics Agency (BPS), Indonesia’s shark fin exports reached 434 tonnes, worth about US$6 million in 2012. Bali fishermen are among those suppliers.

Aware that it would be impossible to completely stop fishermen from earning their livelihood, Friese offered fishermen a fair payoff to keep caught sharks alive. At the humble pontoon—made of piles of woods, floating drums and nets where the sharks are taken care of, tourists can swim and snorkel with this top predator and get to know them better. Friese assured that it was completely safe to swim with the sharks. The sharks in the nursery are mostly young, less than 1.2m long and are mostly reef sharks. “They’re more afraid of us than we are of them. When you go swimming with them, they’ll swim away to the other side of the pen,” Friese said. He said the concept that he created was a perfect eco-tourism model that could save the sharks—that they are much more valuable alive than dead—while at the same time, could educate

tourists about sharks and their role in the ecosystem—without having to sacrifice the fishermen’s livelihood in the process. Bali Sharks has so far succeeded in rescuing 68 sharks, including a big pregnant shark called ibu hiu or mama shark. The shark was released into Bali waters soon after it gave birth to three pups. Thus far, Bali Sharks has released 40 to 50 sharks into Bali waters and has now teamed up with the Gili Shark Foundation, a marine conservation project founded by English marine photographer Steve Woods, to release the sharks into Gili’s marine protected areas. “On the Gili Islands, we have very good marine protected areas (MPAs) that cover some 3,000 hectares,” said Woods. “You can’t snorkel there, you can’t dive there and you can’t fish there. (its main purpose is) purely to regenerate the reef and to let marine life get on without us interfering.”


ENVIRONMENT

February 21-27, 2014

Woods said he planned to create a conservation model on four key areas to ensure the programme’s success. The first step, he said, was to create awareness among tourists, locals and the diving community through social media. He also offered a free shark awareness dive for every instructor on the Gili Islands, located in neighbouring West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province, in hopes they could pass on their knowledge to other divers visiting the island and get people to dive with the sharks. Protection, he said, could be accomplished by installing a sanctuary and protecting the MPA to ensure that sharks did not get fished out. He also plans to build a rehabilitation tank for young sharks that have been rescued from all across Bali and Lombok to allow tourists to see these sharks and get information about the ocean’s top predator before they are released back into the sea. The last important step was research, he said, as they planned to

work with dive communities on the Gili Islands to monitor every single shark sighted in the surrounding waters. Each time a shark is released back into sea, it will be tagged to allow the team to monitor where it is, its behaviour and health. “By doing research, we can understand what’s going on. By un-

derstanding what’s going on, we can protect them better. By protecting better, we can rehabilitate better, by rehabilitating better it means we really create awareness by showing everyone what’s going on,” he explained. “Hopefully the island will be viewed as shark sanctuary, so more people come to the island and want to dive there.” ¬


BUSINESS

February 21-27, 2014

Pride of India NIRMALA GANAPATHY The Straits Times New Delhi

T

he initial excitement about Satya Nadella's appointment as the third chief executive of Microsoft in the technology giant's 38-year history may be over, but the news is still making waves in India, the country of his birth. In Hyderabad, India's IT hub, where 46-year-old Nadella—now a US citizen—was born and brought up, praise continues to flow for what one Indian newspaper described as the "highest-ranked executive of Indian origin in the corporate world". At the Hyderabad Public School, where Nadella studied from 1978 to


BUSINESS

February 21-27, 2014

1984 and lived on campus, a special assembly was organised last Thursday to mark the alumnus' success in making it to the top of the tech world. His former teachers and classmates remember him as a focused and hard-working student, who when not on the cricket field would be in the library. "He was always very attentive and well-dressed ... very much interested in academics," G. Jayanand, 86, who taught him biology and was also his house master, or the teacher in charge at his hostel, told The Straits Times. "At that stage, you never know what (the students) will be in life, but when you see them on top of the world, we are happiest." At Manipal University, where Nadella studied electrical engineering, chancellor Ramdas M. Pai released a press statement calling it a "glorious moment" for students of the university. His teachers also remember him as a "go-getter".

