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May 9-15, 2014

Asian Star Power

A new generation of sports icons and their growing fan base create opportunities for global marketers


Contents May 9-15, 2014

❖ Business

❖ Weekly Briefing

❖ Motoring

Asian Star Power

Strongest quake in 79 years shakes north Thailand

How safe is your car?

COVER IMAGE: JAPANESE BASEBALL STAR ICHIRO SUZUKI BY AFP


Contents May 9-15, 2014

❖ Life

❖ Society

❖ Life

❖ View

Sharks for sale

The roots of rape

Japan’s shrinking society

Saving Yangon’s heritage


Contents May 9-15, 2014

❖ People

❖ People

Datebook

The bold and the beautiful

Jiro still dreams of sushi

Happenings around Asia

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May 9-15, 2014

WEEKLY BRIEFING

Strongest quake in 79 years shakes north Thailand BANGKOK: A magnitude-6.3 earthquake shook northern Thailand at 6:08pm on May 5. It was the strongest earthquake to shake the kingdom since 1935 when a magnitude-6.5 earthquake hit the northern province of Nan. Tremors from the May 5 earthquake were felt in Taungoo, Kengtung, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon in Myanmar. The Thai Cabinet has approved an initial budget of 500 million baht (US$15 million) for relief to quake-devastated areas. Magnitude: 6.3 Depth: 7.4 kilometres Epicentre: Phan district, Chiang Rai province Casualty: 1 Injured: At least 20


WEEKLY BRIEFING

May 9-15, 2014

SEOUL: A civilian diver surnamed Lee searching for the sunken ferry Sewol’s missing died on May 6, adding to the tragedy that continues to grow nearly three weeks since the fatal accident. Sewol was carrying 476 passengers and crew when it sank some 20 kilometres off the coast of Jindo Island, South Jeolla Province, on April 16. The majority of passengers on board were students and teachers from Danwon High School in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province.—The Korea Herald Casualties: 269 Missing: 33 Survivors: 174 *Figures as of May 7, 2014

People attend a memorial for the victims of the sunken South Korean ferry Sewol at the Ansan Olympic memorial hall in Ansan on April 28, 2014.

JUNG YEON-JE/AFP

Sewol disaster update


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May 9-15, 2014

Mark GRAHAM/afp

Australia's Transport Minister Warren Truss (C) looks on during a press conference with Malaysia's Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (L) and Chinese Transport Minister Yang Chuantang (R) after talks about missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at Parliament House in Canberra on May 5, 2014.

Search for missing plane to enter new phase KUALA LUMPUR: The search for the missing MH370 plane will enter a new phase with intensified probe over a larger area of the southern Indian Ocean following a tripartite meeting in Canberra between Malaysia, China and Australia. The next stage will involve deep ocean searches and a mix of sonar and capable underwater autonomous vehicles, among others. MH370, a scheduled international flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, lost

contact with air traffic control on March 8. The Boeing 777-200ER was carrying 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers from 14 nations. No debris has been found nor a crash site identified. 窶年icholas Cheng/ The Star Estimated cost: A$60 million (US$55 million) Search flights made: 334 covering 4.5 million sq km of ocean


May 9-15, 2014

BUSINESS AFP

Asian Star Power A new generation of sports icons and their growing fan base reate opportunities for global marketers Ichiro Suzuki


BUSINESS

May 9-15, 2014

Krishna Kumar Vr China Daily New Delhi

I

n her post-match speech after winning this year's Australian Open, China's Li Na made sure to thank her agent at IMG, a global talent-representing company, for making her rich. Apart from the US$2.4 million in prize money, the most successful female tennis player in Asia knew that her second Grand Slam title would unquestionably improve her position on the list of highest paid women athletes, with new endorsement deals likely to come her way. "We are waiting on a deal announcement for her in a couple of weeks," Mary Jane Orman, vice-president of communications at IMG Tennis, tells China Daily. Li is not the lone deal sensation in Asian sports. Signal-

Li Na

ling growth in the Asian sports market, four other players also made into the recent Forbes list of the world's highest paid athletes. Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao topped Asia with $34 million, followed by Indian cricketers MS Dhoni ($33.5 million)

and Sachin Tendulkar ($22 million), and Japan's baseball star Ichiro Suzuki ($19.6 million). "Various sports are creating icons, and icons are in turn helping the sports industry to grow," says Mark Dreyer, founder of China Sports Insider, a sports business news and analysis website. The rise of Chinese star Yao Ming in the National Basketball Association in the United States is believed to have led to basketball becoming the common man's sport in China, with courts becoming commonplace in the yards of many export factories. The recent emergence of golfing sensation Andy Zhang indicates that the 16-year-old Chinese star could be on his way to becoming the next Tiger Woods, with high-profile sponsors sitting up to take note of future deals. Last year, Nike signed its first head-to-toe endorsement deals with two Chinese golfers, Li Hao-Tong and Zhang Xin-Jun.


