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July 12-18, 2013

Forget Bali

Discover Gili


July 12-18, 2013

Contents Economy

A wishful dream for Indian rupee

View

Running out of time Arts

Art of archaeology


July 12-18, 2013

Contents Travel

Leo slept here

health

Gili getaway

May the fertility odds be in Vietnam’s favour Presidential fashion >>DATEBOOK

People

Woman on top

Food

Imperial cuisine

Happenings around Asia

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VIEW

Missed deadlines Time is running out on the Philippine peace talks

Mark Navales/AFP

Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels patrol near camp Rajamuda in north Cotabato in Mindanao. The leader of the Muslim insurgency in south Philippines has expressed frustration over the delays in sealing a peace accord.

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VIEW

Editorial Desk Philippine Daily Inquirer Manila

Even in ordinary, every day life, missed deadlines are no trifling matter. When something is not done or delivered or paid for at the agreed-upon time, there are consequences. Missed deadlines are at the heart of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) recent warning that the peace talks between itself and the Philippine government are in peril. In its message sent to the Philippine government through Malaysian facilitator Abdul Ghafar, the group said it “is frustrated about what is happening to the peace talks and…is very, very much concerned about what is going on”. The Framework Agreement signed by the two parties on Oct 15, 2012, billed by the

government as a preliminary peace agreement with the separatist MILF that would establish a new autonomous political entity called Bangsamoro, replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), was in fact a bare-bones road map with—at the time of signing— virtually nothing yet on the four major issues to be resolved in a final peace accord: powersharing, wealth-sharing, normalisation, and transitional arrangements and modalities. These four “annexes”, as they were called, came with deadlines, following talks between the parties that should have immediately commenced after the signing of the Framework Agreement to flesh out the annexes in concrete detail. The original timetable was for a comprehensive agreement to be signed two months after. But six months later, only

one annex—on transitional arrangements and modalities (TAM)—has been completed. President Benigno Aquino III has complied partly with one of eight TAM components by forming a 15-member Transition Commission whose main responsibilities include drafting a Bangsamoro Basic Law covering the proposed new region made up of five Muslim provinces in Mindanao, and proposing constitutional amendments, if necessary, to codify the peace agreement in the Constitution. Under the TAM, the newlyconstituted Bangsamoro will replace the ARMM by 2015, with a full set of elected officials assuming office by July 1, 2016. What has deadlocked the talks are the three other annexes. While wealth-sharing is said to have early on been approved and initialed by the two parties, the government has walked back its assent by saying it


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VIEW

would seek more changes to the document—a delay the MILF has complained about bitterly. Its vice chairman for political affairs, Ghadzali Jaafar, said it was only recently that it had received the government’s proposed amendments, necessitating further delay as it makes its own study of the proposals.

Delays

No formal talks are happening at present. After the government requested a reset of the talks last March, ostensibly to allow it to do a “diligence review” of its commitments so far, the two panels agreed to resume negotiations in Kuala Lumpur after the May midterm elections. A tentative date has been set for a meeting in July.

The Palace says the delay is an unintended but necessary consequence of being careful, and also learning from the experience of the ill-fated Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain under the Arroyo administration, which was eventually declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. “Many of the items have generational and very broad implications. Thus, [Aquino] is exercising due care and utmost diligence on these matters,” said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. Fine. But it must also be asked: Why did the presidential office agree to a cramped timetable in the first place? The series of deadlines it has missed is valid cause for worry, not least on the part of the MILF which, if it is to stay at the

peace table, has to bank on the commitment and reliability of the Aquino administration to follow through on its promises. Also, as the nongovernment organisation Mindanao Peoples’ Caucus has pointed out, “Given the very limited [time for the] transition roadmap between now and 2016, any delay in the signing of the Annexes will cause irreversible consequences on the viability of the transition period itself.” There is still time to salvage the talks, but it’s fast running out. Given what the government has promised the nation with this endeavour—a just and lasting peace, finally, for Mindanao—it cannot afford now to drop the ball.


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economy

AFP PHOTO/Noah Seelam

A wishful dream for the Indian rupee the World’s second-most populous nation has to take a longer time to find wider acceptance in global trade R Rajagopal The Daily Star Dhaka

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hard currency is one that is globally accepted as an exchange currency for trade. It is also expected to remain less volatile in the short term and indicate long-term stability through its purchasing power. The perceived strength and confidence in a currency is also a function of its country’s political milieu,

fiscal and trade balances, the policy of its central bank and future economic outlook. Let us look at all these parameters in the context of the Indian rupee and see where it stands on its journey towards acceptance as a hard currency. India is still insignificant in global merchandise exports and it may take at least a decade, if not more, to improve substantially. During this phase, it will remain energy deficient and hence import oil and other energy equivalents. Though India

an Indian opposition party activist weighs a tomato with a 500 Indian Rupee note during a demonstration outside government offices in Hyderabad city in southern India on OcT 25, 2008. The demonstration was held in protest at rising prices of essential commodities.