"He was bold, intelligent and inquisitive. He would always think differently (and had the) potential to achieve what he wanted," said professor Harishchandra Hebbar, director of the School of Information Sciences at the university, told The Straits Times. Nadella is the son of Bukkapuram Nadella Yugandhar, a well-known bureaucrat who served as special secretary to former Indian prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. Over the years, Nadella has kept alive his links with India, visiting his family at least once a year and attending school and college reunions. His father has mostly shunned the reporters who have been camping outside his house after news broke of his son's promotion last Tuesday. Even as praise was heaped on his son, he called it "unnecessary hype". "Yes, I wish him well, but that's all I have to say. Please spare us," he told one reporter. Many in the US saw Nadella's elevation as a safe bet for Micro-

soft, going with an insider, but with doubts about his ability to re-energise Microsoft. However in India, there was only praise. "India makes a power point," said The Times of India, while the Hindustan Times said "India raises toast as Satya Nadella named Microsoft top boss". Nadella has mentioned how cricket, a national obsession in India, taught him about team play and leadership. His classmates remember how he started almost by fluke. "He was not into cricket till one day, at some meet, he was asked to bowl a ball. He spun it so well that the physical director took him into the team as a spinner (a bowler)," said M.A. Faiz Khan, a classmate, who met Nadella at a class reunion in 2010 and once more in 2012 when he spent a day at his old school. The group of around 40 former classmates is working on another reunion in December this year and is hoping Nadella will be able to make it. ÂŹ


LIFESTYLE

February 21-27, 2014

The latest twist in Thai silk CHUSRI NGAMPRASERT The Nation Bangkok


February 21-27, 2014

T

he colourful fabric glittering at Museum Siam all looks and feels different—knitted, woven, stretchy like spandex, as light and thin as chiffon, dyed in every imaginable hue —but it's all the same material. It's Thai silk. "These 50 samples are prototypes from our 'Modern Thai Silk' project," explains Dr Chanchai Sirikasemlert, director of the Thailand Textile Institute's Technology Promotion Division. "You're encouraged to touch, feel, stretch and even squeeze the silk. It's durable and some pieces are even wrinkle-free, which makes them more suitable for daily use."

LIFESTYLE

These prototypes went on display this week at Premiere Vision in Paris, the world's top fabrics fair. Fashion brands and designers will be there to scrutinise material from more than 700 weavers around the globe—and to buy en masse what suits their needs best. Thai silk's reputation for high quality and unique weaving techniques and patterns is well established, but its golden age has dimmed. Young urbanised Thais prefer more upscale kinds of labour to the traditional and arduous tasks of sericulture and weaving. Only our grandparents' generation knows how to raise and harvest silkworms, few farmers tend mulberry trees to feed the worms, and even few-


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er people are earning a living wage from silk cultivation. "The classical weaving patterns and techniques are very important to our culture, but how can we keep them alive when the number of silk farmers in Thailand is decreasing?" wonders Araya Ma-Inn, vice president of the government's Office of Knowledge Management and Development. "The Modern Thai Silk project is designed to revive sericulture in Thailand by giving it a chance to reach the world fashion market.

"We need creativity and innovation to differentiate our silk from that of other exporters, like China and Vietnam," she says. "We can't compete with them in terms of export volume or lower prices, so we have to promote the quality of Thai silk. We need to highlight its superb quality and expand the variety to serve the demands of the fashion world." Araya's office, the Thailand Tex-

tile Institute and the Queen Sirikit Department of Sericulture Development together devised the Modern Thai Silk scheme. Over the past year it has involved research and development in all areas of the industry, from raising the silkworms, reeling the thread, spinning the yarn and actually making the fabric to the design, dyeing, printing, marketing and consumer response.


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Leading Thai fabric firms like Chul Thai Silk, Spun Silk World, Yong Udom Knitting and People's Garment have contributed heavily to the project, keen to help restore Thai silk to a high value internationally. "Fashion designers love silk, but they need material that suits the consumer's needs and lifestyle," says Chanchai. "According to Ornella Bignami and Daniele Aliverti of the Italian fashion studio Elementi Moda, traditional Thai silk has a limited range of colours, and our designers need to follow fashion colour trends better. Dr Pajaree Kewcharoenwong, marketing executive at Spun Silk World, says the private firms have together developed a technique to produce four-colour "silk melange yarn". "This will allow us to produce more colours to match the designers' needs," she says. "We tried it with silk, spinning it with a greater twist. We also mixed silk thread with other natural fibres, like linen and cashmere, to maximise the yarn's capability."

"Some of these prototypes are cheaper than pure silk since we mixed silk with other fibres to make it more durable," adds Chanchai, "but some might cost more than even pure silk because of the hightwist spinning technique, which consumes more thread. "High-twisted silk is softer and lighter than traditional silk, though, so it would be an ideal choice for hot and humid weather." A national consumer survey found that Thais age 25 to 35 shun silk because it's expensive, too delicate for daily use, too hard to take care of—and because they associate it more with elderly people. Younger people tend to regard silk as "very special"—best reserved for formal occasions only—and also uncomfortable because it doesn't "breathe". That last complaint, says Chanchai, is basically unfair. "Silk itself is a natural fibre that's well known for its smoothness and absorbency, which makes it comfortable to wear in warm weather and while you're active.