May 9-15, 2014

BUSINESS

A report by HSBC, "Golf 's 2020 Vision", said a boom in the numbers of children teeing in China and India means that the next generation of golfers is likely to be dominated by people from Asia. "Players like Shanshan Feng and Andy Zhang are a sign of things to come," it predicted. Experts believe that one reason for the popularity of sports in Asia is that consumers are turning to leisure activities as they get wealthier. In China, the number of golf courses has tripled in less than a decade. Taking a cue from the growth of sports in Asia, IMG Reliance—a joint venture between IMG and Reliance Industries, an Indian conglomerate—signed a 30-year partnership with the Basketball Federation of India. Andy Zhang


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The deal sees the BFI granting IMG Reliance a range of commercial rights including sponsorship, advertising, broadcasting, merchandising, film, video and data, intellectual property, franchising and new league rights. IMG Reliance separately signed a 15-year partnership deal with the All India Football Federation, the governing body for soccer in India, for commercial rights to football across all properties controlled by the federation, including media rights, sponsorship and advertising rights, and licensing and merchandising rights. "The centre of gravity of sports business will move to Asia. Just as the popularity of cricket in India means that the subcontinent has become the economic and political centre of cricket," says Marcus Luer, founder and CEO of Total Sports Asia, a sports marketing agency with offices in

Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia. "More TV exposure, bigger purses and sponsorship opportunities will help sports to grow significantly in the future in the Asian region," he adds. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, "Changing the Game: Outlook for the Global Sports Market to 2015", the Asia-Pacific region has the world's third-largest sports market, with revenue of around $24 billion, and is expected to have the world's third-fastest growth rate of 3.9 per cent in 2015. The North America and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) regions are the largest and the second-largest sports markets in the world, respectively. Latin America is smallest with only 4.9 per cent of the pie. "The potential for sports business in Asia is bigger than we can imagine. We have over 4 billion of

the world's population and sports are becoming more of a lifestyle and entertainment for us," says Ronnie Lee, CEO of the Singapore-based Asia Pacific School of Sports and Business. "The growth of Asian sports business is due to many companies getting involved in various Asian sports. Global and Asian companies are spending more money to build their brand name through sports," he says. German tiremaker Continental recently announced a deal with the Asian Football Confederation to become a sponsor of the AFC Asian Cup 2015 in Australia. Under the deal, the firm will serve as the exclusive tire partner and official sponsor of the event, which will be held in January. South Korean car manufacturer Kia Motors has renewed sponsorship of the annual Archery World Cup and other top international archery competitions. Kia


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May 9-15, 2014

has reaped the benefits of sponsoring archery, one of the most popular sports in South Korea, with enormous exposure in the media. South Korean fashion and retail conglomerate E-Land Group, which has branches in more than 10 countries including China and India, is sponsoring a professional football club in Seoul that will compete in the K-League Challenge. "Football in Asia has witnessed consistent growth in recent years, with last year's (European) Champions League final attracting the largest TV audience for a sporting event in China, with an average audience totalling over 30 million," says David Shin, director of Hong Kong-based Sporting Republic, a sport management agency. "The rise in television audience numbers for football also underlines the belief that sports

business is headed in the right direction. This is good news for sponsors as their brands get maximum visibility and exposure in Asia." In 2012, Chelsea Football Club signed a merchandising partnership with Grand Royal Whisky in Myanmar, highlighting the reach of the English Premier League across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region. Formula One motor racing has also made substantial business inroads into Asia. With the long-running Japanese Grand Prix, it also has circuits in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Singapore, India, South Korea, Australia and China. "Asia is one of the most important regions for Formula One team sponsors and for the development of the series," says Askari H. Zaidi, senior vice-president of corporate communications at the Jaypee Group,

a conglomerate based in India. The group has developed India's premier motorsport destination, Buddh International Circuit, near New Delhi. "We need to have a racing culture to turn around motor sport," Zaidi says. Experts in the field believe that Asia has changed the face of the sporting industry by hosting global events like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and leading tennis and golf tournaments. A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, "The big league? The business of sport in China", says the 2008 Beijing Olympics marked a turning point for China in terms of sports business. "The success of the Olympics has raised curiosity about China as a market for sport," the report says. "The country built world-class facilities, including


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May 9-15, 2014

the 91,000-seat Bird's Nest STET stadium and the futuristic Water Cube aquatics centre. The opening ceremony drew a local television audience of 842 million people. More than 100 million Chinese watched the Olympics online."

In 2010, the State Council—the highest executive organ of China—issued for the first time a document promoting the sports industry in the country, and predicted the market size of its sports industry will be worth 2 trillion yuan ($320 billion) by 2020. MS Dhoni

The document, "Guiding Opinion on Accelerating the Development of the Sports Industry in China", indicates that both domestic and foreign private investment in China's sports industry will be actively encouraged, and market exploration of sports performance and recreational sports would be put into action to a greater extent. In the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), China specified that it would vigorously develop public sports and improve public sports facilities. "Efforts will be taken to optimise the competitive sports structure and improve the overall strength of competitive sports and promote the coordinated development of sports facilities and the sports industry," the guideline states. ¬


BUSINESS

May 9-15, 2014

Manny Pacquiao


BUSINESS

May 9-15, 2014

Yao Ming


May 9-15, 2014

How safe is your car?

MOTORING

Influencing car buying decisions in Asean


MOTORING

May 9-15, 2014

Aida Sevilla-Mendoza Philippine Daily Inquirer Manila

W

hen consumers buy a car in an industrialised country, aka a “mature market”, it’s a given that the vehicle has safety features such as six airbags, Advanced Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control, seatbelt pretensioners, etc.

But when you buy a car in an emerging market like the Philippines, you have to check the specifications to make sure that it has at least some of the safety equipment taken for granted in the United States, Europe and Japan. For example, in most emerging markets, two instead of six airbags is the accepted standard unless you acquire a premium-priced luxury car. Government regulations on vehicle safety are usually minimal and not very strictly enforced. Fortunately for consumers, in 1997 in Brussels, a nonprofit international organisation was founded to provide independent and realistic safety performance assessments of new cars. Called Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme), it tests the most widely sold cars for crashworthiness and reports the results to inform and influence the car buying decisions of consumers.


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MOTORING


MOTORING

May 9-15, 2014

Since Euro NCAP proved to be effective in creating a market for safety that encourages car buyers to choose safer products, in 2011 the nonprofit Global NCAP was organised to promote the worldwide availability of independent consumer information about the safety of motor vehicles. Registered in the United Kingdom with former Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) president Max Mosley as chair, Global NCAP supports the goals of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety which aims to cut in half the predicted increase in road fatalities by 2020.