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eCONOMY

AFP/Manan Vatsyayana

in the past has done specific bilateral trades (rupee-rouble for example) and may continue to do so in future with specific countries, it is bound to take a long time for the rupee to find wider acceptance in global trade. Despite India’s substantial economic progress over the decades to emerge today among the 10 largest economies in the world in nominal GDP terms and the top three in PPP terms, the rupee has not kept pace with this progress and has witnessed periods of high volatility. In the last five years, it has depreciated in excess of 5 per cent of the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). This can clearly be attributed to expansionary trends in India’s fiscal and current account deficit. Until India traverses the distance from a trade-deficit economy to a neutral or trade-surplus nation, the rupee will always remain unhinged. The undisturbed and

In this photograph taken on Dec 7, 2011, different denominations of Indian Rupee currency notes lie on a surface in New Delhi.

functioning democratic political system in India does offer comfort to the international community. But the country seems to have increasingly embraced coalition polemics that seem to create periodic uncertainties (every five years) in offering a stable government. Typically, the rupee witnesses volatility for shorter periods before an election verdict. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) policy on foreign exchange

has been limited to facilitating external trade and payment and developing the foreign exchange market in India. Under normal circumstances it does not intervene in forex markets and allows the rupeedollar rate to emerge as per market dynamics. But it also maintains foreign currency assets (including dollars) to administer and provide confidence in its monetary and exchange rate policies. It intervenes in forex markets to curb short-term volatility if it feels the slide of the rupee is in excess or unwarranted. The extent of foreign exchange reserves maintained by the central bank also provides confidence to market elements such as rating agencies, trading partners and others that the country can honour its external commitments and payments. In the recent past, the RBI has also been seen acting independent of the


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eCONOMY

government, signalling it should take requisite steps to manage burgeoning deficits. Rating agency Fitch recently revised its outlook on India, reiterating its BBB—status albeit with a stable outlook. In its commentary, Fitch noted the curtailment of fiscal deficit, the revival of investment climate and decline in inflation as positives for the outlook change. It also expects India’s elevated public debt would gradually reduce over the medium term. In addition, Fitch also projected GDP growth at 5.7 per cent and 6.5 per cent for FY14 and FY15 respectively. These indicate that the current economic numbers could improve over the medium trend. A structural

depreciation due to widening deficits is largely factored in. This augurs well for the rupee to reverse its current trend. The US economy seems to be in its early stages of recovery. The easy monetary policy or quantitative easing through the state sponsored bond-buying programme may be coming to an end. These possible developments are being factored in by emerging market bond markets as reflected in outflows in the recent past. This has put pressure on most emerging market currencies in favour of the dollar. The rupee, also being part of the emerging market basket of currencies, has slid lower. In the short term, the strengthening of the dollar could cause some weakness.

On a side note, an Indian traveller abroad for the first time realises the rupee cannot be changed at most money exchanges and even if one could, the spreads are higher. A repeat traveller would realise he is shelling out more rupees for the same amount of dollars he took out some years ago. Costeffective foreign travel, the dream of every Indian, seems to be far-fetched for now. The rupee does make travel hard. R Rajagopal has nearly 19 years of experience in Indian financial markets spanning fund management, research and trading.


ARTS

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Art of archaeology A UK-based Filipino artist mines history and current events and conflates them into art Anne A. Jambora Philippine Daily Inquirer Manila

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e processes thoughts through images, weaving visual narratives in imitation Hermès scarves, for instance, or locking in cultural history in a perfume bottle. Filipino multimedia artist Pio Abad, among the emerging stars in the UK art scene, likes compressing large, complex ideas in the most banal objects. The extravagant lifestyle of Iraq dictator ‘Mira’ III, digital print on silk twill, 2012


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ARTS

Saddam Hussein, for instance, as shown by gold-plated water taps that decked his palace, became the central motif of his imitation Versace silk scarf. Abad’s uncanny ability to condense the profound into everyday objects has made his art accessible. Perhaps it is inevitable that politics and history find their way into his works. The son of Philippine Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr and Batanes Representative Dina Abad, he grew up listening to political discussions on the breakfast table. But for the artist, who will turn 30 this year, it’s all about making narrative links in a visually expressive work— without becoming too preachy. “I’ve always been a student of history,” he said. “I try to expand the [historical] connections, because one thing is never really autonomous. But I don’t want to be an activist. That’s

not the position I want. I’m an artist. I’m more interested in the link between the artist and the archaeologist.” That sense of archaeology is born out of his passion to make his art relevant. “I dig, excavating these stories and trying to find personal links to them,” Abad said.

Filipino multimedia artist Pio Abad

London, Pyongyang

His recently concluded oneman show at the Zabloduwicz Collection in Camden, London, where he was selected as one of six artists for its 2013 Invites Series, was inspired by his father’s 1989 visit to Pyongyang, North Korea. Secretary Abad was among the Philippine delegates to the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students, a quasi Olympics and cultural festival. Abad found photographs of Pyongyang in his dad’s library. What started with a personal photograph expanded into

architecture—Abad constructed a replica of sorts of Pyongyang’s controversial Ryugyong Hotel. The hotel, whose name means Capital of Willows but has since been nicknamed the “hotel of doom”, was constructed in 1987 with the grand ambition of becoming the world’s tallest tower. It remains unfinished. “I didn’t plan to make a show about North Korea, but the exhibit opened when Pyongyang was making the headlines again,” he said.