But Thai dressmakers, unknowingly, have customarily used an adhesive lining fabric to give the clothes more shape, and that's what leaves the clothing unable to 'breathe' and stiffer to the touch. "So we want to change the image of Thai silk in our own country, turning clothing that's formal and uncomfortable into a fabric that can 'breathe' and be worn every day. Hopefully the designers, both foreign and Thai, will check out our Modern Thai Silk and use it in their collections." Participating in Premiere Vision this month "is a big leap for us", Chanchai says, "but it's just the beginning. "We would love Thais to use silk in their daily lives so that our forebears' knowledge of sericulture doesn't disappear. The textile industry in Thailand has cooperated with us and mustn't forget what we've accomplished. Now that we've joined hands to create these wonderful pieces, it will be easier to create a much better silk product in the future." ¬


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PHOTOS PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

A very long and winding silk road SILK HAS BEEN A PILLAR INDUSTRY OF HANGZHOU FOR MORE THAN 1,300 YEARS. THE CITY IS SAID TO CONTRIBUTE A QUARTER OF THE WORLD'S SILK SUPPLY.


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YAN YIQI China Daily Hangzhou

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an Hangzhou's fashion products capture the allure of Hermes? For a product that has been a staple of East-West trade for more than 2,000 years, it has an elegant allure that never seems to show any signs of age. Gracing catwalk clothing in the world's fashion capitals and adding a dash of class to attire everywhere else, silk takes some beating. Originating in China, it was transported to the rest of the world in large quantities as early as the Western Han Dynasty (206BCAD24). Even today, it is likely that the silk you see anywhere will have come from China.

A report issued by China International Silk Forum, held in November, reckoned that over the past decade China made nearly 80 per cent of the world's silk. Among the Chinese cities that contribute to that mountain of fabric is Hangzhou, which is said to provide a quarter of the global supply. In the first half last year, the city exported 44.2 million tonnes of silk, worth US$439 million, the city's customs office says. "Silk has been a pillar industry of Hangzhou for more than 1,300 years, since the Tang Dynasty (618907)," says Fei Jianming, chairman of Hangzhou Silk Association. "Hangzhou silk now accounts for 30 per cent of the domestic market share. There are more than 1,000 silk companies in the city." The industry went through a downturn in the 1990s and the early 2000s. Now the city's silk makers have the opportunity to increase

their global influence, he says. However, a lot more innovation and creativity are needed to take the industry up the value chain. "Silk, with its cultural background and scarcity, has long been a fabric of choice among upmarket Westerners, but the industry in Hangzhou, as large as it is, has failed fully to capitalise on that." In US dollars, the foreign exchange earned through the city's silk exports is only 8 per cent that of Italy's and no more than 10 per cent of South Korea's, he says. Tu Hongyan, chairwoman of Wensli Group, the largest silk maker in Hangzhou in terms of sales revenue, says that while China produces the vast majority of the world's silk, it does not have a selfrun silk brand that is known to the world. "The famous silk brands are in European countries such as France and Italy. Chinese companies have


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long done OEM (original equipment manufacturer) production for those brands. We have done the bulk of the work but earned the least money. "For example, you will pay more than 3,000 yuan ($510) for a Hermes-branded silk scarf, but how many people know that that scarf comes from China and that we sell it for 100 yuan or less?" Wensli has been an OEM for foreign companies for more than 15 years, Tu says, and Gucci, Prada and Dior are among its customers. Like Wensli, many of the other silk makers in Hangzhou are OEMs, although many also produce brands that are well-known domestically. Wu Haiyan, dean of the School of Design of the Chinese Academy of Art in Hangzhou, echoes Tu in talking of the limitation of the country's silk industry. "Down the ages, Chinese silk has had a magnificent reputation,

but barely any Chinese silk company appears in the global showroom. They are limited by textile techniques, their inability to do research and development and their fashion sense. That means they have had to play second fiddle, being content to be OEMs for foreign companies." In the bleak period of the 1990s, many silk companies in Hangzhou folded. There were serious questions about whether the industry there could survive, Wu says. One of those that kept its head above water was Hangzhou Dujinsheng Silk Weaving Mill, one of the oldest silk companies in the city. It was established in 1921 and was soon winning widespread acclaim. It was awarded a gold medal at the World Expo in Philadelphia in 1926, it says. At its peak the company employed more than 3,000 people, with more than 60 designers and 600 weaving machines, says Ke Daoc-

un, the company's chief engineer. Ke, 72, has witnessed the company's many ups and downs in his 40 years of working for it. "It was one of the largest manufacturing companies in Hangzhou in the 1980s but, since the 1990s, things have gone downhill." At its lowest point it had just 300 workers and no more than 10 designers—and only 18 machines, he says. "They say traditional manufacturing industries will eventually die, but I don't think that time has arrived for silk." Like Ke, Tu has spent a lot of time fretting about the industry in Hangzhou. "People in the industry have mixed feelings about silk. It is seen as an important cultural symbol and the textile industry looks on it with pride. But there are those who reckon all the glamour is something from a bygone age. It is impossible to get that back."