Crashworthiness

Global NCAP offers technical support guidance and quality assurance for the development of new crash test programmes in emerging markets that are experiencing rapid motorisation but lack independent consumer information on crashwor-

thiness. At present, the members of Global NCAP are Euro NCAP, the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Safercar.gov (US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), Ancap (Australasian NCAP), JNCAP (Japan NCAP), C-NCAP (China NCAP), KNCAP (Korean NCAP), Latin NCAP (Para autos mas seguros) and Asean NCAP. Asean NCAP was formed in December 2011 at the annual meeting of the FIA Foundation in New Delhi, India, when Global NCAP and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) signed a collaborative memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a three-year pilot project for an Asean New Car Assessment Programme to elevate motor vehicle standards in the Southeast Asian region and encourage a market for safer vehicles. The signatories to the MOU were Global NCAP secretary general David Ward, Miros director general Dr. Wong Shaw Voon and representatives of the three automobile as-

sociations of Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippine Automobile Association and Australasian NCAP. On its third and final year as a pilot project, Asean NCAP was scheduled to announce on May 5 the results of Phase 3 crash tests conducted at Miros. The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution on road safety that calls on member states to implement NCAPs in all regions of the world in order to improve the availability of consumer information about the safety performance of motor vehicles. The FIA Foundation for Global NCAP’s funding support and work with both the Latin and Asean NCAPs was cited during the UN debate.

Four stars

Noting that the tiny Suzuki Celerio earned four stars in the Latin NCAP crash tests for Adult Occupant Protection and Child Occupant Protection while its sibling,


MOTORING

May 9-15, 2014

the Suzuki Alto got zero star, Global NCAP technical director Alejandro Furas says: “It demonstrates that you don’t need to have a large car, a heavy car or an expensive car to have a good level of safety.” “The Celerio is the absolute proof of this. Manufacturers know how to produce very affordable vehicles with very good safety performance—but it is a question of demanding it,” Furas adds. At the annual meeting of the Automotive Safety Council in Florida last March 21, Global NCAP secretary general David Ward urged the auto industry to make a commitment to build only cars that can pass the United Nation’s front and side impact crash tests (Reg 94 and 95). These tests have been mandatory in the European Union since 1998 and represent the minimum accepted level of vehicle crashworthiness in most industrialised countries.

According to Global NCAP, of the record level of 65 million new passenger cars built last year, as much as one-third would fail the basic safety standards.

A signal

According to Furas, some manufacturers are leading the process of improving their vehicles, approaching the NCAPs rather than governments to ask what comes next. “It’s a signal they’re taking the programme as a reference.” He found this interesting because the NCAP would always have standards above those mandated by government regulation. In contrast to the cutting-edge safety technologies that dominate the motor shows in Geneva and Tokyo, success for the Asean and Latin NCAPs would be represented by more modest gains: more airbags as standard, structural rein-

forcements retained, Isofix anchors. “These are the real technologies that will have the greatest impact on reducing death and serious injury on the road. Widening their use will do more for road safety than most new technologies being developed.” ¬ Sources: AUTO International Journal of the FIA, Miros official website, globalncap, aseancap.org


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MOTORING


ENVIRONMENT

May 9-15, 2014

AFP

K R A SH

: E L A S R O SF

ll i t s s k r a h s r e h s e r h t t a ds, e a e m h , r s e n i f m r o f Ham n a y a t n ba n a a D n i d h u n te


ENVIRONMENT

May 9-15, 2014

Marian Z. Codilla Philippine Daily Inquirer Malapascua Island, Northern Cebu

A photo of a juvenile hammerhead shark on the tiled floor of a wet market in a Philippine town is stirring indignation and calls for more protection

S

hark diving is one of the main attractions in Malapascua Island in northern Cebu, a half-hour boat ride from Daanbantayan town. Foreign and local divers consider it a successful day when they can observe thresher sharks swimming in Monad Shoal. Hammerhead sharks are common in Kumud Shoal, mostly seen between April and May. What if you see a dead shark being sold in the public market? A photo of a juvenile hammerhead shark on the tiled floor of a wet market in Daanbantayan town is stirring indignation and calls for more protection.


ENVIRONMENT MOTORING

May 9-15, 2014

Wet market

The photo was taken by the Filipino girlfriend of a foreign divemaster, who initially commented on her Facebook account that she felt “very lucky” to see a shark in the market without having to go underwater. The image was quickly reposted on Facebook walls of other concerned divers and environment advocates to alert others. Shark fins are prized as a delicacy, and exported by the tons from the Philippines to Hong Kong where they are served as high-priced exotic soup. The meat is also eaten. “How sad to see this…,” wrote Malapascua-based dive master Maricris Legaspi, who posted the photo on her Facebook wall. “You will be lucky when you see a Hammerhead shark in Kimod Shoal because now it is really hard to see them… They are now endangered species here in the Philippines. Even for Thresher Sharks. Many fisherman don’t care about them…They

are so beautiful creatures under the water… Now you can find it in the market to sell and to eat…” Legaspi told Cebu Daily News some of her fellow dive instructors saw a group of fishermen hunting thresher sharks in Monad Shoal, usually at night to early morning when sharks are most active.

No ban enforced

A Cebu provincial ordinance passed in 2010 prohibits the hunting, sale, buying or killing of “vulnerable species” of fish. The local ordinance names thresher sharks (lawhihan or sakol), giant manta rays (sanga) and sun fish (mola-mola) on the list. Protection of whale sharks, locally called “tuki” and “butanding” were added in the province’s Environment Code in a separate ordinance. But no mention is made of hammerhead sharks. Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto

Corro said he would investigate the matter and look for the person who put the shark on display in the market. “I’m very sad about this incident but as I understand, it’s not just here in Daanbantayan. I entertain these reports and I consider them true,” Corro told Cebu Daily News. He said he learned that a few operators from Leyte province hunt thresher sharks, which are being bought from fishermen for 5pesos ,000 to 10,000 pesos (US$112 to $224) depending on their size.