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ARTS

“I’ve had my dad’s photographs for quite a while. It’s about how personal photos can actually end up discussing larger things. There is no message there— that’s tricky because you have to let the viewers interpret the work—but it’s trying to find the relationship of that singular event to the rest of history.” Abad graduated as one of seven First honours at the Glasgow School of Art in 2007 before moving to London to pursue his master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Arts. It was his aunt, the late artist Pacita Abad, who encouraged him to look for opportunities abroad. He had already been studying for a year-and-a-half at University of the Philippines Diliman when she gave him a list of schools to consider abroad. His aunt had been among his early mentors, giving him art lessons since he was a child. He recalls visiting his aunt to watch her paint.

‘Dazzler’, Glasgow Festival of Visual Art, 2012. The ’70s pinup Bo Derek becomes an unlikely link in weaving of either stories from World War II, disco era and George Bush’s Republican Party.

“Maybe that’s why I don’t paint,” he said, laughing. He has big shoes to fill now that his aunt is gone.

After school he lived for three more years in Scotland, working in a studio by the railway tracks in the old industrial city. He was


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ARTS

fortunate, he said, to have been in Scotland when the art scene was most vibrant. Glasgow was then like a DIY scene for the arts, where artists opened galleries everywhere— in warehouses, in the streets, even bedrooms were transformed into galleries.

His art

‘Oh! Oh! Oh! (A Universal History of Iniquity)’, installation; Osage Gallery, Hong Kong, 2013. The use of cultural spectacles, such as architectural pieces de resistance, mask harsher political realities.

‘1986-2010’, installation, Royal Academy of Art, London, 2012. The installation attempts to unpack the different fantasies that shaped the Marcos dictatorship in the late ’70s to the early ’80s.

‘For Anti-imperialist Solidarity, Peace and Friendship,’ Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2013

Art, he said, is subjective, and that means graduating with top honours will not be so relevant in the real world. He was lucky, he insisted, that he graduated with a lot of support and interest in his work. So much interest, in fact, that his exhibit sold out, earning him the equivalent of 1.5 million pesos in just one day. He, however, remains levelheaded—working every day, disciplining himself to keep a 9-5 schedule. “There will always be a romantic view of the artist because of the nature of what we do, but at the end of the


ARTS

day, it’s work. And that’s a good way of keeping yourself level-headed,” he said. He has also recently wrapped up an exhibit in Hong Kong titled, “Oh! Oh! Oh! (A Universal History of Iniquity)”, at the Osage Gallery, as part of an exhibition called “Market Forces: A Friction of Opposites”. “Like a lot the work I make, the piece brings together two different historical narratives that initially don’t seem related, but put in the same space, you begin to unpack the relationships that link them,” he said. “For instance, the use of cultural spectacles, in this case architectural pieces de resistance, to mask harsher political realities and the role that individuals can play in manufacturing the representation of national cultures, whether they are authentic or not.”

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‘1986-2010’ installation, Royal Academy of Art, London, 2012. Imelda Marcos believed she was the reincarnation of the ancient Assyrian queen Semiramis.


health

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May the fertility odds be in Vietnam’s favour Infertile couples are given stronger hope of having children with the development of modern intervention science and technology in Vietnam

Ha Noi

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he cries of a child break the quietness of the infertility hospital waiting room in Ha Noi. Couples turn their heads toward the parents consoling their daughter, nurturing the hope that one day they will have a child. Thanh (not her real name), 29, the child’s mother, says that just two years ago she was still struggling to get pregnant after six years of tears and disappointment.

AFP PHOTO/ Hoang Dinh Nam

Nguyen Thu Hien Viet Nam News


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health

on Reproduction, shows 54 per cent of the surveyed Vietnamese women did not know much about infertility. Life became uneasy for Thanh as rumours about her infertility started spreading. Her sisters-in-law insulted her and asked her husband to divorce her. “I felt the pressure,” she said. “I also blamed myself for having no child, thinking it was my responsibility to get pregnant. I must be the reason.” Dr Nguyen Thu Thuy, an expert in obstetrics and gynecology, says it is the women who usually get the blame, not the men, even from the women themselves who think infertility is their fault. According to the Starting Families Asia study, 80 per cent of the 1,000 surveyed women across 10 countries in the Asia Pacific, including Vietnam, did not suspect their husband

VNA/VNS Photo The Anh

“It was my mother who first began worrying about my possible infertility. She wondered whether there were any arguments between me and my husband because I hadn’t conceived after two years of marriage. “At that time, I laughed. I thought there was nothing to worry about because I was only 22.” Dr Le Vuong Van Ve, director of the Andrology and Infertility Hospital of Ha Noi, says Thanh did not know that couples of child-bearing age who had been attempting to conceive for at least one year without success were diagnosed as infertile. Nearly eight out of every 100 couples in Vietnam are infertile. Unfortunately, Thanh is not alone in her lack of understanding over infertility. A “Starting Families Asia” study, released in December by the Asia Pacific Initiative

Children play in Phu My Hung new urban area in Ho Chi Minh City.