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Tu's concerns for the industry are all the more understandable given that she has not only devoted her life to silk, but that she follows her mother and four other generations of the family on the same path. Her mother spent the best part of a lifetime trying to sell Hangzhou silk to the world with its own brand, a goal that remained unrealised when she retired in 2012. For China in recent years, transforming and upgrading traditional industries has posed a huge challenge. The silk industry in Hangzhou is no exception. Many industry insiders believe one way of doing this is to make more of the possibilities in cultural industries. For example, silk companies in Hangzhou should consider developing exquisite tourism souvenirs with silk, Wu says. "You can find silk souvenir products in markets and in tour-

ism spots anywhere in Hangzhou, but they are not exquisite —and they are far from original. Silk companies need to put a lot more effort into designing these things, in particular giving them a distinct Hangzhou style." As downbeat as some of the assessments of the industry's performance by some insiders may be, things are far from grim. In November, Wensli set up a strategic cooperation relationship with Marc Rozier, a well-known silk brand in Lyon, France. Marc Rozier will produce silk scarves for Wensli, while Wensli will share its sales channels in China with its French partner. "The scarves, under our brand, will be designed, dyed and made in France," Tu says. "The price will be two-thirds that of Hermes'." The scarves will go into the high-end market in China. The company nurses hopes of selling

them in global luxury markets such as France and Italy, Tu says. "The strong impression that this collaboration has left me with is that silk making in France is highly valued. They pay extreme attention to the industry and I think that is why 'Made in France' is such a treasured label." Tu says Wensli's goal is to become China's Hermes in the luxury market and to keep pace with global fashion. It augurs well for silk in Hangzhou, Fei says. "Hangzhou has its advantages in developing the silk industry, including its cultural background, the industrial chain that is already in place and the diversified competition. Not every company should necessarily do what Wensli is doing. But so long as it sticks to innovation and positions its brands accordingly, I think the future is bright." ÂŹ


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Singing their stress away For Koreans, the noraebang is a cheap way to have fun after a hard day at work LEE HYUN-JEONG The Korea Herald Seoul

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or less than 20,000 won (US$18), Park Min-joo, 25, can relieve her stress in an hour. Visiting a noraebang (KTV) at least once a week, Park forgets it all in a confined room equipped with a karaoke system. “It’s just a way for me to release built-up stress,” she said. “My friends and I sing everything from American oldies to the latest K-pop hits to let go of all the bad things that happened during the week.” For Koreans, noraebang have served as a common means of dealing with stress.


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With comfortable sofas, free snacks, fancy lighting and amplified sounds, noraebang, once consisting only of a small room with a karaoke machine, have become places where people can chill freely. People can search for and select any song they want with a remote control. A wide range of foreign songs are also available, including Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese. Introduced in the early 1990s from Japan, the karaoke machine was an immediate hit, with more than 30,000 noraebangs currently in business in Korea. According to the Korea Creative Content Agency, about 600,000 machines are installed across the nation—that’s one machine for every 80 Koreans. Noraebang are not only located in downtowns. They have expanded to military bases. Installed in each company, noraebang play an important role for stressed-out soldiers. Instead of charging by the

hour, the military’s noraebang cost 200 won per song, making them affordable for soldiers whose monthly pay is around 100,000 won. “I regularly visited a noraebang just to shout out. It was the only way to relieve stress in the military,” said Park Yo-jin, 27, who completed his military service in 2011. “The culture of singing and dancing has flourished in Korea for a long time. Whether they are happy or sad, Koreans tend to share their emotions with each other through singing and dancing,” said Kwak Keum-joo, a psychology professor at Seoul National University. “The Korean culture of collectivism has stimulated the growth of the noraebang. Many Koreans have a tendency to bond as a group by doing activities together, and noraebang are one of the places to do so.” A new type of noraebang is now popping up to cater to those who seek to sing alone. For about half the normal price, one can sing alone and even record a song in a small

booth. Some are even equipped with the latest professional recording and mixing machines. Su Noraebang in Hongdae, western Seoul, offers such a service. Opened in 2012, it is now seeing its customer base growing. “In the beginning, there weren’t so many customers since it was the first of its kind. But these days we see around 100 customers a day, mostly youngsters, seeking to sing alone,” said 31-year-old manager Kim Geun-min. Singing at a noraebang, however, is more than just a stress-relieving activity for Koreans. It is part of social life. Going to a noraebang is almost a compulsory round for most Koreans after drinking. People consider group singing as a way to strengthen their relationships. “Whether you enjoy singing or not doesn’t matter in Korea. You just have to join in and sing. That’s basic etiquette for socialising here,” said Roh Youn-chan, 35, who works at a state agency.