Mayor vows to step in

The mayor said it was a priority of his administration to stop all forms of illegal fishing. Overfishing around the globe is putting hammerhead sharks at risk of extinction. Those who harvest the animals typically cut


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off the fins and toss the rest of the fish back into the sea, where the sharks, unable to swim, die. What was displayed in the Daanbantayan wet market appears to be a scalloped hammerhead shark (scientific name: Sphyrna lewini), which is classified as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said Vince Cinches. Cinches, the Cebu-based Greenpeace Southeast Asia Ocean Campaigner, posted the same photo on his Facebook wall. Only one shark was displayed in the market along with some crabs last week. It was not mentioned how much the fish was being sold for. Three types of hammerhead sharks are considered globally “vulnerable” to extinction by the IUCN — the great hammerhead shark, the smooth hammerhead shark and the scallloped hammerhead shark.

Large numbers of juveniles are captured using fishing gear in nearshore coastal waters. According to the iucnredlist.org, the fins are of high value than other species because of their high fin ray count.

No ban

Although the Philippines has a Wildlife Resource Conservation and Protection Act, there is no law that specifically protects hammerhead sharks, said Cebuano environment lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr. He said this means shark fishing in the Philippines is still legal, unmonitored and unregulated. Malapascua Island is rated among the best dive spots in the world for its marine biodiversity, particularly its thresher sharks which are endemic in the area. Mayor Corro said dive shops in Malapascua who benefit from the

rich marine life are “cooperative” in helping the local government curb illegal fishing but he said there are still illegal operators who are able to get away. The protection of thresher sharks in Malapascua and the island’s proposed upgrade as a national marine park is being pushed by Anna Oposa, a rescue diver and co-founder of the Save Philippine Seas movement.

Shark shelter lobby

Last week, the movement claimed victory for its Shark Shelter Programme after Philippine Airlines (PAL) positively responded to its online petition against transporting shark fins to Hong Kong enroute to Dubai. PAL in a press release last week, said it would “formalise and strenthen a freight policy” it adopted to stop the shipment of sharks fin.


ENVIRONMENT

May 9-15, 2014

Anna Oposa, daughter of the noted environment lawyer, in a statement said PAL’s move was a “victory for all sharks species that are brutally murdered for their fins”. “This will also send a powerful message to the government and other airlines that the private sector can significantly contribute in sustainability efforts, said petitioner Oposa in a joint statement with Greenpeace Philippines. In 2013, during a CITES conference in Bangkok, scalloped hammerhead sharks were one of five shark species placed under control of the trade agreement. (CITES is The Convention for In-

ternational Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna). This means that shark fins must be traded with CITES permits and that traders must have proof that they were harvested “sustainably and legally”. According to a July 2013 report by the global monitoring network Traffic and World Wildlife Fund for Nature, the Philippines exports 73,320 kilos of shark products to Hong Kong every year. The number could be higher, said Cinches of Greenpeace, since the actual trade activity , is not monitored. This article was first published in Cebu Daily News, a member of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. ¬

This photo of a juvenile hammerhead shark taken on April 25 in a wet market in Daanbantayan town was posted in a Facebook account of a diver’s companion.


SOCIETY

May 9-15, 2014

AFP

THE ROOTS OF RAPE Questioning structural cases of sexual violence against women in Nepal

Neeti Aryal Khanal The Kathmandu Post Kathmandu


SOCIETY

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After violations

As more and more funding is directed to INGOs and NGOs for combating sexual violence against women, the involvement of the common

PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP

E

very other day, we hear and read news about the rape of women and girls. The Nepali media, thankfully, has become more gender sensitive than in the past while reporting such incidents. The activism of international nongovernment organisations (INGOs) and nongovernment organisations (NGOs) working on the issue has also gained momentum. Nevertheless, there are several problems in the ways in which sexual violence against women is currently addressed.

Nepalese Hindu women dressed in red dance after paying homage to Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, as they celebrate the Teej festival at the Pashupatinath temple area in Kathmandu.

people is decreasing. The issue is thus mistakenly understood as an agenda of the INGOs and NGOs alone. Even though other organisations are also engaged in this issue, they have a very narrow spectrum of work. Their major focus is on things to do after a woman has been violated instead of preventive measures to stop violence.

Project reports of INGOs and NGOs all focus on amending the law, making police reporting mechanisms swifter, establishing fast-track courts and providing shelter to survivors of violence. These issues are undoubtedly important but they are all concerned with the necessary actions that need to be undertaken after a woman or girl is raped by a perpetrator.


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PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP

Nepalese Hindu women take a ritual bath in the Bagmati river during the Rishi Panchami festival in Kathmandu.


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There is little conceptualisation on the need to address the structural issues concerning sexual violence against women. It is probably because working on the structural, long term issues is tricky; they might not be suitable to be packaged into series of funding projects. Even if these projects are well designed, they do not always fit into the neat INGO and NGO definitions of measurable "impact", "change" and "progress". Instances of violence, therefore, continue and there will always be more victims and their need for justice to work on. There will always be perpetrators to arrest and send to prison.