of having a fertility issue. However, Nguyen says 40 per cent of infertility cases are due to female factors (female infertility), 40 per cent male factors (male infertility), 10 per cent both partners and the rest unexplainable. Le explains the most common causes of male infertility are azoospermia (no sperm cells are produced) and oligospermia (few sperm cells are produced). In some cases, sperm cells


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health

are malformed and die before they reach the egg. Meanwhile, female infertility can be caused by ovulation disorders, blocked fallopian tubes, birth defects involving the structure of the uterus, and uterine fibroids. The experts agree the sooner childless couples seek medical help, the higher their chances of successful treatment. But in many cases their ignorance of fertility issues leads them to delay the process. The study showed 46 per cent of the surveyed women believed that God decided their fertility. So, many got help from quacks or from the supernatural, instead of science. Thanh’s mother took her to quacks who gave her medicinal herbs. And her mother-inlaw took some magic crank to her house “to drive away the female ghost that possessed my husband and prevented

us from having a child”. “If impossible, I would cut my husband free so he could get married with another woman and have his babies. “He never criticised me but once he said that God might not want us to have a child.” Two more years passed without good news for Thanh. She heard about a quack in northern mountainous Bac Kan Province whose herbs could make a woman get pregnant, so she caught a bus to his house, hundreds of kilometres away. He gave her a potion which she took regularly, but after six months “no change, no news”. She ordered another consignment but after another six months she thought: “It is time to become resigned to my fate.” However, a relative in Ha Noi advised her to go to a hospital where modern techniques could help couples have babies. Her only worry was

whether she could afford to pay for the treatment. Doctor Le says Vietnam has successfully applied most advanced assisted reproductive technologies: intrauterine insemination (IUI), which costs 10 million dong (US$476) per session, or in vitro fertilisation (IVF), which costs 50 million dong ($2,380). Doctors asked for her husband to be present because they needed to conduct a physical examination on both to determine their general state of health and search for physical disorders, potentially contributing to infertility. Both would also be interviewed about their sexual habits and family genetic issues. Then more specific tests could be carried out. For women, these are an analysis of ovulation, x-rays of the fallopian tubes and uterus, and a laparoscopy. For men, initial tests focus on semen analysis.


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health

Thanh persuaded her husband to go to the hospital but “he became angry when he thought I was blaming him”. Nguyen says many Vietnamese men consider their fertility to be their strength and a source of self-respect. So, they find difficulty in accepting they should be checked. Eventually Thanh’s husband agreed to go with her. After tests, Thanh’s husband was diagnosed with variocele, resulting in oligospermia. There was nothing wrong with Thanh’s reproductive system. Le says about 35 per cent of male infertility cases are caused by variocele.

His alchohol addiction was another risk factor. Thanh’s husband went through a period of treatment but she was still unable to get pregnant. So an IUI was performed. Le says IUI places washed sperm directly into the uterus to increase the number of sperm reaching the fallopian tubes and subsequently increasing the chance of fertilisation. After trying IUI three times Thanh failed to get pregnant. Le says if IUI method is unsuccessful, IVF will be recommended. “Although there are dark parts which current science has yet to shine on, scientific

findings have raised the chances for childless couples.” Professor Nguyen Dinh Tao of the Embryo Technology Centre says the centre has improved the process of growing and isolating sperm stem cells which help men with azoospermia have babies without asking for donor sperm. But as luck would have it, Thanh finally conceived on their fourth attempt with IUI and a girl was born. Now, after one year, Thanh and her husband have returned to the hospital waiting room to see if they can have a second baby. “One baby is not enough to offset the six years of worry. I want one more,” she says.


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FOOD

Provided to China Daily

Imperial cuisine

Eating like an empress is a family affair

Xu Junqian in Shanghai China Daily Beijing

Sweet and sour ribs

ith a menu once favoured by Empress Dowager Cixi in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), one of the most extravagant rulers in Chinese history, the Family Li Cuisine has plenty of lures to woo modern foodies.


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FOOD

The family patriarch, Li Shunqing, was once the lord secretary to the imperial household of the Qing Dynasty, responsible for overseeing the imperial kitchen. The bearers of that legacy have been unsparing in their efforts to preserve the menu for the past decades, treating the palace cuisine more as an art than a business. Started in the 1980s as a one-table eatery deep in a hutong (street) in Beijing by the offspring of Li Shunqing, the restaurant has received notable diners such as Bill Clinton and Bill Gates. In 2006 it branched out to Shanghai’s Bund, and recently offered a tasting lunch for the local media to celebrate its affiliation with the global luxury hotel and restaurant group Relais & Chateaux. Among the 10 appetisers, the stir-fried green-bean paste with fresh scallop, which in Chinese is beautifully named “jade tofu”,

Fried grouper with soy sauce

is a good choice to start dinner. Flavoured with a handful of hot chili pepper, the fresh taste of scallop is fully brought out. The shredded duck meat with