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Bonding over bomb cocktails YOON MIN-SIK The Korea Herald Seoul

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hen it comes to booze, Koreans know what they are dealing with. Just as the term “let’s have a meal” is often interchangeable with arranging a meeting, “let’s go for a drink” is roughly equivalent to socialising. In the past, social meetings

with alcohol had involved participants getting heavily drunk. This brought forth the birth of poktanju, or the bomb-drink, which refers to a cocktail of beer and liquors such as whiskey. As its name suggests, its main goal is to bombard the drinker with a heavy dose of alcohol until he

or she nearly passes out. This happened quite often until the 1990s and even early 2000s: social meetings with alcohol would generally lead to getting drunk. Why do Koreans like to get drunk? Because they feel it is crucial when socialising with other people. A widespread belief among Ko-


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reans is that a good way to make new friends is to get drunk together. The logic is that once a person gets drunk, he or she lets go of all pretenses and becomes completely honest. Seeing this truthful side of the person would help him or her become more relatable. Kim Han-sung, 59, said that back when he started working at a bank in the early 1980s, he and his colleagues went out for a drink at least once a week to socialise. “We believed that in order for us to really open up and become friends, we need to get totally drunk,” he said. For young office workers of the time, Kim said, poktanju was the cheap, ideal alternative to expensive drinks like whiskey, allowing them to get drunk at a cheaper price. Experts say the consumption of alcohol plays a big role in how Koreans socialise.

Sociologist Yun Myung-hui, who teaches at Sogang University, called Korea a “connection-based society” in which alcohol is the medium. “All societies have their own ‘drinking totem’ that helps them overcome separation and restore the sense of community,” Yun said in his paper titled “Alcohol connections in Korean society”. According to his theory, a group within Korean society would demand its members to join its collective action of drinking in order to feel like he or she belongs. By partaking in the action shared by all other members of the group, one would consolidate the bond with others. Over the past few years, the drinking trend has gradually shifted to enjoying the drink itself rather than merely getting completely drunk. Rather than adding a strong liquor like whiskey, more

people are drinking somaek, a combination of beer and soju which is enjoyed for its “mild” taste. Regardless of the drinking trend, alcohol consumption is still one of the most popular ways to grease up rusty relationships. The only difference between drinking somaek and traditional poktanju is being slightly drunk versus totally drunk. “When I meet friends I haven’t seen in a long time, it can get a little awkward. After a drink or two, it feels just like the old days,” said Park Min-young, a 23-yearold college student. Alcohol also helps when trying to thaw somewhat icy relationships, she added. “With some alcohol, we share candid conversations and forget about petty arguments. We do silly things, talk about small everyday stuff and have a good old time.” ¬


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ÂŹ Hong Kong From China to Chinatown See how Chinese migrants in the past and their descendants adapt to new lands, doing their best to preserve their identity while assimilating with the locals.

Where: Hua Song Museum When: Tuesdays to Sundays, 12pm to 7pm Info: www.huasong.org


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DATEBOOK

¬ Singapore Polar bears in the little red dot Visit the polar bears who live on the tropical island of Singapore— in air-conditioned dens, of course. Their behind-the-glass icy habitat at the Singapore zoo also includes a stream of live fish where the arctic mammals can hunt like in the wild. An underwater viewing gallery allows visitors to see what graceful swimmers the carnivorous bears are.

Where: Singapore Zoo When: Daily, 8:30am to 6pm Info: www.zoo.com.sg


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ÂŹ Nepal Trek the Annapurna Circuit At a height of 8,091 metres above sea level, Western Nepal's most popular trekking circuit, Annapurna, is often touted as one of the best treks in the world. The route winds through the scene lush green valleys of Lamjung and Manang, and higher up, the Tibetan Buddhist villages of Mustang and Myagdi. It has also been dubbed the "teahouse trek" due to its many lodges and eateries that line the route. Must-try include the filled "momo" dumplings, local curry dishes and the local "fast food". The trek also passes along many Hindu holy sites such as the Muktinath village and the ancient monastery of Braga. While October and November tend to be the busiest months, trekking is possible all year long. First-timers are encouraged to hire a local Sherpa guide for the climb.

Where: Annapurna region When: All year round Info : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annapurna_Circuit


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February 21-27, 2014

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ÂŹ India Konkan Turtle Festival See newly hatched babies of the endangered Olive Ridely turtles survive the odds as they make their way into the ocean from the shore, during this annual festival. Don't forget to get a taste of life in a traditional Indian village by making a stop at one of the local homestays.