Structural causes

This is not to say that there have not been any efforts at the community level to prevent sexual violence. Communities are being vigilant to ensure the safety of their daughters, sisters and

wives. Some families even exercise greater control over what women wear and where they go. But such preventive measures do not always stop violence. What we need is a greater discussion on the structural causes surrounding sexual violence against women. I argue that the issue of sexual violence against women in our society is closely tied to the notions of hegemonic masculinity, femininity and sexuality. The first obvious but less discussed issue in our society is that there are different norms for men and women regarding sexuality. There are exceptions, but men in our society have always had greater freedom in expressing their sexuality. Their "uncontrollable sexual urges" are almost acceptable because they are men and they still hold powerful positions in family, community and state. There is no discussion whatsoever on how to control and manage male sexual desires. Instead, many societies, including our own, have made allow-

ances for men to fulfil their sexual desires even beyond the institution of marriage. Why do brothels exist despite being regarded as immoral spaces? A female prostitute who caters to the sexual desires of men is considered to have no honour. But a man who seeks her services for pleasure is not questioned about his purity. Though forbidden by law, it is still socially acceptable for a man to marry more than one wife. Whatever reasons given for the second marriage for men, underneath all spoken reasons lie something unspoken: his perception of his first wife’s inability to satisfy him. Nobody questions the marriage of a 50-year-old widowed man to a 20-year-old unmarried woman. There are numerous undocumented and unexpressed cases of marital rape, sexual harassment and rape that happens within the confines of the "home’" which is considered a safe haven for women. Research on sexual violence shows that women are most likely to be sex-


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ually violated by men they know rather than unknown strangers in public spaces. It is high time we start talking about how men need to control and manage their sexual urges and express them in a non-violent way.

Male view

The notions of honour regulated by religious discourses and cultural norms closely shape women’s sexuality. Though norms vary among different ethnic groups of Nepal, many issues remain common. There is a high emphasis on the virginity of women. Women learn growing up that "sex" is something bad, dirty and immoral. Media portrayals of women thrive on narrowed conceptions of female sexuality. Near indispensable item songs in Kollywood and Bollywood movies such as "Udhreko choli" and "Chikni Chameli" reinforce a belief that only "bad women" are expressive of their sexuality. These lewd

songs filled with sexual innuendoes are nothing more than a fulfilment of the male sexual imagination. It is not surprising since most of the scriptwriters, directors and producers are men who mistakenly assume that their viewers are men as well. Perhaps when we have a greater number of female scriptwriters, directors and producers of movies, we will see popular heroes dancing in skimpy clothes as women surround and ogle at them. There is a need to discuss the close linkages between masculinity and sexuality. The practice of sexuality in many societies is nothing more than an expression of need and fulfilment of male sexual pleasure. There is almost no conceptualisation on the need and existence of female sexual pleasure. It is sad to see that even now, a "real man" is defined by his ability to take women by force. Cinematic representations of "female rape" are

seldom focused on the sufferings of the victim. The way "rape scenes" are filmed, with the camera zooming on the women’s body, it transforms rape into something different altogether. Such scenes are feeding into a new form of male sexual fantasy of forcing women against their will. While filmmakers may defend their creations in the name of artistic freedom of expression, I think filmmakers should discuss among themselves about the utility and impact of these "rape scenes" on the audience. Any filmmaker who has listened to the pain and suffering of a woman who has been raped would film the "rape scenes" in a way that is closer to reality. It is time for the Nepali society to be more open about the issues of sexuality. It is high time to delink women’s sexuality from the notion of ijjat (honour) and redefine the concept of a ‘real man’. ¬


LIFE

May 9-15, 2014

JAPAN’S SHRINKING SOCIETY 'Black hole' Tokyo draws youth, faces collapse in future

Tokyo

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apan’s population hit a peak in 2008 and has been declining since. According to an estimate by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, the population will drop below 100 million in 2048 and below 50 million in the 22nd century. What should be done to prevent the nation itself from falling into decline? The government is planning to craft a programme for preliminary countermeasures by 2020, when Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics.

PHOTOS BY AFP

Atsushi Suwabe and Mioko Bo The Yomiuri Shimbun

A sense of crisis about a shrinking society was expressed continuously during a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy’s committee on future options that was inaugurated in January. Hiroya Masuda, a former internal affairs minister, said: “More than 500 cities, towns and villages likely will disappear in 2040 and beyond. Can the future be changed by policy and resolve? Personally, I’m pessimistic about that.” Fujiyo Ishiguro, president and CEO of strategic Internet professional services provider Netyear Group, said, “Given the prospect of the female population decreasing, I wonder if it is advisable to discuss extreme


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Sapping Population

scenarios, such as the preservation of women’s eggs.” Masuda, who has also served as governor of Iwate, is concerned that Japan's population decrease will be accelerated,

with Tokyo playing the role of a “black hole” absorbing the national population. The black hole will disappear in due course after absorbing everything from its surroundings.

Theoretically, the country’s total population should not decline if young people moving from regional communities to the Tokyo metropolitan area still had many children. But the reality is different. Various factors such as busy life and work conditions, cramped housing and insubstantial human relationships make young people hesitant to marry and start families.


May 9-15, 2014

LIFE


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May 9-15, 2014

The growth of Tokyo's elderly population creates demand for more medical and nursing care personnel, attracting still more young people to Tokyo from across the country. This leads to the sapping of regional communities in a “population black hole” phenomenon. According to an estimate, Tokyo’s population is expected to turn downward after peaking at 13.35 million in 2020, when the Tokyo Olympics will be held. The wave of population decline hitting Tokyo will likely be bigger than those experienced by local areas, putting the elderly at a higher risk of isolation. In the Higashi-Kurihara Public Housing Complex in Adachi Ward, Tokyo, where 14 metropolitan apartment buildings stand, Mitsuharu Honma, 77, head of the complex’s residents association, makes the rounds at units where elderly people live alone. In 2012, there were four cases where elderly people died alone in the housing complex.