Chinese cabbage is like having a juicy salad but more carnivorous. The sweet-and-sour pork ribs are the best I have ever tasted, topping all of the versions I’ve had in East China, supposedly the home of the dish. Here it’s lighter and more sour, less gluttoninspiring than the eastern ones. A surprise, if not a shock, is the deep-fried camel hump. This is the first time I have eaten anything from a camel, and not until I happily put the diced meat cube into my mouth was I told it came from the front humps of the beasts in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. It tastes similar to other animal meat I have had, and the chef said great efforts have been made to get rid of the camel’s usual gamey smell. The dish is said to be one of the “eight mountain delicacies” enjoyed by the empresses and emperors of past times. Others include bear paws, monkey brains, ape lips and


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FOOD

leopard foetuses. Does that make the camel hump sound the least savage dish of all? For main courses, we are served lobster with Beijing flavour, fried grouper with soy sauce, and stir-fried eggplant. The imported lobster seems well-suited to the traditional Beijing cooking method, which delivers a richer taste than the common technique of grilling with cheese. The grouper is savoury but forgettable, and the eggplant is divine enough to make me think being vegetarian would not be that awful— though I later found its good flavour comes from the pork and shrimp cooked with it. In spite of the name, the “weed” used in the soup is actually a freshwater kind found in a pristine lake on the border of Hubei and Hunan provinces. It is said to get its name, gexianmi, from a hermit surnamed Ge who discovered

the obscure little grass and found it can promote longevity. Fairy-tale aside, the soup serves as a perfect transition, offering a light and palate-cleansing finish to the main courses that whet your appetite for dessert. Dessert comes as an assortment of “petite three”, baked fresh milk, fried egg custard and sweet bird’s nest with green beans and water chestnut, all in bite-size portions. The last one is said to be a summertime after-nap favourite of Cixi, who had four of her servants sit around a square table and rub the green beans one by one to peel off the hard skin. The contemporary rendition is refreshing, not very sweet, and cooling, but not so different from other green-bean soups despite the addition of bird’s nest. My personal favourite is the fried egg custard, which in Chinese is named “three nonstickiness” (not sticky to the chopsticks—or plate or teeth).

Fried egg custard

A traditional and complicated dish, the golden-coloured rice ball uses the most basic ingredients like flour, egg and sugar, but the mixture must be beaten more than 600 times so that the stickiness is lost while the pliability is preserved. To add another sensation to the meal, gladden your heart with a stroll along the Bund. As darkness falls after dinner, the early summer’s cool breeze blows against your face, as if flirting with you, and leaves behind a pleasant scent of cape jasmine.


PEOPLE

Woman on top

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One of the world’s most powerful businesswomen, PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi, shares her ideas on leadership

To Nooyi, educating a woman also means educating her family, and society by extension.


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PEOPLE

Jacqueline Pereira The Star Kuala Lumpur

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force to be reckoned with, Indra Nooyi learned her most important strategy for success by watching how men conduct themselves. “Think of it as a study in sociology; even when they don’t have much to say, whatever they say, they say it with confidence,” shared Nooyi at a session on “Women: Creating New Economies at the annual Global Summit of Women” in Kuala Lumpur recently. Making a point confidently is very important, she stated firmly. Nooyi, 58, took that lesson a step further, stressing the need to back that confidence with substance. If the men came in ready to give 100 per cent, she’d be there

bristling with 125 per cent. “In the early days, in 99 per cent of the meetings I was the only woman. So everything had to be over-prepared and overaddressed. My only focus was being heard and taken seriously,” said Nooyi, who came in 10th on Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Powerful Women this year. Nooyi, who was named PepsiCo’s CEO in 2006, leads a US$65 billion global food and beverage powerhouse, with a portfolio of 22 brands. It is the second largest food and beverage business in the world by net revenue. Nooyi said getting ahead is all about being on top of your material, to over-prepare to participate in debates and, most importantly, “not being quiet but always speaking up”. “If you take these cues and really view yourself from the inside as an equal, the whole discussion gets easier.”

Nooyi advised women to invest in communication skills so they could contribute effectively in dialogues and discussions. Learning how to write in a logical, punchy way; how to speak in a cogent, confident and assertive manner; and to carry themselves well would determine how successful they are. While it is not a popular opinion, Nooyi believes women should not draw attention to themselves as women. Trinkly jewellery, inappropriate clothing will distract people’s attention from what matters most. “If you want to work with men, and be taken seriously, then it should be for your intellectual capability and contribution to debates.” Acquiring new skills, such as the ability to navigate the digital world, is also important. “I think there is a unique opportunity for all women to become tremendously


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PEOPLE

tech-savvy,” she said. Ultimately, encouraging women’s economic advancement is not a woman’s issue, but a “society’s issue”, said Nooyi. “Mao said women hold up half the sky, but sometimes I think we hold up the whole sky.” In many countries, more women are graduating with degrees and post-graduate qualifications, and they should not be excluded from the workforce or management boards. In Malaysia, for instance, 70 per cent of our women complete secondary level but only 46 per cent are employed. “In today’s hyper-competitive world, if countries do not tap into their female population, they are eliminating half the population ... they are not accessing the most educated in society.” But even with government policies to encourage women’s economic participation, ultimately their roles as

Firebrand: PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi emphasises that women should take charge of their own lives and career.