Where: Veles village, Ratnagiri, Maharastra When: Throughout February and March Info: www.snmcpn.org


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ÂŹ Kyoto Toei Uzumasa Eigamura (Toei Kyoto Studio Park) A wonderland for Samurai enthusiasts, where visitors can go back in time as they watch jidaigeki films, or period dramas, being filmed. They can also watch a ninja show while dressed up as a geisha or samurai. This is also the only theme part in Japan which allows visitors to roam freely around the film set, which includes a street from the Edo period, which is used to shoot more than 200 films every year.

Where: Toei Kyoto Studio Park When: For park schedule, visit www.toei-eigamura.com


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DATEBOOK


ASIAN CITY GUIDE Asia News Network

A guide to leading cities in Asia

THIS WEEK IN

BEIJING BANGKOK MANILA HONG KOKG SEOUL TOKYO SAPPORO TAIPEI SHANGHAI

Beijing

HIGHLIGHTS

What's on

Shopping

Eateries


BEIJING

ASIAN CITY GUIDE

What’s on

¬ Weekday Cooking Classes at The Hutong Kitchen

¬ Huangyaguan Great Wall Marathon The Great Wall International Marathon is held on the third Saturday of May every year since 1999. This year's marathon kicks off on May 17. The scenic Huangyaguan Great Wall Marathon route runs approximately 42.195 kilometres and has been endorsed by the International Marathon Associaton. There are different routes participants can

choose from including a male/ female marathon, a half-marathon (21km), a 10km marathon and a 5km marathon.

Where: Huangyaguan Great Wall, Jixian County, Tianjin (about one hour drive from Beijing) When: May 17 Info: great-wall-marathon.com/

Learn to cook a variety of dishes from within and beyond China's borders. Lessons range from learning to pull noodles the traditional Chinese way, to which knives and other kitchen utensils to use, to dishes unique to the ethnic Chinese minorities. Classes cost 280 yuan (US$46.21) per class. Where: The Hutong, Beixinqiao. Beijing Info: thehutong.com/


BEIJING

ASIAN CITY GUIDE

What’s on

¬ Beijing International Peach Blossom Music Festival Beijing's Pinggu District has the world's largest peace blossom garden which spans over 14,000 hectares. The music festival is held throughout April till early May, and includes folk dances, walks accompanied by romantic music and various fun activites for the whole family. Admission is free.

Where: Pinggu district, Beijing

¬ The Bird's Nest Ice and Snow Festival A snow wonderland filled with fun for the entire family located in China's US$ 423- million Beijing Olympic venue—the Bird's Nest. Seven Disney princesses will accompany you in various activities: the Mermaid, Submarine Dream Concert, Midnight Party of Cinderella, Floating Projection of Beauty and the Beast, Snow White interactive Area, Tangled Castle, Lamp of Aladdin Interactive Area and Sleeping Beauty photo booth. Other attractions

include a snow castle, dancing on ice, ice skating, ice bumper cars, snowball fight competition, snow games and a snow mine obstacle challenge. Tickets are 120 yuan ($19.80) on Mondays to Fridays and 160 yuan ($26.40) on weekends. Children under 1.2 metres of height enter for free.

Where: China's National Stadium (also known as The Bird's Nest)


BEIJING

ASIAN CITY GUIDE

What’s on

Beijing International Music Festival The Beijing International Music Festival is an important annual event for classical music in China. Sponsored by the Beijing International Music Festival and Academy, the festival is participated by musicians and music lovers alike from all over the world. It also sees the works of students from the academy performing in collaboration with renown local and international classical artistes.

Where: The Beijing International Music Academy , 43 Baojia Road, Xicheng District When: August 11-23 Info: www.bimfa.org


ASIAN CITY GUIDE

What’s on

BEIJING


BEIJING

ASIAN CITY GUIDE

Shopping

¬ Sanlitun Village 三里屯 Village

¬ Joy City (大悦城) The biggest mall in Xidan, this 13-storey complex comes equipped with the world’s longest escalator, the largest digital cinema in China and the largest cosmetic shop in Beijing. Find Zara here as well as FAB, Uniqlo, Next, Motivi and Honeys. Address: 131 Xidan Beidajie,

¬ Nali Patio (那里花园) This impressive example of innovative architecture includes two parts. The Village South has popular high-street fashion brands like Uniqlo, Steve Madden, Esprit, Mango, the Apple Store and Adidas’ flagship store, as well as 30 restaurants and a multiplex cinema. The more upscale Village North is home to a number of high-end labels and local designer boutiques, including Emporio Armani, Comme des Garcons, Balenciaga and Shanghai Trio.