“First, I try to see if newspapers are piling up in a mailbox,” Honma said. Seventy per cent of the residents in the complex are said to be 65 or older. The Adachi Ward office has enacted an ordinance enabling the provision of citizens’ information for community residents associations—a rare step in Japan—so that they can keep a close watch on the homes of elderly people on behalf of the ward. This is a measure to cope with the super-aging society, but it cannot halt the decline in population. Are there any countermeasures? Former internal affairs minister Masuda proposed the idea of “creating attractive regional core cities” to prevent young people from moving to major urban centres. He also asked the elderly in Tokyo to think about regional areas as places where they can live their post-retirement life and receive nursing care.

The recommendations made by Masuda sound simple, but suggest a sense of despair.

In danger

The number of women aged 20 to 39 has a direct impact on Japan's overall future population. Masuda and other government panel members have made calculations to estimate future demographic changes in all municipalities, including the wards of government-designated major cities. The estimates indicate that by 2040 the young female population is expected to decline by more than 50 per cent in 896 municipalities. Furthermore, 523 municipalities where the number of young females is seen dropping below 10,000 could be in danger of disappearing due to a loss of reproductive capacities. ¬


CULTURE

May 9-15, 2014

AFP

SAVING YANGON’S HERITAGE A historian races against time to conserve Yangon city’s colonial buildings amid rapid urban development


CULTURE

May 9-15, 2014

AFP

Tan Dawn Wei The Straits Times Singapore

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s Myanmar sprints to catch up with its more developed Southeast Asian neighbours, one man is in a different kind of race: to safeguard hundreds of precious colonial buildings in Yangon from the wrecking ball. Historian and author Thant Myint-U, 48, is up against the tide of breathless development the country is experiencing since it opened its doors to the outside world after years of isolation and economic sanctions. But in just two years since he set up his heritage advocacy organisation, Yangon Heritage Trust, Dr Thant and his colleagues

have managed to save at least 50 buildings from demolition-happy developers ready to replace a century-old building with a cheap, no-character highrise that can fetch good rent. "There is a growing and urgent need for residential and office space, there's money coming into the property market where you can imagine a huge threat to these heritage properties," said the American-born founder and chairman of Yangon Heritage Trust. In town recently to give talks on Myanmar at the WongPartnership Leaders Forum 2014 and the


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Singapore Institute of International Affairs, he is the author of acclaimed books, "The River Of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History Of Burma" and "Where China Meets India: Burma And The New Crossroads Of Asia", and a member of Myanmar's National Economic and Social Advisory Council. Myanmar was under the British for 124 years and has one of the best and biggest collections of colonial buildings in Asia. Although woefully neglected, many still colour downtown Yangon today. Upholding the city's architectural legacy was not a priority for the country's leaders, though they did have a list, compiled in the late 1990s, of 189 sites worthy of conservation. But not much has been done to them, and one was torn down by a property developer. When the capital moved to Naypyidaw in 2005, the government also left a huge property portfolio, which

ought to be managed by a single agency, said Dr Thant. His vision for Yangon: a vibrant, green city boasting parks and an attractive waterfront, and an exciting cityscape with a mix of old and new; of beautifully restored heritage houses and gleaming modern buildings. This will prove valuable in future, perhaps 15 years from now, when Myanmar becomes a middle-income country and needs to attract talent and foster creative industries. "Then all of a sudden, having a downtown area where you can walk around, have bookstores and cafes and amazing architecture that no one else has, will be an enormous asset and we'll regret having destroyed that if we don't protect them now," Dr Thant said. Born in New York City and educated at Harvard and Cambridge, where he earned his PhD in history, he first went to Myanmar at the age of eight and spent his teenage years

there up until he went to university. About four years ago, he made Yangon his base. "I realised one day two years ago that my grandfather's old house was still around and I had never seen it. I found it amid an overgrown area, in complete ruin with the roof caved in, and there were snakes in the garden." The next day, he wrote a letter to President Thein Sein to ask if his family could raise private money to restore the house and turn it into a museum and public event space. The president replied the day after to say "yes". About US$100,000 was raised and the house, U Thant House, is now a lovingly restored bungalow dedicated to the memory of his maternal grandfather, the former United Nations secretary-general. There are a lot more houses in that area, known as Windermere, once homes to government minis-


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May 9-15, 2014

ters and senior officials, now left abandoned. "At a time where houses are rented for US$20,000 to $30,000 a month, there are a lot of these empty houses which are state property. It's a matter of connecting the demand and supply. You take a house like this, and $100,000 is not a lot of money, and it's restored nicely. There are lots of homes like that, that can be done," said Dr Thant. The challenges in this crusade for conservation in Yangon are not so much structural or financial, but social and legal ones. "How do we come up with the right set of solutions that will not just protect and restore these buildings, but will keep the special character of Downtown Yangon and keep some of these communities intact?" Many of the properties are also in private hands, and often with

contested ownership, and that makes the job of restoration more difficult. A conservation agenda needs to fit into a broader urban planning framework, said Dr Thant, whose organisation helped draft the country's first urban conservation Bill, which will hopefully be passed in the coming months. Yangon Heritage Trust also helped put together a zoning plan which sets height limits within downtown and the famed Shwedagon Pagoda area. Dr Thant's team has put together an inventory of more than 4,000 buildings worth protecting, half of which are from the pre-1960s era. Also in the pipeline is a study to understand the economy and livelihood in Downtown Yangon. Crucial to the cause is getting public support for it, and Yangon Heritage Trust's outreach

plans include conducting heritage tours, putting up plaques at historic buildings and a showand-tell of what a future Yangon could look like. "There is this sense that people support all this change happening, the opening of the economy, investment coming in, but they are also anxious and don't want everything to change overnight," he said. "People want, first and foremost, a working kitchen, a proper bathroom, but then if they know they can have that, and still have the old city they grew up in, this is something they want." To show them that it is possible, he is raising money to restore two to three residential buildings for free. "If we can start with these basic projects, we will also start the conversation." ÂŹ