mother and child-bearer would affect their working lives. “We have to find a way to balance the challenge, for

any which way we look at it, the biological clock and the career clock are violently in conflict,” she said. Educating girls is critical. “If you educate a woman, you educate a family where the children become better educated, and the society by extension,” she said, citing herself as an example. She was born, raised and educated in Chennai, India. In her family, every penny was saved for the children’s education. Her parents spent nothing on themselves and growing up, Nooyi never heard of, or went on, holidays. There was no gender discrimination where education was concerned; sons and daughters were given equal opportunities to further their studies. “The only requirement was that the grades had to be very good. If they were bad, we were whacked.” Nooyi did well, without


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PEOPLE

questioning those canings, and grew up with supportive parents. Her mother lived vicariously through her daughters, spurring them to higher achievements while harping about getting them married off by 18. Her father encouraged all of them to dream big, and to do what they wanted to do. Although she didn’t realise her dream of being a musician in a rock band, she did play for a women’s cricket team. She met her future husband in Chicago, but didn’t exactly date him. Yet when he suggested marriage, she agreed after thinking about it for 30 seconds. “‘PepsiCo, PepsiCo, PepsiCo, my daughters, my mother, my husband’— that’s my list of priorities,

according to my husband. “There are two ways to look at this: one is to say that he is at the bottom, but the other is, at least he’s on the list—so he should be happy,” shared Nooyi in jest. The PepsiCo head said she’d be the first to admit she wasn’t always able to integrate her work and family life well. “The problem with us is we are very hard on ourselves; we do not just want to do it all, we want to do it all perfectly,” said Nooyi who has since learnt to give up the guilt, and realise that we can’t be perfect in everything we do. A great believer in the ecosystem of the traditional family system, where children are raised by an extended family, she made up her own version. Instead of entrusting her first-

born to babysitters, Nooyi and her husband invited relatives for three-month stints in the US to help mind their daughter. Nooyi joked, “I’m not sure if they enjoyed it because, other than the two weeks’ holiday around the US, they were alone at home most of the time. But my daughter was well taken care of.” It is self-made resolutions like this that will aid women in the end, asserted Nooyi. “We can’t be waiting for solutions from governments and corporations.” As far as she was concerned, women can decide what they want to do. But they have to deliver on their choices, whether it’s running a business or having children.


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PEOPLE

Presidential fashion

PHOTOS BY AFP

If China has its first lady, South Korea has its first female president who delivers a powerful yet feminine image through her sartorial choices

Bae Ji-sook and Lee Woo-young The Korea Herald Seoul

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outh Korean President Park Geun-hye’s official visit to the US in May drew the attention of even those normally indifferent to politics. It was the first overseas trip by Korea’s first woman president and the public was eager to see how she would present herself to the global audience. And it seems that Park has developed her own way of wearing powerful suits and feminine hanbok, or traditional Korean dress.

A fashion consultant said Park’s choice of periwinkle at her summit meeting with US President Obama showed her willingness to communicate.


| July 12-18, 2013

PEOPLE

Starting with a gold-green silk jacket with a turquoise mandarin collar, paired with brown trousers, the outfit worn to disembark from the airplane when she arrived, Park stuck with the combination of a mid-thigh hitting jacket and formal trousers. The jackets came in various colours, mostly soft, stripped of patterns or other ornaments. Perhaps at her most important appearance, the summit meeting with President Barack Obama, Park wore a periwinkle jacket with black trousers. Park wore hanbok at her meeting with Korean-Americans living in New York, the Smithsonian Museum dinner, and a meeting with KoreanAmericans in Los Angeles. The hanbok worn at one of the dinners was an unusual combination of colours and patterns. The jacket featured large colourful flowers all over while the skirt came in jade. This was worn under a translucent cream-coloured

She wore an olive green jacket, which showed her interest in eco-issues as well as delivering her willingness to participate in ‘saving the earth’, during her meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Wearing the traditional dress gives off a maternal image.


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PEOPLE

durumagi, or long outer coat. And of course, all the looks were matched with sensible mediumheeled shoes and her signature up-do, something she adopted from her late mother after she took on the first lady’s role upon her mother’s assassination in 1974. “Park has a certain strength equivalent to that of men. And she knows how to accentuate it by wearing trousers and Chinese-

collared shirts and jackets. When she met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, she wore an olive green jacket, which showed her interest in eco-issues as well as delivering her willingness to participate in ‘saving the earth’, said Lee Jin-ha, CEO of fashion consulting firm, The Image. Lee said Park’s choice of periwinkle at her summit meeting with President Obama showed

her willingness to communicate. “Park’s choice of a cream hanbok showed her maternal side (though she has no children) when she met fellow Koreans living abroad. It was as if she wanted to console their loneliness and embrace them. I think Park knows how to use colour, what to conceal and what to show off in order to reflect a certain image,” she said.