Address: 19 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District,

This cluster of former school buildings has been turned into one of Sanlitun's best spots for outdoor dining and shopping. You can find kitchenware shop Pantry Magic, American Apparel and other boutiques from international and local designers.

Address: 81 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District


BEIJING

ASIAN CITY GUIDE

Shopping

¬ Panjiayuan Antique Market (潘家园旧货市场)

¬ Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park (蓝色港湾国际商区) This shopping centre is like a breath of California in Beijing. Styled much like the outdoor malls you find all over California, Solana houses more than 1,000 international brands, with dozens of retail shops, restaurants as well as a lively bar and club strip.

Address: 6 Chaoyang Park Road

Come to this massive, open air market to bargain for everything from life-sized terracotta warriors, vintage photographs, Chinese style porcelain to calligraphy scrolls. Sure, you might not be buying

authentic antiques but if you can't tell who else can?

Address: West of Panjiayuan Bridge


BEIJING

ASIAN CITY GUIDE

Shopping

¬ Silk Street Market (Xiushui) (秀水服装市场) Yes, it’s packed, yes it’s terrifically annoying, but it is an essential shopping stop. Bargain mercilessly for anything from North Face jackets to Swatch watches to jade statuettes. The kids will go wild for the huge toy market on the third floor.

Address: 8 Xiushui Dongjie

¬ Zoo Market (动物园服装批发市场) This massive wholesale market actually comprises seven markets, all located around Beijing Zoo. The most popular ones are Julong, Tianlegong and Shiji Tianle. Here, you can get stuff for half-price if you bargain hard or buy in bulk. Beijing's savviest fashionistas scour the racks here to find cheap gems.

Address: Around Beijing Zoo


BEIJING

ASIAN CITY GUIDE

Shopping

¬ Jingcheng Baixing (京城百姓) This little store stocks a range of tiger sculptures, as well as a number of other traditional Chinese handicrafts and toys. With a great emphasis on play, a great spot to learn about Chinese culture. Tigers cost between 10-150 yuan, and other toys are only 5-15 yuan. Take on owner Lin at one of the many Chinese puzzles and brain teasers in the store—if you win, you get a special discount.

Address: 44 Guozijian Street, Dongcheng District

¬ Lisa Tailor Shop This expat favourite offers detailed service and high quality at reasonable prices. Lisa also offers express service, tailor-making suits within 24 hours. Get anything from a qipao or a Mao suit done to your specifications.

¬ Hongqiao Market (红桥市场) Also known as the pearl market, this is where you go for fake pearls that look like the real thing. You can also find better quality jade accessories on the top floor and the usual hodge podge of knock-off name brands on the first floor.

Address: 36 Tiantan Donglu Address: No.3006,3/F.3.3 Fashion Plaza, Sanlitun Bar Street,


BEIJING

ASIAN CITY GUIDE

Shopping

¬ Hotpot A favourite, and with good reason: heaven and hell divided moats, which are great; plus a secret chilli spice pouch and a milky broth that balance like yin and yang. Order the hand-pulled noodles—complete with a private hip-hop table dance.

¬ Beijing Roast Duck Da Dong is the undisputed king of kaoya, Beijing’s roast duck. Smoky flavours and deep mahogany crisp skin come from roasting over sweet date wood. A special farm to raise the ducks doesn’t hurt either. It’s a splurge at 198 yuan per duck and an additional 5 yuan for the fixings.

Recommended Restaurant: Da Dong Address: 1-2 Nanxincang Shangye Daxia, 22A Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng district Telephone: +86-5169 0329

Recommended Restaurant: Haidilao (海底捞) Address: 2A Baijiazhuang Lu, Chaoyang district 朝阳区白家庄路甲2号 Telephone: +86-6595-2982 Web: haidilaohuoguo.com

¬ Roasted chestnuts There’s always a long queue for these hot nuts at Fragrant Autumn Chestnut. Here, noisy machines roast petite chestnuts (15 yuan per 500g), from nearby Huairou County, that are golden sweet and peel nice and easy. No English menu.

Recommended Restaurant: Fragrant Autumn Chestnut (秋栗香) Address: 2 Di'anmen Xi Dajie, (north-east corner at the intersection of Di'anmenwai Dajie), Xicheng district 西城区地安门西大街2号 Telephone: +86-6401 6838


ASIAN CITY GUIDE

Shopping

¬ Mala xiangguo Some say mala xiangguo is a Beijing interpretation of Sichuan food, while others say it’s actually called gan guo, a dry hotpot from Hunan where you can choose from a kitchen sink of ingredients by portion. Choose your heat level from wimpy to nuclear and, soon enough, a big black bowl (from 50 yuan) will show up with an alarming pile of two types of red chillies, Sichuan peppercorns, star anise and other spices, and everything you ordered. Use the wooden paddle to toss the ingredients occasionally to mix up the flavours and dip in.