PEOPLE

May 9-15, 2014

Photos by PITON Communications

THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL One transgender finds strength to overcome life's obstacles, in her mother's love


PEOPLE

May 9-15, 2014

Yvonne Lim Asia News Network Pattaya

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student Rachaya Nopkarun, 22, (left) won the first runner-up prize while dancer Treetipnipa Tippapada, 24, (right) was named second runner-up. Nissa Katerahong, 22, (middle), was crowned Miss Tiffany's Universe 2014.

ife as a transgender is one fraught with many difficult challenges, which Miss Tiffany’s Universe 2014 winner Nissa Katerahong says she would not be able to endure if not for the strength she finds in her mother’s love. Describing her mother as her “pillar of strength”, 22-year-old Nissa, or “Noei”, says that her mother’s unconditional support gave her the courage to participate in the pageant, and the strength to overcome any obstacle life throws at her. “It has been my life-long dream to win this contest. Ever since I turned 18, I have been meaning to participate in it, but I kept putting it off be-

cause I did not feel ready. “This year, with my family’s support and encouragement—especially my mother, who has always been there for me—I am finally ready, and winning this crown is truly a dream come true,” says Nissa who recently graduated with a degree in fashion and design technology from a university in Bangkok, after she was crowned winner at Tiffany’s Palace, Pattaya, on May 2. Coincidentally, Nissa was asked earlier during the question and answer session with the top three finalists, “What is your biggest dream and if it came true, what would you do with it?”, to which she replied that her dream was to win the Miss Tiffany’s Universe crown and that she


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May 9-15, 2014

would use it to make the transgender community proud. Twenty-two-year-old student Rachaya Nopkarun won first runner-up, while 24-year-old dancer Treetipnipa Tippapada was named second runner-up. Nissa’s mother Chutimon Prasoet admits that at first it was difficult accepting her youngest son’s decision to become a woman, but says that it was more important to her that Nissa was a good person. “I am very happy that she has won this crown as it was her dream. I will support her no matter what she decides to be because that is my job as her mother. She is a good person and a filial daughter—that is enough for me,” says the 47-year-old housewife and mother of two. As this year’s winner, Nissa also took home 2 million baht worth of prizes, including a diamond crown which was placed on her head by last year’s champion Nethnapada Kanrayanon, a Honda Jazz car, a one-year lease for an apartment

unit at the Woodlands Hotel and Resorts Pattaya, gift vouchers, and 120,000 baht in cash. She will go on to contest against international transgender beauty queens in Miss International Queen 2014 pageant come September. During the pageant’s semifinals, Nissa also won as “Miss

Sexy Star”, which bagged her a cash prize of 15,000 baht and automatically placed her among the top 10 finalists. This year’s contest was themed “Season of Dreams” and also coincided with the Tiffany’s Show Pattaya’s 40th anniversary. Also among the 30 pageant


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contestants showcasing their beauty and talents was 20-yearold Millananin Santhep, nicknamed “Fighter”, who won the Best Costume category. When asked about her nickname, Millananin said that it was given to her by her father who was a professional muay thai competitor. While she does not practise Muay Thai, she says that she is a “fighter” nonetheless—that is, for the rights of the transgender community. “The world needs to change its perception towards transgenders. We are ordinary people and deserve to enjoy the same rights as everyone else, especially in terms of education and job opportunities,” says the student, adding that she has made the fight for transgender rights her life-long mission. Twenty-three year old contestant Prachat Begin, or “Cooney”,

who finished high school in the United States says that she returned to Thailand because she wanted to improve the standard of living in her hometown in rural Sisaket province, northeastern Thailand. Prachat who is currently a first-year architecture student at a university in Bangkok says that she took on architecture as a second degree because it will give her the skills needed to improve living conditions in Sisaket. “I will return home to my province upon graduating and do what I can to raise the standard of living there. “It is also a chance for me to prove that transgenders can also give back to society,” she says. Part of the proceeds from this year’s Miss Tiffany’s Universe 2014 pageant will be donated the Thai Red Cross Society to fund their “AIDS Can Be Treated” project. ¬


May 9-15, 2014

PEOPLE Hau Boon Lai The Straits Times Tokyo

JIRO STILL DREAMS OF SUSHI At 88, the famous Japanese chef is still in pursuit of perfection


PEOPLE

May 9-15, 2014

J

iro Ono stands out even in a country known for its strong work ethic. At the age of 88, when even the most dedicated have put down their tools, the chef is still at his craft, kneading a few hundred pieces of sushi a day for customers who come from across Japan and abroad. In 2007, Sukiyabashi Jiro, his tiny, reservations-only 10-seater basement shop in the shopping and entertainment district of Ginza, was awarded three stars in the first Michelin Japan guide. Ono has held

the Guinness record as the oldest three-Michelin-star chef in the world since. In 2011, he was the subject of an award-winning documentary named Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, a chronicle of Ono's single-minded pursuit of perfection in his 63 years as a sushi chef. So, when US President Barack Obama was hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to a private dinner at Sukiyabashi Jiro soon after the former arrived for a state visit to Japan, he was being served

by a chef at the top of his profession. But suggest to Ono that he is at the peak of his craft and his answer, consistently articulated in various interviews over the years, has been: "I haven't seen the top yet." Born on Oct 27, 1925, to poor parents in what is now called Hamamatsu city in Shizuoka prefecture, located about 250km west of Tokyo, Ono embarked on his culinary journey the hard way. When he was just seven, he was forced to leave home to become a bonded worker-cum-apprentice in the kitchens of a ryotei, or a traditional Japanese restaurant. He began, like all apprentices during that time, at the bottom — cleaning the floor, washing the dishes and seeing to deliveries from early morning until past midnight. It was not until three years later that he was first allowed to hold a kitchen knife. "I had no one to turn to, or a home to return to, and if fired from the job, I would have starved to death, so I had to work hard," he has said of his years at the ryotei.