TRAVEL

| July 12-18, 2013

Leo slept here Phuket’s oldest hotel offers everything from bunk beds to suites in an old-world atmosphere, as well as bragging rights that you stayed in the same place as a Hollywood actor


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TRAVEL

Phoowadon Duangmee The Nation Phuket

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rouched on the Phang Nga Road in the heart of Phuket’s Old Town, The Memory at OnOn Hotel lets you sleep in an ambience reminiscent of days long gone. Leonardo DiCaprio slept here, at least, in his role as Richard, the American college student hero of The Beach, as he strove to save an idyllic island and its marijuana plantations. Today, tourists can thank— or perhaps, blame—popular culture for the considerably more stylish yet pricier edition. Better known simply as On-On Hotel by the locals, The Memory at On-On Hotel was originally established in 1923 as a five-room inn for the foreign traders who came to Phuket for its tin. As the island became more known for its

beaches than tin, On-On enjoyed a new life as a hostel. Young backpackers, drawn to Phuket by sun, sea and sand, converged on the cheap guesthouse with

historical significance. That young student portrayed by DiCaprio would probably have been paying 250 baht (US$8) a night for his bunk bed. Today, On-On is enjoying a lavish life as a boutique hotel. Right in the heart of Phuket Old Town, The Memory at On-On Hotel occupies two, long Sino-Portuguese-styled shophouses at the T-junction of Phang-nga and Takuapa Roads. Enter through the huge arched entrances and you find yourself in the airy lobby leading out to a long courtyard. Two pink sofas, make-believe timeworn concrete walls, a vintage typewriter and antique wood furniture give it a chic, antique look. Young travellers, especially the arty types, will fall in love with this cheeky decorative touch at the first sight. Two wooden staircases wind their way up to the second floor


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TRAVEL

where a winding maze of teeny rooms await their guests. My room is 211—a few steps away from Room 204, where DiCaprio allegedly bunked. When The Beach was being filmed more than a decade ago, Richard and his friends probably slept on a flimsy sheet of foam and relieved themselves in a “quaint” squat toilet. I am luckier than Leonardo. A timeworn hardwood floor, cream-coloured wall and oldfashioned pastel-blue door make the teeny room unusually cosy. Two small single beds, with clean white bedsheets and white blankets, fit perfectly. How small is my single bed? I can manage to roll around once. Twice would have me crashing to the floor. There’s no view and it’s only on my second night that I notice there actually is a small window beyond the curtain. My only “view” of the world comes from the flatscreen

TV hanging on the wall. But On-On is definitely much more comfortable than in DiCaprio’s days. There’s even a coffee-making machine plus a small fridge to stock the

cold drinks you bring back from the convenience store. The restroom is clean and basic, with a bath gel set and glass wash basin. The good news is you don’t run the risk of


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TRAVEL

arthritis. The squat potty is out, and the pedestal edition is in. In keeping with the hotel’s youthful attitude and spirit, there are still a few dorms and shared bathrooms. The hotel also has two spacious common living rooms, with long table, microwave oven, toaster, coffee machine and washing machines, on the second floor. WiFi Internet connectivity is included. Soda, cold drinks and local

beer at reasonable prices are available on the ground floor. The Memory at On-On is an affordable hotel that’s well situated and has a cheeky, hip and historical aesthetic that will please the young travellers. It might be far from Patong and Phuket’s famous beaches, but it meets the hankerings of anyone wanting to stay in Phuket’s old neighbourhood in a heritage building.

At a glance High points: It was good enough for Leonado DiCaprio. Low points: The hotel is far from the beach. Getting to the sand and sea takes about one hour by bus. Pay for it: Accommodation in a dorm with bunk beds and shared bathroom starts at 400 baht ($13) per night, while twin superior room costs around 1,600 baht ($52). A suite goes for 3,000 baht ($97) per night. Find it: Phang-nga Road, Phuket, Thailand Call it: +66 (0) 76 363 777 Browse it: www.TheMemoryHotel.com


| July 12-18, 2013

EXPLORE

Gili getaway Heading to Bali? Try going off the beaten track and explore the islands of Gili

The Jakarta Post Gili

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everal local tourist destinations in Indonesia have come under the spotlight in recent years, yet it seems like only a handful are comparable to the famous island of Bali, though the Gili islands in Lombok are among the scant few. Of course one can argue that

there are places that surpass Bali in terms of beautiful scenery, better hotels, and more unique tradition and culture to experience. However, finding one that can challenge Bali on all fronts is a different matter. The list below demonstrates how Gili has risen to the challenge.

Beautiful beaches

As in most tropical tourist hubs, the beach obviously plays

A fire dancer practising his routines before performing at the Bon Fire bar in the night.


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EXPLORE

an important role because it is one of the main selling points. Bali is blessed with long lines of pristine beaches along its coast. Although, the white sand beaches around Gili’s three islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno), rival any found in Bali. Crowdedness and pushy vendors, a growing thorn in Bali’s side, doesn’t apply to the Gilis; where there is still enough space for everybody on the beach to pick a comfortable spot with minimal disturbance from vendors.

Available lodging

After decades of thriving from tourism, Bali is now filled with bed and breakfast services for all budgets. The Gilis are no slouches in this regard either. There are a range of options to be found, especially in Gili Trawangan where many of the developments are taking place. If

you are on a really tight budget, then the island also provides accommodation priced below 150,000 rupiah (US$15.34) per night, with fan included. Rooms with complete facilities are available in various establishments such as the Gili T and B Homestay, which offers rooms with air condition, breakfast, hot shower and complimentary WiFi connection, starting from 250,000 rupiah ($25) in low season. Luxurious resorts are available in the form of upscale beachfront hotels. Villa Ombak is the first high-class lodging business to open on the island.