Recommended Restaurant: Lao Che Ji Mala Xiang Guo

(老车记麻辣香锅)

Address: F5-03, Fifth Floor, U-Center, Chengfu Lu, (across from Grandma’s Kitchen), Haidian district

海淀区成府路28号优盛大厦五层F5-03 Telephone: +86-6266 6180

BEIJING


BEIJING

ASIAN CITY GUIDE

Eateries

¬ Zhajiang mian

¬ Dumplings Everyone has their favourite dumpling place, but one thing that shoots any dumpling onto a higher pedestal is the option of frying. Here’s where Mr Shi, an earnest English speaker, is happy to oblige. His three-sided fried potstickers will rock your world. Choose your filling and get 15 per order (12 yuan-23 yuan).

Recommended Restaurant: Mr Shi's Dumplings (老石饺子) Address: 74 Baochao Hutong, Dongcheng district

东城区宝钞胡同74号 Telephone: +86-8405 0399

When you enter, servers announce the number in your party by shouting like an army brigade. Have a bowl of zhajiang mian (12 yuan), the Beijing must-have noodle dish made with handpulled wheat noodles served slightly warm (or room temperature) with a tangle of shredded cucumber bean sprouts, bright radish, and soybeans. Stir in the little dish of oily brown bean sauce and toss to coat for a taste of Beijing.

Recommended Restaurant: Old Beijing Zhajiang Noodle King

(老北京炸酱面大王) Address: 56 Dong Xinglongjie, Chongwen district 崇

文区东兴隆街56号 Telephone: +86- 6701 1116


BEIJING

ASIAN CITY GUIDE

Eateries

¬ Chuan'r If a flight to Xinjiang isn’t in your plans, make your way over to the spanking new Muslim canteen at the Beijing Language and Culture University where you can order a choice of cuts, including roast mutton chops, shashlik, and halabi kebab (like a long meatball). The cheapest standard chuan’r will set you back 3 yuan, and the roasted balls aren’t testicles, but really just a meatball of ground lamb (5 yuan). For those who prefer a more meaty bite, roast mutton is just 10 yuan. Recommended Restaurant: BLCU (Beijing Language and Culture University) Muslim Restaurant (穆斯林餐厅) Address: 15 Xueyuan Lu, (inside BLCU south gate and to the left), Haidian district 海

淀区学院路15号(北京语言大学内) Telephone: +86-8230 3278

¬ Milk custard

There’s an obsession with yoghurt and milk custard in Beijing. While we love the yoghurt at Kashgar, this place vies for our attention too and also does nailao, a milk custard made from rice wine that translates as cheese (8 yuan). Wen Yu is the third generation in his family carrying on the tradition and has made folks line up for seven years in the trendy hutong heartland of Nanluoguxiang. Imitators encroach on all sides so beware and make sure to go early —it sells out in the afternoon, and you have to see the queues to believe them.

Recommended Restaurant: Wen Yu’s Milk Custard Shop (文宇奶酪店) Address: 49 Nanluoguxiang, Dongcheng district 东城区南锣鼓巷49号 Mobile: +86-136 9330 9819


BEIJING

ASIAN CITY GUIDE

Eateries

Roasted sweet potato

¬ Roasted fish Rumour has it this dish was created near the university campuses of Haidian. Grass carp (36.8 yuan per 500g) is the fish that’s usually used here. It’s buttered, roasted, set on a shallow chafing dish and simmered with your choice of sauces: mala; spicy hot pickled; or black bean. There’s also a choice of additional vegetables, including asparagus, lettuce, lotus, celery, smoked tofu and more (10 yuan each). It’s best to reserve, if you can. Recommended Restaurant: Zhu Yu Fang (竹鱼坊) Address: 53 Beijige Santiao,Wangfujing, Dongcheng district 东城 东单北极阁三条53号 Telephone: +86-6522 2335

The metal drum roasters are plentiful on the streets, but there are also shops dedicated to all things sweet potato like this aptly named shop. Best bets are bags of crunchy chips (10 yuan), and if you get there from 8:30am to any time before about 6pm, you’ll get a roasted sweet potato at 5.8 yuan per 500g. Call to reserve. If you’re having a party, give notice three hours in advance and the shop will deliver to you locally. Recommended Restaurant: Digua Fang (Sweet Potato House, 地瓜坊) Address: 256 Yonghegong Beixinqiao, Dongcheng district

东城区雍和宫大街56号 Telephone: +86-8403 0258



Asianews February 21- 27,2014