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While Ono was allowed to attend school, all he remembered of it was the feeling of being exhausted and falling asleep in class. Understanding teachers mostly left him alone. However, as he usually failed to do his homework, he was sometimes ordered to stand outside the classroom as punishment, but would then quietly take off and perform his chores at the ryotei instead. During those years, he received food, clothing and shelter, but no salary or days off. A tiny allowance each day was just about enough to pay for three sweets. The ryotei, where he stayed until he was 20, was where he developed his strong work ethic. Ono became a sushi chef at 25, and 14 years later he opened Sukiyabashi Jiro, and became known for his exacting standards—getting the best grains for his rice and establishing a close relationship with vendors at the Tsukiji market, who supply him with the freshest seafood he needs.

Ono practises continuous quality control, tasting the food at almost every stage to ensure that his customers get nothing but the best sushi, often described by reviewers as simple but extremely textured and flavourful. And like a martial arts expert, he has mastered how to stand and to knead the sushi rice effortlessly such that he does not suffer any back or shoulder aches. It was only when he suffered a heart attack at 70 that he allowed himself to slow down a little, entrusting his son, Yoshikazu, 54, to make the daily runs to Tsukiji market and to prepare more of the sushi for customers. Part of Ono's legacy will be his two sons, who began as apprentices at his shop after high school— Yoshikazu will be his eventual successor at the shop in Ginza, while Takashi, 52, started a branch at Roppongi Hills in 2003 at the behest of his father, as one shop can have only one master chef. The Roppongi Hills outlet already has its own two Michelin stars.

At the flagship outlet—a constant among top sushi restaurant lists in local and international magazines—Ono still makes an effort to personally prepare the sushi for first-time customers and also usually makes some of the 20 pieces of sushi in the standard 30,000 yen (US$293) course per person. Food critics and customers often assume that Ono's dedication comes from a passion for sushi-making. But his love for sushi is an acquired one. "I did not set out to be a sushi chef or to open a sushi shop," said Ono, who in 2005 received a government award as a "modern artisan" for displaying outstanding ability in his field. In fact, Ono has said that he has no particular acumen for cooking, but that when it comes to work, he strives to do his best. "It is not about being suited to the job, but about how to suit yourself to the job," he said. ¬


May 9-15, 2014

¬ Singapore 2014 CNBLUE Live—Can't Stop in Singapore Following the much awaited release of their 5th mini album "Can’t Stop", CNBLUE will be embarking on their new concert tour "2014 CNBLUE LIVE—Can't Stop in SINGAPORE". Known for their high-energy performance, CNBLUE is undoubtedly one of the most prominent band in Korea’s music industry. Comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist Jung Yong Hwa, lead guitarist and vocalist Lee Jong Hyun, bassist Lee Jung Shin and drummer Kang Min Hyuk, they debuted in 2010 with the EP "Bluetory". Since then, they have won countless music awards on South Korea’s music chart shows. Don’t miss the chance to catch them LIVE as they belt out songs from their latest album and classic hits!

When: May 10; 7pm Where: Singapore Indoor Stadium Info: www.sportshubtix.sgJEONJU, SOUTH KOREA

DATEBOOK


May 9-15, 2014

¬ Jeonju, South Korea Jeonju International Film Festival This film festival, one of the biggest events for South Korea's independent cinema, kicked off on May 1 with the latest collaborative 3-D project by three renowned Korean directors, Ryu Seung-wan (The Berlin File), Han Ji-seung (Papa) and Kim Tae-yong (Late Autumn) as opening film. Opening film Mad Sad Bad is an ambitious omnibus film dealing with relatively unconventional themes, including a senseless murder, a romance between a zombie and a human, and a child’s relationship with her autistic younger brother. The film is also a meaningful achievement for the local film industry, as the directors sought to use 3-D technology to create a drama rather than a Hollywood-style action film. The festival features 181 films from 44 countries, including 40 world premieres.

When: Until May 10 Info: http://eng.jiff.or.kr/

DATEBOOK


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May 9-15, 2014

ÂŹ Bangkok La Fete: French-Thai cultural festival

Thailand Dive Expo 2014

Celebrating all things French, all things Thai and everything in between, the La Fete festival is back for its 10th edition with an exciting itinerary.

With hundreds of exhibitors, a variety of activities as well as seminars and workshops by experts in the industry, this is a one-stop event and centre for scuba diving enthusiasts and those who want to know more about the sport.

When: June 4-July 7 Info: facebook.com/lafete.festival

When: May 15-18 Where: Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre Info: thailanddiveexpo.com

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ÂŹ India Sindhu Darshan festival The Sindhu Darshan festival is a celebration of River Sindhu or Indus. It's one of the world's longest rivers, and gave India its name. The festival aims to project the Sindhu as a symbol of multidimensional cultural identity, communal harmony, and peaceful co-existence in India. It promises a kaleidoscope of Indian culture and an exciting array of performing arts.

When: June 1-3 Where: Leh, Ladakh

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May 9-15, 2014

¬ Philippines Village People Live Manila, Cebu and Davao are in for a great party with the world's No. 1 disco superstars, the Village People, this month. The group is holding three concerts in the Philippines for three consecutive days from May 28-30. Village People will sing all-time favourites including: ‘Macho Man’, ‘Go West’, ‘In the Navy’, and their biggest hit ‘YMCA.’

WHEN

May 28, 2014 May 29, 2014 May 30, 2014

WHERE – Solaire Resort and Casino – Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino – SMX Convention Center Davao

Organiser: RedStone Productions Tickets are available at ticketworld.com.ph



Asianews Magazine May9 -15,2014