Easy access

Most tourist destinations in Indonesia require two flights or a long drive to get to. Bali has an advantage over these places by serving international flights from numerous countries, giving foreign tourists direct access.

The Gili islands might not have an airport, but its close proximity to Lombok and Bali makes this a minor issue. Lombok International Airport currently serves four international routes, and from there a traveller is only an hour’s drive away from Bangsal harbour, Sengigi beach, or Nare bay; from there it’s only a 60 minute boat trip to the Gili islands. Flying to Bali then continuing by boat from Padang Bai, Serangan or Benoa harbour would be the most convenient and time-saving method. A speedboat trip from Serangan or Benoa harbour will only take an hour to get to Gili Trawangan. Public ferries and minivan transfers are also available from Bali and Lombok for cheaper modes of transportation to reach the Gili islands.

A place to party

While there are people


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EXPLORE

who travel to the edge of the world to seek solitude and tranquility, Bali has over the years gained a reputation to cater to those kinds of tourists, but also for party animals. Gili has a party scene of its own, specifically in Gili Trawangan. The main street on this island is comparable to the Kuta-Legian area in Bali, where the nightlife is lively and bars line up the street. In Gili Trawangan, major bars take turns holding massive parties; one night you can find people flocking to the Irish

bar, Tir Na Nog, and the next day they can be found enjoying reggae beats at Sama-Sama bar. The Bon Fire bar located in the west of the island, opposite from the main street area, has a habit that lives up to its name: lighting up a bon fire at the beach every night, complete with fire dancers.

Culinary delights

Most of Indonesia’s awardwinning restaurants are located in Bali. That alone is quite a challenge to match. Despite the lack of any high profile chefs, the food scene

on the Gili islands is not to be underestimated. Like most small islands, fresh seafood is its main specialty and one can enjoy a fresh catch every night in restaurants on the main street. The pasar seni (art market) on the main street also turns into a food market during the night, making it a good spot to hunt for cheap food. The signature dish from the main land of Lombok is a spicy whole chicken dish ayam taliwang. Do prepare a big jug if your taste buds aren’t used to red-hot spicyness.


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EXPLORE

Unique structure of beach-side leisure area in front of Ko Ko Mo bar and restaurant.


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EXPLORE

The white sands of THE beach in Gili Trawangan. The main island of Lombok can be seen across the sea.


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EXPLORE

Great-looking chocolate dessert. This classy meal is available even in the seemingly isolated location of Gili.


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EXPLORE

A group of tourists buying food at Pasar Seni (Art market). The choice of food is plenty in Gili even late in the night.


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EXPLORE

A group of people sitting together watching the sunset. The west area of Gili islands is crowded during sunset time.


DATEBOOK

| July 12-18, 2013

Niigata, Japan

Fuji Rock The lush forest, streams and slopes of the Naeba Ski Resort provides the perfect acoustic setting for a music festival. Though it is not located anywhere near Mt. Fuji, the annual festival retains its name from the very first Fuji Rock Festival in 1997 at the foothills of the mountain. Music revellers at this year’s festival can choose from a wide selection of renowned Japanese and international artists in the likes of Skrillex, Yellow Card, Of Monsters and Men, The Cure, and Bjork who will take seven stages to perform for a capacity of 30,000 people. When: July 26-28 Where: Naeba Ski Resort Info: fujirockfestival.com


DATEBOOK

Yilan, Taiwan

Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival Yilan county celebrates summer again, with this year’s festival themed “Spinning” to usher in energy, liveliness and uphold the importance of “exchanging ideas”. Set to provide families with an exciting summer experience, the Yilan county government has also enlisted Taiwan’s popular children’s books illustrator Jimmy Liao to create colourful and creative exhibition halls both young and old will love. The festival will also see captivating performances and fun summer activities catered for all ages. When: July 6-August 25 Where: Dongshan River Water Park

| July 12-18, 2013

Kuala Lumpur

1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival One of Malaysia’s three biggest nationwide sale turns the country into a haven for shoppers who come from all over the world to take advantage of the incomparable discounts offered on retail prices. When: Until September 1 Where: All over Malaysia


DATEBOOK

| July 12-18, 2013

Shanghai

Gas Station VI

Singapore

Devotion and Desire: Cross-cultural Art An exhibition focusing on the diverse cultures of Asia, and how so many of these cultures are inter-connected, through many new acquisitions of Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum. Themes include trade, religion, courtly art and colonial networks. When: May 30-December 8 Where: Asian Civilisations Museum, Empress Place, Special Exhibition Gallery Info: www.acm.org.sg

An exhibition showcasing and contrasting the best work of two young, upcoming artists Lam Pok Yin from Hong Kong and Tsu CheYu from Taiwan. On its sixth year ongoing, the Gas Station project aims to provide a platform for budding artists to show off their full potential, as well as learn from one another. When: July5August 25 Where: Vanguard Gallery


Asianews July12- 18, 2013  

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